Elaine Dove, height 1.75 meters, on this peculiar condition they call “tallness”:
In our culture, tallness equates in the eyes of many with social dominance. Tall men are the guys that seemingly everyone wants to either be or be with in both gay and straight world. Whether we consciously do so or not, we turn to tall men as some kind of symbol of competence, masculinity, protectiveness and confidence.
But tall women? Where do we fit into that? Are we less feminine because we tower, less approachable because our natural sight line is over the heads of many? Can I get away with the same assertive behavior a shorter woman would display without being regarded as bitchy, overly aggressive, demanding? I’ve noticed that my shorter female friends often get complimented by being called “cute” or “adorable.” As I can best recall, the only men who ever described me this way were all 6’4 or taller. Leaving aside the question of whether “cute” is even a desirable way to be described, I wonder if my cuteness occurs in a pretty predictable ratio to the height differential between myself and a man. I’ve also noticed that men 6’4 and over tend to make a beeline for me in social situations where we could meet one another. Maybe they’re tired of displacing discs in their necks to kiss a woman.
As we’ve seen before, “cute” tends to imply “childlike” and yes, even “adorable,” neither of which you can easily stick to your taller folk unless you’re actually trying to mock them, which as a rule will not enhance your chance of dating them. (See also “feisty,” which, as the phrase goes, has never been applied to anyone over six feet except in the National Basketball Association.)
My own perception is not particularly reliable. I can usually suss out four foot nine, having once dated someone of that height; however, I tend to read anyone 5’10” or taller as being taller than I am. (Tallest woman I ever met admitted to 6’2″, and may have been taller than that; she could definitely look me in the bald spot. She did not, however, seem lacking in femininity.)
Being tall doesn’t necessarily make me more confident, though I’ve learned that others perceive me that way regardless of how I’m feeling on the inside. Let’s face it, the discussion about tallness is often not the easiest one for women to have — especially with men.
It’s apparently not easy for the adolescent girl, either, given the number of message-board postings that boil down to “HELP! I’m freakishly tall! When does it stop?”
Still, I can’t help but think that anyone at either end of any bell curve you care to name is going to be at least a little bit self-conscious about being there.