Why are New Yorkers so Tall?

212Access August 22, 2012 Comments Off on Why are New Yorkers so Tall?

So I’ve been asked to chronicle a few stories about my life in the City. It sounded like a cool assignment until my editor gave me some specifics.

“Tell us what it’s like to live in New York City, but give us views from your height perspective,” my editor said. “You know, some of the challenges you face.”

Okay, I’m 5’4” so it’s not like I’m legally classified as a dwarf. I don’t need a step stool to reach the Starbucks sugar stand, but I do need the money.

“How much does it pay?”

Long pause over the phone.

“50 dollars.”

Seriously? I was making $300 a story out of college and now 15 years later I am making $50 a story. Something doesn’t seem write, uh, I mean right. I always heard about taller people making more money (and here is the proof) so I can only assume I am shrinking with age.

I figured I could balance out the pay disparity by writing a faster article. If I can get this article out in only 30-minutes than I’m making $100 an hour. That’s about the amount tall writers make, right?

The clock is ticking.

I am now punched in at Starbucks, trying to chronicle a week’s worth of stories in only 25 minutes. (I figured my 5-minute walk to Starbucks should be included in my labor since it did take some effort).

Where does a guy even begin to chronicle his life or week or height? I grabbed a great window seat at the Starbucks on 70th and Broadway and began to think when I overheard two girls talking.

“I really like him but he’s not that tall.”

You can’t make this stuff up. I was only sitting down for 2 minutes when these girls started gabbing about their dating life. I figured it was a sign from God so I began to eavesdrop in.

“How tall is he?”


Five- Ten? Do you know what I would give to be 5’10”? I wanted to look at the girls and give them a really mean, dirty look, but I also needed material. I decided to compromise my values for the sake of money and not turn around.

I pretended to work.

“That’s not bad,” her girlfriend said. “That’s pretty tall.”

Thank you. I mean, she wasn’t really defending my height, but she might have been implying that there are a lot of good guys that are under 5’10”. At least that’s what I wanted to believe.

“Yeah, but he doesn’t have a job,” she said.

“How long has he been out of work?”

“About six months.”

And then they quit talking about height. I really wanted to see how tall or how good-looking these girls were to be so picky. Maybe she needed to date a guy who is 6-feet because she’s 6’3.”

I stretched my back and pretended like I was a chiropractor, manipulating the spine, so I could get a good look at the girl who was complaining about a guy being only 5’10”.

The girl was not pretty.

She was also not tall.

Honestly, she was also overweight.

In fact, I don’t even think I would date her, which got me thinking. Maybe the tall guy didn’t like her and that was her way of taking control of the situation.

But I can relate. I’ve heard girls say all the time that they want to date tall guys. Their dream guy is always tall, dark and handsome in that order. Whatever happened to nice, sweet and understanding? Or kind, funny and bright?

Clock ticking.

Men and women are taller in New York. I’ve noticed it. It’s fine. But that doesn’t mean that height trumpets values. Many of my single girlfriends are trying to find Mr. Big on some of the different single dating websites. I’ve seen a few of their profiles and one thing they always add is a height requirement.

These are the same women who are going to be single in 20 years because they put too much emphasis on height.

I just remembered something from 10 years ago. I was in a morning meeting at my old employer, pitching story ideas, when I volunteered that I wished I were taller.

An older African-American editor, with lots of grey hair, quickly turned to me and said, “you would have wished yourself out of existence.”

It sounded pretty deep for 8am, so I prodded her for more insight.

“What do you mean?”

“You wouldn’t be the same man if you were taller. You’re funny, you’re bright, you’re smart. You are who you are based on your experiences.”

She made my day.

I hope I make your day when you realize in the future, physicality is only skin-deep.

Dating a hot chick is something every guys wants.

Marrying a rich man is what most women pursue.

But sometimes, we need to learn to just accept ourselves for who we are and let our existence come to us naturally.