I’m a really short girl. And if you think by ‘really short’ I mean something like ‘over five feet tall,’ you would be wrong. I’m 4’11. I’ve been 4’11 since I was in high school, and previously I was much shorter. When I hit puberty, I asked my doctor if I would ever get taller. He told me a story about a tribe of people that were all well under five feet. He said if I moved there, I wouldn’t feel so short. I would probably be their leader. I’ve taken this odd, borderline inappropriate story with me for years-- somewhere in this world, I would be a queen. Other than that, being short is mostly annoying and inconvenient. I wouldn’t say I have a Napoleon complex about it at the moment, but let me be clear: if you gave me even a modicum of power in France, I would start a series of wars in which I would try to take over much of Europe and Egypt. That’s how short I am!
If you’re tall or even average-sized, you probably don’t know how frustrating it is to be someone of short stature. You probably walk through life being able to see over people’s heads, or get into Rated R movies without having to walk in with two short people stacked on top of each other in a trenchcoat. And good for you. I’m just asking for some of your sympathy and understanding. Here are the worst parts about being a very short person:
1. . Everybody Thinks You Are A Baby
When I went on vacation with my boyfriend last month, we were checking into a hotel. I was wearing a baseball hat and backpack. I had traveled for hours. I am not Dora The Explorer. I just had gotten off a plane. But the guy checking in next to me kept staring directly at my boyfriend, then at me, back and forth like he was a police detective trying to clue it all together. No doubt in my mind he thought it was some lecherous Lolita situation. My high-pitched voice and tiny body were betraying me. I just decided to loudly talk about things I had seen in the ‘80s and ‘90s so he would know it was a safe situation all around. Things like “wow, Never Been Kissed was a great movie.” And “Remember that OJ car chase?” It’s one thing that I look like a high schooler. It’s another when people think I’m in dangerous situations because I’m super young—like when people try to put me into a car seat, or swaddle me, or give me a pacifier, or have my boyfriend arrested. It’s okay. I’m used to it.
2. . Regular Activities Are Downright Dangerous
I should go to the supermarket wearing full on riot gear. It's all about that moment when I want to buy a can of garbanzo beans or harissa, but it's on the top shelf. Then, I have to stand in the aisle, get the attention of an employee with a flare gun, or climb up numerous shelves and risk my life just so I can make hummus. Do you know how much damage one or two cans can do to someone my size? Hint: it’s irreparable. And so is the risk of many other normal activities. How many short people does it take to change a ceiling lightbulb? One. May she rest in peace.
3. . Standing Room Concerts Are A Waste
Unless I head to this concert at 6am and just sit on the stage until go time, I’m not seeing the concert. That’s it. If you’re short (and lack upper body strength), there’s no way you’re going to push your way up to the front of the show. And in a world where 99 percent of adults and 50 percent of children are already taller than you, you’re not getting a good view. You might as well listen to music on your phone at home. If you want the additional concert experience, just do it while throwing your money at a bar and smashing yourself into walls.
4. . You Will Be ID'd For The Rest Of Your Life
I’ve been allowed to purchase alcohol legally in America for six years. I have been ID’d every time since then. When I’m waiting in line for bars, the bouncer usually skips past my friends with their mustaches and stuff, grabs me, and puts my ID under 64 blacklights. They send it in for forensic testing. They ask me my birthday and address, as a test. Then they say “you REALLY don’t look 21.” Yeah. I know. I look like an extra on Barney & Friends. I get it. I’m look like a widdle baby--one who wants to get faced like the rest of the adult population.
5. . People Grab You And Carry You Around
This is a bonkers one to me, and probably more dangerous to the person doing the carrying than me. Let me warn you now: if you so much as attempt to pick me up and carry me around because it’s funny that I am small, I will go full chihuahua on you. I will snarl and bite and scream at you until you learn your lesson, and the lesson is this: Don’t. Touch. Other. People. Without. Asking.