In Response to Cosmo’s “Short Problems” Article

My grad class photo from college. Can you guess which one is me?
My grad class photo from college. Can you guess which one is me?

Cosmopolitan.com posted a fun little fluff piece on December 16: 17 Not-So-Tiny Problems Only Short People Understand. I don’t usually look at Cosmo’s website or online content, but I saw this on Facebook and it caught my attention. As someone who is 4 ft. 9, I’ve dealt with short jokes my whole life. I’ve gotten used to them and I usually am the first one to make a joke, before someone else gets a chance to make it. I’ve also gotten used to not being able to reach things on high shelves, not being able to see in concerts and stuff like that.

But this article bugged me. Let me explain.

1. People like to pat you on the head. What purpose does this serve?
This is just disrespectful. Being short does not allow others to be less respectful towards you. Plus, a lot of people spend time and effort on their hair before going out into the world. Patting the hair down flattens it. Of course, if you allow others to do this to you, that just makes the problem worse. Have some god damn self respect.

2. They also really like to call you cute. It gets annoying fast.
I don’t mind this. “Cute” is much better than many of the other available description words out there.

3. Ditto for shorty. Just stop.
If someone nicknames you shorty, feel free to come back with “jackass” or “love handles.” Height is not something you can control.

4. Your pants cost $30 more than everyone else’s because you have to get them hemmed. Also formal dresses and non-mini skirts. You’re basically keeping your tailor in business.
Invest in a sewing machine. You’ll save money in the long run. I’ve hemmed my own pants and made curtains. Or find a less expensive tailor. I used to pay $12 per pair of pants.

5. You can’t reach half the shelves in your apartment. Hope you have space for a small ladder.
I have a small step stool that does the trick. This is not that difficult to figure out.

6. Standing-room-only concerts are the worst. Oh, did you want to see Beyoncé perform?
Okay, this one is actually a real problem. I avoid standing-only concerts for this reason. I don’t want to dish out a bunch of cash to watch someone’s back. It sucks.

7. Grocery shopping is an exercise in flirting. Why do supermarket shelves go up so high?
I repeat: have some god damn self-respect. If you have to flirt to get toilet paper down from a high shelf, you either think men are jerks who won’t just hand you something if you ask OR you only grocery shop at the jerk store. Find another store pronto.

8. You might as well not bother owning an ottoman because your feet will never reach it.
This is definitely the weirdest items on this list. You do have legs and feet, right? Or are you just sitting in the wrong direction on the couch? I use my ottoman all the time and I’m pretty friggin’ short. Also, they are great for storage.

9. You have to wear heels to work. If you don’t, you are basically a foot shorter than all your coworkers.
Heels are bullshit. Guess what. Your coworkers already know you’re tiny. Why should it be a secret? Everyone knows Bill has freckles and Shirley has huge canoe feet. It’s just the way they are. Does your height affect the quality of your work? Probably not.

10. People constantly want to pick you up. And they often just do it without permission or warning. I am not a puppy.
Sigh. You do have the option to say “Please don’t do that. I don’t like it.”

11. You look up to everyone. Literally.
This can get annoying, but I honestly don’t notice it much anymore. People may notice looking down at you to talk, but it’s usually not an issue. When I’m at dinner with friends or working at my desk, it’s not a problem.

12. Making out with a tall dude is a workout. Your neck hurts from stretching, your legs hurt from standing on your tip toes for so long, your abs hurt from trying to keep your balance — it’s practically a barre class.
There is at least a foot in height difference between Colby and I. Tip toes do come into play. The dude should hug you to help with the balance and meet you half way. Also, try sitting down.

13. Holding hands is also awkward.

14. People use your shoulder as their personal armrest, and sometimes your head as a headrest. Do I look like furniture?
See my response to #1, #7 and #10. I don’t find this too annoying, because usually it’s a pal being chummy. But if a stranger ever does this to you, shank them.

15. Taking pictures is a nightmare. It takes at least three takes to convince your taller friend that 1) she should not bend down to take a photo with you and 2) she does not look like a yeti next to you.
What if your friend actually is a yeti?

16. You get stuck in the middle seat on road trips even though that seat is equally uncomfortable no matter your leg length.
See if you can switch seats with someone for a while. Take shifts.

17. You will never be a supermodel.
Neither will most people.

On a related note (but not related to the article specifically)… what’s the deal with tables at restaurants that are taller with tall chairs? They don’t save space, they are just super annoying for short people. It’s embarrassing to have to use the chair as a ladder. So, knock it off with these tables.

For more of my anti-heightism rants, check out my essay in the PEI Writes 2013 Anthology.

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Jillianne Hamilton is the author of Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire, its two action/comedy sequels, and The Lazy Historian's Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII. She is also a graphic designer, a history enthusiast, and a dog mom. Learn more.

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