I’m 5ft 3″. Tiny. Minute. Petite. Small. Little. Micro. Miniscule. Cute.
I hate it. I’ve never come to terms with my height. I am nothing short of being annoyed that I am short. My mother often gives a heartbroken sigh whenever I pass by her barefoot in a skirt. The only reason why she had married my 6ft father was the promise of tall children with defined ankles. He obviously failed to deliver and is often reminded of this broken promise. How dare you withhold your half of the vertically privileged gene pool. Be better when making babies next time.
And so, it has been bestowed upon me to grant my mother tall grandchildren. They’ll already have a towering grandfather and statuesque great-aunts, so it is now up to me to ensnare a 6ft+ suitor to breed giant humans. Applicants may apply here. Whenever I bring a gentleman friend over, mummy emerges from the kitchen and immediately whips out her inch tape. She cried with joy when I announced I was dating someone who was 6ft 5. She also vowed to rip his beautiful limbs off when he left me.
The thing is, I’ve spent a good part of my teens and young adult life balancing on 5.9 inch heels, so nobody actually knows I’m 5ft 3″. Well, they will once they’ve read this article, but that’s beside the point. People only find out that I’m small when I literally climb down my platforms in their presence. Boyfriends always get a shock when things get intimate. As he’s stripping down, I’d dismount my heels and the next thing you know, I’ve shrunk by 15cm and I’m standing with my head level with his groin area… which is fine by him, really, as that’s where I’d usually be heading anyway. Heading, yes. You see what I did there.
But they’re always taken aback at how well I can mask my height. Even my own brothers have forgotten how short I actually am, and they find it hilarious when I’m very occasionally wearing flats. On top of all that, I’ve grown so accustomed to walking in heels that I’ve almost lost the ability to walk properly without shoes. I’m a graceful gazelle in platforms, but a waddling penguin when I’m barefoot.
In spite of all this, I do think it’s unhealthy of me to be so negative about my stature. I shouldn’t be, and neither should you. Don’t mind my bitter ruminations. There’s a wonderful meme that’s been doing the rounds on Facebook for some time which says, ‘I’m not short, I’m fun-sized’, which is a great attitude to have, if truth be told. And considering that the average female height in Malta is approximately 5ft 2″, I think I’m ok with being an inch taller than the average height.
But I do hate it.
I suppose being diminutive really hit home when I had moved to London two years ago. Despite the average female height in the UK being 5ft 4″, quite a few people who reside or commute to London happen to be models and successful business people. Considering that the prerequisite height for models is 5ft 8″, and studies have shown that taller people tend to occupy high-powered jobs, it’s no wonder I often felt like I should have applied for an internship as a garden gnome at the Chelsea Flower Show. The same goes for a good friend of mine who’s just moved to the Netherlands. The lady in question is a gorgeous Mediterranean beauty who stands at 5ft 2″, but often encounters challenges when residing in a country where the average female is around 5ft 7″. She’s resorted to carrying a stool around her on campus, as mirrors in the ladies’ bathrooms have been placed too high for her to be able to see her forehead. Her toes don’t even touch the ground when she’s seated on chairs at university. She has to ask other people to reach for things for her from supermarket shelves, and has often had to endure condescending pats on the head for her petiteness. She’s also not taken seriously when visiting schools for work purposes, since most 10 year old Dutch children tower over her.
Research has shown us that height is quite dependent on the nutrition and diet followed by our ancestors. As food distribution and wealth increased throughout history, our forefathers got taller as they had better access to more food and nourishment. However, prior to this, people were at their shortest during the 17th and 18th century, where the average height was 5ft 4″. This is due to the lack of nourishment and overall poor quality of life there was at this particular time. The tallest members of society would tend to hail from the aristocracy and the nobility, whose lineage would be thriving on a more wholesome diet. Clearly, someone from my mother’s side of the family wasn’t getting enough broccoli.
It could be worse, of course. There are worse things in this life than being short. I’m well. I’m healthy. I’m nourished. For that, I am grateful. But I cannot deny that lacking those few inches is a bit of a nuisance. And I’m not going to hide the fact that I’m absolutely sick of the media trying to shove it down our throats that height is the height (yes, you also see what I did there) of grace and beauty. Let me see a petite person rocking the catwalk for once!
Now, where are my platforms?
Do you consider yourself to be short? How do you feel about it?
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