Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Short but not short of attitude.


It was with interest that I read the posts of my fellow Grumpy Youngsters, Shelly and Selina, who stand taller than the average woman. I already know what being short is all about, so I often find myself curious about what life is like for someone taller.

I have no problem with my diminutive height – the world would be a very boring place if we were all the same - but I get the distinct impression that other people are not quite as accepting as I am. In fact, it could actually be rather enjoyable were it not for the moronic behaviour of others; I’d be able to revel in the fact that people automatically assume me to be innocent, I’d lap up the ‘cute’ comments and getting asked for ID (Alright, I confess, it only happened a couple of times years ago, but it still counts). Instead, it ain’t even close to being a barrel of laughs because I have to deal regularly with being patronised.

Let’s leave aside all the clothing alterations that I have to get done. (I’ve accepted the fact that clothing manufacturers hate short women, as proven by the fact that petite clothing ranges are harder and harder to find.) At least my dry cleaner loves me (yep, I can’t sew; the shame!) The issue of clothes that don’t fit becomes positively trivial when someone, who successfully gives the impression of having a two-digit IQ, speaks down to you.

Not only do people speak to you like an idiot, but being petite seems to make people assume that you are a pushover who will happily take their nonsense. Though, I do get some pleasure from the surprise that results when I reveal the fact that I don’t suffer fools. Apparently, being small also means that I can’t speak for myself.

My theory is that, to many people’s minds, short equals young and young equals stupid. It’s called the Moron Theory.

All this is on the basis that I’m actually noticed. Of course, there are occasions when not being seen can be greatly beneficial, but its mostly just plain annoying. I can’t count the number of times that I have been walking along the pavement, my pathway clear and free from obstructions, only for someone walking on the other side of the pavement to turn directly in my path. I have had fully sighted people actually bump into me in broad daylight when I’m walking in a straight line on a wide pavement. Never have I wanted to punch someone in their face more than when the answer to “What do you think you’re doing?” is “Sorry, didn’t see you there.” Then again, I’m probably too short to reach: I could elbow them in the stomach first. I’m well aware that I’m shorter than average but I’m far from being the size of Tinkerbell.

It can even affect the mundane things like going to the supermarket, which becomes a hazardous pursuit. Not because I put myself in danger by clambering up to reach high shelves – it’s a risk I’m prepared to take – but because of how I hold my basket. The level it reaches is the perfect height for small children to run into as they tear around the supermarket without watching where they are going in an attempt to knock themselves out. It really is the final straw when you go unnoticed by people smaller than you.

I learnt very early on that making assumptions about people will often leave you with egg on your face, but I obviously went to a different school of life to many others. Today there is only one very easy lesson. Pens at the ready...don’t judge a book by its cover. Well done, you’ve passed. Read more by Shermaine.

Image: Marcus74id /