I gave up trying to be friends with regular-sized women a long time ago. One look at my tallness and they immediately knew: 1) I was aggressive, and 2) I was going to steal their boyfriend.
Even if they overlooked my hostile personality and man-kidnapping ways, they would eventually have to make the difficult decision of cutting me from their wedding party. A tall girl such as me would pull focus from the bride, upsetting the sacred height line of bridesmaids.
No average girl would tell you this to your face because it sounds terrible and petty to say out loud. Yet when I met new women, I often got the hint that they didn’t like me, especially if I was single. They looked at me as if my sole purpose on earth was to overshadow them and destroy their relationships. I barely even said hello!
So I turned to men for friendship and they welcomed me with open arms. Sometimes I felt like the Marilyn-type, admired and adored among them. Other times, I felt like one of the guys, happy to play outside or drink beer well into the night. They did not care how tall I was. I’m not sure they even noticed. They only cared that I showed up.
While happily settled into this group of man-friendship for most of my New York life, I curiously began to meet other women like me. These women also gave up on other women. They weren’t tall, but they also didn’t wear makeup every day. They enjoyed making things instead of gossiping about perceived threats to their dating life. Never once did they make me feel as if I was competition or danger; they saw me as a friend.
Perhaps I’m oversimplifying gender, but for me, it feels all kinds of wonderful when I meet a woman and we both let each other in. There’s a shorthand we share that feels like support. I can look into her eyes and know she’s most assuredly been catcalled, overlooked, threatened, misjudged, and bleeds every month. We share this in common.
Such female friendships have allowed me to be brave when I ask for what I want, and they offer a safe place where I can be vulnerable. I’ve also realized that not every average-sized woman is out to get me, but if they are, it comes from a place of insecurity. You almost can’t blame them; it’s hard enough to be a woman!
And if we’re taller, does that mean we have to physically and emotionally be the bigger person? Yes, that’s what our mothers would say. Be gracious, be humble, forgive often. Overall, I think it’s important to recognize these negative perceptions about tall women exist, and like other stereotypes, it’s a constant effort to change them.
And when you do, when you change their minds, when you let your guard down, when you persevere in showing your true, authentic self to the world, you just might get an unexpected friend out of it.