Having It Tall - Starts Here

Having It Tall - Starts Here

I'm a 6'2" woman. What's the ideal way for me to respond when people (almost always men and total strangers) ask, out of the blue, "How does a woman your height find boyfriends?" - Annoyed 

I'd opt for the macabre approach, delivered totally deadpan: "Actually, I stretch short men on a rack in my basement. You can sometimes hear the screams from the side yard."

Responding with shocking humor - in an uber-cool tone - gives you the upper hand in a way an enraged response to their rudeness would not. And yes, people who say this to you are rude - assuming you don't go around wearing a sign that reads "Hey, strangers, ask me anything! Nothing's too impolite or too personal!"

Of course, when people overstep (as maybe 6,055 other people have done previously), it's natural to get angry - to go loud and ugly in calling them on their rudeness. However, that sort of directness - explicitly telling them that they've wronged you - is probably counterproductive. Social psychologist Elliot Aronson finds that people are highly prone to "self-justification" - the ego-defending denial that they've behaved badly.

Making matters worse, our fight-or-flight system reflexively reacts to verbal attacks in the same adrenalized way it does to physical attacks. So, angry directness from you is likely to provoke a rudester into amping up the ugly - turning around and deeming you rude, wrong, and "Wow…testy!" for your response.

Ultimately, using humor as I suggested - an over-the-top statement, delivered flatly - allows you to restructure the power balance, shifting yourself out of the victim position. You're clearly informing the person they've crossed a line, with minimal aggression on your part. This is important because, as a tall girl, your energy is best put to more productive ends - folding yourself up like origami to fly in coach and fighting the Statue of Liberty for the extremely tall guys of Tinder.

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