It's interesting thinking about the world from someone else's perspective. And today, for the sake of research, I'm going to give you a few insights into what it's like to be a very short adult. Stephanie and I were talking about it the other day, and I realized it's actually useful information if you ever want to write a short character. And if you don't, well, you can just laugh and think, "Man, Kiersten is short!"
First, The Legs: I have all the leg space I could need on airplanes (yeah, take that tall people!) and in the back seats of cars. It's awesome. Not so awesome? On couches and benches and table chairs, etc, my feet never touch the ground. Ever. At best, my toes will. At worst, on deep couches my knees don't even go over the edge and my calves stick straight out like I'm a five-year-old. I usually sit with one leg curled up underneath me because having them hanging is hard on the knees.
Second, The Interaction: It's much easier for me to talk to people when we are all sitting down or if they aren't standing very close to me. Let's say Whirl, who is 6'2", was standing directly in front of me, telling me about Maurice the Donkey. Once I got over my excitement because this would mean I was in England, I'd realize how awkward it was. Not awkward as in, I'm having a conversation with a man I've technically never met and he's telling me about the neighborhood donkey, but awkward as in, I have to crane my neck at a 90 degree angle to look up at him. It's just not comfortable. In these cases I always prefer to stand next to someone, and we can talk not looking at each other (with the ensuing neck pain) but rather at Maurice the Donkey, who is really more interesting to look at than I am, anyway. (Also, oddly enough, if I'm ever talking to someone who is my height, I have to back up a step. I'm used to having more personal space because people's faces are so far away from mine, and when they aren't, it makes me uncomfortable.)
Third, The Assumptions: People think I'm a kid. We've been over this one. Besides people thinking I'm seventeen and trying to figure out how old I would have been when I had Nayna (yes! fourteen! lovely!) (NOT REALLY, I was nearly twenty-one. Which I realize will still sound ridiculously young, but I had been married for two years at that point and had a degree. It's far better than fourteen, right?) they also ignore me in stores or, for some odd reason, stand way, way, WAY too close behind me in lines. Maybe it's because they can see over my head so they don't realize how close they are, but really, old men, BACK UP.
When I was sixteen I got in a car accident. While I sat sobbing in the rain on the side of the road, not one, not two, but THREE different police officers came over to ask where my mom was. I kept telling them she was on her way, not understanding why they insisted on asking this until one of them asked me which seat of the car I was in. Umm, the DRIVER'S?! Yes, none of them thought I was old enough to drive. Talk about adding insult to smashed beyond repair car.
Fourth, The Relationships: There were at least two boys growing up who liked me for the sole reason that I was shorter than them. It's true. Very short guys LOVE extremely short girls because we are the only ones who make them feel normal. Sometimes they love us so much they stalk us, but that's another story. I had a prom date who flat out told me my best feature was that I made him look really tall and he was disappointed that I wore five inch heels.
There are also the practical matters to consider. There are a full thirteen inches between Hot Stuff's lips and mine. That's far too much space for my taste. (Well, right now he's at work and there are like thirteen miles between our lips, which is even worse.) If we are standing up, I have to go on my tiptoes, put my arms on his shoulders or around his neck for balance, and tip my head all the way back. He has to bend at the middle and lean down about a foot. It's a lot of work, but if you've seen Hot Stuff's lips, you'll understand that it's worth it. We are very concerned, however, for when we're old and feeble and arthritic. Our solution is to build a house where every room has two levels, with one half of the floor thirteen inches above the other. I can always walk on the higher side and he can walk on the lower side, and we'll be able to kiss without bending and creaking and cracking our poor old bones.
An Old Family Picture
(I am the one in the middle)
(I am the one in the middle)
Finally, if you are a very short girl and you date or marry a rather tall guy, people will get mad at you. I'm serious. I had one lady ask in me in rather accusing tone why I took a guy away from tall girls. Yes--that was my main motivation in marrying Hot Stuff. "Ha! There's some 5'10" girl crying herself to sleep out there tonight because there's one less single guy out there who's taller than her!" Trust me, I didn't pick Hot Stuff based on height. I picked him the first time I saw him, and he was sitting down at the time. Playing the guitar. And when he looked up at me with those gorgeous blue eyes and smiled, that was it for me. The fact that he gives our kids a shot at not being freakishly short is just a bonus.
So there you have it. You can either have more sympathy for short people, more reasons to laugh at me, or fodder for a new perky, spunky, and adorabley short main character.