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Being short has its ups and downs | Opinion | The Press and Standard

by | April 17, 2016 5:00 am

Last Updated: April 13, 2016 at 2:33 pm

Most of the time I don’t mind being short. Excuse me, petite.
(I can hear my mother now: “Darling, men LOVE petite women!” Which I’ve actually found to be true, although when you’re 5’2” and date a man who’s 6’6”, as I once did, it causes hysterics among the general public.)
I don’t hate being short, but it has its ups and downs.
Example: Buying jeans. I can generally find an acceptable pair after trying on, oh, 30 pairs in five different brands. A quick shopping trip turns into a sweaty, day-long process, which explains why I own just two pairs of jeans.
I know my vertically-challenged sisters out there agree with me. Our lives consist of shopping for clothes, finding a tailor to alter clothes, and then hanging on to those clothes for 30 years. (I firmly believe sparkly stretch pants will come back in style.)
It can also be interesting in the grocery store, where I hop up and down like a trained frog trying to reach cereal on the top shelf.
The weird thing is that I stalled at 5 feet nothing for years. At 30 I moved to South Carolina and found a new doctor. On the first visit, I stood barefooted as a nurse measured my height with a horizontal metal bar, lowering it to my scalp.
“You’re 5 feet, 2 inches,” she said.
“No, I’m five feet,” I said.
“Maybe yesterday, but today you’re 5 feet 2 inches,” she said.
I was stunned. It was like being casually told your birth date was off by a couple of years. Naturally, I called my mother: “I’m two inches taller than you!” I crowed.
“I still have better legs,” she retorted, which was true.
The other shortness drawback is that five extra pounds look like 15. I know a woman who’s 5’9” and goes up and down 15 pounds, and you honestly can’t tell. If I gained 15 pounds, I’d look like the Michelin Man rolling down the sidewalk.
Then there’s the cabinet above the stove, which we short ladies have never been able to reach. You have to go find a step-stool (or, if you’re impatient like me, a cane-bottomed chair that gives way beneath your bare feet) and teeter on the rubber treads while alphabetizing 27 spice bottles. (What? You don’t do this?)
Putting them away is easier: I just hurl the containers into the open cabinet and close the doors with a mop handle. (It drives Widdle crazy later, when he opens the doors and the bottles fall on his head like kamikaze spices.)
Then there’s the special joy of yanking clothes from the depths of the top-loading washer. My feet come off the floor about six inches for that maneuver.
Ah, I complain too much. There are some advantages to being short petite. For example….
We don’t need much food. This will come in handy during a zombie apocalypse.
We’re seldom accused of being “intimidating” or “throwing our weight around.” It’s hard to be intimidated by someone who comes up to your chin.
When you need to boost someone up to crawl through a window to unlock a door, you’re not looking around for a six-footer.
Short people are straight-up ninjas. When we don’t want to be seen, we aren’t. Like wild turkeys, we can step behind a log and vanish.
It’s true! Men love us.

(Julie R. Smith, who may have shrunk an inch by now, can be reached at widdleswife@aol.com.)

comments » 1

  1. Comment by jeanmarie long

    April 18, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Loved your article! I have to share this with my daughter who is 4’8. Her husband, who is about 6’2 built a step stool for her so he doesn’t have to lean over so far to kiss her! She has some great stories too! She will love your article. Thank you.


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