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Walking Tall | Manolo for the Big Girl

Walking Tall

Okay, I’ve been staring at this damn ocean for three days straight now and I have yet to see ONE whale. What the heck, whales? Why you gotta be all hiding and stuff? Six trillion dolphins, a squadron of marauding pelicans and something that was either a shark or a log cunningly disguised as a shark and NO whales. No one likes a diva, whales.

Plus it’s taken time away from my vital Shoe Shopping In Mexico project, which, hand to God involved this exchange:

Me:”So where would I find the closest thing to a Neiman Marcus here?”
Hotel Developer, laughing hollowly into my bosoms “…Sears.”

I’m looking for shoes because despite being assured I could wear heels to meet Hot Latin Boy’s mother, now apparently that isn’t such a great idea. Whatever. Normally I would just wear heels anyway, but recently I’ve started feeling a bit odd standing a foot over both the hoi and a vast majority of the polloi as well.

I don’t feel weird being fat. I’m certainly not the only fattyfattytwobyfour (or whatever it is in metric) in Baja, but it just seems like I’m built on an entirely separate scale and it’s disarming.

Speaking of disarming, some of the fellas from Hot Latin Boy’s club took their assorted wives and girlfriends out to Puerto Nuevo for lobster last night and on the way back we had to stop through a military checkpoint. I’d taken off my shoes so had to shimmy back into five inches of kid suede while a man whose machine gun was nearly as big as he was –at about 4’11”– poked and prodded through my personal belongings, including a bag containing my *ahem* Lady’s Companion. AWKWARD.

I can’t be the only one who’s had this experience –the feeling tall part, not the battery operated gentleman caller witnessed by a short Mexican dude with a fully automatic weapon the size of a donkey part (heh. donkey part.)– so, how long does it last? I’m rarely abashed or even daunted, but any words of wisdom from those who have passed (being sure to watch your head on the door jamb) before.

19 Responses to “Walking Tall”

  1. Katie November 16, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    I can’t say it lasts a particular amount of time, but at some point, you do just stop caring.

    I’m barely under six feet tall in my stocking feet, and have been since I was 13. My boyfriend is…..5’4″. My best friend is 5’4″. Her husband is 5’5″. My roommate is 4’11’.

    If I still cared about everyone basically having my boobs at eye level, I’d never get anything done! You could try easing into it, starting with flats and raising the heel height slowly over your visits until it doesn’t feel quite so unnatural. Of course, for that you’d need to find a shoe store.

  2. liberty November 16, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    I feel like it comes in waves. Sometimes I am fierce in my over 6 foot glory… sometimes not so much. It depends on my mood and it changes unexpectedly.

    Spending time in Thailand was something else. I was very seriously a mutant giant. Red hair, 6 foot 3 in heels and a big girl…. I could part a crowd in a Thai market like Moses parted the red sea.

  3. Jeni November 16, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

    Im 5’10”, short for my mother’s side (who are all 6’+) but Im tall in the “normal world”. I LOVE heels, especially 4’+ ones with a platform. My bf calls them “hooker heels”, but is quick to amend that to “high class call girl heels” when I make like Im going to throw one at his head.

    I do tend to feel kind of weird in heels just because I feel like a GIANT (both in height and girth)walking towards people. Like Godzilla taking a stroll through a nice little Japanese town.

    I still wear heels just not as often as I like.

  4. laurafallsdown November 16, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    My feelings about my height range from doing a modified slouch all night (it’s all in the legs) to striding with pride in 4-inchers. As someone who also lived in Mexico, I’m going to go ahead and say that if it weren’t for the height, you’d be focusing on something else that sets you apart – your skin color, hair, or lack of an iron-clad stomach (kidding on that last one! …kind of). In my experience, what finally made me stop noticing how different I appeared was being able to sass the pants off of anyone who tried to give me shit (pardon my French) for standing out. I promise you’ll feel like a complete badass the first time you yell at someone in mildly vulgar Mexican street slang to mind their own business for talking loudly about how tall you are when they didn’t think you’d understand.

  5. Patti November 16, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    Add me to the red headed tall big girl brigade. I’ve gotten used to looking at the tops of people’s heads when I wear my 5″ heels. I tend to revel in it personally

  6. Liz November 16, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    *butts into conversation*

    I have no idea how seriously I can expect y’all to take this, considering I’m 4’9″, and totally jealous.

    I’m with Laura. It’s always…something. Whether it’s potentially being a foot heavier than everyone else in the country, or strangers berating you because it’s 1.30pm on a Monday and they think you’re playing truant. (Uh, hypothetically.)

    And I also find that being unusually sassy helps. Reminding myself that I’m, like, totally allowed to snap at assholes is pretty exhilirating.

  7. Jenn November 16, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

    As a 5’11 girl who was ditched by the last guy I dated because I was too tall, too mouthy, too fat and too good for him, ok, I made that last one up, anyway, I have come to realize that I am going to be noticed no matter what I do. I’m freakin’ tall! And I’m a size 18 so I’m plus sized as well. I also have natural orange-red, super curly, hair (trend anyone?) So I figure if I’m going to be noticed, it may as well be for my righteous shoes and fierce style as well as my physical attributes. So you rock your heels, as long as you are comfortable. But it’s OK to decide to rock some flats until you are fully confident in a situation. :) Best of luck!

  8. Lisa from SoCal November 16, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    You’re looking to buy shoes in Mexico? I never found anything over a size 8 there. Maybe you have smaller feet than I do (which is likely, given that I think 99 percent of the world outside the NBA and NFL do, in fact, have smaller feet than me)….but I never find anything that fits in Mexico except for tops, hats, sunglasses, etc. My husband is 6 foot–not huge for a guy–and he can’t find shoes in Mexico either.

  9. klee November 16, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    While I never lived in Mexico, I have lived in Southern Italy. Being able to see over the entire subway platform comes in handy, having to have stocking/hosiery mailed to me from the US because their largest size came to my knees was not so great. There are advantages and disadvantages, but even if you were shorter, I don’t see you blending in-too much fab.

  10. JANET November 17, 2011 at 5:33 am #

    I’m 5’8″ in socks, and my daughter is 5’11” in sock, and both of us are generous in proportions. Conversely, all my granparents and both of my parents were short and petite: my mother was 5′ and my dad 5’4″. Spending time at my parents’ house was like being Alice in Wonderland, when she was growing bigger and bigger and the house was becoming t tinier and tinier. All of my parents’ furniture was small-scale to fit them, which meant that our legs protruded into the middle of the living room when we sat on the tiny sofa and chairs. In addition, the spaces between the furniture were really narrow, which meant that we had to turn sideways to squeeze through. My daughter and I would literally breathe huge sighs of relief when we left the house and could once again fully expand our lungs and limbs. For a lot of years I felt like Gulliver on his travels among the little people, but I have never regretted being tall, and neither has my daughter. I am LARGE and IN CHARGE!

  11. Rebekka November 17, 2011 at 7:10 am #

    I’m tall and plumpy and NOT redheaded. Have to buy my trousers and shoes abroad in spite of the fact that I live in Scandinavia and you’d think they had other tall people here. To be honest I usually wear flats but that’s because I’m a klutz.

  12. Liz November 17, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    Having given it some thought, I’m not sure you’re actually talking about your height.

    You seem to be referring more to a feeling of not belonging, or knowing how to act (which is probably a novel feeling), or of where you stand in the society as a whole, which you’re putting in terms of height. After all, it’s the most visible aspect of your differences.

    I think you’ll feel much better as soon as you’re in more familiar surroundings, with people you know. Mainly because you’ll have some idea of where you stand, and won’t be totally different from everyone else.

    The only times I’ve been really and truly self conscious about my height was on a trip to the US, and another one to the Netherlands. In my home country, I’m kinda short. In those countries, I was so much shorter than everyone else that people sometimes asked if I had dwarfism.

    My self consciousness wrt my height was a perfectly normal reaction in its own right, but it was also my way of sublimating the feeling of everything being so different, and not knowing the ways.

  13. AnthroK8 November 17, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    I am not tall, and I am now redheaded. But I did spend part of a summer in Brazil at a time when I was still my natural fair blonde. I answered a lot of questions about my hair. Such as “yes it is natural” and “no I don’t dye it” and “because my grandmother had hair this color.” And so on. I didn’t feel weird about it, though. I don’t know why. Probably because people were acting on the Blonde is Desirable thing, and since I have always been blonde and at the time didn’t think of myself as desirable (so stupid of 21 yo. me!) I just found that mystifying.

    But when mortifying things happen, such as the Lady’s Companion Incident, I feel like the only way out is through. Like, I just have to brazen it out, and then work at forgetting about it. And if it ever does crop up in your conciousness, I just have to… make myself shrug and say “ah, f*ck it” and move on.

    It’s gotten easier, and the easier it gets, the less often I have to employ the skill.

  14. AnthroK8 November 17, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    Unless the Hot Latin Man’s ma-mah was right there when it happened. In which case… I got nothing for you except to melt into a puddle of “wah!”

  15. Alison November 17, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

    I can’t speak for the Baja side, but I have had great luck with shoes in the mercado central in Mérida, Yucatán, where I’ve paused during research trips to scour for a pair of purple patent leather strappy sandals with a 2.5″ heel (less than $100 pesos). Two years into their tenure they are still divine. I can even bike in them! This won’t solve your height problem, but it might help you to find some amazing shoes.

  16. Tovah November 17, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

    Being 5’1 AND a half (Yes, that half an inch is important), I would gladly change places with someone tall. I can never find pants that fit (hence the big cuff look) and being short and plus-sized, I tend to resemble a squat gnome. I do like wearing heels and they do help. I do have to say that your experience kind of reminded me of when I fell on the sidewalk a few years ago and everything dumped out of my purse — i had like 10 days worth of tampons come spilling out. Of course, all these people kept trying to help me and I just kept saying, ‘get out! get out!. First day at a job too. Late, torn up stockings, embarassed, all before 9:00 a.m.

  17. ZaftigWendy November 18, 2011 at 5:29 am #

    I know how you feel, Plummy. I’ve had the same experience here in San Antonio, living in a primarily Latino neighborhood. The looks on the faces of the Very Macho Latin men when the Anglo Giantess walks by (and I’m only tall, not TALL – 5’9″) is priceless, and can get tiring. But you do get used to it. You have no choice, really, if you want to preserve your good posture and all.

    I got over it by giving birth to boys who grew up to make ME feel short. It’s a long-term solution, but a good one!

  18. HeidiAphrodite November 18, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    I’m 5’9″ and have auburn hair. ;) I do community theater and it’s hard when I’m the tallest woman (or person, sometimes) onstage, and I’m not THAT tall! Sometimes when I’m walking, I realize how far down it is and get unnerved by my own inseam length. Most of the time, I’m fine with it. I’m fine wearing my heels. I just try not to loom over people, you know? I try not to get too much into their space bubble or to have the attitude of looming. This is why I must marry someone at least three inches taller than me–it’ll make the looming thing easier to avoid. ;)

  19. mywhimsey November 19, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

    Well, I’m 6’3″ in my ballet flats and there hasn’t been a day that passed since I was 12 that someone hasn’t commented on my height (usually of the “Do you play basketball variety?”, but sometimes of the “Do those legs go all the up?” type).

    I’ve tried a bunch of different ways of being invisible/blending in, but none of them have worked. The only ways I’ve found to get over the general discomfort are to remember 1) when people comment, mostly they mean it as a compliment 2) it is okay to rant (to yourself) that pants can always be hemmed but you can’t add extra length, so what-the-hell pants manufactures?! 3) you are not getting any shorter by slouching, it just makes you look bad.

    But, hey, the upside is that now you’ll never be lost in a crowd! You can’t find your group, but they will find you.