Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Seven Questions--The Long and Short of It

Everytime I pay to get something hemmed, climb onto the counter to reach the medicine cabinet, or realize that I am indeed at my goal weight...if only I were over six feet...I wonder what it would be like to be TALL. What would the world look like up there? Would people treat me differently? Would clothes-shopping be a dream come true or a total nightmare?

Today I'm featuring my cute online friend, Lindsey. She is a whole foot taller than me...yet we still see eye-to-eye on a lot of issues...humor, motherhood, special needs kids, food and family!

Here are her thoughts on standing tall....
#1--How tall are you (officially)? And how old were you when you reached this height?
I am officially 6'2" tall, without shoes. "How tall ARE you?" is the most common question that I am asked follow by, "Did you play basketball?" Most people would tell me that I needed to follow that question up with one of my own like, "Yes! Did you play miniature golf?" :) I never really had the heart.

I can tell you one thing I have learned from experience and that is... ALL guys lie about their height. Get out the measuring tape and see! They believe that their shoe heel should be included in their height measurement because that is what professional basketball players do.

For the record, my husband did NOT lie about his height, but I totally accused him of lying anyway. Most guys who are above 6'3" don't lie about it, but guys who hover in the 6'0" area think they need the extra inch or two. (I am certain about this because guys were shorter than me, but always claimed to be the same height or taller.)

I was 15 years old when I reached this height and even before then I was always the tallest in my class at school. I was forever on the back row on picture day with all of the boys in the class

#2-What are the greatest things about being so vertically blessed?
There are a lot of great things about being tall. I can reach the top shelf, I can see people in a crowd, people can see ME in a crowd, I can reach my children in one swoop of my arm even if they are 4 feet away! :)

#3- Did you ever do the things tall women are expected to do? Play basketball? Model? Eat forever and never gain weight? Did people have unreasonable expectations because of your height?
I did play sports, but it never crossed my mind until two Jr. high 9th graders decided my height would be wasted if I didn't come try out for the volleyball team. I had never played before, and they didn't care. Neither did the coach. They were happy if I just held my arms in the air. Luckily, I ended up having SOME talent in that department and I received a college scholarship to play volleyball.

The basketball coach wanted me too and although he had not formally recruited me, he told me he would give me a jersey on picture day if I would just play for him... but the truth is, I hate to run. So I turned him down. As a matter of fact, a few friends and I had a motto about running.. the only thing we would run for was . . . food.

I didn't model (but thanks for thinking of it!) and, although I would like to say it is true, I cannot eat anything I want and not gain weight. I don't remember struggling with weight issues when I was younger, I just remember struggling with staying awake because it was hard on a body to grow so fast.

Nowadays, after 3 babies, etc. I have to work my tail off just like everyone else. However, carrying 20 extra lbs. does look a little bit better on a person who is 6'2" vs. 5'2".

I never felt like people had unrealistic expectations. BUT my dad, who is 6'8", did warn me that people can see you and recognize you better than others, and for that reason, you need to always be doing what you SHOULD be doing because people will remember who you are, and what you are doing! (It was good advice)

To this day, my dad will have people recognize him and know his name.
I will say, "Who was that, Dad?" and he will say, "I have no idea."

It just happens when you are tall... people remember you.

#4--Did your height ever keep you from doing things you really wanted to do?
My height never kept me from doing things I wanted to do ...except maybe buy expensive clothes. I am definitely NOT a sample size and even when I was at my gangly skinniest I was not a sample size! So, I claim to use that as my excuse for not buying expensive clothes. But really, I don't know if I would anyway.

Other than that, I never really let being tall STOP me from doing something that I wanted to do. If anything, it was enabling!

#5--What was dating like? Did you date shorter guys? How tall is your husband? Was his height an issue?
Dating was a nightmare. I pretty much developed a crick in my neck from posing at high school dances. I was taller than all the boys in my grade until our senior year. Can you imagine?

So, I did end up dating some older guys, and guys in general always mistook me for an older girl which has its advantages when you are only 15. I did go out with a few shorter guys, but never seriously.

I just personally didn't like feeling "bigger" than the guy I was dating. I think everyone wants to feel like they are on at least EQUAL footing with the person they are dating... and if I thought I could take him in a wrestling match... I wasn't really interested.

I know there are plenty of tall women out there who will date a shorter guy.. i.e. Nicole Kidman, Katie Holmes.. but, I just couldn't do it. (My husband is 6'5".) Maybe it is because those ladies are kind of waif-like... I am not.

#6--My personal fantasy is to be tall....the clothing possibilities seem so wonderful! What are your favorite "tall outfits"? Do you think you would dress differently if you were shorter? Do you have a hard time finding clothes that fit? Where are your favorite places to shop?
Hmmm, "tall outfits" I am not sure that I have one of those! I guess showing a little leg back in the day wasn't bad.. except for the fact my legs were pretty toothpicky.. and now that they are a little curvier, I have lovely varicose veins to show off.. So, I can't say that I have a tall outfit.

Unfortunately, I fall into the "freakishly" tall category of being over 6 feet tall. It is fairly difficult to find pants that are long enough and I generally have to order my pants on-line (Thank heavens for on-line shopping. When I was 16, it was VERY difficult to find pants). I cannot just walk into a store and buy a pair unless it is summer and I am looking for capris.

I usually order pants from the Gap, Eddie Bauer, or J. Jill which all have a great selection of pants that come in 34" length or longer!

Pretty much, I am happy when summer rolls around because I have more options then. Shirts aren't hard to find. But I was ELATED when longer shirts came into style because a regular shirt on me looked like a midriff. I guess that wouldn’t be so bad if I was still 16.. but tack on the mom belly and the stretch marks and suddenly it isn't so pretty.

#7--What advice would you give to young girls 5'10" and up?!
This is my favorite question, Gab, and thanks for asking it. I wish I could take all of the tall girls in the world and take them by the shoulders and tell them to STAND UP STRAIGHT!

You will be tall forever, and hunching over isn't going to make you any shorter--it will only make you look ridiculous and draw more attention to yourself.

Instead, find ways to make yourself "special". In some ways, you already are! You have a perspective no one else has. There can be a lot of teasing, and a lot of dateless nights, BUT, if you find things that bring you joy in your life, you will be able to bring that happiness to others and they won't see you for being tall, they will see you for being YOU!

People are drawn to you if you are happy and if you look like you are miserable, people will avoid you and not make the time to get to know you.

We all have our own challenges in life. EVERYONE does. The challenge is to not focus on being tall (or whatever your challenge is)as being a negative thing, but focus on the things you love or are passionate about and bring that passion and love to others. Then, they will not see your height, they will see YOU.

I have MANY people that I have known for years tell me that they forget how tall I am until they look at a picture, or if they haven't seen me in a while because my height is not who I am. I am just me. I enjoy being me. I think ultimately that is what people see when they look at me! They don't see a number, they just see me.

Thanks, Lindsey! No wonder everyone looks up to you...

For Lindsey's unique perspective...visit Tall-Tales from the Life of Lindsey Long Legs.


Tina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tina said...

That was a great "interview". I myself am short, 5'3" and always wished I was tall. My 11 year old daughter is already my height so I think she will be tall too! I will remember those words of advice about being tall! Thanks for your blog, you are always fun and insightful!

Lauralee said...

loved this.. I followed the link to her blog.. very fun to read.. I am tall too.. loved her thoughts and especially her dad's advice

lainakay said...

Tall... oh, to be tall! Do you feel more grown-up when you're tall? Tall people just seem more in charge. Something to do with having to look up to them?

Though I do sometimes enjoy being 5'2". I can pull off small and helpless when necessary. But yeesh I'd trade that for long legs any day!

Ilene said...

Fun interview! Even better dance photo- you are so stylin' Lindsey.

I remember dating a 6'7" guy and my 6'1" friend telling me that wasn't fair for the short girls to date tall guys.

She was right so I ended up marrying a 6'4" guy.

Anonymous said...

that was an awesome post! I, honestly, have never thought about being tall, I'm pretty average at 5'6", but people forget, you look for EVERYTHING. too tall, too skinny, too fat, too short... people will always find something to say about you.

What an inspiration.

Jessica said...

awesome awesome awesome.

Totally fun post, with insights I never knew about.

And I'm in the same church building as Lindsey and I had no idea she was that tall. And she's beautiful. And I'm bummed she's moving because we were just about to be great buddies.

Celia Fae said...

I love these interviews. I learn so much.

I have two friends who are over six feet, and they are friends with each other too. When the three of us are together, I feel like the squattiest person in the world. Plus, my neck starts to hurt.

Thanks for your candor, Lindsey Long Legs!

Bridget said...

That was so interesting. As always well done on the interviewing end.

I like her advice to other tall girls. Seems universal to everyone.

aric & jess said...

I love Lindsey, and being a whole foot shorter than her doesn't matter after two seconds into a converstion with her. She is so real and down to earth it doesn't feel like you are looking up to her at all...I hope that came out the way I wanted it too...

Great interview.

Lindsey said...

Aww.. People say the nicest things! I love you guys!!

i'm kelly said...

love this... your interviews are always great!

TravelinOma said...

I think it would be SO fun to have people look up to you! (I wouldn't mind being short if my legs, arms and neck were long.)

Christie said...

I have always felt tall - but not compared to Lindsay! She is darling, beautiful, and a super fun read. I loved her advice. Well said, new friend.

Lauren said...

I loved this. As always, Gabi I loved your witty opening, (loved the comment about you being at your goal weight) and your adorable parting comment about looking up to Lindsey.

I love Lindsey's comment about wanting to but not ever saying to anyone, "did you play miniature golf?"

She is so articulate and witty. I learned a lot from this and I loved her advice of standing up straight, and being at peace with who you are.

She is funny!...I laughed at her saying, "if I could take him in a wrestling match I really wasn't interested." Now, that was sage advice, too...I am only 5'3' but, I don't think I would have been interested in anyone I couldn't take in a wrestling match, either ;)

Jenibelle said...

Shrimps and Long Legs, sounds like a happy little appetizer platter!
I'm a shrimp by the way, a little round shrimp.

diane said...

I think she has great legs! Thanks for sharing your perspective!

Anderson Zoo Keepers said...

Thanks for the interview! My husband is very tall. We argue whether he's 6'7" or 6'6" - he's been measured at both heights and he prefers the shorter of the two. Anyhoo, it's funny how the "tall world" is the same everywhere. He's MADE the mini-golf remark many times until I told him to stop and he's always remembered. I'm not little measuring in at 5'9" so I'm curious to see how our kids stack up. Her guidance to girls will come in handy I think.

cyn the win said...

I'm surprised ilene didn't leave her thoughts on running. She says, "I only run if someone is chasing me."

I am tall also (5'10") but it's the perfect height in my opinion--not TOO tall, but I do like hovering over men at church when I wear heals. Finding pants is annoying though.

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