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False Advertising

November 1, 2012

So I’m tall. Five ten and three-quarter inches tall to be exact. Which, accounting for the usual inflation, lands me somewhere over the six-foot mark. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve flared my nostrils over the head of a guy who swears he is 5’9” or out-rebounded a girl who claims to be 6’1.” You’re all delusional folks; we both know I can’t jump.

Height is nothing new for me; my dad is 6’6” so it was kind of inevitable that I’d grow more than your average Scandinavian. I’m the kind of tall that towered over my friends’ older brothers at 10 and got stretch marks on my thighs at 14. I’m the kind of tall that looked like a walking skeleton until I grew into my proportions at 15 and had about eight percent of the male student body to choose from for high school dances. I’m the kind of tall that gets a second look when I walk into a room.

For a while there my relationship with my height was touch and go, but my issues were no worse than any teen girl’s. I hated that I couldn’t play the lead in school plays because I was taller than the boys. I didn’t join the dance team because I knew I’d stand out like a milkweed. I didn’t wear shoes with anything over a half-inch because heels were the honor for tiny people. At a few points I even lashed out at the shorter boys to make myself feel better.

But little by little, I realized my height helped me stand apart, quite literally. I grew into my basketball skills and started standing up straight. I even wore heels to prom. If you asked me what I loved most about myself then, I would have told you my height. And if you ask me now, well, we’ll save that for another post.

Nowadays, the first thing I do when I walk into the room is scan for height. It’s an automatic reflex, like breathing or making sure my ex isn’t making out with another girl in the corner. If a guy is over 6’2” I notice. About ten minutes later one of my friends will usually point him out to me, thinking she’s spotted him first. Yeah Honey, I’ve seen him. And for that matter, I’ve claimed him too. I’m the kind of tall that feels entitled to the height in the room. The kind who has to look away when a giggly 5’5” has her arms locked around a 6’3” waist. It kills me that for all my ‘love your fellow women’ musings I still can’t help but cringe when I see that happy couple.

But what am I supposed to do? As if it isn’t impossible enough to find a smart, attractive, driven, passionate, youngish mountain climber who’s into me, now he also has to be over 6 feet tall and not taken by a more compact version of me.

It’s an impossible standard, this height requirement of relationships, and it’s one that hurts men just as much as it hurts women. The last guy I dated was 5’9” and believe me he counted his lucky stars that I was with him. It was like he was checking off a goal on his bucket list: hook up with a tall blonde, eureka!

Oh yeah, that’s the other thing. I’m blonde. Yes, you can picture it. I’m tall and blonde. I bet you’re imagining a toned Victoria’s secret model secretly typing away, enviously eyeing the cookies her friends are eating. Or maybe you’re seeing a tanned beach girl, running through the waves in slow motion contemplating how to choose between Brock and Brandon. No matter who you thought I was before, now that I’m blonde everything has changed.

I dyed my hair brown once. It was sort of an experiment to myself, my own rebellion against the blonde that I hadn’t chosen. The results were immediate; men didn’t catch my eye anymore- they didn’t even look up when I walked by. One of my relatives actually cried when she saw me, so angry that I had shunned my gift. Was it just me or were people less friendly, less willing to connect with me now that the blonde was gone? I felt invisible, absurdly average. What happened? I knew my face wasn’t extraordinary looking before, but did I actually become unattractive without the blonde? Did the color of my hair truly change how I looked or have we just been conditioned to associate blonde with attractiveness? Is blonde hair false advertising?

And what about height, is the length of my legs also a false draw? Do men actually like tall women, or are they just conditioned to say that they should? Is it possible that my height is actually off-putting?

I’m not worried about my personality, its sparkling. And I’ve learned not to worry about the initial draw, I know how to rock the blonde and the legs when I want to. But should I be worried about those brief moments in between? When the blonde goggles wear off and my guarded awesomeness hasn’t quiet secured its death grip? When the guy realizes he’s actually intimidated by my height instead of turned on by it? What do I do when the guy I’ve been dancing with at the bar asks for my number and I know he won’t recognize me with my hair up?

To be honest, I’m not too worried, if only because I’m genuinely happy being on my own right now. And besides, it is really nice to reach the top cabinets. I suppose the only thing left to do is embrace the benefits of height and relish getting singled out by the blonde-loving ghouls at the haunted house. Or I suppose I could go ginger…

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 4, 2012 4:00 am

    Wasn’t it an attempt to go ginger that originally led to your brown hair? As a fellow blonder, I identify with you, Sleeping Booty. But I’m not sure I’ve ever noticed guys noticing me because of my hair. I guess when I become brunette (a process that is well underway) I might see a difference. I say you don’t need advertising, false or otherwise.

  2. April 15, 2014 10:35 am

    Hi, Sleeping Booty…sorry my comment is late to the party! Your blog is so cool. Anyway, I just wanted to share my thoughts on this.

    At 30 years old, I’m short…5’1″. I’ve been a small person all my life. I was a premature infant. I was both short AND skinny until I was about 25. Being petite might seem enviable to some taller women, but remember, the grass always seems greener on the other side. Since people come in all shapes and sizes, there will always be advantages and disadvantages no matter what.

    I might be able to have my share of male attention because I’m short and cute and youthful-looking, but I don’t have what most tall girls are blessed with…gorgeous mile-long legs that won’t quit. Tall women look striking in some clothes that we shorter ladies could never pull off. Taller women also have the advantage, I believe, of being taken more seriously. They aren’t likely to be treated like children because of their height. As a petite woman, it is frustrating to have people talk down to me or ignore me because I’m little and can pass for a person much younger. From my perspective, you are lucky!

    As to male attention, plenty of men love tall women. Some are intimidated by tall women, yes, but there are also men that see beauty in a woman of your stature. They might see a bombshell/goddess/Amazon when they see you. We must remember that there is somebody for everybody. What one person doesn’t like, another person will.

    And the blonde hair…if you feel prettier and more confident with lighter hair, then keep doing it. But to answer your question as to whether blonde hair makes a woman more attractive…no, I don’t believe that it does. Blonde hair definitely makes people look twice because it is shiny and gold, but I’ve seen blonde women with ugly faces. Beauty isn’t about hair color or height…it is more about a pretty face, a unique sense of style, the figure/proportions, and of course, the attitude. I have hair that is very dark and I consider myself to be a pretty woman. Kim Kardashian is a short, curvy woman with jet-black hair and she is one of the sexiest females in Hollywood today…I’m not a fan of hers but I just wanted to point out that one doesn’t need to be blonde to be noticed by men. Look at Princess Kate, she is a brunette and she won the heart of Prince William.

    I would say that maybe your lack of confidence was the issue, not your hair or your height. But I won’t deny that society often makes women feel badly about ourselves for all sorts of reasons.

    Being tall is beautiful. You are beautiful and you will find somebody who will appreciate what you are.


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