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Sunday, 3 July 2016

The Perks, Perils and Pitfalls of Being Petite

Ok not petite, I am short, let’s not sugar coat it with French words. I am 5 foot exactly, therefore I am short, under tall, vertically challenged or whatever phrase you like to use. There is no point in pretending that I am a giant Amazon woman as I really don’t think I could pull it off.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t actually mind being short most of the time; as the saying goes “the best things come in small packages.” There are, sadly things that are harder when you don’t have legs like a racehorse and arms like a gorilla.
Reaching things is a major issue to us little folk and can be quite an annoyance on a day to day basis. At home I have a couple of steps for reaching things in high cupboards, opening windows and cleaning those annoying areas far above the ground. In shops, however I have to rely on helpful shop assistants and the kindness of strangers. I think the world of retail forgets that not all human beings are built like Mr Tall with the arms of Mr Tickle. For example, I was in a clothes shop recently and some of the clothes were so far beyond my reach that I felt like I was a Lilliputian who had strayed into the land of the giants. To be honest all clothes shops think that everyone has the measurements of a supermodel. (But more about that later.)
Supermarkets can be tricky because the one thing you want is on a shelf so high that you would need oxygen if you do reach it and they really frown upon customers scaling the shelves like a deranged chimp in order to get that last packet of chocolate chip cookies that you can’t reach but must have. If you actually dare to ask a member of staff most of them will give you that look that could freeze the flames of hell and they then will grudgingly find a set of steps, put on their oxygen mask and retrieve the essential item for you. I find it is a better bet to approach a tall, male customer and do the helpless female act. (So much easier to pull off when you are short) They always forget that most of us smaller ladies are feisty hellcats and do their knight in shining armour routine.
I have to mention what I call Kermit the frog syndrome. This is when you sit in a chair which is too tall and your legs are dangling in an unattractive manner. Equally annoying is when you sit back in a chair and your feet don’t touch the ground.
So, back to the clothes dilemma. As I previously mentioned the clothes shops, designers and manufacturers all seem to think that all women are tall and slim. If anyone is short and a little bit round they are really not the ideal person to be showcasing the clothes that are usually in fashion. I will say that there are good ranges of petite clothes in some stores but you often have to order them in and they are never a generous cut width wise. Some clothes just don’t look as good when scaled down.  I think we need more short, fat clothes designers as they would understand the needs of the average small shopper. Sadly we are not all elfin as well as being little. I am a 12-14 and I struggle so I do feel for those ladies in the larger sizes who are also knee high to a grasshopper.
Of course there are plus points to being of short stature. Firstly men can be easily fooled into thinking that you are delicate and incapable when you are really gutsy and independent and more than capable of doing anything (apart from reaching high things). I suppose, deep down all woman occasionally want a protective man.
Secondly, ducking and diving though crowds is so much easier when you are small. You can get through a group of people with only a few “Excuse mes” and “oops, sorrys” as you squeeze past.
Obviously being smaller means that you don’t have to bend down so far to pick things up. (Wash out your minds, what did you think I was going to say!!!)  You never have to bend to get through low doorways or under overhanging branches and you always have plenty of leg room in cars, trains and other forms of transport.
So too summarise being a petite woman there are pluses and minuses and, of course, insults and leprechaun jokes, but to be totally honest, I think I would rather be five foot tall than a long legged, Amazon.

Does this tree make me look big?

Land of the giants.

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