Monday, 31 January 2011

Tall Women

I have always had tall women friends. It is not because I am short, I am average height really. Once a tall skinny friend suggested I have a height complex because I always wear silly heels, but I don't think it is that. I have always worn heels. I remember my first mini platforms when I was around nine, and my first cork clunkers when I was twelve. Precious thing I was.

But I drift towards tall women. Maybe because they seem stronger, more resolute, they've had years of people staring at them. I like walking alongside them. They are easy to spot on the dancing floor in clubs.

Last week I caught up with a tall friend, now separated. We had a lot to speak about - about creativity, about men, about handbags. But that makes it sound simplistic. We talked about the courses our lives were on, and how we had set out as twenty year olds into the world.

My first glimpse of Europe was when I was nineteen. I instantly fell in love with the gritty Paris of the eighties that has shifted now. As soon as I had saved up enough, at twenty-one, I went back there to live, enrolled in the Sorbonne, wrote a novel in my room above the sweatshop downstairs. My 'family' were artists and there were murals painted on the walls, a dark room for printing and - oh yes! - a baby to look after. Malou was a classical Parisienne rebel who organised her world into creativity-motherhood-womanliness. She was my first and strongest example of these forces at work, and the main reason why I was determined to write, while getting my childbearing on the way.

And that was where I met my first tall friend, a dancer who basically helped me learn Italian (my boyfriend thought my accent too cute) while I ironed out her English. She too was easy to spot in nightclubs and walked with a remarkable back. We have since grown older and danced together in clubs in Tokyo and Moscow, thinking ourselves very exotic.


  1. I'm tall tall tall. And my best friend's best friend, before me, was a six-foot-six woman. So, there are those of you who seek out tall friends, yes. You're not alone.

    On the other hand, I think some women shy away from being my friend because I'm so darn willowy and showy. With men, it's been even worse. Thank God I somehow found a tall husband.

  2. Glad you found a tall husband!

    I guess my tall girlfriends give me someone to follow in crowds, and permission to wear massive heels. It's weird isn't it, but I feel quite comfortable, not that I don't treasure my shorter girlfriends!!

  3. I admit having tall envy. I would trade almost anything to have a few more inches. 5' isn't just short, it's absurdly short. So all of my friends are taller than me, but I've always had really tall friends. Women with a gorgeous six feet. Dreamy.

  4. I think it's also something about vulnerability. Tall women are often powerful, and yet spend their adolescence hiding away, slouching, trying to disappear. All their boyfriends have to measure up. A tall friend once told me she never wears heels because she feels like a transvestite. I'd never even thought of that. Whereas shorter ladies often appear to be more feminine and in need of protection.
    Having said all that I'm not crazy about gigantic men or a dizzying size difference à la Kim and fellow.

  5. Some people think - if you're tall - you have it too good already therefore it justifies their being MEAN. Some people are envious. Women have to be strong to have a tall friend. Mostly, men don't think I want to be cared for. And too many ignorant ******* want to know what it's like up here. Lonely, draughty from all the ignorant *******, and sometimes quite wonderful.

  6. Wow Rachel, I never thought of being tall in terms of being singled out for mean comments! This is not on. I think tall is sculptured and elegant.

    A tall woman, bare-shouldered, bare feet. Beautiful.