As far back as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be taller. When we lined up from tallest to shortest for picture day in lower school, I would always be at or near the end of the line. And as I grew older, it became frustrating that people would think me so young — possibly because I simply look young but also definitely because I’m short. On a flight back to college one winter, the airline people even wanted to make me aware that I need to be fifteen in order sit in the exit row. I still often wish that I were taller, especially because there are so few people my height who are read as male (I’m just over five feet tall, if you didn’t know).
At the same time, as much as I look at my taller friends and wish I were more like them, I’m not sure that I would actually change my height if I could. There are upsides to being short, after all. And since I can’t change my height, I’m trying to simply make my peace with it — and thus, I have created a list of reasons why I’m glad I’m short.
1. I fit into small spaces. I don’t need as much in the way of leg room, which means that crowded coach seats at airplanes aren’t really that bad, and I can generally manuever my way into a comfortable position while on a road trip. I can also curl up quite nicely on window seats, chairs, and piles of cushions.
2. I can buy suits in the boys department. A nice suit from the boys’ department at Nordstrom? $250. A suit by the same designer in the men’s department? $700-800. I don’t often buy or wear suits, of course, but I do need one or two for interviews, special occasions, and such (appearing at court, according to my mom), and not needing to spend a complete fortune is a bonus. Also, clothes from the boys’ department in general typically cost less than clothes for adults, yet the styles aren’t always that dissimilar (well, for jeans, button downs, sneakers, etc). Even renting a boy’s tuxedo is less expensive than renting an adult’s. It’s a little embarrassing to be shopping in a section meant for ten-year-olds, but I’ve mostly gotten over that.
3. It means that I generally get hugged. So, if you think about hugs, and who’s generally on the outside of the hug versus the person on the inside, I’ve found that as the shorter person, I’m usually on the inside. My arms go underneath their arms (for most people), and then I feel all safe and protected and hugged, and it’s a fabulous feeling. I love that feeling.
And that last reason is the most important reason why I wouldn’t actually change my height if it were possible. If I were taller, it would completely throw off my height ratio with people, and it would change our hugs. It’s not that hugs are better because I’m short; I’m simply accustomed to hugs from a particular height. For example, my best friend from high school wears heels nearly constantly now, although she didn’t in high school, and it took me longer than it probably should have to adjust to that difference in our hugs. I love hugs, and I’m extremely attached to how loved ones’ individual hugs feel — I don’t want to give that up, even if it meant that I could be taller.