How Tall is TALL

Today I went into a coffee shop near my place of work and there were 2 young girls at the counter. They were quite friendly and we began chatting about random topics when of course, one girl asked how tall I was. I answered that I was 6’4″ and she came around the counter to see what kind of shoes I had on (thong sandals, I’d just had a pedicure) and to make sure I wasn’t wearing some type of heel.

I asked how tall both of the girls were and they were each 5’8″ but they both began lamenting to me how difficult it is to be tall.  At this point in the conversation, I politely smiled, got my coffee, and went to read my book.  When did ‘Tall’ become 5’8″?  I was already 5’7″ in 6th grade but so were 3 other girls in my class (Lori, Nicole, and Heather).  I’m fairly certain the girls at the coffee shop were college age girls so they aren’t going to grow anymore or very much anyway.  So now I ask the question; in this day and age of taller human beings, how does 5’8″ equal tall?

With best friend, Molly from high school. She's 5'10".

There are so many more resources available to the 5’10” woman and below it seems to me that 6’0″ should be the new 5’10”.  Similar to how 40 is the 30.  (I’m probably going to get lambasted for this statement)

I have no idea the trials and tribulations of today’s youth (spoken like a true 80 year old…sheesh!) I know that I didn’t pay much attention to my height because I had other things to worry about: sports, school, my family, my jobs, etc.  But I can tell you back in the late 70’s and early 80’s here is what we put up with just because we stood out in a crowd:

  • Heather and I in Aug, 1978. I'm sure I wore Heather's outfit in 1979 when it was handed-down to me.

    There was no such thing as ‘tall’ pants or ‘long’ shirts.  You wore what you had, and that’s it.  If you were a first-born, you were lucky because then you got to pick it out, wear it out, and then hand it off to the next kid in line. (Obviously this only works when the siblings are all the same sex, such as my family of 4 sisters.  Or 4 little dish-washers as my mom used to call us but that’s another story)

  • You were either the first one picked on the team or the last one, there was no middle ground.  When you are Tall, you make a choice (or body-wise, it’s made for you), you either excel at athletics or you don’t.  I was lucky, I was pretty good at sports but I know plenty of Tall people who excel at other things.  That’s completely normal.
  • Tall people are made fun of no matter what, even if we were popular.  I was called Stretch, Daddy Long Legs, the Holli Green Giant and so many more.  In fact, in high school I was referred to as ‘The Tree’.  Not Tree…’The Tree’.  Some people didn’t even know my real name, they only knew me as ‘The Tree’.  I considered it a badge of honor because I learned not only to take it, but dish it back
  • You were expected to want to date someone taller because that was supposed to be the way it was.  I hardly dated in high school because of that ridiculous expectation.  Good luck finding him (when you are over 6’0″).
  • You either stand in the back for pictures or you squat so that you don’t appear to be dis-proportionally tall compared to everyone else.   This still happens today so technically I could leave this point out, but I like the picture below of us girls in Breckenridge, CO celebrating Oktoberfest.

See me in the background? Looming over everyone else.

So back to my original questions.  Is 5’8″ considered tall?  Is 5’10” even considered tall?  Would a little above average be considered tall?  Honestly, it actually helps if ‘Tall’ is a little bit shorter.  Then those whom are truly Height-Blessed are afforded more options as height-awareness becomes more mainstream.

When the California Tip Toppers was first began by Kae Sumner Einfeldt, height requirements were established for membership in the club.  Women must be 6’0″ and men must be 6’4″ in order to join.    Most Tall Clubs International groups now follow the 5’10” requirement for women and 6’2″ requirement for men.

So what is considered Tall?  I’ll let you decide.


One thought on “How Tall is TALL

  1. I get this quite a bit too. I think women who are tall enough that selection starts going down in stores feel tall or even too tall. Once you are at the point where clothing is very difficult to find you have to be resourceful on your own and don’t worry as much – at least I don’t. Mostly I don’t think about being tall unless someone reminds me. I have a friend who is much taller than me and she doesn’t think about it much either.

    So I may not consider a 5’10 woman to be tall, but she may think about it more than me.

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