I am tall. Some might say very tall. Giant. Titan. MONSTER!
181cm. Not quite six foot, but very nearly.
I like to think of it as superhuman. Not quite, but very nearly.
There are benefits to being of considerable height and there are cons. But mostly, there are just lots of awkward moments.
For one, being tall seems to attract incredibly insightful people. I am surrounded by them. I know this because nearly everyday one of them will say:
You’re really tall!
As a rule, this is said quite loudly and with absolute astonishment. And it is followed by absolute silence.
What a revelation! It’s as though no one has ever realised this in the history of all time.
Of course, I am obliged to fill the silence that proceeds and there is a plethora of ways to go about this.
“Why, I never noticed. Thank you for pointing that out.”
“And you are really un-tall.”
“Only when I see you.”
*punch them in the face*
“Yeah, I went to China and I paid thousands for an unregistered surgeon to break my legs in seven places and now I’m three inches taller. I nearly died from an infection, but I think you’ll agree it was well worth it.”
Usually, I opt for a little nod and chipper, Yep! This defects the embarrassment sufficiently enough.
Sometimes people want to say You’re really tall! But they can’t because they already used that exact phrase about an hour ago, so instead they opt for: Have you ever thought about modelling?
We both know it is not a comment about my striking good looks and is really code for: You’re really tall!
Even more awkwardness ensues because I don’t know what to say – not least of all because that industry goes against nearly everything I have ever believed.
But there are benefits to being tall. I get to help little grandmas get tins of cat food from the top shelf in the supermarket. I like helping people. That is something I believe in.
And it’s definitely an advantage at gigs. Though not for the people behind me.
I can always see the stage clearly above the crowd. This was of notable advantage at Reading festival. Foo Fighters, Bombay Bicycle Club, Florence, The Cure, Foster the People. I could see perfectly over thousands of people.
It has taken a while, but I’ve now learnt to stop apologising to the people behind me. I’ve also dropped the guilt. The best technique is avoid making eye contact with them altogether.
Finding pants in a challenge. They are never long enough so I mostly wear skirts.
I also feel the need to wear quality shoes. This is because strangers tend to see my height and then look straight down at my feet to see if I am wearing heels. And for the record – no, I don’t wear heels.
So there you go. Sigh. It is what it is, this being tall business. Not really here nor there, but a good ice breaker for people who like to be awkward apparently.
I’ve learnt to embrace it, ignore it, make light of it.
And finally, here is a picture of the tallest person in history. Robert Wadlow. His body pumped out too much human growth hormone until he reached 272cm and died at just 22 years old in 1940. He is still affectionately known as the Gentle Giant.
Wow Robert, you’re really tall!