'Giant Size'
August 17, 2012 2:45 AM   Subscribe

'By most accounts, Bill Walton stands well over seven feet tall. But during his NBA career, Walton always insisted that he was 6'11" because he didn't want to be considered a freak. When I read that fun fact in David Halberstam's The Breaks of the Game, it hit a chord. I've been doing the exact same thing as Walton for my entire adult life. I'm not as tall as Walton. I'm not even one of the less-than-70 seven-footers in my age bracket in the U.S. But I'm close. Another quarter-inch, and I'd pass the seven-foot barrier. But anytime anyone asks my height, I say that I'm 6'11". I don't mention the extra three quarters of an inch. People don't need to know about that. In any case, I'm still pretty fucking tall. And being pretty fucking tall is a weird thing to wrap your head around.'

The Grantland article mentioned: The Roy Hibbert Project: 'How the Indiana Pacers' All-Star center avoided becoming a stiff'
The routine was rote and methodical, designed to maintain Hibbert's greatest gift, his large body, while fine-tuning skills that he long struggled to develop. Hibbert has earned his place among the league's best bigs, but he's only done so by overcoming an almost complete lack of natural athleticism and strength. Quite simply, Hibbert is good because he is tall — and because, unlike so many other 7-foot-plus "projects" who populate D-League rosters and NBA benches, Hibbert decided to do whatever it took to become something more than a stiff who never developed.
Paul Wight is known as The Big Show, and you can see how his size affects his wrestling in this compilation of other wrestlers lifting him. (Youtube)
posted by the man of twists and turns (121 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
And being pretty fucking tall is a weird thing to wrap your head around.'

Yes, indeed.
Because for the taller person it takes a tenth of a second longer for the toe-touch to travel up the foot, the ankle, the calf, the thigh, the backbone to the brain, the brain waits that extra beat to announce a "NOW!" That tall person will live his sensory life on a teeny delay (at least as regards toe-touching). This, of course, could apply to all kinds of lower-extremity experiences — cold or heat against the skin, tickles, rubs, hitting a soccer ball — the list goes on and on.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 3:23 AM on August 17, 2012


Previously on MetaFilter: Andre the Giant, Greatest Drunkard of all Time
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:30 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


The article above the fold was nicely written and makes me want to hang out with The Big Show. Until he decided to crush me like the insect I am, of course.
posted by maxwelton at 3:57 AM on August 17, 2012


Because for the taller person it takes a tenth of a second longer for the toe-touch to travel up the foot...

The dance of molecule-size entities and their integration into the beginning or end of a neural signal happens so dizzyingly fast it defies the imagination.
posted by three blind mice at 4:10 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's actually pretty amazing how different the world looks and feels when you elevate yourself even a few inches. I can't imagine what it's like when your frame of reference in the world is so far above most other people.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:34 AM on August 17, 2012


Would you rather be 7'0" or 5'0"?
posted by nathancaswell at 4:44 AM on August 17, 2012


5.0, because think of the shoes you could buy. All the glorious shoes!
posted by cashman at 4:58 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Time to watch the The Princess Bride again.
posted by Mojojojo at 5:00 AM on August 17, 2012


I'm only 6 foot 1, but I wouldn't mind being small enough to fit in airplane seats or a Miata.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:00 AM on August 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's interesting the way society has adapted to the presence of unusually tall people by creating a sport for them to do. "I'd like to be a pharmacist." "Yeah, well, that's nice, but have you tried dribbling a basketball?"

My theory is that basketball was created to divert the energy of these giants away from eating us.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:02 AM on August 17, 2012 [19 favorites]


I'm 5'10" and have had the odd experience of being the tallest person on a subway car. Obviously, my height is not especially unusual; I think it's average in the United States. But, I can understand the feeling of seeing over everyone's head in a crowd, even if it occurred only once in my life.
posted by dfriedman at 5:05 AM on August 17, 2012


The funny thing about that is the last thing you want is a big man dribbling the ball.
posted by cashman at 5:05 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


As an average-sized person I imagine it's pretty hard to be exceptionally tall. Probably much more so for a woman. There's a guy I see at work who must be pushing 7'. In the area where he works there are some compressed air hoses hanging from the ceiling, well out of head-bashing range for everyone else but he has to constantly look out for them. People in that area also have to wear hospital-issued scrubs and he's always showing a good 8" of ankle. I imagine bending over to work on a normal height countertop must be awful.

Heck, even the guy in my office who is "only" 6'4" or so has leg room trouble in our cubicles.

In conclusion, I am perfectly happy with my average size, and my sympathies go out to those of exceptional vertical dimension.
posted by ghharr at 5:06 AM on August 17, 2012


I'm very much at the other end of this spectrum, and relate in opposite ways (looking down on shorter adults is indeed strange). I do however absolutely love when I can help out the super tall with my super shortness. Like on airplanes. I don't care where I sit, so I often scope out the tallest person around and ask if they would like to trade their whatever seat for my aisle seat. Instant friends and sometimes even free drinks!
posted by iamkimiam at 5:13 AM on August 17, 2012 [12 favorites]


At 6'3" I have trouble with the aforementioned airplane seats, and certain kinds of cars. My heart goes out to the extremely tall trying to fit, well, anywhere.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:15 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've got a very tall friend. I've observed that he lives in a Much Dustier World than the rest of us. He sees the top of the 'fridge, the tops of the picture frames, upper shelves, and so on. Ick. His day is also filled with all sorts of adjustments that those under his height don't have to make. Aside from the obvious doorway ducking, he's always got to watch out for ceiling fans and light fixtures that might brain him or put an eye out. He's also shared that showering involves lots of ducking. It's an interesting perspective. I've spent a lot more time standing on a step-stool, dusting, since he became a regular guest.
posted by theplotchickens at 5:16 AM on August 17, 2012 [13 favorites]


Would you rather be 7'0" or 5'0"?

Counting expected lifespans and typical health problems (knees, etc.)? I'll take... the shorter of the two. Maybe.

But would I rather be 7'0" or 4'0"? I'd almost certainly take my chances with 7'0". We are biased for taller people -- a 7'0" man (a guy in the Shaquille O'Neal range) could be a leader and get the girl and all that, whereas a 4'0" man of equal abilities (not counting height-specific stuff like getting things off high shelves) would have a lot more trouble achieving the same success in life. I'd risk the health problems associated with being extremely tall in exchange for the social advantages of being extremely tall compared to being extremely short.
posted by pracowity at 5:17 AM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Another great giant of recent years was Matthew McGrory. You may remember him from Big Fish and House of 1000 Corpses. He stood 7'6", and died at the age of 32.

It's also worth mentioning Giant Baba, although he probably was not actually as tall as his billed height of 6'10". He was definitely tall, though, especially for 1960s and '70s Japan. A legend relates that he once entered a building and left his shoes in the foyer, and when he returned he found three kittens asleep in one of his shoes. He died in 1999, at 61.

Writer and crackpot Michael Crichton stood 6'11.

A friend of mine in college was a dead ringer for Hagrid. He owned his size, though, and regularly wore "Big Show" or "Big Sexy" T-shirts. He was also accustomed to rattling off his vital statistics.
"So... how... uh..."
"*sigh* Six-foot-six, three hundred thirty pounds."

Me, I'm about 5'9", although I usually bill myself as 5'10" to make myself feel better. I would have liked a couple extra inches. 6'0" would have been nice.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:18 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


ROU_Xenophobe: "I'm only 6 foot 1, but I wouldn't mind being small enough to fit in airplane seats or a Miata."

6'2" and yea. In the last year I've had to fly in little commuter planes a lot and it's just ludicrous. Walking down the aisle of the plane, I look like Gandolf in Bag End.
posted by octothorpe at 5:21 AM on August 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


"Every time I met one of them [people taller than his 6'11"], I felt a sharp wave of vertigo. The experience of looking up to talk to somebody just felt so completely alien every single time. Looking up is not a thing that I do."


This made me laugh, because I have a tall husband (6'4") and it's FAIRLY rare that he meets people taller than him. We know a few people right about his height (a friend of ours at 6'3", a colleague at 6'5"), but 6'4" is where the bell curve is smooshing against the X-axis, so not too many. He's used to being the tallest guy in the room.

So when my relative dated a guy who was 6'8", my husband was deeply uncomfortable every time we were at a family event. He was so unused to looking up, and to the vertigo of being SHORTER than someone, that it made him uncomfortable the whole time. He was pretty relieved when they broke up.

I made merciless fun of him but the fact is that at 5'2", when I happen to meet an adult who is noticeably shorter than me (under 5 feet), I feel uncomfortably and awkwardly elephantine and it takes me a while to get used to interacting with that person. Because it's pretty rare -- not as rare as it is for my husband, but pretty rare -- that I have to look down at an adult. Or, say, anyone over the age of 15.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:23 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Consider the case of Robert Pershing Wadlow, subject of this song by Sufjan Stevens, the tallest man that ever lived at less than an inch short of nine feet. He only lived to be 22, and died of an infected ankle sore from an ill-fitting brace. (He had to wear leg braces to support his weight, and couldn't feel his feet, one of the reasons why the sore went untreated until it was too late.) This world isn't made for giants.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:24 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


6'2" here and the airplane seats are an issue. My significant other used to have a VW Beetle and that was almost equivalent to the airplane seat. I'm not considered Freakishly tall, but I'm typically in the top 5-10% of people in the room as far as height goes. I wouldn't trade it though, as the social benefits of being tall far outweigh the downsides (at least at my modest 6'2".)
posted by Twain Device at 5:26 AM on August 17, 2012


Writer and crackpot Michael Crichton stood 6'11.

I had no idea of that.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:27 AM on August 17, 2012


I'm only 6 foot 1, but I wouldn't mind being small enough to fit in airplane seats or a Miata.

I'm just a bit taller, and I share your miata and airplane thoughts -- though in my case I wish they just made them larger, rather than wishing I was smaller. I would prefer a law mandating that half of airplane and car ergonomics engineers be required to be a minimum height, perhaps 6' or maybe taller, and the other half be under say 5' 2", in order to end up with spaces that work for both tall and short people.

I've got a very tall friend. I've observed that he lives in a Much Dustier World than the rest of us.

Dustier, and also balder. Even a not so tall person like myself knows who is trying to cover up their bald spots; the really tall people know this about everyone.

And I agree that it is really strange to meet someone much taller. I am sometimes the tallest person; sometimes just one of several people about my height. But every so often I'll be talking to someone six or eight inches taller, and holy fuck that is weird.

The other thing I'll do once in a while when walking with a shorter person in a crowd is duck down to their height -- it's incredibly claustrophobic when all you can see are shoulders and necks. I would hate that.
posted by Forktine at 5:30 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


The experience of looking up to talk to somebody just felt so completely alien every single time. Looking up is not a thing that I do. When you're this tall, it becomes a deeply entrenched part of who you are.

Spot on. I'm a mere 6'5", but even at this height, I'm still far enough out on the right end of the bell curve that it's unusual to run into someone taller than I am. It happens maybe once a month, and it's always weird and disorienting because all of my mannerisms are geared toward helping me talk to shorter people (my wife is 5'1", for example) without all the awkwardness that comes with actually bending over at the waist so I can hear them talk. (If you have never experienced this: it is very, very awkward) When that context switches, and I find myself craning my head upwards rather than downwards, it's almost like linguistic code-switching, and I do a weird thing where I feel off-balance for like 10 seconds.

I am glad I am not alone.
posted by Mayor West at 5:38 AM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Would you rather be 7'0" or 5'0"?

Counting expected lifespans and typical health problems (knees, etc.)? I'll take... the shorter of the two. Maybe.


Really, the only problem with being 5' is that other people put things high up. And it's disconcerting that I, as a fully-grown adult, am eye-level with my 12-year-old sister.

Maybe it's because I'm not a guy so 5' is closer to the average height, but I've never felt weird about it. You know how some girls seem to exude shortness? It's like short is a part of who they are. I've never been short--I am the height I am. Other people are just taller.
posted by Baethan at 5:38 AM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Average heights have been increasing worldwide for the last couple centuries. You can blame this on better nutrition or sanitation, but I believe it is an alarming trend because population has also been increasing but resources are finite. It takes more resources to support the life of a bigger person.

I predict that human heights will start decreasing as the global population approaches the carrying capacity of the planet. It will become easier to fit more people onto the planet if they are smaller people.

It's pretty much inevitable, and the mark of a truly advanced civilization, to begin decreasing body sizes just when information and intelligence become paramount features of survival. Our bodies will shrink as our brains expand.

Almost all the aliens from advanced planets in other parts of the Universe have small bodies with big heads (I've actually only seen them in movies, but you get my point.) Earthlings will go the same way.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:48 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's pretty much inevitable, and the mark of a truly advanced civilization, to begin decreasing body sizes just when information and intelligence become paramount features of survival. Our bodies will shrink as our brains expand.

I can't tell if your end game here is billions of microscopic Chinese or Nihilanth.
posted by Mayor West at 5:56 AM on August 17, 2012


The video of Wight being lifted was hilarious - he has to stand there while the smaller wrestlers brace themselves and put his arm in the right position where they can use their entire body to support his weight (Cena took a good three seconds setting this up, with Wight just kind of standing there), and even then, it's obvious he's leaping into the air more often than he's being hoisted aloft by his opponent's strength alone.

Still, he sells it pretty well... the job is partly acrobatics, partly stunt work, and mostly stagecraft. For a man so tall, and so heavyset, he's amazingly agile, and he's very skilled at hiding it, using it to make his opponents seem more capable.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:01 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm only a few inches over six feet, but I'm happy to say thhhbbbvt to all you short people. I can reach stuff, see over crowds, and play volleyball with a competency far outstripping my actual talent or practice. I can hide things in plain sight on top of the fridge.

And really, you learn to adjust and not bash your head. Or at least, you do if you grow up with stairs that have a five foot clearance. My only complaint is that finding good deals on used bikes is hard.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 6:02 AM on August 17, 2012


I'm 5'12".
posted by otherthings_ at 6:06 AM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm 6-4. Can't say I've hated it, although the problems with cars, planes, theater seats, etc. are real enough. And, even though I don't consider myself exceptionally tall, it is surprisingly uncommon to run into someone taller. Uncommon enough that I notice it every time.

The kicker: My wife is also tall, and my son (who is growing like a weed) was charted as an infant as becoming a seven-footer.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:08 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's actually pretty amazing how different the world looks and feels when you elevate yourself even a few inches. I can't imagine what it's like when your frame of reference in the world is so far above most other people.

I've actually had the experience of going from feeling very average, in Finland, to a full head above the vast majority of people, in southern France. I'm a woman and 5'11", a nice even 180cm. In the US I was taller than average, but lived in an area with a lot of Scandinavian families, so when I moved to Finland, it was only a little surprising to notice that most women were my height or slightly taller. I got used to it very quickly though, and really enjoyed blending into a crowd. I've always been used to men taller than me, since every single one of them in my family is 6'2" or taller.

But moving to southern France... whoa. Just, whoa. Younger men's foreheads are usually around my eye level, often a bit below; men in their 50s-60s are a head shorter; both men and women born just after WWII (food shortages) can be as much as two heads shorter. It is so rare to cross women who even approach my height that it gives me a bit of vertigo to see one now – can totally relate on that account. Then I feel a tinge of awkwardness when I look closely and discover that actually, I'm an inch or two taller, and I wonder how smaller women feel when they cross me. Of course, some friendly elderly ladies have jumped and laughed when I passed them, then kindly touched my arm to say, "I'm sorry dear, I thought you were a man walking up so close behind me!" so that does partly answer that question.
posted by fraula at 6:09 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


<>At 5'2", when I happen to meet an adult who is noticeably shorter than me (under 5 feet), I feel uncomfortably and awkwardly elephantine and it takes me a while to get used to interacting with that person.

I'm tall for an Asian person, and every time I go back to my native land, it takes me a good week to get used to it. Although for me, it's both the feeling elephantine and the fact that I find the tops of people's heads innately funny.
posted by snickerdoodle at 6:10 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


NASA has restricted the height of astronauts to 6 foot 3 inches but allows astronauts as short as 5 foot 2 inches, while the average U.S. height for a male is currently 5 foot 9 and 1/2 inches. So the space agency is nudging the Bell curve of heights toward the shorter, which means that tinier people will repopulate humanity on other planets.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:14 AM on August 17, 2012


Writer and crackpot Michael Crichton stood 6'11.

Aw, shoot. I just fact-checked that; he was 6'9". The error was mine. Still quite tall, though.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:22 AM on August 17, 2012


This made me laugh, because I have a tall husband (6'4") and it's FAIRLY rare that he meets people taller than him.

Wife of a 6'7" vertically awesome husband and I often forget how tall we (rarely) run into someone in a crowd taller than he is.

I never thought about the strange feeling that he might have talking up to someone taller than himself. He's never mentioned it but it makes sense. After being at a crowded party with him where someone who was also very tall (maybe 6'7"-6'9") was in attendance, I wondered about how he reacts to the only other person who he can clearly see across a room of scalps, hats and headbands. Being me, I wondered aloud if there was some secret tall guy nod or eyebrow raise or something to acknowledge the presence of a fellow traveler.

Nope. I was disappointed. Unless he was KEEPING THE SECRET! But I'm going to guess that he is usually relieved that someone is not making a big deal of his height.

I think the only time he actually remarked out loud about another person's height was the time we were eating at restaurant here in Chicago and Manute Bol ducked in. That was pretty epic.
posted by jeanmari at 6:40 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


how tall UNTIL we (rarely) ...

Sigh. Drinking more coffee now.
posted by jeanmari at 6:42 AM on August 17, 2012


I saw Walton on 57th street back in the fall- you can certainly see him coming. The second thing I noticed- the man looked to be in a lot of pain and not enjoying the walk - his poor knees.
posted by T10B at 6:47 AM on August 17, 2012


I'm a not worth crowing about six foot even but four inches of that came all at once at the end of puberty. I was settling into freshman year at college and figured all the puberty stuff had settled down when, bam, went from 5'8 to six in like two months. I blame the meal plan forcing me to eat vegetables. It was incredible disconcerning cause I had to buy all new clothes and I wasn't used to people being shorter than me so I just kinda slouched for four years.
posted by The Whelk at 6:49 AM on August 17, 2012


I saw Walton on 57th street back in the fall- you can certainly see him coming. The second thing I noticed- the man looked to be in a lot of pain and not enjoying the walk - his poor knees.

Walton's problem is, and always has been, his ankles. But for them (and a tendency towards laziness), he could have been the greatest big man in basketball.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:50 AM on August 17, 2012


am 5'9" and i purposefully wear platform heels in business situations exactly for the reason that, when you're 6'0" and one of the tallest person in the room, guys 99% of the time refrain from making a pass for fear i'll treat them like a puny human :D

hulkette in high heels always works like a charm :)
posted by liza at 6:50 AM on August 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


I hear this a lot; 'Could you get that for me?'
posted by xjudson at 6:54 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hear this a lot; 'Could you get that for me?'

Me, too. But there's a flip side - now that I'm getting older and creakier, it's just as hard for me to get something from under the sink as it is for granny to reach the top shelf.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:57 AM on August 17, 2012


Being me, I wondered aloud if there was some secret tall guy nod or eyebrow raise or something to acknowledge the presence of a fellow traveler.

When two really tall men meet, they have to fight for dominance I think.
posted by atrazine at 6:59 AM on August 17, 2012


I'm pushing 6'5. I wish I was short enough to dance and not feel so conspicuous. But being able to always see over everyone is kind of nice, except at rock shows when I create a short shadow behind me. People hate that.
posted by hanoixan at 7:07 AM on August 17, 2012


I'm 6'-5", and meeting taller people doesn't seem to weird me out as much as it does other people. I assume this is because my two best friends in high school were 6'-5" and 6'-4" (it just happened that way; we didn't play basketball or meet on the team or anything) so I'm probably more accustomed to taller people.

Sometimes the three of us would go visit other friends - there was at least one time when the person answering the door recoiled in horror.
posted by LionIndex at 7:18 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Would you rather be 7'0" or 5'0"?

I'm 6'3", and I would much rather be 5'0". Like being cold, you can always get taller; like being warm; you can't always get shorter.
posted by Evilspork at 7:20 AM on August 17, 2012


My husband is 6'9". Until I met him, I did not even think about how the world is different as a tall person. We just got a new car, and one of the major components of the process was finding a car that fit him. In fact, the entire process of moving in together and finding a home was a challenge because of his height. Older homes that typically have taller ceilings on the main floor, rarely have basements that he can stand up in. And most of these houses put the washer and dryer in these short basements.

When we first met, he told me that he judges people based on how big a deal they make out of his height. I got a pass because I just pointed at my heels and said "These could be even taller." Normally, for him, most people ask how tall, how the weather is, or make some sort of inane comment about his size. As a woman, I have dealt with people saying random things to me but I was really taken aback at the number of strangers that feel an overwhelming need to comment on his height. Really, it's flabbergasting how people feel compelled to say something.

We do have to plan out activities slightly differently that I did before I met him. Bowling is kind of hard to do because they rarely have his shoe size, we can't easily find horses to ride because he's so damn tall (I love horseback riding), and as much as I would like to go on one, the idea of shoving him into a tiny cabin on a cruise ship would make both of us miserable.

That said, for me it's awesome. I can wear any heels I like, I always have someone to reach the things on the top shelf and turn off the smoke alarm. The only drawback is that I have to clean the top of the fridge more often and I have learned to not immediately respond when he yells from hitting his head.
posted by teleri025 at 7:22 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


At 6'2", I am a standard deviation or two from the median height for North American men, so while I am often the tallest guy present, it is not that remarkable to meet someone taller than I am. That being said, I used to play in a folk music band with four other relatively tall folks: a guitarist who was 6'4", another about my height, an accordionist right around the six foot mark, and a fiddler: a woman who stands 5'9". The band broke up huge times ago, and occasionally when I run into the fiddle player, I am always struck by how tall she seems around, y'know, normal-sized people. In the context I knew her, she always seemed so dainty.

And oddly, we once shared a bill with a four-piece band who were a pretty solid act. I went to talk to them after their set to say "Good show," and realized with a bit of shock that all four of them were in the 6'5" to 6'6" range. The last time before that I had found myself the shortest guy in the room was when I was 12.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:23 AM on August 17, 2012


I'm from a family of tall people. The male cousins, my brother and myself included, are all between 6'2" and 6'6", though we vary quite a bit in our girth (I'm 6'4", 215). We always get some looks when we walk into rooms en masse. I have to admit, it can be rather enjoyable to be part of that group. But airplanes and buses can be nightmares.
posted by radcopter at 7:24 AM on August 17, 2012


I'm 6'3", and even though I have a lot of lumps on my head from living in Japan years ago, I think it's good to be a guy my height. I have a cousin who is also 6'3".

She's a knockout, but she used to tell me it was so hard to date guys when she was younger, since most of them were shorter than her and either dated her because she was tall, like she wasn't valued for herself but for her ability to fit a type, or they felt challenged by her physical superiority and became abruptly venomous. Now she's married, to a 6'10" federal police officer, and they have a baby who is just gigantic, way off the charts for his age.

Whenever we meet, when I see them walking on the sidewalk, my eyes play a funny trick where I disbelieve my sense of perspective. They look like an average-sized family from a distance until I realize they're about fifteen feet further away than they appear. Then they get up close and I get all excited and worshipful and start wagging my butt around like a schipperke meeting a Great Dane at the dogpark.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:32 AM on August 17, 2012 [12 favorites]


When two really tall men meet, they have to fight for dominance I think.

See also: Gilgamesh and Enkidu
posted by Copronymus at 7:36 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


When two really tall men meet, they have to fight for dominance I think.

Unless they are really tall men who used to play basketball and are accustomed to being around other tall men. Then they just ask them were they got their shoes and pants.
posted by teleri025 at 7:41 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


let's not forget the father of our country
posted by beukeboom at 7:54 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


So when my relative dated a guy who was 6'8", my husband was deeply uncomfortable every time we were at a family event. He was so unused to looking up, and to the vertigo of being SHORTER than someone, that it made him uncomfortable the whole time.

6'4" here. I understand the peculiar feeling of looking up, although it doesn't make me uncomfortable when it happens so much as it trips me out.

Although there was this one time...I was 18 or so, walking through a crowd at Disneyland and maneuvering to get in line at some ride or another. Suddenly I was surrounded by a group of women who were *all* taller than me, some significantly so. It turned out to be a basketball team, naturally (Olympic? College? Can't remember.) But as I have a special place in my heart for athletic women, being suddenly enveloped by a whole mess of 'em was one of the best moments of my life. :D
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:16 AM on August 17, 2012


Oh and a tip for my fellow tall airplane travelers -- request a seat in emergency exit rows, which is often available. Leg room for days.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:17 AM on August 17, 2012


I'm ~6-1/2" tall, but the men on my mom's side are TALL. One played pro basketball, all his brothers played some sort of college ball. I've seen my aunts hovering around Manute Bol, piling jackets onto him in the cold, Long Island winters that his frame wans't born to endure. There's a photo from the last family get together w/ me standing next to my cousins, and my wife gets a chuckle every time she sees it because I'm the short one in the photo.

Honestly, I sucked at basketball in school and came to really resent the fuck out of the game. I pretty regular shit for having a cousin who went to the Olympics and why the fuck can't I hit a free throw when I'm one of the taller guys in the class? Love my cousins, hate basketball.

Sports wise, I took up Olympic-style Tae Kwon Do in college. Always loved martial arts, but as I progressed down my TKD path, I came to realize something that never hit me before; I have a long torso and short legs for a guy my height. This makes getting my feet up above my opponent's belt where the legal targets are a bizzle. Now, I've thrown spinning back kicks to the guy that have driven the breath from people's lungs and left their eyes bulging like cartoon characters as they writhe on the floor gasping. Ah, memories...

OTOTH, your standard roundhouse/turning kick was ALWAYS a bizzle to get my short-&-heavy legs up high enough into the legal striking area. Once in a tournament, I fought a guy 2" taller than me, but with much longer legs. This brought his target area even further away from my feet. I ended up breaking my big toe on his elbow trying to find my target . In the 1st round of a 2 round bout.

And then I went on to fight for 3rd place get kicked around by a team-mate, trying to stand on my strong floor with the broken toe, and kick with my weak foot for 2 more rounds.

Lessons:

-Not all height is created equal.

-Bruce Lee was right: Kick the ankles/knees, punch to the head. The bigger they are, the more likely they are to have vulnerable knees.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:25 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Now I want to play international karate.
posted by cashman at 8:57 AM on August 17, 2012


I'm between 6' 0" and 6' 1" and I'm often aware that my height makes life in a cubicle farm much different for me than for my shorter colleagues. If I stand on my toes, I can clearly see across the tops of the dividers. I frequently look across to see whether my boss--who has a real office--is in his office. On occasion, I've squatted down a few inches and walked around the cubicles. It's a totally different experience. I think I would really hate cubicles if I were shorter.
posted by tippiedog at 9:02 AM on August 17, 2012


You tall people eat punks like us for breakfast!

/much, much shorter than a 5'10" weed.
posted by droplet at 9:16 AM on August 17, 2012


I'm 5' 6" and fuck you. *sulks*

A bit more seriously, I'm average-ish height for my generation (and town) but teenage kids tend to be taller than me. I'm fully expecting to be a miniature senior citizen.
posted by Memo at 9:21 AM on August 17, 2012


Cyanide & Happiness on being tall
posted by and for no one at 9:25 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I come from a family of tall folks (most of the women are 5'8" to 5'10", I'm right in the middle at 5'9") and married a guy from a family of tall folks (he was the shortest of the boy cousins at 6'4", he had a girl cousin who was 6'1"). I always loved that if we got separated in a crowd, I could always find him above the sea of heads.

I went to small Southern junior college and one of my fellow freshman was a 6'6" guy named Elvis Pressley. The story goes that when the basketball coach learned he was to be a student, he insisted they sign him up to play basketball. When one of the assistant coaches asked, "Can he play ball?" the coach supposedly replied, "Who cares, he's 6'6" and his name is Elvis Pressley." Sure enough, he was never a great ball player, but he was always the star of the team.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 9:30 AM on August 17, 2012


Brittney Griner, 6'8" Baylor University center, knows she'll never drive a sports car. Fortunately, she prefers trucks.
posted by Carol Anne at 9:38 AM on August 17, 2012


I'm just shy of 6'1 and feel like it's a good height for a man...tall enough to warrant attention from women (when I was single) who wanted to date a "tall" guy (without an actual fetish for super-tall men) and short enough to not worry excessively about doorways, etc.

However, my hobby of old British cars is tough. I fit in most of the cars, but there are a few that are pretty awkward since the British automotive executives and designers of the early part of the 20th century seem to have been 5'4 to a man.
posted by maxwelton at 9:39 AM on August 17, 2012


I just remembered that another tall writer was Douglas Adams, at 6'5". He was tall all his life; as a boy on school trips the teachers would never tell the students to meet by a building or a lamppost. Instead they would say to "meet under Adams."
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:42 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm 5'10", so never really thought about it other than the fact that basketball would've been more fun at 6'6" (assuming I had a talent increase to go with the extra height).

I had a friend years ago, however, who was a 6'2" woman. I know she was tired of inane remarks about her height, and regularly wore a T-shirt that read, "No, I don't play basketball. Do you play miniature golf?"
posted by Ickster at 9:49 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm 6'7", and was briefly 6'8" before I filled out in my twenties. One of the most mortifying moments I can recall from my teens was getting an accidental hickey from my girlfriend of 5'1" and haver her mother ask, "How'd you get that? Scaffolding?"

Seriously, though, being tall is weird if only because other people feel somehow entitled to it, like it's their right to talk about it. There are not too many other physical characteristics that strangers feel comfortable brining to the bearer's attention... you never hear a stranger saying, "Gee, you're sure fat - how much do you weigh?" in the same way you encounter questions about height that range into details about lineage, diet, and activity.
posted by Graygorey at 9:52 AM on August 17, 2012


I went through a historical re-enactment tour in a group with a very tall man, and was astounded at how almost every single actor/character we encountered made some comment about his height. I could see how that would get very old, very fast.
posted by redsparkler at 9:54 AM on August 17, 2012


Chairs. I am 6'8" and long-torsoed. All through school, in the movies, at someone's house, at the bar, and ESPECIALLY on airplanes--

Leg room is nice. Emergency row seating is fine and all. But if the headrest is hitting me between the shoulder blades and your ass doesn't fit on the bottom of the seat when I scootch down to take advantage of the extra leg room or try to support my head it's this constant dance of upper versus lower back pain that results in me shifting position every ten minutes in what I like to call the Spiral of Pain.

The chairs in school, I think, were the worst, but there's a reason I don't go to the movies and heavily self-medicate on planes.
posted by Earthtopus at 9:55 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Heh. "My" ass. Having someone else in a chair with me sounds like it would be fun but wouldn't. Especially on an airplane.
posted by Earthtopus at 9:57 AM on August 17, 2012


I have actually met Shawn Bradley. Holy cow, that dude is tall. I am 6'5" and I had to crane my neck way, way up to look at him. Shook his hand and my (relatively large) hand just disappeared into his.

I think I outweigh him at his playing weight, though. He was a skinny kid.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:02 AM on August 17, 2012


My brother-in-law is 6'10" And yes, everywhere he goes strangers will ask him how tall he is and whether he plays basketball. He's an excellent sport about it. Seconding what others said about the difficulty of finding clothes and shoes to fit, the need to duck things on the ceiling, etc. He's so socially graceful about his height that I had not considered the way the author of this article feels (he seems to feel cursed and unhappy about his height, and amazed at Wight's being okay with his).
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:05 AM on August 17, 2012


There's a photo from the last family get together w/ me standing next to my cousins, and my wife gets a chuckle every time she sees it because I'm the short one in the photo.

Not just the short one — the small one. In addition to being tall, your cousins are built like fire hydrants. Or tanks, maybe.
posted by Lexica at 10:46 AM on August 17, 2012


Would you rather be 7'0" or 5'0"?

175' tall.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:47 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


how tall he is and whether he plays basketball.

I've said it here before, but the correct response is "Do you play miniature golf?"
posted by LionIndex at 10:48 AM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm 4'10" and the most irritating quirk people have about my height is to try to stoop down so their head is leve with mine.

Either that, or the people who assume that I'm a teenager because I'm this short.
posted by Night_owl at 11:26 AM on August 17, 2012


I'm a 6' tall woman, and have only just started saying that instead of 5'11". I really don't notice it too much until I catch a glimpse of myself and a normal-sized (why are all my friends 5'2"?) friend in a mirror, and think "good god, this is ridiculous."

I've learned to care about the height of any potential dating partners. Guys around my height get aggravated that they're no longer tall and guys shorter than me see me as some kind of prize or eventually get angry that I haven't shrunk for them. I assume there are short guys that actually like tall ladies (I've seen such things in the wild!), but I don't know if I want to keep putting myself through the nonsense just for the slim hope. It's actually easier to just limit myself to guys over 6'2" with little to prove.

It is fun to own my height though. When I see guys putting on ill thought out displays of chauvinism, I fix my posture and stare down at them until they fold up in embarrassed huffs. Or, for kicks, I'll head into a shoe store with some short friends and try on the tallest shoes I can find, just to walk up and tower over my friends and/or random strangers.

It's extremely rare that I'll meet a woman taller than me, and I get kind of sad that when I do, there's no secret handshake or signal. Or maybe I just haven't been taught it yet?
posted by Curiosity Delay at 11:31 AM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Being 6'5" helped Usain Bolt win the 100m in part by taking fewer steps than his opponents.
posted by gottabefunky at 11:34 AM on August 17, 2012


Surprised nobody's mentioned The Tall Book yet.
posted by gottabefunky at 11:35 AM on August 17, 2012


Oh, and an appropriate response to "How's the weather up there?" is to spit and say it's raining.
posted by Graygorey at 11:42 AM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


One thing about being a six-footer: it's no longer uncommon. I mean, when I was in high school I wasn't a monster but was in the top 20% (I'd guess) of male classmates for height. I doubt we had more than 5 boys out of 200 over 6'2. I think there would be many more in a modern high school senior class.
posted by maxwelton at 11:54 AM on August 17, 2012


"Normally, for him, most people ask how tall, how the weather is, or make some sort of inane comment about his size."

You know, my husband rarely gets this anymore (small community, people mostly know him); sometimes people comment on our 14" height differential because we look like the long and the short of it when we're together; but you made me remember the last time someone commented on his tallness:

It was Halloween and he was dressed as a Viking and we have a very busy trick-or-treating street, at least 200 kids in a rainy year. This little two year old toils busily up the stairs to our front porch, staring at his feet and clutching the railing, gets to the top and looks up for his candy ... and looks up ... and looks up ... and keeps following my husband's body up and up with his eyes, until the gets to my husband's helmeted head and BURSTS INTO TEARS. He was totally inconsolable. His mom had to finally carry him off the porch because my husband was JUST TOO TALL and this toddler did not like it!

Mostly little kids are delighted to meet someone unusually tall, but oh, my husband was so sad after he made that kid cry by standing there! He insisted on sitting on a lawn chair the rest of the night to give out candy so he wouldn't tower over the kids, and refused to wear his helmet.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:01 PM on August 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


I assume there are short guys that actually like tall ladies (I've seen such things in the wild!), but I don't know if I want to keep putting myself through the nonsense just for the slim hope.

I know a guy who isn't all that tall; his fiance is about 5' 10" and must be at least four or five inches taller than him. And when they go out, she always wears TALL heels, and he seems completely comfortable and happy with the big height difference (being right at cleavage height might help, I guess). I like seeing them, because usually I see taller women trying to minimize their height, hunching, wearing flats, and they are a great contrast.
posted by Forktine at 12:08 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm a 6' 6" tall female. One of the more difficult issues for me is that my height garners so much attention, that I can't go out without feeling like I have to be "on" all the time. I can't blend into a crowd and I know that I stick out like a freakin' lighthouse almost everywhere I go. Being an introvert doesn't help a lot either as people often approach me and make jokes and comments about how tall I am and how it's nice that I don't stoop and whatnot (my most successful comeback: "Whaddaya mean, 'tall'?! I can just barely reach the ground!") But for all the weird social bits, I mostly enjoy being up here and certainly do take advantage of it.

"It's extremely rare that I'll meet a woman taller than me, and I get kind of sad that when I do, there's no secret handshake or signal."

We often hug on sight. ;)
posted by Phyllis Harmonic at 12:22 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


We just got a new car, and one of the major components of the process was finding a car that fit him.

My husband is 6'4", mostly torso (I'm 5'8" and have the same inseam in flats as he does) and he has a several-year-old VW Beetle that's perfect because of the dome. The new Beetles are much less tall in the center and I'm dreading what happens when we have to replace the current vehicle because we want a compact car for a tall man.
posted by immlass at 12:56 PM on August 17, 2012


I'm 6'8" or so. Huge +1 to Earthtopus above; the legroom isn't the problem on airline seats, but the headrest curves towards you... and ends midway between my shoulder blades.

I avoid the symphony, rock concerts, movies during opening week, and professional sporting events, because people behind me can't see, and are often assholes about it. Worse yet, when they're nice about it... then I feel bad, as they paid the same ticket I did. When I go to a movie (once the crowds have died back), I make a point to show up early enough so that I won't have to sit in front of anyone.

I've asked Metafilter questions about where to find clothes... and gotten either bad answers or the-sound-of-crickets; we don't design doorways for my height, let alone schnazzy clothing. Trucks are designed to make normal-sized-people feel big; they're not designed at all for tall people, and I can't drive them both comfortably and safely at the same time.

That said, some cheer.

When I was in my teens, I hated - more than almost anything else - people asking about my height. I grew fast enough and steadily enough that I was uncoordinated; sports weren't my thing, as getting this tall made me pretty clumsy. In my 20's, I had stopped growing long enough to get my coordination back, and had a damn good time of it. At some point, I realized that every person who ever asked about my height? They *meant* really well, and were just trying to start friendly conversation. Make up a story, get a laugh, whatever, but they *meant* really well, so why turn that into something sour?

That said, some highlights:
- I can change light bulbs better than anyone I know.
- I can find lost friends in a crowd.
- I make a hell of a tour guide.
- I can hide my beer on top of the fridge.
- Kids love using me as a jungle gym.
- No one will know if I start going bald.
- My wife likes tall guys.
- And with a bit of irony, I'm a hell of a mini-golfer.


For those tall folks playing along, the Subaru Forester with the headrest turned around is second only to the original Scion xB.

For the tall and skinny: Eddie Bauer clothing is a godsend, because everything else is laughably awful looking.
posted by talldean at 1:27 PM on August 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


> I'm 5'10" and have had the odd experience of being the tallest person on a subway car

Me too and me too. It used to happen all the time when I was riding the 7 in Queens. Once I some guy was talking very loudly on his cell phone and shouted "I'm the tallest person on here!" and was freaking out about it. I politely waved at him. He continued to describe it all into his phone -- "No, there's some tall girl here, but she's wearing crazy heels!" I pointed to my sneakers. He shut up then. I don't know why he had so much invested in being the tallest person heading to Jackson Heights at that moment.

> I've said it here before, but the correct response is "Do you play miniature golf?"

My 6' 7" friend used "No, ma'am, I'm a jockey" in my presence once.

My dad was 6' 3" but would say he was 6' 2", because he felt 6' 3" sounded freakish.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:48 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


talldean, Oddball.com for shoes and my husband swears by Dillard's Big and Tall section for his office clothes.

Also VW GTI is bigger inside than the Subaru WRX and Mazda 3 Speed and if you're interested in it, the newest Harleys will just barely fit you, but the Victory is a better fit all the way around. We like compact cars as well, but I have the added weirdness of wanting a manual transmission. So he not only needs head room but leg room as well to shift. The GTI fits perfectly.
posted by teleri025 at 1:52 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm a bit muscular and 6'5". I'm mostly tired of people assuming I'm stupid or violent pretty much all the time.
posted by mobunited at 2:19 PM on August 17, 2012


I am, dead on, the average height of women in the US. It never feels like I am, though, because a disproportionate number of my friends are, well, disproportionate. My 6'2" college friend probably has it the worst, because it's nigh upon impossible for her to find shoes outside of a specialty shop.

My 6'3" boyfriend doesn't generally have that issue. That said, a couple of years ago, he was really excited about the idea of Heelys, those sneakers that can convert into roller skates. We looked into getting him a pair, but they only had up to a men's size 12, and the boyfriend is a 13. Heelys addressed the issue in the FAQ section of their website. The question, "Will you ever carry a men's size 13?" was met with a simple, "No." I have almost never seen my boyfriend look so crestfallen as when he read those words.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 2:21 PM on August 17, 2012


Hey, I have a question for tall guys.

Do drunks pick fights with you?

I ask because I had a friend, Gary, who was 6'11" and he couldn't go out for a beer without some sawed-off asshole trying to swing on him. Gary was a funny, calm, peaceful guy. He liked to drink beer and play golf and spent his afternoons gardening. He never instigated anything. But half the time we'd go out the night would end in chaos because some drunk guy would inevitably try to goad him into a brawl. It was like his very presence stirred up some atavistic Male Dominance subroutine in certain people.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:34 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do drunks pick fights with you?

It's happened to me on a few occasions, but not with too much regularity, and I used to love trying out dive bars. More often I had the sensation that I was unfairly targeted in mosh pits and punk shows, but I think there's an argument for contributory negligence there.

I drove a Toyota Echo for the head room (long torso here as well), and I totally regret trading it in for a bigger vehicle. Still, the day I pulled up in my new car, my next-door neighbor's comment was "Hey - no more Mr. Incredible!"
posted by Graygorey at 2:47 PM on August 17, 2012


I'm 6'0'', pretty tall for argentinian standards, around below average for scandinavian ones, so i don't really feel awkward in most situations. In fact, i remember standing both in a gathering of some in-law part of my family where they're all around the 5'0'' mark (some even shorter!), and around four co-workers all in the 6'4'' range. The former from southern-italian descent, the latter normand/dutch/british/australian. Found both situations really funny.

I think 6'0'' might be the better height in the tradeoffs of modern western life. By my own experiences and by seeing that of other people it seems like it's somewhat on the boundary of convenience for most things.

Also, i'm always amazed when procrastinating on okcupid, how overt the anti-short-men height discrimination is from women over the 5'7''-ish mark. At least here in the Bay Area. Sucks to be the short guy in tall-people land, i guess...
posted by palbo at 3:05 PM on August 17, 2012


"My 6'2" college friend probably has it the worst, because it's nigh upon impossible for her to find shoes outside of a specialty shop."

Oh, that would suck. I wear a size 12 (US) which I can find pretty easily- not a ton of style choices, but enough that I usually find something that works. I dress casually most of the time anyway- like jeans and t's casual- and really don't have much of a problem finding everyday clothes. (BTW, Coastal Farm & Supply has a great selection of jeans for tall women- at least the one here in Eugene does. I'm a 16, need at least a 38" inseam, and CF&S has not let me down yet.)

Also- the car thing: I drive a '98 Beetle 5-speed manual. It fits me perfectly. Of course the seat is all the way back and the steering wheel is tilted all the way up, but I can almost drive straight-armed and even with my hair up-do'd, I have plenty of head-room.
posted by Phyllis Harmonic at 3:28 PM on August 17, 2012


I'm a bit muscular and 6'5". I'm mostly tired of people assuming I'm stupid or violent pretty much all the time.
posted by mobunited at 2:19 PM on August 17


To be fair, your username kinda evokes soccer hooliganism...

* I'm about the 6'4" mark, and as far as I can tell this is just about the awesomest multi-purpose height for a dood. Very appreciative of hitting the genetic lottery in that regard. Other tall doods: always be graceful about any height-related comments - it's like being told you're good looking.
posted by amorphatist at 3:33 PM on August 17, 2012


+1 back to you talldean; I was headed off to work and had time and emotion for nothing but vitriol. I love hiding things on top of the refrigerator. It makes a convenient arm-rest, too. I used to make friends in college cleaning the tops of refrigerators so I had somewhere to put my beer and/or elbow.

I get to fly to Slovakia from the west coast to visit my (taller at 6'9") brother and his newborn. I'm very excited about everything about the trip except the San Francisco-Paris legs of the journey.
posted by Earthtopus at 3:55 PM on August 17, 2012


Bill Walton's mom was the children's librarian at the branch of the San Diego Public Library where I grew up. She introduced me to timeless children's literature, always had a book set aside she thought I might like, and was probably the savior of my mother at the time. And she was TALL, even taller to a hyperbolic six-year-old like me.
posted by mynameisluka at 3:58 PM on August 17, 2012


Do drunks pick fights with you?

Only short drunks. I'm pretty good at defusing it by now, but yeah, there's a specific kind of guy who when he gets trashed, he goes looking for someone big to take down. I don't take it personally, and it honestly is super rare (or maybe I frequent better establishments these days).
posted by Forktine at 4:15 PM on August 17, 2012


I manage to fit into most cars, even my Honda Fit, but my issue is that I can't ever see the traffic lights. My head is so high up that the angle of my line of sight doesn't let me see the traffic lights if I'm first in line at the intersection. I used to have a little freznel lens that stuck to the top of the windshield that would let me see the lights but I never got a new one for my current car.
posted by octothorpe at 4:28 PM on August 17, 2012


The shortest I've ever been is tall for my age.

6'5" here. The comments about tall never have bothered me, really, if anything they're mostly repetitive and stupid -- first time that I remember being asked if I play basketball was in like first grade and no, I am not kidding. So lame. It was a Sunday school teacher. And I didn't then or ever much care for basketball, baseball and football (US, not soccer) were the games I always liked playing and/or watching, only once Jordan came along did I ever begin to see that game, the beauty in it.

When I consider that Jordan was my height, it's cause to shake my head. What an athlete, what an amazing human being.

I saw a guy taller than I last night -- he's like 6'6 1/2" -- and yeah, it's unusual. One thing I notice is that I stand taller, instantly, and always I ask the other guy about it and he does the same -- maybe we're trying to not stand out so much, so we hunch over? I don't know. I *do* know that I stand tall and straight. I was a carpenter for years, because I worked with tape measures for years I can mostly judge anyones height within and inch, I knew this guy was taller than I was and I knew how much taller, too. But he pegged me as taller than himself, I suspect because it's so rare for him to have anyone come close to looking him in the eye, it threw him off.

I've been around a basketball team once, they came into a convenience store I was in -- an invasion of galoots! These guys were much taller than I or at least as tall, it was very, very unusual, for sure.

It seems that some guys don't like it that I'm tall and lots of women do, it's completely ridiculous in both cases -- not like I did anything to set this up. That said, I have of course benefited by women liking taller guys, and that's not some old wives tale -- just look at the personals. Probably I'd not ever have gotten laid were I not tall, it's not on my sparkling personality, that I can see, just that some women see me and want my hand on their arm and stuff. I'm lucky. So many great guys just get cut out for no good reason -- one of my nephews is one of the coolest guys I've ever met, and he's a musician and a good looking kid and funny as hell and great and he's like 5'8" tall and woman just aren't having it, even women shorter than him, even women considerably shorter than him. Amazing. I mean, I want to date the kid myself. They're missing out on so much.

I've only once dated a woman taller than I -- she was 6'8" -- and I dug the shit out of that piece of it. Sadly, she was all religious, and that I cannot deal with. But I loved to walk with her, and talk with her, and I'd have loved to have gotten my hands on her, there was just so much of her to kiss on, and I sure wanted to, except for Jesus got in the way. That guy's a jerk, for real. Other than her, only a few women over six foot, Cherry, who wore the same size Levi's I did -- 32x36 -- it was fun to wear her pants, tell her how much fun it is to get into her pants, etc and etc. I've wanted to date a woman can reach the top shelf, I think they're swell, but life has tended to put these bitty gals in the way. I think they're swell, too.

Neither of my parents were really overly tall but all of us boys were and one of my sisters, too -- she's right at six foot. She married a short guy -- Fred is not but 6'1" -- and she's never that I can see felt weirded out by being a galoot. It's fun to be big guys, mostly, my brothers and I all mostly liked it or were neutral on it, best I can see, it's just a fact of our lives, same as your eyes being blue or whatever.

When I've -- intentionally -- lost weight, through diet / yoga / bike riding / etc, *then* people were outlandishly rude. They felt they could just say anything to me. Anything. I was astonished. Tellingly, it was mostly overweight people who were "concerned" about me, and "feel I have to say something" about it. Unbelievable. I'm at 210 just now, ranged from 190 to 220 over the years, headed downward again just now, intentionally -- I feel best at 190-195, I love to crank my body around, ride that bike hard. And both my regular doc and my cardiologist are all about it, too.

Eddie Bauer makes almost everything they sell in tall sizes and their sizes run large, too -- you buy a large tall and it's freakin' huge, medium tall not always long enough for me but mostly it is. Pants aren't near the problem that shirts are, generally. (In a pinch I can walk into a walmart and buy a pair of jeans, but forget shirts, not that I wanna wear walmart shirts, just saying -- not gonna happen.) And Lands End also sells a lot of things in tall sizes. You just have to be careful with EB and LE that you don't end up looking like an East Coast Golf Dork, which the clothing from both of those outfits tends to lean toward. International Male clothing also used to run long, and many items were offered in long sizes. But they were on the *complete* opposite end of East Coast Golf Dorkdom, pages and pages of guys in silk thongs and leather underpants and all I wanted was a dang shirt that fit. Jesus. They've gone out of business anymore, so it's EB and Lands End, mostly.

Want to buy a Levi's jacket? Forget about it. Not gonna happen, not unless I gain like seventeen thousand pounds and wear an XXXXXL or whatever.

Shoes/boots no problem, really, size 13; it IS annoying that shoes run 10, 10 1/2, 11, 11 1/2, 12, 13 -- it's like what, once you get over size twelve your feet magically grow a full size? Jerks. Since yoga my feet have opened out so I've given up on size 12 mostly and just go 13.

American Airlines used to offer large seats on every flight and I flew only them and not just because they were more comfortable but to support them, too, in what they were doing. I don't fly anymore so I don't know but I suspect they've given up on that or I'd have read about it in this thread. It was extremely uncomfortable on other airlines, especially if jammed on an inside seat, where I can't stretch my legs out into next week in the aisle. I drive trucks so that's no problem, really, though as noted upthread the "head" rests hit me low, it's so stupid.

Concerts with "open seating" which usually means "open standing" and I'll get there super early and stake out a spot close to the stage because I like to feel it, I like to be in it, the energy that the performer is in, I like to hear the mix they are hearing. So I'll have a place, and stand there to let everyone know that it was my place, for flippin' hours, and whoever I go with stands in front of me and it's great, except people when the show'd start get angry and try to shove their way in front of me and nope, I'm not having that, get the fuck out of here, jerk, get here early if you want a good spot. And sometimes women will smile and wink and shove their way in front of me and push me back and I'm not having it, get the fuck out of here, jerk, and I shove them right back -- you get here early if you want a good spot, same as I did.

It's not that I don't know what it is, once at a show I was talking to a woman at the back of the hall -- I'd gone back to the sound board, another good place to be in my experience -- I was talking to a woman maybe 5'6" and for the heck of it I scootched down to her level and "Holy dogshit!" she was in a completely different world. You know what I saw? Backs. Period. You know what I heard, of the music? A mumbled blur of shit. THAT was an eye-opener, for sure, all I had to do was straighten up and I saw and heard everything. Very, very different.

Movies the same as someone upthread, I usually don't go when the house is full and I really try to get there early so people will know what they are getting into.

Is it a defining thing in my life? Yeah, it really is. Once people get to know you then hey, it's you, but until then I'm "the tall guy." It's not a negative but it's absolutely there, for sure.
posted by dancestoblue at 5:58 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


jeanmari: I wondered aloud if there was some secret tall guy nod or eyebrow raise or something to acknowledge the presence of a fellow traveler.

atrazine: When two really tall men meet, they have to fight for dominance I think.

I'm 6'10 (208cm) and of course it's certainly never come anywhere close to this (I've very rarely had the experience of having to fight for dominance, unless merely standing up counts), but on the occasion when I am approaching a guy about my height, there is a certain amount of spine straightening that goes on, and often some kind of a nod or look as we pass each other--but nothing secret...noooo no no...nothing like that....

talldean: For the tall and skinny: Eddie Bauer clothing is a godsend, because everything else is laughably awful looking.

Just this week I discovered 4 Eddie Bauer shirts in a charity shop, 4 nice shirts, for 5 bucks each, and the sleeves were long enough for me (There's a reason why I almost always were my sleeves rolled up)!

I recently found this place, which makes it easy to search for larger shoes sizes. I haven't tried ordering anything from them yet though.

The corpse in the library: My 6' 7" friend used "No, ma'am, I'm a jockey" in my presence once.

For me this would be a good response to the "Do you play basketball" question, though mostly I'm with talldean in believing that they mean well or at least in trying to--it's damned hard not to judge (like teleri025's husband) people who just have to say some fool thing, especially parents who make no attempt to stop their kids doing it.
posted by Sing Fool Sing at 6:18 PM on August 17, 2012


I've got the double whammy of 6'3", and a very broad shouldered 350lbs. What's worse, it's mostly torso - I have a 30" inseam. Most things are Not Built To Scale.

I've put some considerable effort into bomb-proofing my bicycle, and swapped out the stem and bars for built-like-a-brick hi-rise parts, so I don't look like a dancing bear pedaling a clowncycle. When I handed it to the bike valet at the farmer's market, a full grown woman, it was almost literally taller than she was, the grips were at chin level. I still have to hunch a bit, too. Next to the other bikes, it looked like an ogre had pedaled in for some locavore munchies.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:19 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


but until then I'm "the tall guy."

Just so you know, dancestoblue, to me you will always be the man who stuck a piece of string in his nose and tried to look unsettling to prove a point in MeTa.

I have a friend who is 6'7", I think. He's a cop, and a damn good one, because a whole bunch of jackasses suddenly figure they have a place they have to be right about now when he walks into a tense scene. He also plays the tuba, which is pretty awesome. His daughter is a year and a half younger than mine (4.5 vs 6) and stands a head and a half taller than my kid does. I first met him at the gym because our kids were in the playcare together while I swam and he played, yes, basketball, and I swear to you it took every fiber of my being not to ask how tall he was, but I managed it. I found out his height from his wife about six months after we became friends. Me, I'm 5'2", everyone is tall to me.
posted by KathrynT at 6:39 PM on August 17, 2012


I used to have a little freznel lens that stuck to the top of the windshield that would let me see the lights

EXPLAIN MOAR
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:26 PM on August 17, 2012


Oh god, Kathryn, you can't just put that photo and not give it some context; I've been sidebarred four times and that one I pretty much wish hadn't been, as I wrote you I sortof felt that I oughtn't to have posted that post, just that I felt that it had to be, for Science.

Plus I would have thought that the post you'd have remembered me more as the guy with the convertible mustache -- you wrote me next day and told me you and your sweetie howled about it over breakfast...
posted by dancestoblue at 7:27 PM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm 5'2" or so, but most of the men in my family are very tall -- my brothers are 6'2" and 6'4", I have two male cousins who are 6'2" and 6'5", and one of my cousin's husbands is 6'5". (Actually, the women in my family are also generally tall, and certainly taller than me. I'm the shortest full-grown woman on both sides of my family, in fact.)

Anyway, one weekend when the whole extended family was in town for a family reunion, I arranged with a guy I'd been on a couple of dates with to meet up with me while I was out drinking with everyone. This guy was about 5'7" or 5'8" -- so not a short fellow by any means, and certainly way taller than me. Anyway, he walked into the bar where we were drinking, and I greeted him, then turned to introduce him to my relatives, including all five of those over-6-footers I mentioned above...and I have never seen a guy get more uncomfortable more quickly. I mean, it was like a switch had been flipped -- he just could not wait to get away. I mean, he'd been in the bar all of 30 seconds when he mumbled some excuse about meeting up with his friends -- who I knew he'd just left to come meet me -- and took off.

Conversely, when I brought my now-husband around, he was totally comfortable. Of course, he's 6'3", so that makes sense.
posted by devinemissk at 7:31 PM on August 17, 2012


I was standing in line at a bank once several years ago, and the guy ahead of me was crazy tall. He walks up to the teller and they start doing whatever he was in for and then she says 'and also sir, I just have to ask you-' and he cuts her off and says ''6 foot 8' (or whatever). And she looks a little startled and says 'uh, I guess you get that a lot. Could you also confirm your current address for me?'
posted by jacalata at 7:37 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


When I handed it to the bike valet at the farmer's market, a full grown woman, it was almost literally taller than she was, the grips were at chin level. I still have to hunch a bit, too. Next to the other bikes, it looked like an ogre had pedaled in for some locavore munchies.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:19 PM on August 17

My bike looks like it landed here from Jupiter or something, towers over other bikes; it was the biggest production bike made that year, made by (drum roll) Giant. I actually got $100 knocked off the price when I bought it (new) because the bike shop had bought a few in XL and they weren't selling them, yet it was exactly what I was looking for, and had had a hard time finding, it worked out perfect. A shorter guy I know -- one who it seems does not like that I'm taller, or maybe he just doesn't like me anyways, but I do think that it's some of that shorter guy hatred -- he was standing next to it and the seat is at his chest height and he got all mad and fussy and called it weird or obscene or some such, like he thought I was using it as a sex aid or whatever; I just shined it on, didn't poke at him but just went on.
posted by dancestoblue at 7:44 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


ROU, fresnel lens for your car.
posted by octothorpe at 7:55 PM on August 17, 2012


Hee hee! Was it the Suede? Almost bought one myself... I got an Electra Townie 21D instead, as it was 50% off at REI. (The Suede is a prettier bike, tho.)

I'm the type of guy who tacos a Fuji beach cruiser wheel by standing on the pedals, true story, multiple times. So, I've completely replaced the drivetrain... Phil woods BB, Shimano 7sp Megarange freewheel and (rare! Bought at Sheldon's shop, no lie) thumbie shifters and levers, VO triple crank, sealed bearing alloy BMX pedals. Converted it to threadless and put in a Nashbar converter solid fork and UFO sealed headset. I built new 28 spoke wheels myself, and put on Schwalbe tubes and CST Salvo tires. Brooks B33 (a little too bouncy, frowny face!), and surprisingly, the stock seatpost is pretty stout, tho I upgraded to a super beefy generic alloy seatclamp from ebay. The brakes suck, next job is to convert to disc.

No. Next mod is to switch to a cruiser bar, which are lower than the ape-hangers, but sweep way more back... Should finally give me a comfy riding position.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:40 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


(Sorry... I'm just way too proud of this rig. I call it the Battlestar Rhode Island.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:58 PM on August 17, 2012


Disc brakes rock, it's a good move if your bike frame is set up for them. I've got mechanical disc brakes, my bike wrench at REI told me that they're the best mechanical disc brakes that are made, Avid BB7 sold here at the very best price I saw anywhere online at JensonUSA, a really great online outfit. (REI sells them for $80)

And can you get too proud of a nice bike that you really love? Not that I know of; I sure love mine ...
posted by dancestoblue at 9:44 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


teleri025: the Forester is huge compared to the WRX; I wish they still made the Forester STI, but no luck there. I go with the world's most practical cars... and enjoy motorcycles instead. German bikes are actually made to fit Germans, which, well, are a lot bigger on average than Asians. That sid, I learned on a 200cc cruiser, which I wish I had a picture of to this day. (A picture of me on it, that is.)

BitterOldPunk: when I worked as a security guard at music events, people would definitely pick me over other guards if they were feeling rowdy; near as I can figure, I'm thin, so I look very light? Didn't think it was about the height, just the perceived lack of mass.
posted by talldean at 6:35 AM on August 18, 2012


teleri025: the Forester is huge compared to the WRX; I wish they still made the Forester STI, but no luck there.

Seconding the Forester. I have a 2003 Forester XT; it's almost as big inside as the Dodge Durango I had before it- with more headroom!. (And the XT has essentially the same motor as the WRX).
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:47 AM on August 18, 2012


Last time I went on a tire-kicking safari, the Forrester's center column was pretty uncomfortable against my knee... the big Outback fit much better in that regard. American makes do a much better job of accommodating big people in little cars... my old Dodge Neon was a terrible car. It leaked everywhere because the rubber seals sucked, the brakes would occasionally rust shut if you didn't drive it daily and left the e-brake on, but man, that was one comfortable car to ride in. Ditto the Pontiac Fiero. I only tested the Focus, Escape and the Jeep Patriot, but from my test-drives, they're also comfy cars.

I'm currently rocking the last-gen Kia Sportage, and it's not bad, if you lean the seat back a notch or two.

I just wish someone would bring back the front bench seat, I loved the hell out of those on my old Caddies.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:55 PM on August 18, 2012


I've completely replaced the drivetrain... Phil woods BB, Shimano 7sp Megarange freewheel and (rare! Bought at Sheldon's shop, no lie) thumbie shifters and levers, VO triple crank, sealed bearing alloy BMX pedals. Converted it to threadless and put in a Nashbar converter solid fork and UFO sealed headset. I built new 28 spoke wheels myself, and put on Schwalbe tubes and CST Salvo tires. Brooks B33 (a little too bouncy, frowny face!), and surprisingly, the stock seatpost is pretty stout, tho I upgraded to a super beefy generic alloy seatclamp from ebay. The brakes suck, next job is to convert to disc.

No. Next mod is to switch to a cruiser bar, which are lower than the ape-hangers, but sweep way more back...
I came for the stories of life in Giantland, I stayed for the bike porn.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:30 AM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK, 6'8" here, maybe a tad more. Once in a while, I'll see some super tall guy bending over to get a drink at a drinking fountain, think "Wow, that guy is HUGE!" then realize it's my reflection.

"Do drunks pick fights?" When I was a "skinny" kid of 225 lbs (but damned muscular from working out all the time and rowing in college), yes. Since I passed ~275 lbs a few years out of college, no.

Most cars are fine, just slide the seat way back and recline too. @ROU_Xenophobe, when you're stopped at a traffic light, with the seat way back and your head near the roof, you can't see the stoplight above the intersection without ducking. Miatas are physically impossible for me to get into, though.

I drove a Triumph Spitfire for a while (convertible that was probably less than 3' tall excluding the windshield), and people would actually point and laugh when I'd get out.

My particular annoyances: Airline seats other than first class are pretty miserable. Everything is dusty on top. I'm tired of being asked "How's the weather up there" or "do you play basketball" or whatever. Bicycle durability issues as mentioned above, breaking cranks, handlebars, etc. I still miss my light "little" road bike from when I weighed only 220 lbs (I'm now on a bigger, heavier, custom frame with a bunch of heavy duty components). When I had pneumonia, it was impossible to get my (now fired) regular doctor to prescribe enough antibiotics for my body weight to knock it completely out. I'm never quite sure that amusement park rides aren't going to kill me.

I appreciate: I can reach everything -- lightbulbs, stuff on the top shelf, my bag in the overhead compartment while seated. Moving heavy stuff is easy. Once in a while, (often after asking if I play basketball) women will inexplicably find me extremely attractive. People can find me in a crowd. I can be the center of attention by walking into a room and clearing my throat. The maître d' always remembers me.
posted by Hello Dad, I'm in Jail at 1:36 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hah; I forgot about the amusement park rides. Cedar Point won't allow riders over 6'6" on at least one of their coasters, and I've had ride attendants use their feet to slam the shoulder-rests down farther. Ow. :-)
posted by talldean at 8:09 AM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Forktine writes "though in my case I wish they just made them larger, rather than wishing I was smaller. I would prefer a law mandating that half of airplane and car ergonomics engineers be required to be a minimum height, perhaps 6' or maybe taller, and the other half be under say 5' 2", in order to end up with spaces that work for both tall and short people."

This is a fairly widely studied topic in architecture and the fact is that it is pretty well impossible to design a space that works equally well for both 5'2" people and 6'2" people. Cars are actually better than most devices because they actually have adjustment (seat height/position, pedal and steering wheel position, belt position, and of course just plain model variety).
posted by Mitheral at 9:46 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


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