Saturday, September 10, 2011

Weekly Whine: I'm too short

According to some random website I googled, the average height for an adult female in America is 5'4". I won't get into numbers, but suffice to say, I'm shorter than that.

During residency, we took a photo of all the residents together. When the picture was sent out, I was shocked to discover that I was the shortest resident. I had no idea. There were residents who I had thought were about the same height as me, but were clearly taller in the photo. Granted, I was wearing flat shoes, but still.

I had several attendings in residency who were quite tall, like well over six feet. It seems odd that a very small person and a very tall person could even be of the same species. I felt like if I somehow mated with these tall men, we'd produce offspring that were sterile or something. And when I worked with them, especially since they were supervising me, I always felt very childlike. Maybe it's a holdover from childhood, but I often feel like someone who is taller than me must therefore know more than I do.

I wonder if taller women are more successful than shorter women. CNN says yes. Plus, taller women don't have to pay like ten bucks each to get all their pants legs hemmed. That said, at least I've never had to date a guy who was shorter than me (a fate worse than death).

For some reason, my kids are really tall though, both in the 90+%tile for height. When my daughter was two years old, I was rotating with a pediatric orthopedic surgeon who had a chart to calculate adult height for females based on height at two years old. Her projected height was 5'11"! Yikes.


  1. The pant legs are annoying. I'm reasonably average in height but still have to get most of mine hemmed.

  2. I'm 5'7 and still need to get my pants hemmed. I am the shortest one in my family though. I have a cousin who is 6'8 and another who is 6'4. One of the women in 6'0. My grandparents on that side were both 5'2. There's no way that could all be due to nutrition, there must be some wacky genetics at play. Maybe that's what's going on with your daughter too.

  3. According to the CNN article self esteem plays a major role, wonder which is more of a role: self esteem or genetics?

  4. Clothing gets you either coming or going. Sure, us tall people may not have to have our pants hemmed, but often times tall/long lengths cost more to begin with! Sometimes $5-$10!

  5. I'm shorter than you (5'2''), and it was only during formal graduation pictures from college that I realized I was definitely a foot shorter than all my friends. It came as quite a shock after four years of imagining I was significantly taller than I am.

  6. I'm 5'1 and even though I buy petite pants, I still need to get them hemmed. But having worked in retail, I understand how hard it can be to get good tall/long clothes. Things always cost more OR the fit is just bad.

    I always thought 5'7 was a good height to be =/

  7. I'm 5'1 and it's atrocious in the lab, because all the tip boxes are exactly out of reach of my fingertips when I stretch up and reach as high as I can. My mom, very quickly, taught me how to hem pants and skirts.

    I'm also a competitive ballroom dancer and my partner is about 6'1. I'm sure you can imagine how much fun that is.

  8. I am very tall (6'1"), stores here have 'petite' sections but no 'tall' section (and no, the average-sized clothes don't cater for really tall women in Australia) and I have great difficulty even finding pants that aren't cut for an average-height wide person rather than a very-tall person of my weight. You can't get pants extended the same way you can get them taken up.
    One of the stores I relied on for pants recently went broke in the GFC and I am probably going to have to shop online.

    I'm really happy about the next generation coming through and being quite a bit taller. Maybe I'll have more luck with pants. ;)

  9. We were taught in nursing school that age of menarche tends to correlate with height in women. Shorter women tend to have an earlier onset of menarche than taller women.

    /random fact

    Also, I am about half an inch over 5'4" -- petite sizes are a tad too short but regular sizes are too long because I don't have a size 00 waist.

  10. I'm 5'1" and my brothers are 6'2". Both my parents were 5'7". Grandmothers on both sides were 5'2" and grandfathers about 6'.
    Like my mom always said better I was short and the boys were tall! I never notice someone's height unless they are shorter than me.

  11. I'm 5'7" ... at least I WAS until I walked out the door of a convenience store and saw the height chart posted there seemed to be wrong as it said I was 5'4". They assured me it was correct much to my dismay as I had always thought of myself as being taller ... that and it totally changes my justification on the weight/height ratio ;-)

  12. It's no better being tall when it comes to buying clothes. I'm 6'5 and slender. Apparently all clothing companies believe if you need a long sleeve on your dress shirt, you must weight 300 lbs. Finding a 16 neck with 37/38 sleeves and a body that's long enough is horrible.

  13. We have discovered as med students in ObGyn rotation that being tall is the key to success. Why? Because tall people can chase after the 100 mph running doctors far more successfully and looking far less like a puffy-faced, sweat-filled dork. :D Sucks that I'm short then. :P By the way, I have blogrolled you, I hope that is OK. Hardly anyone reads my blog anyway and it is more a way for me to keep up with all the blogs I stalk and forget what the URLs were... and anyone who does read my blog totally deserves to read yours more! :)

  14. Projected heights are all well and good but biology trumps it. I'm 6'4 and I was projected to be 6'9. My wingspan is 6'8" and has been since 8th grade. The problem is that I quit growing in 8th grade at 6'4. So now I have the opposite problem of having to have pants hemmed, I almost have to have them lengthened because a 38 inseam. The biggest problem is having long arms but a short trunk. I look like a damn ape and all of my shirts only go halfway down my arm so I wear talls, but then they go half way down my thighs. Yes I am one of the weird people that can pretty much scratch their knees w/o bending over.

  15. PS. My brother is 5'10 and only one other person in my family is 6' (everyone else is 5'7 - 5'9) so our family pictures look kind of funny.

  16. OMDG: Wow, I can't believe you still need your pants hemmed. But I guess I believe it, considering how long all my pants are pre-hemming.

    Allison: Why do you think we think we're taller than we are compared to others? It's weird.

    Mingle: I'd be happy with 5'5", I think.

    Dolce: I have a friend who is your height and married to a guy about 6'4"... that's even harder to wrap my head around.

    Hannah: That makes sense, although I was pretty average for menarche age.

    Sunrise: Thanks :)

    SuFu: When I was 12, the pediatrician projected my height to be 5'7", but I knew that was unlikely since my mom is 5'3" and my father 5'9". I had my growth spurt a little early, so there was like one year that I was one of the taller kids in the class, then quickly went back to being short again.

  17. I'm 5'1 and have a baby face which totally makes me feel childlike around tall people. It also resulted in this conversation a few weeks ago:

    Me: Hi I'm Dr Ob/Gyne's med student, she's looking for the bereavement paperwork.
    Nurse: No worries. I'll ring Mary. *rings* "Hi Mary! I've got this teensy weency itty bitty med student here. Yes! I know they're getting smaller! She's so LITTLE! haha...well she needs bereavement packages. ok. lovely" *phone down* Honey go right up to level seven!
    Me: uh. thanks.

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  19. You know I've thought about that a lot, mostly because my friends think it's hilarious when we look at pictures and I ask if they were wearing heels that day. But I've also had people tell me, "You present yourself as if you were tall." So perhaps it has more to do with confidence (making the broad generalization that short people are insecure?? I'm not comfortable saying that), or the way that you present yourself. I tend to have a lot of opinions, laugh a lot, and make friends easily so perhaps my personality detracts from my stature.

    I also tend to think I am looking people in the eyes (although I'm glancing upwards) so when I meet someone shorter than me, and I can actually see the tops of their heads, it's quite surprising. Just another observation from a fellow short person.

  20. My class picture is really funny. I'm the 6th tallest person in the class at 6'4. We have some big d00ds. The tallest being a former college basketball player at 6'10. The others are 6'6-6'8. Then there's the little guy in the class who is shorter than every girl in the class and dead center in the middle of the bottom row.

  21. @Sunrise I'm just under 5 feet tall and somehow walk faster than most people without any extra effort. I hate walking slowly. I comfortably keep up with 6'5"ers walking at their own brisk pace.

    @Fizzy In my book, you're tall. :-)

    @Allison, I have trouble telling when people are a few inches taller than I am b/c it does seem I'm looking them straight in the eyes. Like you, many people have told me I seem taller than I am, tho' in the end I'm still very small.

    I used to hate being short but long ago accepted the need to alter clothing (often beyond just hemming) and explore the kids section for certain types of clothes (e.g., hiking pants). I feel fortunate to be slim as it seems harder to be short and plump.