Updated: Feb 6
I’m extremely short. I like to claim I’m 5’1, but I’m probably closer to 5’0 or so.
Don’t let my bitter, mean-spirited past posts deceive you. I’m actually pretty chill with being short usually. Often times, I don’t even notice just how short I am because it’s about what’s on the inside, yo.
But there are some things that people don’t take into consideration about being short that just absolutely suck. Things other than, “I need my tall friends to reach things for me,” or, “My younger sibling outgrew me,” or, “I’m much closer to Hell than tall people and can hear the screams of the damned and feel the hellfire licking the soles of my feet,” although those are, of course, valid complaints as well.
Here’s some other short people problems.
1. Having to add “petite” to every search for clothes and still not finding anything that fits
Annoyance level: 2/5
This one is something tall people can probably relate to as well, and I’ve seen it posted on a number of height-related lists, both on the tall and the short side. If you are not average height, chances are you need to get creative when looking for new clothes. For me, that means either trying to find stores that specifically cater to more “petite” sizes or pray that the cute leggings I found at that one place come in size XS for my little baby legs. Spoiler alert: they usually don’t.
I would say this one is of below average annoyance just because the Internet makes my life so much easier and it’s not impossible to find clothes when I really need them. Still. I’d like to go clothes shopping just for the hell of it, fall in love with a gorgeous maxi dress and not have to go sifting through the racks only to find that it’s only available in small, medium, or large. I’m too small for that. Some might even call me…extra small (XS). Ba dum tss.
2. Seeing yourself as more than your height and coming to the occasional, crippling realization that most people’s first impression of you is probably, “Wow, she’s so tiny!”
Annoyance level: 3/5
I try to walk with confidence. I like to think I often make a decent first impression when I meet new people unless I’m having an awkward noodle kind of day. But even when I walk away from a first encounter feeling like I nailed my introduction and presented myself really well, I realize that the first thing the other person probably thought of me–and will continue to think of me–is that I am extremely, undeniably short. No matter what I accomplish in life, no matter what I do or say, I will always be identified first and foremost by my height–at least by the people I’ve interacted with in person.
I’ve pretty much come to terms with it at this point, but I can’t pretend it’s not weird to be so used to my height that I don’t even notice it, then suddenly get reminded of it when I’m surrounded by tall people, or walking with a tall person, or talking to an incredibly smart and observant person who feels the need to point it out and show me how good they are at noticing things.
Speaking of which…
3. “Wow, you’re so short!”
Annoyance level: 4/5
We talls and shorts have a surprising amount in common (other than, y’know, height).
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: you meet someone for the first time. Maybe they’re just a random person on the street accosting you for whatever reason, or they’re a friend of a friend, or a new coworker/classmate, or a family friend you’ve never met before. You greet each other, they look you up and down with wide eyes, and they say those magic words:
“Wow, you’re so tall/short!”
Gee, thanks, random person I just met who feels the need to inform me that my 5’0 frame is unusually close to the ground. I had no idea. In fact, you are so special and smart that you’re the first person to ever notice how short I am. Ever.
Tall people, I apologize. I have done this to you before. Maybe it’s because I’ve always felt that society labels being tall as a good thing and being short as a bad thing, so I figured I was paying you a compliment by pointing out how tall you are. But I’ve come to the realization that it’s just as annoying for a lot of tall people to have their height pointed out as it is for short people. And trust me. I. Hate. It.
Pro tip, average height folks: we know that we’re really tall/short. You are not the first to notice, and you will not be the last.
4. Being overtaken or cut off when walking because I’m small and easy to push aside
Annoyance level: 4/5
I don’t see this one mentioned as much, and I have no idea why because it drives me up the fucking wall.
So you’re just doing your own thing, beeboppin’ along, walking to your destination when suddenly, someone starts walking alongside you. Now, as a normal sized person or a tall person, this newcomer strolling next to you wouldn’t be such a problem because you’re noticeable enough that they know better than to get all up in your space. But if you’re like me, a little fun-sized Snickers bar, for whatever reason people think that since your head is a lot lower than theirs that it’s okay to inch closer. And closer. And closer…until they’re so close to you that it’s clear they want to pass you so now you have to literally stop walking and let them pass.
It’s infuriating. I get cut off by people who step in front of me and then cross in front of me, basically blocking me twice, all because they were tall enough to muscle past me and it felt like there wasn’t anything I could do but stop and let them go first.
Come to think of it, this might be an anxiety thing more than a short people thing. Eh.
I also have the incredibly frequent problem of walking along and having someone almost bump into me because they didn’t notice me, then give me attitude as if I was the one that bumped into them. Some dude started cursing (I think?) at me in what I assume was Russian because he backed into me as I was walking past he and his friend standing in the middle of the sidewalk having a chat while I was trying to enter the subway station to, oh, I don’t know, catch my fucking train so I could go home.
You were the one who wasn’t paying attention and plowed into me, you turd. It’s your fault.
5. Feeling the need to poke fun at my own height to preemptively prevent others from point it out to me
Annoyance level: 1/5
This is more of a defense mechanism than an irritating short people problem, but I guess the fact that it feels necessary means it still counts….right?
I joke about my height a lot. Friends, family, even acquaintances will probably hear the occasional, “Hurdur, I can’t reach [insert tall object here]” joke or just a random comment to fill the silence about how tiny I am as we’re walking somewhere. It makes for a nice, albeit useless, conversation when I can’t figure out what else to talk about, but there’s a little more to it than most people who know me might think.
When you’re short and you joke about your height yourself, it’s like a preemptive attack on yourself so no one can do it for you. Basically preventing #3 from happening by letting people know ahead of time, “Yes, I know I’m short. You probably noticed, but I’m going to go ahead and point it out so that you won’t feel compelled to do it instead.”
It’s extremely effective, which is why I don’t really rank it as “annoying,” per se.
Pro tip, friends: be willing to poke fun of yourself. If you take yourself too seriously, you give assholes ample opportunity to make you feel bad. Embrace the things you can’t change about yourself. There’s nothing hawter than someone confident and proud of who they are.
Now that we’re done being deep…
6. Being unable to touch the ground with your feet when sitting in a chair unless you lean forward
Annoyance level: 5/5
Ok, hear me out. You’re probably thinking, “Out of everything in this list, this is the one you ranked 5/5?” BUT HEAR ME OUT.
I didn’t even notice this for the longest time. I considered it such a pain in the ass that I never feel like I can sit back in a chair comfortably, but I figured it’s something everyone deals with and that we’re just meant to sit forward and not basically lay back in the chair. But one day, I had an epiphany: holy shit, if you’re tall enough, you can sit back and your feet touch the ground! Sitting back is comfortable for most people! You don’t have to sit criss-cross applesauce or force yourself to sit forward. Chairs are good for you!
This blew my fucking mind. You mean to tell me that not everyone deals with constant chair discomfort the way I do? That the awkward feeling of sitting back and having your toes kind of touch the ground but not enough to feel like you can sit back and rest is not a universal thing? That my embarrassing moment almost falling back in a chair during my graduation isn’t a normal problem people have when sitting back in a chair, but a short people problem that we have because we don’t know how to sit properly if our feet don’t entirely rest on the ground?!
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Bryanna Gary is the founder of The Angry Noodle and a current editorial assistant at Del Rey Books–science fiction, fantasy, and horror imprint of Penguin Random House.