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He is a 7 Footer. Of Course He Plays Basketball
December 7, 2012 5:22 AM   Subscribe

If you are in the 7 foot tall club in the US there is a 16% you play in NBA. Which is a good thing, as getting all your clothes custom made isn't cheap. Sports Illustrated takes a look at what life is like when you live in a world that was not designed for the very tall.
posted by COD (88 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
As a kid I carpooled to a school that was 45 minutes away from our home with another family. The mom taught at the school and had an older set of kids from a prior marriage and a preschooler. She drove an early 80's model Toyota (not your new-fangled behemoths!). The toddler sat in a bulky car seat in the middle of the back. My large, older brother sat on the left rear and claimed he had a "wide stance" and needed more room, thus the car seat was shoved over as far as it could go to the right rear, my spot. In the front passenger seat, directly in front of me, sat the family's high school aged, basketball star son, who was already over seven feet tall in his sophmore year. He would continue to grow until he finished high school, went on to UNC and the NBA.

While I sympathise with the 7+ footers in the article, I'd just like to give a little shout-out to the scrawny, little, nerdy middle-schoolers of the world that have had to endure their massive, sweaty heads in our laps for years on end.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:38 AM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


THEY MENTION ELEPHANT BUTTS!!
posted by Melismata at 5:40 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Another great article about this topic.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:41 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks, COD. It's god-damned bad enough at 6'5"--the looks, the jokes (the stupid, stupid jokes), the assumptions folks make about me. On the elevator on the way to get my vasectomy a guy had to make everyone else stare at me, oh, look at this freak! Even the compliments, the well-intentioned "oooh, I just love a tall man!" statements make me feel completely objectified. It happens here, too, comments about so-and-so being "freakishly tall," or an AskMe about buying gifts for a "giraffe."
posted by MrMoonPie at 5:44 AM on December 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


My husband is 6'8" so while his height isn't as extreme as those in the article, it resonates. Clothes are hard. Cars are hard. Everyone asks him how tall he is and if he played basketball. I'm 5'4" so people occasionally think it's ok to ask "how that works." Really, being tall isn't the problem as much as people's feeling of entitlement to comment on it.
posted by Molly Razor at 5:46 AM on December 7, 2012 [16 favorites]


"That all started when I was in grade school, and it still happens today," says 7'2" Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA's alltime scoring leader. "People could be very rude. Sometimes you get to the point where you don't deal with people and you just don't answer."

"Hey I know you. You're Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. You play basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers."

"I'm sorry son, but you must have me confused with someone else."
posted by three blind mice at 5:47 AM on December 7, 2012 [26 favorites]


Eleven ex-players in SI's survey testified to having some kind of major knee, foot or back problem while playing or in retirement.

I mean, I don't doubt at all that being that tall carries with it a propensity for a number of medical issues but trotting that out as some kind of proof seems ludicrous. These are professional basketball players, of course they're going to have knee and back issues.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:50 AM on December 7, 2012


This post got me thinking of this comment for some reason. Why don't you just cry your leprechaun tears all over it, just slays me every time.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:52 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm 6'4". Even though that's not exceptionally tall, the world isn't built for someone even my height - beds are a bit short, counters are too low, seats of all sorts (theater, car, plane, amusement rides) are too cramped. I can't imagine being 7'0".

(BTW, my wife is 5-9 and my 12-year-old-son is still a potential 7-footer.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:53 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I got knee and back problems and I'm nowhere near retirement. And nowhere near 7' tall. My dad's retired and he's got pending knee replacement surgery, does that mean being a 5'8" civil engineer gives you propensity for knee problems? Yay, anecdata!
posted by BigLankyBastard at 5:54 AM on December 7, 2012


Just yesterday, I was on the train with a man whose chin came to the same level as the top of the subway car doors, which are just over 6' themselves. It was admittedly prettty striking to see him standing in the middle of the rush hour crush of people, his head and shoulders towering above everyone else in the car.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 5:56 AM on December 7, 2012


I've always wondered where the hell Andre the Giant got his clothes. There is no way a Frenchman wears anything that aggressively ugly without being forced to by circumstance. So when he went to the clothiers, there was apparently some company who made polyester plaid sportcoats and silk polo shirts and baby-blue bell bottom suits for men taller than 7' and heavier than 400lbs. They must really hate big people.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:56 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm 6ft3 and have always considered that to be the beginning of tall, it seems to be a sweet spot...tall enough that it's probably helped (even if it rationally shouldn't) with jobs and women, but not so tall that fitting into society is a problem. I don't have to buy specialty clothes, cars are no issue with the seat all the way back, planes are tight but manageable, etc.

Being 7ft...that seems like an endless grind of aggravation and annoyance.
posted by aerotive at 5:57 AM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


When I was in high school, a friend had tickets to a Bucks game. I'd never been an NBA game, so I was thrilled at the chance. Sadly, it was against the Bullets (yes, that long ago), and Calbert Cheaney was easily the most talented player on the court, and the game was awful.

Looking for something else to occupy our attention, I noticed that Georgh Muresan and Manute Bol were both sitting on the Bullets bench. Neither played all that much. They just sat there on crappy folding chairs built for much, much smaller people. Sitting up straight, not slouching, feet flat on the floor, both men's knees reached up to their chins. Other than that, I have no memory of the game.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:57 AM on December 7, 2012


I like being 5'9".
posted by sonic meat machine at 6:02 AM on December 7, 2012


I feel lucky to be 6'2" and wear size 13 shoes, the biggest size most places carry... my brother's two inches taller and runs into some of the tall person problems. The only thing I have to worry about is finding size 'large tall' in my shirts.

My brother played basketball with a guy who's over 7 feet, and we went to Disneyland with his team one time. The guy couldn't fit into the Space Mountain seat, so they let him sit with his feet crossed over to the floor of the seat next to him, and the bar was over his knees. The ride broke down, which I'm sure was a coincidence, and they turned all the lights on and we had to walk off the ride. It's pretty ugly in there with the lights on.

That guy was injured the next season and couldn't play any more... I'll have to ask my brother what kind of job he got.
posted by Huck500 at 6:04 AM on December 7, 2012


Manute Bol's son...
posted by Huck500 at 6:08 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I was a 7 foot tall dude I like to think I would deliberately defy expectations and become a golfer or something but tbh I would prolly just be a drag queen.
posted by elizardbits at 6:11 AM on December 7, 2012 [10 favorites]


The part of this article that really resonated was the part about clothes-buying habits. I found one place with jeans that fit my long-and-bizarrely-proportioned lower body (apparently there are no other 6'5" people out there with waists less than 40 inches--what the hell, man?), and bought 8 identical pairs of them. I will not have to think about casual-pants-buying for another four years. Ditto shoes (before I found a web vendor that only does size 14+) and sweaters that fit a long torso, huge shoulders, and no waist: I have half a dozen argyle sweaters in an identical pattern. I think most people I know think I'm banal and fashion-blind, but really it's a matter of selection.

Most folks think that since tall = good, every inch of height is an added asset. Good god, are those people wrong. Pants, shoes, cars, airplanes, and staircases are all really hard for me to navigate, and I'm barely on the bottom rung of 'really tall people.' I can't even fathom how bad it must be for someone standing seven and a half feet tall.
posted by Mayor West at 6:14 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


We should combine this post and the one before and find out what it's like for a 7 foot person to live on a submarine.

Spoiler alert: It suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks.
posted by kmz at 6:15 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


My wife is 4'10" with shoe size 4. Let me tell you about problems...
posted by m1dra3 at 6:16 AM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Manute Bol's son...

The best part about that link is, by far, the kid with the awesome full 'stache in the background!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:18 AM on December 7, 2012


"My wife is 4'10" with shoe size 4. Let me tell you about problems..."

I'm 6'6", whatcha got?
posted by Phyllis Harmonic at 6:30 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm 5'4" so people occasionally think it's ok to ask "how that works."

Ugh jesus fucking christ what the fuck is wrong with people, why in the world would anyone think that's an appropriate thing to ask.

The mention of the 6'7" wife made me wonder what other problems would happen for very tall women that might not happen for men. While there are stores that cater to larger/taller women, they're not as ubiquitous as big n' talls, and there's always the whole 'dude should be taller' stereotype that I'd imagine would be an issue.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:32 AM on December 7, 2012


" . . . what other problems would happen for very tall women that might not happen for men."

Someone walking around a corner and accidentally smacking their face into your tits.
posted by Phyllis Harmonic at 6:42 AM on December 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


Sports Illustrated takes a look at what life is like when you live in a world that was not designed for the very tall.

Gather round and ricochet biscuit at 6'2" will tell you about life in a world not designed for the even moderately tall. I suppose I am around the dividing line between slightly inconveniently tall and very inconveniently tall. Sure, I bump my head on more things than I would like, and size 15 shoes are a pain to find, but I can live without too much grief. On the other hand, the first time I get in the passenger seat of anyone's car (and often the second through nth times as well), the driver apologizes and remarks, "I hope you can squeeze in here!" or something of the sort. Yes, thank you -- in my mid-forties I have never been inside a horseless carriage before.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:48 AM on December 7, 2012


Brittney Griner is "only" 6'8" but faces similar hassles as these men. The Baylor Lady Bears senior center has been verbally attacked, by opponents and their fans, as a man passing as a woman. Aside from one moment in her freshman year, BG has kept her cool. She'll be the #1 pick for the 2013 WNBA draft...and she's an all-round goofball.
posted by Carol Anne at 6:50 AM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


When I went to university there was a female basketball player in my dorm who was quite famous and very tall for a woman. I remember us helping each other to take our bed frames apart because neither one of us could fit in them, and we're only 6'3" - we had to have the mattresses on the floor so our feet could hang over. We're the same height - 6'3", but it was disconcerting to look a woman in the eyes. Years later I dated a woman who was 6'2", and we would get lots of looks walking down the street. I can't imagine how much worse it must be to be a full foot taller.
posted by conifer at 6:52 AM on December 7, 2012


If you know you're going to be in a certain town just a couple of times a year (as dictated by the NBA schedule) and you know that there's a good place for clothes your size in that town, there must be a pretty good chance you'll go shopping there when not actually playing or practicing. I wonder if fans stake out such stores when their favorite NBA teams come into town?
posted by pracowity at 7:00 AM on December 7, 2012


Really, being tall isn't the problem as much as people's feeling of entitlement to comment on it.

This. It just isn't very funny, and yet it never ends.

I'm a lot shorter than the NBA guys, and I'm still living a world designed for short(er) people. Most cars don't fit, airplane seats are a painful joke, houses have low beams in inconvenient places, beds are too short...
posted by Forktine at 7:05 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm 6'5", pretty slim, and I often wear engineer boots with a big heel, so I think I come across as taller than I actually am. Inevitably someone asks me if I play basketball and when I have time - which is most of the time - this is my answer:

"I remember reading a story once where these two people were talking and one of them said something about being a tuba player and the other one stopped and then admitted that she was about to ask what it was like having to carry the tuba around everywhere and then she realized that this was probably the first thing out of anyone's mouth when they hear that someone plays the tuba, so she decided not to ask."

and then I look down at them and say,

"so that's why even though I want to know whether or not you're a horse jockey I'm not going to ask."
posted by komara at 7:16 AM on December 7, 2012 [13 favorites]


"How tall are you?"
"First, tell me your bra size."
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:23 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


and there's always the whole 'dude should be taller' stereotype that I'd imagine would be an issue.

YES. It's not for me (5'11" woman, have dated men shorter), but it's a relief to see that taller-than-average men in this thread also remark the entitlement many people feel they have to point it out. As if you (the tall person) hadn't noticed yourself. I've mentioned it here before, but one of the reasons I gave up online dating was because if I didn't put my size (height + weight), I got noticeably less contact, and what contact I did get, was mainly insulting assumptions about what I must be "hiding". When I did put my size, cue "ur 2 tall" from men I had never contacted, and several that I did.

In France I'm taller than 85% of men (statistically speaking, it's on Wikipedia but I'm off to an office Christmas dinner so don't have time to look it up). People remark on it in real life too. "I'd introduce you to my single cousin, but he hates tall women." Mmmmkay.

I played basketball for several years. Have knee problems too, but it's not from the basketball; according to my childhood GP it was from an inordinate adolescent growth spurt. I'm happy as I am though; cycling was always my favorite sport and as I have a morphology that conforms to "male" standards (longer torso than the average woman, it's actually dead-on for a man my height), I can easily buy bike frames meant for men. The flip side is that it's rather depressing how much more choice there is for men cyclists than for women, but that's something of a derail.
posted by fraula at 7:34 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Manute Bol's son...

I used to run into Manute Bol from time to time. My friend, who is 5' 4", shared an elevator with him once.

That was awkward.
 
posted by Herodios at 7:36 AM on December 7, 2012


"How tall are you?"
"First, tell me your bra size."


Oh God, that reminds me of my mother's reply if one of her friends asked me that question. So embarrassing for a lanky teen.

Mum's friend - "Wow, how tall are you?"
Mum - "Don't ask him that or he'll ask your bra size!"
Me - Criiiiinge... Flush... (x10 if she was actually a large cup size)...
posted by guy72277 at 7:38 AM on December 7, 2012


"so that's why even though I want to know whether or not you're a horse jockey I'm not going to ask."

I've long used a big, stupid smile and sarcastic tone when answering "NO! Why? are you a jockey?" I think your way is a little nicer, but I got tired of asking if (or where) I play basketball 20 years ago. I was actually OK at basketball when I was young and liked it, but then I grew more than a foot in less than a year and I hurt and had no coordination for a long time.

I've also been asked "how it works" in joking and very serious ways. I'm 6'7" and my wife is 5'6". It's not that crazy to us, but some people seem to think we're 3 feet apart. I do know one guy who likes to say something along the lines of "I've got the foot difference covered" but I just ignore the question.

If I cared at all about fashion or my feet were any bigger I'd be doomed. Luckily I have one great (but expensive) store with my sizes and nice people and I don't much care what my clothes look like.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 7:44 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Great article!

I'm blown away by all the whinging by tall men in this discussion, though. I'm 6'5", and I wouldn't trade this height for anything. Being tall is awesome. On every subway ride I float serenely above the hot sea of morning breath. Every concert I've ever been to I've enjoyed an unimpeded view of the band. I'm automatically better at most sports; basketball's a no-brainer, but I'm an unguardable receiver in flag football, and my reach is super-valuable in tennis (and table tennis!), competitive swimming, water polo, dodgeball, you name it. The perception can't be beat; ladies seem to like it, little kids see me as some sort of living jungle gym, and apparently employers pay me more because of it.

Oh heavens, but what about those terrible drawbacks of being a tall man?

- The world isn't built to accommodate the extraordinary miracle you were endowed with, so sometimes you bump your noggin or your knees hurt on long flights? Boo-hoo. There are people in this world with actual handicaps who are legitimately put out by lack of accessibility and design that fails to take their needs in to account; count your blessings, asshole.

- Rude people come up to you and ask you rude questions about your height? So fucking what, people are rude about everything all the time. Go read a thread about the experience of women in America and then try to pretend that occasionally being asked if you play basketball is the end of the fucking world. Also, you know who's a lot less likely to come up to you and ask you stuff on account of your being so big? Fucking muggers.

-It's hard to shop for clothes? Cry me a fucking river. In the last five years the internet has all but obviated that complaint. Uniqlo has an online store now.

Being tall is GREAT. Quit whining and go enjoy it.
posted by saladin at 7:44 AM on December 7, 2012 [19 favorites]


You say that because at 6'5" you aren't very tall.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:50 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have a friend who is just over 6' and his wife is 6'6". She gets a kick out of being taller than everyone else in the room, and never, ever misses an opportunity to say things like "hello down there" or "hi little people" or whatever to those of us under 6'.

to tell the truth it is getting a little old after 15 years
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:51 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Being tall is awesome."

The levels of attention I normally get when I'm in public makes it feel wonderful when no one notices me. But it would be disingenuous to say that I don't sometimes really enjoy being an extraordinarily tall woman. Plus, I have a lifetime of putting up with all kinds of crap from people to thank for giving me a steely sense of self that as I get older, I'm finding damn comforting.

So yeah, yay for being tall!
posted by Phyllis Harmonic at 7:52 AM on December 7, 2012


The world isn't built to accommodate the extraordinary miracle you were endowed with

Easy there tiger
posted by nathancaswell at 7:53 AM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm 6'1", and I recently realized that the cubicle village that I live work in looks significantly different to me than it does to shorter people because I can (barely) see over the tops of the cubicles. If I need to talk to my boss, I crane my neck a little to look over the cubes and see if his office door is open.

One day when few people were around I walked down the aisle while making myself a few inches shorter. Man, I would really hate working here if it looked like that! Claustrophobia city. No wonder cubicles get such a bad rap.
posted by tippiedog at 7:54 AM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


6'4" here which is fine in almost all respects, and size 13 feet which is sweet, somehow snuck right in at the retail cutoff. The only issue I have with being tall is running into taller folks. It's terrifying being the tallest person in your life and being confronted with someone even taller.
posted by yellowbinder at 7:54 AM on December 7, 2012 [14 favorites]


Also if I was 7 feet tall as my current lady self I would probably spend my entire life cosplaying.
posted by elizardbits at 8:10 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


You say that because at 6'5" you aren't very tall.

Neither are any of the people who are whining about it in this thread.
posted by saladin at 8:11 AM on December 7, 2012


Neither are any of the people who are whining about it in this thread.

FWIW, acknowledging issues with the environment due to your height isn't necessarily complaining. Personally, I enjoy being tall even with the short beds and cramped seats. (Even though, now I'm in my 50s, I might consider trading some height for a sturdier back if it was an option.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:19 AM on December 7, 2012


"Also if I was 7 feet tall as my current lady self I would probably spend my entire life cosplaying."

It's the infernal head bumping that puts the tarnish on this otherwise shiny thought.
posted by Phyllis Harmonic at 8:21 AM on December 7, 2012


I'm 6'5". When people ask if I play basketball: I ask them if they are a sumo wrestler, jockey, or a children's clothing model. Y'know, since were making assumptions based on body type.
posted by hot_monster at 8:26 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


The world isn't built to accommodate the extraordinary miracle you were endowed with

That is why, at 60 feet tall, I am determined to destroy the world.
posted by Beardman at 8:27 AM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


5"7" reporting in.

I was having lunch with two tall guys the other day and when I asked how tall they were, both said roughly six-three, six-four, something like that. Because they're so big, they don't have to even know the exact measurement. This enrages us little guys even more.
posted by colie at 8:28 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


When folks ask for my height I generally start off with the vague answer of "very." When they persist in knowing the exact height I fall back on 5' 15".
posted by ericales at 8:33 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's sort of the same at the other end, I guess? I'm pretty sure I'm about 5'2" but my license says 5'4" and it doesn't really matter much to me either way.


It's the infernal head bumping that puts the tarnish on this otherwise shiny thought.

HELMETS THOUGH

i would be the most monstrous lady loki ever
posted by elizardbits at 8:33 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are worse things than being 7 foot tall. Being 5'11" puts you in an exclusive class of silver medallists at the Olympics of Real Men.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:33 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Do you play basketball?"

"No, do you play miniature golf?"
posted by echo target at 8:33 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Height discrimination or "Heightism" is a problem for both the tall and the short, but I tell you what - if any NBA star wants to trade the pros and cons of his height for what a guy that's under 5'6" goes through, have at it. The studies done pretty conclusively show that if you're shorter, in particular, you are discriminated against. This is in addition to absolutely everything, except being an astronaut, being designed for someone much taller.

If you are short, you probably know what I mean. As a kid you actively know that in all likelihood you'll never be a very long list of things simply because of height - politician, actor, model, etc. You're picked on constantly. Unknown to you until you get older is that you will have a lesser chance to do common things, such as have leadership roles in any capacity. Don't even get into dating. Six seconds on a dating website looking at preferences (requirements) will depress the hell out of you.

Don't believe me on attitudes, just look at what happened to Dukakis.

Then again, role models matter a great deal. Somewhere along the line you hear about FDR in the wheelchair, and while different, it's meaningful. Maybe you also run into Al Franken, and trust me, although some say he's 5'6" and he jokes he's 5'8", he's not. Martin Scorsese and Davy Jones - 5'3"... there is always hope. So, over time, many things again seem possible - except reaching the top shelf of the cupboard, which will friggin' always require a stool.
posted by Muddler at 8:34 AM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]







I'd make a remark about the trials and tribulations of being a shorter than average man, but all you tall folks probably wouldn't hear me down here.
posted by madajb at 8:39 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Also if I was 7 feet tall as my current lady self I would probably spend my entire life cosplaying."

It's the infernal head bumping that puts the tarnish on this otherwise shiny thought.


There is a lot of potential for hillarity/disaster when cosplay and head trauma are combined!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:48 AM on December 7, 2012


I am 6'3" (ish, I thought for years I was 6'1" for some reason, I am not exactly sure why) which I think is just about the right height to gain maximum social benefit without any major issues. Size 13 shoes are standard these days, bus seats and coach airline seats are uncomfortable, but not painful. The weirdest experience was being in China- the average male height there is about 5'5"-5'6", which I imagine is kind of how these guys feel all day.

I actually ended up right where I wanted in terms of height and shoe size- I was initially afraid I was going to end up 6'5" with size 15 shoes, which is edging into the obnoxiously difficult to find category.

I wonder about the heart health of these guys, given how much harder it has to pump to get blood up higher and recirculate it from lower.

People shorter than me, you have my sympathies and I am happy to help you reach things on high shelves.
posted by Hactar at 8:51 AM on December 7, 2012


" . . . given how much harder it has to pump to get blood up higher and recirculate it from lower."

Oh, which reminds me . .

- My hands and feet are perpetually cold because the blood has to travel so far.
- My arms are so long, I need remote controls for my hands.
- I saw my feet through the clouds the other day.
- I carry oxygen in case I have to stand up.
- I'm so tall, I have to wear a pressurized baseball cap.
- The FAA keeps insisting I wear a tower light when I go out at night.
- It takes me 10 seconds to fall over.
posted by Phyllis Harmonic at 9:03 AM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's terrifying being the tallest person in your life and being confronted with someone even taller.

You're not wrong, especially when they arrive in numbers. Once upon a time in the music-playing days, I shared a bill with a new local band. They played a terrific set and I went to talk to them for a couple of minutes afterward to tell them they sounded good. As I talked to them, I suddenly realized that at 6'2", I was three to four inches shorter than any of them; this was a little disorienting. I thought, "This is how my buddy who is 5'6" must feel regularly."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:06 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


My wife is 4'10" with shoe size 4. Let me tell you about problems...

My aunt buys children's shoes - not as much selection, but cheaper! (I wish I could, but that's because I basically want to wear little kids' shoes - muppet themed or Ghibli or something).
posted by jb at 9:07 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


You're not wrong, especially when they arrive in numbers. Once upon a time in the music-playing days, I shared a bill with a new local band. They played a terrific set and I went to talk to them for a couple of minutes afterward to tell them they sounded good. As I talked to them, I suddenly realized that at 6'2", I was three to four inches shorter than any of them; this was a little disorienting. I thought, "This is how my buddy who is 5'6" must feel regularly."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:06 PM on December 7


Never ever go to Scandinavia. They're ALL so tall over there. I felt ... slightly short? Normal? It was unsettling.
posted by Comrade_robot at 9:11 AM on December 7, 2012


>Never ever go to Scandinavia. They're ALL so tall over there. I felt ... slightly short? Normal? It was unsettling.

I met a delegation from Norway - 15 men and women. Every one of them was over 6'. At 6'5 it was... odd in a good way. I didn't know them at all but immediately felt 'these are my people' when I'm normally not that way.

Interesting how just a few inches can change perspective, and how that plays out with the super tall.
posted by anti social order at 9:23 AM on December 7, 2012


I'm so glad I'm almost exactly average.


Seriously, I've always wanted to be taller if anything, but reading this article just made me knees hurt.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:30 AM on December 7, 2012


if any NBA star wants to trade the pros and cons of his height for what a guy that's under 5'6" goes through, have at it

Dunno about that, I've been lucky or weird enough to be with two men who were on opposite ends of the height spectrum and let me tell you, the tall guy got way more intrusive and over the line comments than the short guy. My husband (6'9") and my college boyfriend (5'3") both got a lot of attitude from "normal" sized guys who either want to beat up the little guy because they can or take down the big guy to prove they can. They both have difficulty finding clothes and shoes that fit. Finding a place to live with the short guy was way easier than finding spaces that a tall man can comfortably live. And I very rarely heard someone comment on my short boyfriend's height to his face. My husband constantly has people comment about how tall he is or if he plays ball or some shit. People will yell shit across the street about his height and that sort of thing never happened around the short dude.

Both of them desperately wanted to be fighter pilots (thanks to Top Gun) and neither could.

There's a lot of challenges for both and it may be that the discrimination for the short was a lot more insidious and implicit but trust me, the tall dudes' supposed advantages don't make up for the casual common rudeness that surrounds them.
posted by teleri025 at 9:35 AM on December 7, 2012


This enrages us little guys even more.

You're so cute when you're agitated! (More seriously, I've never had a big guy go after me, but I've had probably dozens of little guys want to fight. There's some guys who get drunk and start wanting to prove something by taking someone big down.)

It's terrifying being the tallest person in your life and being confronted with someone even taller.

I don't find it terrifying, but it sure is weird. I'm used to seeing the tops of people's heads, and all of a sudden being in a group of people half a head taller than me is startlingly different.
posted by Forktine at 9:39 AM on December 7, 2012


As I talked to them, I suddenly realized that at 6'2", I was three to four inches shorter than any of them

I once had the privilege of kicking the band 7 Mary 3 out of the bar I was working security at, before they made it big nationally. These are some big guys. I'm 6'3", but I was in exactly the same position as you, only they were drunk and angry at me.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:42 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


People will yell shit across the street about his height and that sort of thing never happened around the short dude.

That's because no one notices the short dude. Literally. heh.

Both of them desperately wanted to be fighter pilots (thanks to Top Gun) and neither could.


The minimum height for a Naval fighter pilot was 5'2" last I checked.
But there are a bunch of other measurements as well, including arm reach and Buttock Knee Length (which as to do with how you fit in an ejector seat).
So, someone 5'3" could technically qualify for further testing (but in all fairness, is unlikely to pass).
posted by madajb at 9:46 AM on December 7, 2012


You're so cute when you're agitated!

Most of us guys under 5' 7" are basically agitated about it all the time.

I used to box (drunk) with a 6'4" guy sometimes and after humouring me for a bit he would hold the top of my head firmly with his left hand and pummel my face with the right, like I was a cartoon character.
posted by colie at 9:56 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the short dude liked to blame his height for a lot of things, but they were usually off limits because he just didn't want to try. The tall dude tries things (when there aren't regulations to prevent it) and just suffers through without complaint. There's a reason I married the tall dude and it has nothing to do with reaching the top shelf.
posted by teleri025 at 9:57 AM on December 7, 2012


6'6" and I cannot fathom how someone six inches taller than I am would get through life without custom versions of most of their furniture and a specially designed drivers side of the car.
posted by Slackermagee at 10:15 AM on December 7, 2012


Recently I was at an event with Presidential losers, Johns Kerry and McCain, in atendance together. Neither is absurdly off from average height (Kerry at 6'4", McCain at 5'9"), but the difference between them was striking!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:16 AM on December 7, 2012


Metafilter: "Someone walking around a corner and accidentally smacking their face into your tits."
posted by quadog at 10:33 AM on December 7, 2012


I was at an event with Presidential losers, John Kerry and McCain

Speaking of Presidential height, I think (might be mistaken) that Kerry was the first taller candidate to lose the election.
posted by cell divide at 10:35 AM on December 7, 2012


Funny you should mention that, I used this handy Wikipedia chart to get their heights!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:55 AM on December 7, 2012


the tall guy got way more intrusive and over the line comments than the short guy

Yeah, that would suck. On the other hand it's been repeatedly shown that short guys are hugely discriminated against in the workplace and have a lower lifetime earning potential. And that's leaving aside the dating problems.

Moral of the story: If you aren't exactly average, you're fucked.
posted by Justinian at 10:56 AM on December 7, 2012


I'm 5 feet tall. All y'all* look tall to me.

*The very rare times I meet a shorter adult, I find it incredibly uncomfortable to look down to talk so I quickly try to move the conversation to where we can both sit. It took me years to consciously realize I was doing that. I am, however, a great scholar of the variability in size and shape of human nostrils.
posted by jamaro at 11:18 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm one of the happy 6'3'' guys. As others have said, this seems to be right in the sweet spot of having all the advantages of being tall with few or none of the disadvantages. Oh, sure, airplane seats are a little uncomfortable, and being in the back seat of a car is a pain, but I can see easily in crowds, can buy clothes and shoes in my size, and ladies do appear to like the taller guys.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:28 AM on December 7, 2012


Speaking of Presidential height, I think (might be mistaken) that Kerry was the first taller candidate to lose the election.

Nah, it is not uncommon, at the chart linked by 10RofF shows. I thought that Romney was slightly taller than Obama, and I knew Gore was taller than Bush* and I vaguely recollected that Ford was taller than Carter. However, looking down the list, it becomes clear that in the modern television age, the tall guys do well. I regret that I was not around in 1824 to see feisty bantam James Madison (5'4") triumph over DeWitt Clinton a looming mountain of a man (6'3").


*But of course, you said "lost the election," didn't you?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:32 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, of course, remember that Lincoln lost his Senate race to Stephen Douglas, aka the "Little Giant", and probably would have lost the presidential race to him if the Southern Democrats hadn't defected.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:50 AM on December 7, 2012


Metafilter: statistically speaking, it's on Wikipedia
posted by dhartung at 12:17 PM on December 7, 2012


Nope, it appears that the first time the taller presidential candidate lost a U.S. election was in 1812, when 5'4" James Madison beat 6'3" De Witt Clinton. But then, they didn't have TV back then.

It appears that Al Gore is also taller than GWB, so for some reason, this country elected Bush twice over taller (and for that reason alone, of course, more qualified) candidates.
posted by decathecting at 1:09 PM on December 7, 2012


I'm 6'5". Nthing that meeting taller people is very odd. I had not considered that small people know what my nostrils look like. I will be much more diligent about picking my nose from now on.

My feet are normally sized, but buying pants is a pain in the ass. Uniqlo may have an an online store, but they don't have any pants with inseams longer than 34. The other weekend I went to the Levi's store in SF, you know, the company flagship, any they had no pants in there that I could try on. WTF?

I think the reason some of us are unsure about how tall we are is that nurses seem to be uniformly 5'2" so they have no idea how to measure us. I hear anything from 6'4" to 6'6" when I go to the doctors so I just take the average when self-reporting.

On balance though I'm happy to be as tall as I am. I would not want to be any taller though. Well, maybe an inch, just so I could clearly be taller than my dad. Also I'm glad I'm male; the social landscape of the US does make it much less awkward to be a tall guy than a tall woman.
posted by Aizkolari at 2:22 PM on December 7, 2012



My wife is 4'10" with shoe size 4. Let me tell you about problems...


But..it's not really a problem? Juniors clothes are so "adult" nowadays, it's only been a *tiny* bit more effort to find smaller sized, attractive, clothing than it would be fitting into a normal American adult size. Hell, I'm wearing adorable plain patent leather kitten heels today that are a children's size 3 that are indistinguishable from the "adult" ones(They're at Target right now, by the way. Your wife would wear a children's size 2).
posted by sawdustbear at 4:09 PM on December 7, 2012


Ned is 7' tall, and maintains one of the most humorous Twitter accounts I've seen, recounting his experiences dealing with never-ending stares and questions. His acronym of choice is HTRU, which indicates someone asking him "How tall are you?" Worth a look at @im7feet.
posted by davidmsc at 4:24 PM on December 7, 2012


I'm 6'5" but I don't get anywhere near as many "Gee, you're so tall" remarks as my 6'2" daughter does.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:28 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm 5'0" and wear a size 5 shoe, and dressing really is a problem.

My stature already contributes to the problem of being taken seriously, and the older I get, the less interested I am in dressing from the children's/junior's section. Disregarding the fact that I'm substantially rounder than that demographic, the quality and selection just isn't there.

Maybe for casual clothes it's ok, but what about more formal occasions and good work clothes? Sometimes I want a designer shoe in my size and price range that would in no way be appropriate on the foot of a middle school child.

What I'm saying is, it's not ideal on either end of the bell curve.
posted by Space Kitty at 8:30 PM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am 4'11" and wear a women's size four. The children's shoes thing sounds better than it is in reality. Children's shoes are total crap quality and offer 0 support. I have some hip pain issues and the lack of any arch support or padding in kids shoes makes the pain so much worse, so basically no more kids shoes for me. Nordstrom (aka the most awesome place on earth) carries cute size fours online, but of course they're not cheap.

Other than some clothes/shoes fitting issues, I actually don't really have a big problem with my height. There's certainly worse things to be than short. People think I'm cute, and frankly I know I've gotten away with things in life that I wouldn't have if I were 5'6". Also, when you all complain about lack of legroom on airplanes I feel a little smug.

I do find it really interesting to hear the tall people stories - I get comments but nothing rude at all, just a lot of how old are yous and how tall are yous and sometimes, are your parents short? (uh, yes, it's called genetics). Ok, so actually some of those questions are rude.

I will be much more careful about what I say to the talls from now on - I have def made comments in the past, mostly out of my own awkwardness of feeling so dwarfed.
posted by imalaowai at 8:50 PM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


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