Everyone thinks that they want to be tall but let me tell you…the grass is not always greener. We’re truly living in the age of “short kings” and it’s never been better for the vertically challenged. The advantages don’t end with a fun little hashtag or saying either. The short people in this country have no idea the trials and tribulations that the tall folks have to deal with. The propaganda machine would lead you to believe that it’s all sunshine and rainbows above the canopy in this level on the stratosphere. I’m here to tell you that’s not the case.
Tall Fashion is an Oxymoron
Clothes don’t fit. When they do, they’re abhorrent. When a tall person finds a single article of clothing that DOES fit, they have to make it their identity. They buy in bulk because there’s no guarantee of when the next time something suitable will come around. The entire fashion industry has been using and abusing us “talls” for CENTURIES. They want us to walk their runways and show off signature pieces from their collections but then refuse to make any actual clothes for those of us who want to buy them.
Now, the industry has taken it a step further. Not only are they ignoring the tall people but they’re outright pushing fashion trends that only work for a shorter build. Listen, I’m happy for the little guys. For a long time, they were drowning in too much fabric. However, they ALWAYS had the option to have pants and shirts hemmed and cut to fit. It’s easy to take fabric away but you can never add what isn’t there.
Shorts are a particularly sore subject. Obviously, the current trend is to make shorts live up to their name and keep them, you guessed it, short. Long gone are the days where anything above the knee is seen as okay. Even Adam Sandler is starting to catch strays for his relaxed lifestyle. That’s something that I thought was impossible. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m fully behind the “sky’s out, thigh’s out” movement…but there are limits. A 5″ inseam looks great when your femur is only 9″ long. Until fashion goes all the way back to idolizing what Wilt the Stilt was rocking with ball bags popping out left and right, us tall people are stuck in no man’s land.
Infrastructure is Legitimately Criminal
Stairways, basements, doors and hanging lights/decorations are all designed for the masses. We tall folk are simply forced to conform to the short nature of the world around us. How many places do you go where you see “Watch Your Head” warnings plastered? Instead of designing and building things with everyone in mind, contractors, corporations and municipalities simply slap a sticker on and call it good enough. That’s like sending a utility worker into an unsupported ditch with a “watch for collapsing walls” warning as they go in.
I’d LOVE nothing more than this issue to be addressed by representatives at every level. Unfortunately that won’t happen for at least 20 years. Why? Because politicians are old. Their generation’s average height was even shorter than this generation. The majority of them barely have a grasp on reality as it is, let alone the brain capacity to consider problems for people that aren’t built like them.
Mass Transit is a Prison for Tall People
Everyone on the planet has heard the argument of whether you should recline your airline seat or not. For the record, you shouldn’t, but that argument rarely considers the talls’ perspective. Our knees are ALREADY jammed into the back of the seat when we sit down because we simply can’t fit on the planes anymore. Those seats are so tight now that King Tut’s sarcophagus looks like a luxury apartment! If you’re one of the degenerates that reclines with reckless abandon without even doing a courtesy check to see who’s behind you, you should be held liable when our kneecaps are ripped off.
The horrors aren’t limited to the sky either. Busses and trains alike have those dangling handles for people to grab. What’s a safety measure to increase passenger stability for some is a dangerous source of disgusting bacteria in the face of others. Even if we are able to escape the subways without contracting pink eye from a leather grab handle hitting us in the face, we have to deal with the luggage issue.
As a tall person, we’re the ones that are expected to help lift the luggage into the overhead bins/racks. While I’m happy to help, add my nagging back pain to a list of injuries caused by the general population. Also, who do you think the un-secured bags hit first should they come loose? That’s right, the tall people. We take the brunt of the force and break their fall before it can reach anyone else. The pain we endure is endless.
Cars Aren’t Much Better
Just when you think that you can escape the hell of public transportation by buying your own vehicle, you’re slapped in the face by another hard truth. Tall people have half of the inventory on every lot wiped out. It’s not because we don’t LIKE the cars…we simply don’t fit into them. A common problem is the floorboards being too high forcing our knees into the dash or steering wheel. If by some grace of God they gave the driver enough leg room, it’s a 50/50 shot of whether the roof is high enough. We can’t even consider the sunroof option because that’s precious head clearance we’re giving up. The center of every windshield in designed with a short torso in mind making it even worse.
As if buying a vehicle wasn’t enough of a headache, we have to shell out extra cash for the oversized options. Not only is the price tag higher to start, they get worse gas mileage too! Yet again, another invisible tax on the tall community. It’s either that or suffer the health and safety consequences of squeezing into some tiny shitbox that we can actually afford.
The Gym is Another Kind of Nightmare
The only place you can go at the gym confidently knowing you won’t have to make adjustments on the machine are free weights, treadmills and the flat bench setups. Just when The Perfect Gym Banger finds its way to your ears, you realize every other machine needs to be adjusted and you miss the drop. This is by far the least important complaint of everything on the list today but man is it annoying. Just ONE TIME I’d like to sit down on a leg extension machine and not have to push the seat back or extend the ankle bar. Imagine finding a cable machine with a rope attachment that can actually go high enough where you don’t have to crouch or bend over to start your set. Must be nice.
You Can’t Fight Physics
The adjustments to the equipment is just the tip of the iceberg when the tall community enters a gym. If you remember anything from physics class, there’s this thing called leverage to account for. You see, all the short and stocky bros get to load up the bench press because their range of motion is so much smaller. Anyone who’s ever attempted a bench press knows that the first two inches and the last four are easy, it’s that part in the middle that’s difficult. Tall people have a MUCH wider range of difficult. Then there’s the free weights for curls. The tall guys are putting out the same amount of energy but are only able to pull a “lighter” weight because their forearm (moment arm) is so much longer. I know this has been hard to visualize, so maybe some pictures will help clear the air.
Is any of this the end of the world? No, absolutely not. But that’s easy for me to say as a man who’s already engaged to be married. Because of that, I’m not trying to pull one of the baddies on the stair stepper or a muscle mommy working the smith machine. The tall guys who are on the market are the ones who have to overcome the fact that they’re pushing/pulling less weight without mansplaining the physics of it all when they finally rizz up their local Livvy Dunne.
We are in Pain at Home
Homes and apartments aren’t built for us. If you have never had the thought “this couch would be way better if it were on risers” cross your mind, you’ll never understand. Being unable to sit comfortably in your own home is a heinous atrocity. It’s the reason you see tall people laying down all the time. We’re not lazy, we’re just sick and tired of sitting with our knees above our hips! Rumor has it that forcing people to sit on couches that are slightly too short was almost banned by the Geneva Convention.
What’s worse yet are the height of countertops. In college, there was a group of us who bought a slab of butcher block from Ikea to place ON TOP OF THE EXISTING COUNTERTOP. This was not to make it look nice but to simply make it more comfortable for us. Do you understand how insane that is? The next time you’re in the kitchen, wrist twistin’ making stir fry or washing your hands, hop on up your little step stool and see how uncomfortable it would be if you were taller.
Let’s say by some miracle you’re a tall person who actually found a decent fit to rock. Sounds pretty nice, right? Well, before you leave the house you’d probably want to check your hair and make sure you look decent too, yeah? Thanks to the average (short) person that designed/built your house, you now have to bend over like an ogre just to look in the bathroom mirror. We’re constantly hunched over because we’re conditioned to be that way by our environment. Few things separate us tall folk from those Japanese fruits that are locked in cages and forced to grow in weird shapes.
Working in corporate America, you have undoubtedly gotten the ergonomic e-mails and presentations shoved down your throat. They tell you to sit up straight among a host of other rules. Rules that are simple to follow for the average worker. The tall folk have to put in special requests for monitor stands or standing desks to have any shot at bringing them up to eye level. Especially if their knees are at the recommended 90 degrees. Nearly a third of those requests go unfilled. Companies want to preach solutions to the problem but won’t provide the resources necessary to do so.
I’m lucky enough to work for a place that gives me Herman Miller chairs and all the stands I could ever want. Having those things doesn’t make me exempt from feeling bad for my fellow tall folk who aren’t so lucky. People are quick to point the finger at cell phones for the increase in Kyphosis cases in this country. Those same people forget that working at a desk too small for your body is no better.
Tall Clocks Tick Faster
At the end of the day, no one of these things will land the tall community on the disabilities list. You’d think that all of them combined might have a shot, but they don’t. There is one more pill and it’s hard to swallow. We tall folk simply and undeniably die faster than the shorter people in this country. This was a tough one to come to terms with but we’re the Great Danes of the human world. Our hearts, joints and spines simply don’t last as long as the rest of yours. Personally, I think that should earn us a tax break.
Look, if you’re offended by the views here, do me a favor and grow up. *Maniacally laughs at how unbelievably funny and clever I am* Look, I’m not some sort of radical Height Supremacist. I’m simply here to spread the word on a different perspective. I don’t want to hear a peep about how good we have it as tall people. At least walk a mile in my size 13’s from last year’s collection before you pass judgement.
Helpful and Totally Serious Links for My Fellow Tall Folk:
I’ve been hit by cars three times, which is an indication of how stubborn I am.
I write about everything across the board, but focus on Hockey and the pain that is Minnesota sports.
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