Sunday, 27 February 2011

27.02. Tall, short or spot on?

I was at my pharmacy the other day and struck up a conversation with someone there, and I happened to mention someone they knew. They said; yes, she works at so and so, she is the quite tall one, right? That made me think, as I have never thought of her as tall, but then again; everything is relative, right :-) I never think of myself as tall either, and I am 5’9” ...I think of everyone else around me as short! I come from Norway originally, and I am not particularly tall there, in fact I know personally several women in Norway who are taller than me, but when I moved to London I happened to end up in the East End of London where the majority of the people originally are Asian and therefore of a considerably shorter stature than
Scandinavians. But did you know that the average height of British men and women are 5’9” and 5’3.5”? (In metrical measurements that is 1.75m and 1.61m) That is the average of the whole of Britain, the average for East London must be considerably shorter, but I can’t find any data for East London specifically. I must admit I sometimes do feel a bit like an ostrich when walking around here where I live, often being more than a head taller than everyone else around me, not that it bothers me, but I do notice it, and so does definitely people around me.

You see, I am 5’9” in bare feet, but I always wear shoes with heels. I love my shoes and although it makes me close to 6’ I can’t see any reason why I shouldn’t wear fashionable shoes with 2 ½ inches heels just like other women do. As I started saying, I don’t consider myself tall, it’s everyone else that is short. When I was a child I grew fast, very fast, and I reached my size by the time I was around 13 and so did my feet. As a 13 year old, 5’9” with size 8 feet it was not easy to get shoes to fit. I sometimes squeezed my feet into my mother’s size 7 shoes when I dressed up for something, but it was not much fun to go to school discos wearing your mother’s shoes! When I got older I had to have every pair of shoes I bought blocked out by a cobbler so they got wider, or I had to wear wet socks for weeks whilst walking with the shoes to widen them and endure many painful blisters. Then I moved to London and found a UK web-site for people with big, wide feet where the shoes cost the same as normal shoes, and when they have sales you can easily buy a pair for as little as £10! Eureka!

Here is my shoe cupboard, with some of my shoes, I must admit that over the years I have bought quite a few pairs, but since they are so reasonable in price, I just can’t resist :-) I think it has something to do with all the years when I used to have only 1 or 2 pair of shoes at the time, and they usually didn’t fit me very well. Now I can buy any pair of shoes from this company and I know before they arrive that they will fit me. I have to be a bit choosy with the shape and heel, as I simply can’t walk in shoes with too thin heel, it’s just too painful. So the higher the heel, the thicker and sturdier it has to be. On the other hand, I don’t really walk that much any more, so shoes are more for decoration these days, and none of them will need resoling any time soon! In fact, I have a few pair of shoes I still haven’t used yet. OK, OK...some people collect stamps, I collect shoes, and each of these 3 pairs cost between £10 and £15 so we’re hardly talking about a fortune here. I haven’t used them because I haven’t had an opportunity to use them.

I am not out and about that often, so until there is an event, these 3 pairs of shoes are safely kept in my shoe cupboard. If you wonder where I get my shoes, here it is: the web-site is called FIFTY PLUS just go to their footwear department.

OK, back to being tall or short, or as I see it, just about right...I wouldn’t be a centimetre shorter than I am had I got the option although I must admit had you asked me when I was 13 I probably would have said yes please to an offer of being 6 inches shorter. But at that time in life most girls have some issues with their body; with me it was being skinny and taller than all the female teachers....and some of the male teachers too everyone in my class. That stage didn’t last very long and since then I haven’t had an issue with my height and never thought for example that I needed to wear flat shoes only, like some women seems to think. As I said before, it’s all a matter of what you compare yourself to, or to whom you compare yourself to, to be precise! My last boyfriend was 6’7” (2.0m) and I always felt rather short next to him, even in my 2 ½ inch heels :-)

So what about you, I hope you too feel just about right about your height? It is one of a few things that you can’t do anything with, so you just have to accept it and live with it :-) But as humans we do tend to get affected with the way other people look, and there has been numerous surveys and studies over the years trying to establish the link between height and success in life. Unfortunately it shows time and time again that if you are taller than average, you can expect to earn more and have a better position than if you are below average in height. However, if you are a woman and are above average in weight, you can forget everything I just mentioned; obese women earn considerably less than slim women do! This does peculiarly not apply to men, especially not those who already hold a powerful position, if they become obese during their period in power; it is seen as a natural process. How unfair!!  One study from USA into height and earnings concluded that mere inches cost thousands of dollars. Each inch in height amounted to about $789 more a year in pay, so someone who is 7 inches taller – say 6 feet versus 5 feet 5 inches – would be expected to earn $5,525 more annually. Height was associated with subjective ratings of work performance, such as supervisors’ evaluations of how effective someone is on the job, but also objective measures of performance, including sales volume. And being tall may have the effect of boosting employees’ self-confidence, helping to make them more successful, as well as prompting people to ascribe more status and respect to a tall person, according to the same study. And how about this piece of statistics: a very impressive demonstration of the height-success association can be found in the realm of politics. In the United States presidential elections, the taller candidate won 22 out of 25 times in the 20th century! Sorry, are you still feeling fine about your height? No issues brewing I hope? Good! And if you are a woman, you can always get yourself a nice pair of shoes with some great heels, nothing boosts your confidence like a gorgeous pair of shoes! They don’t need to cost the earth, and if someone asks what the price was and you don’t actually want to admit that they were only £12.50, just do like I do, I usually answer “Oh, I have so many pair of shoes, I really can’t remember what I paid for these!”

Well folks, that’s it for tonight, I need to put my big feet up and do absolutely nothing for the rest of the evening. Until next time, take care.

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