What is it like being exceptionally tall?
People exceptionally tall only, 6' 2" (1.88 m) is a normal height in Netherlands. [6'7" = 2.00 m]
First, I love this question, but there aren't many female responses. So, I'm adding my experience to the bucket.
Second, this is my first Quora posting, so I am super excited (finally something I am well versed in). Please be nice!
My 31 years have been interesting to say the least. Barefoot with a fresh blowout, I stand at a solid 6'2"...which, I believe, places me in the top .005% of women's height. Now, tack on the fact that I am also African American, a raging extrovert, living in the middle of Iowa, with a love for heels and big hair…
Let's just say, I wasn't created to blend in.
And I never know what attribute to attribute all the stares (see what I did there, hehehe).
I'll try not to rehash prior answers too much, but if I do, I'll try to share some unique anecdotes.
1. It's one thing to be tall, it's another to be proportioned funny and tall. I have extremely long legs, arms, fingers, and feet (they'd be appropriate for someone 6'5"). However, my torso is wee...like the bottom of my ribcage and the top of my hips are one finger space away from touching. Oh, and apparently, my head's big.
This fact has made for some interesting clothing experiences, especially when I was young. I was made fun of for wearing high-waters (I was sheltered, I didn't understand jean length etiquette). I wore petite tops, until I figured out they exaggerated my proportions. And cutesy matching sets were a fail all around (unless I was trying to make it a capri and 3/4 sleeve fix).
Now I just bite the bullet, order stuff online and wish for the best. Though my adult default is pretty dresses, fabulous shawls, and boots to hide the short pants.
2. Everyone (grown men in particular) thought I was older than I was. I was a tall kid (almost 6' by 8th grade), and because of this, I was forced off of the age-appropriate softball team, I was given way more responsibility than I was ready for, I was continually mistaken for a boy in middle school, and I was constantly hit on by grown men when I was still a pre-teen (even being underdeveloped with a baby face). My youth was traumatizing, especially since I was a sensitive and super self-conscious kid (I just wanted to be smart and personable).
3. People can’t help but strike up conversation...even if I’m trying to be low-key and invisible (not possible). Always, “how tall are you”, “I wish I had some of your height”, “I’m jealous, you can eat whatever you like” (lies!), “did you play basketball/volleyball/sports?” (I was awful! Super uncoordinated until college), “are you an athlete at ____ college?” (I’m almost 10 years removed from that age range, but thanks!), “do you model?” (I’m actually too tall and too big to pull that off mainstream, but thanks!)…and, my current fave, “are you a power lifter” (Hahahaha!!!)
4. I am constantly told that I am intimidating, and when I walk in a room I await "the size up" (watches me walk in, looks up to the top of my head, looks down to check for heels, then looks up again with slack jawed disbelief) from strangers.
5. Regular tall guys (6’-6’4”) tend to respond the strangest...especially if I'm in heels. I've had some of the oddest interactions with complete strangers in that height range. I think I must throw them off a bit. Here’s a handful of tales:
There is the tendency for guys to walk up to me, stand a little straighter, and randomly yell out a height...like we’re playing some amusement park guessing game. (Not sure how that is normal behavior.)
Then there is online dating, where I clearly state how tall I am...but once they arrive to the date, they tell me that they thought I was joking (why would I make that up?), or will literally argue with me until I have someone take a photo and show them that I am not as giant as they think. (Apparently, no one understands how tall a 6'2" woman really is, until they meet one.)
In grad school, I was challenged at a house party. The host didn't believe I was only 6'1.5" (I gained a half inch when I was 27, thanks Pilates), so he stopped the music and had an attendee measure us in the middle of the get together. I was right...and his ego inch came crashing down in the form of a tantrum (apparently his coaches lied to him).
One evening I, unfortunately, met the acquaintance of a bodyguard for 50 Cent who ran his hand over my throat to see if I had an Adam's apple, while we were debating over a TV channel in the hotel bar.
And then there are the inappropriate pick-up lines: "We'll aren't you a tall drink of chocolate milk", "I'll climb that tree", "Mmmm, I like ‘em tall", etc. (Seriously, who does that work on?) I could go on and on...but I won't.
6. Tallish ladies are interesting bunch too. I call them "cute tall" girls (5'7" - 5'11" - tall enough to catch attention, but not tall enough to incite intimidation). A lot of the time, a "cute tall" will come over to me and relay how excited they are to not be the tallest girl in the room; or how they were the tall girl growing up; or how they are used to being the tallest one all the time; or how they "feel short", etc. I just try to withhold my eye roll.
But when I meet a truly tall sistren (any woman >6’), we form an immediate connection in acknowledgement of “the struggle”. Though I will admit a pang of territorialism when a guy or a girl 6’5” or taller enters the same room I am in (I’m supposed to be the tallest person in this room!). *Cue “cute tall” hypocrisy*
7. I’ll end this list on lucky #7. Being tall and working in corporate America is a win. Half of the BS I hear my female friends go through seems crazy to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been outright disrespected by chauvinists and dudes with a Napoleon complex – but I know that when I see it. The subversive and passive sexism or the catty woman-on-woman bouts are almost unheard of in my personal experience. I chalk it up to looking like I won’t take any sh*t…which is true. Positively though, I stand out without trying, and that’s a plus when you’re on your networking and ladder climbing grind.
So overall, I love being tall and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Sure, my lower back hurts sometime, and nothing is built for my stature, and I can’t wear vintage, and I encounter many low-confidence dudes. BUT I receive effortless attention, and I’ve learned to wield it to my benefit.
Oh my gosh! Quora Peeps, you guys are awesome!!! Thank you for welcoming me with open arms!!! Woot!!!
A photo was requested to put my height into perspective. Here you go: