No, I do not play basketball
I can’t remember the last time I went out during the weekend without receiving an unsolicited comment about my height. These remarks are almost always good-hearted, but they can get under my skin pretty quickly.
I wouldn’t call myself shockingly tall by any means, but I am statistically taller than 99.7 per cent of the Canadian population.
After having a random person let me know that I was tall (thanks, I had no idea) while I was washing my hands in a public bathroom on a Saturday night, I started to wonder, why exactly does this happen so much?
I’m glad that, for the most part, we as a society have learned that making unsolicited comments about someone’s body is uncouth. Cracking a joke about someone’s weight or shortness is a major red flag. But for some reason, it seems that being tall means that it’s open season for all the questions and comments.
Yes, I really do know I’m tall. No, I do not play basketball. And I’m sorry; I’m really not trying to block your view.
One of the more egregious examples was a stranger coming up to me and adamantly telling me how tall I am, despite me telling them that they were wrong. Thanks, I had no idea you knew more about me than I do.
I really don’t mind most of the comments, but what does annoy me is that the conversation starts and ends on one physical attribute that I had nothing to do with. Try to get to know me, not my height.
Whenever I try to air my grievances about these types of comments, I get people telling me that it’s nothing to complain about because being tall is such a good thing.
Look, I love being tall — I just don’t want my whole identity to hinge on it. Being able to reach the tops of shelves and never having anyone block my view are both great. There is an unspoken camaraderie between tall people, which leads to very wholesome interactions that I label as “tall guy moments.”
But having a vertical advantage doesn’t magically make life better. I’m constantly hitting my head. My back always hurts, probably from bending over all the time just to try and be part of a conversation. I don’t have the ability to fully blend into the background, and walking through a crowd while having countless strangers look up at you can get quite tiring.
My lifespan may be shorter than my — for lack of a better term — shorter friends. And with the rise in the cost of living, it doesn’t help that I need to eat enough food for a small family just to sustain myself.
I only know the male experience of being tall, and I’m sure that it can be very different for other genders. Height can traditionally be seen as a “masculine” trait, which can lead to people of different identities being self-conscious about their height.
I know that many people wish that they were taller, but your own height should be nothing to ever be ashamed of. For the vast majority of people, height simply comes from their genetics.
If we could stop placing any value on random physical attributes like height, then maybe there would be less interest in dangerous cosmetic procedures like height lengthening surgeries.
As I said, there’s nothing inherently wrong with commenting on how tall I am, and I appreciate it when I can tell that it was done with good and honest intentions. But just try to be aware of how any comment on a stranger’s body could affect them.