When I was in the third grade we had weekly “show and tell” in my class. It must have been a slow week because (unlike the time that Mary Verdades brought in her uncles glass eye) there was more “tell” going on and not a whole lot of “show”. After hearing random stories about weekends at grandma’s house, etc. Sandra Cartel marched to the front of the class and declared: “I think that we should all start drinking lots and lots of milk so that we can grow up to be as tall as Celeste!” then she skipped back to her seat. I looked up, confused and horrified; what did my height have to do with show and tell?
For the duration of elementary school, my body went through a growth spurt that wouldn’t quit. I was gaining inches in all directions and by the time I reached junior high I was a 5’10 preteen who was forced to shop at Lane Bryant. Costume fittings for school performances were torture and school dances were awkward because all the boys who I danced with were eye level with my boobs. These were the same boys who would hug all the girls goodbye on a daily basis, taking an brief moment when hugging me to lay their head on “the twins” before letting go.
You can imagine my relief when I got to high school and saw dozens of 18 year old men (aka Seniors) who roamed the halls at 6 feet and above. Once I realized that boys my age came in sizes that were more compatible with me, I never looked back (or down).
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve received a lot of criticism about my height requirement from girlfriends, my sisters, even my Mother. The general argument being that by not giving shorter guys a chance, I may be missing out on someone amazing. I totally understand what they’re saying but I don’t think they understand that its not just about being a tall woman (I could rock the whole Christie Brinkley/Billy Joel look with no problem…) but its about being a tall, overweight woman.
How many times have we seen a big woman with a teeny tiny man and thought to ourselves She would break him in half!?
I can remember doing a production of The Music Man one summer. During a big number the director choreographed a dance break where I dragged my “husband”, a 5 foot 5 inch actor named P.J. out on stage, forcing him to dance a two-step with me. Our dance ended with him twirling me around and then jumping into my arms. I would catch him and we would hold our pose with me cradling him in my arms like a baby. The audience thought it was hilarious.
The idea of being a walking punchline makes me extremely uncomfortable.
I can hear some of you now saying “CeCe, you shouldn’t be so concerned with what other people think” and you’re right I shouldn’t. But even if I got over that, I’d still be stuck with how I feel.
I’m going to be totally honest here: As much as I own my life as an independent woman, when it comes to traditional gender roles, I play the part of a female with gusto. Having a man stand tall above me, being engulfed in his arms when he leans down to hug me, all of that makes me feel good. I’m notorious for extended victory dances after beating boys at bowling, pool or cards. But when it comes to wrestling matches, I have much more fun losing. As I mentioned in an earlier post, there’s a 99.5% chance that I will be wider than any man I date, so there’s a physical dominance that I will grudgingly accept. When I’m with a guy that’s taller than I am, a lot of the awkwardness I feel about my size fades away.
So height is a Deal Breaker for me. As many times as I’ve tried, I just can’t get serious about a guy who is shorter than me. Of course when people try to convince me to go against what I’m attracted to I can read between the lines okay, big girl… beggars can’t be choosers, you better take what you can get! but I don’t see myself budging on this one.
I have a hyper-awareness of my size as it is and I really don’t see myself getting into a relationship that brings even more attention to how big I am.
What about you… Could you date a shorter man?