Monday, February 1, 2010

Tall girl...on dating

I have lost count of the number of times blokes have told me I'm the tallest girl they've ever kissed. Once or twice it's been the biggest girl they've ever kissed...and they've ended up with a black eye.

Being tall, there is always a fear of appearing "big", "bulky" or, horror of all horrors, "butch". These words can haunt you when you're taller than a lot of men, can share shoes with your male friends and are always handed somebody's dad's wellies when you go for a walk.

Tall for a man is sexy and capable. Tall for a girl can appear bulky and awkward. Fine if you're blessed with natural grace and elegance but if, like most girls (myself included), 1950s deportment classes would have been better left on the school curriculum, it's not easy to pull off.

A fear of appearing masculine is coupled with a fear of all reasonably-sized masculinity having disappeared from the planet. Why is it that tiny girls so inconsiderately go out with the tallest men? My mum is one of them. At 5ft 3", my dad is nearly a foot taller than her which, as I have pointed out, is grossly unfair.

The fact is huge height gaps don't make sense, practically speaking. One boyfriend - who always blundered when it came to thoughtful compliments - once said it was nice not to get a stiff neck from bending down to kiss me. He seemed chuffed not to be needing physio at the time...but the novelty soon wore off and he's now dating someone at least a foot smaller.

I think I could fairly say I've tried various dimensions - smaller, taller, the same height - but nothing beats being made to feel small. Having been tall even as a baby, I've never been described as cute - curling myself in my dad's lap as a child looked dangerously like he was hugging an octopus. So finding a bloke who can comfortably tuck me under his arm or pick me up without slipping a disc has turned into the hunt for the Holy Grail. Walking into a bar of 50 single men I reckon I could filter out 45 of them on height alone - and that's before they've opened their mouth.

The stats are not good, but this isn't a case of outrageous snobbery and unbridled heightism, it is just plain fact. Look at Sophie Dahl and Jamie Cullum - I have ultimate respect for the pair of them enduring endless jokes about their height gap, but I'm not sure I'd have the strength. My 5ft 6" cousin has just married his 6ft wife and I have to admit the wedding photos looked all wrong. Modern, professional, emancipated women should be oblivious to such archaic perceptions but I, clearly, am not. He needed at least four copies of the Yellow Pages to be able to kiss the bride but the wonderful thing is, neither of them are in the least bit perturbed by the height inversion. I envy them.

So, in the meantime, should you happen to stumble upon Michaelangelo's David, dusted off, warmed up and softened a little, registering between 6ft 2" and 6ft 6" (so that I can comfortably wear heels) and in the 25-35 age bracket, please do put him in touch.