At only five feet tall, I’ve learned a lot about being the short girl. And my daughter, at only three-years-old, may just have inherited my genes. Although I’m always looking up at what seem to be Redwoods, I’ve rarely felt small.
There are some obvious challenges that come with being petite (reaching for that coffee mug on the top shelf can make the obscenities flow). But overall, I’d say there’s nothing to feel tiny about.
Here are some things I want my daughter to know about being the short girl.
Forget your name. When you’re small, people love giving you nicknames. Squirt, Shorty, Mighty Mouse, and Tiny are just a handful of the nicknames my peers gave me in school and sports while growing up. And at thirty-six, I still hear some of them today.
You will always get attention from short men. When you’re out, casually having a few drinks with your eyes barely looking over the bar, the short men will notice you. See, these men (not all short men, just the ones with Short Man Syndrome) allow their egos to get in the way of asking out women of all sizes, so you will serve as the perfect trophy. And when you don’t reciprocate this desire to date another short human, it will crush their ego even more. Be gentle.
You may develop a Napoleon Complex. When a man has a Napoleon Complex, he acts aggressively to overcompensate his lack of stature. Men get a bad rap for this; we girls however, do not. You may feel the need to be more forceful on the soccer field, in the classroom, or in the courtroom. That’s okay. Sometimes you may need to make-up for those lost inches with your own grit.
Buying clothes can be cost-effective and fun. When you’re short, sometimes you can spend less money because you can fit into kids’ clothes. Try on a pair of size 16 jeans in the kids’ department, the length just may fit better than those in the women’s section. And you can always buy heels because you will never have to worry about being the skyscraper.
Buying clothes can be annoying. When you get older and no longer fit into those youth-sized jeans, finding pants the right length is problematic. Shirts can also be a puzzle; it’s hard to find one that fits just right. Good thing there are tailors.
People will assume you’re younger than you are. Hearing people say, “Oh, I thought you were only 12,” when in fact you’re 16 may get old. But, as you get older and have children of your own, your height will finally play in your favor. People become blinded by your size and ignore the crows’ feet around your eyes.
You can (usually) get away with it. Slide tackling on the soccer field, fouling on the basketball court, and squeezing to the front of a long line at the bar are all things you can usually get away with when you’re small. I played soccer for 17 years and was never given a red or yellow card. Adults also assume you’re sweet, so you may be able to get away with the occasional homework fabrication.
Being short isn’t all bad, and you will often surprise people with the amount of tenacity in such a small person, which will make you stand just as tall as anyone else. So, although you’ll always being looking up, no one—absolutely no one—will be looking down on you.