When my sister gave me her copy of “Julie & Julia” to watch this rainy weekend, it was with a twinkle in her eye.
“This movie made me think of you,” she said. “In fact, there’s a scene in it that made me think of us…you’ll know it when you see it,” she said mysteriously.
And of course, I got it right away. Meryl, as usual, plays her character exactly true to form; and in Julia Child that form is statuesque – the nicest word I can think of in the English language to describe women like us. I am 5 foot eleven inches tall when I’ve just gotten out of bed and had a shower (i.e. actually woken up) and sadly, I’m on my way down. If it wasn’t for the scoliosis that invisibly curves my back from side to side like an ‘S’, I would be 6 foot and one inch – and also, still, on my way down. When I walk, I stride because my legs are from here to here; that is to say I get bruises from doorhandles on my thighs. My greatest fashion moment was when it became trendy to have jeans that dragged on the ground as you walked…finally I have womens jeans that don’t freeze my ankles. And only just. Wondrously, I have one pair of womens jeans that are actually frayed at the back of the hem; when I wear the patches out of them I will be in mourning!
I detested my height as a young person, not only because my clothes didn’t fit (“when’s the flood coming?” hahaha), but because I had to stoop to hear the whispers of my peers (which contributed to a very poor posture) and later because it seemed like tall boys only liked to have petite, helpless girlfriends. And I was, very clearly, far from helpless.
Eventually, I did see my height as an asset. I modelled as a teen (until I realised that while my height and lack of figure were ideal in the modelling world, my live-and-let-live attitude were not – Seriously NO competitive spirit at all), I carried my babies and birthed them well because they had lots of room (TMI? Sorry), I can get things off the high shelves for anyone who needs it in the supermarket (and, yes, that does make me feel like a superhero) and I don’t need to worry too much if I’m a few weeks late dying my hair – like, who’s going to notice?
Still, it’s always there – in your conciousness. You’re tall. A very petite friend once told me that I could be intimidating to someone who didn’t know me and I was shocked. I had always thought of myself more like the BFG, how on earth could I be intimidating? But she measured herself up to me (she came just below my bust) and then she stood on a chair on a copy of the yellow pages, on her tiptoes, right next to me. Towering over me because I came up to her bust.
It was like a slap in the face.
All of a sudden I started to think of my body language. And while I consider myself a mild mannered person, when pushed I put my hands on my hips and I straighten my spine….and I pity the person who got me there.
Really, I’m sorry.
Having realised I will never be a petite person, unless I embody the Hunchback of Notre Dame, at the tender age of 40 I am embracing the tall, the Amazon, the statuesque.
When I see a woman taller than myself, I stare at them – I am mesmerised by them, I am attracted to them because they are my people. I also check out their pants, because they may have contacts for tall chick jeans that I don’t know about.
So, in the “Julia & Julie” scene where the two statuesque sisters meet at the train station and squeal with delight, oblivious to the eyes of everyone around them, I laughed out loud. That’s my sister and I – I am way the tallest but when we are together we are…statuesque, and even if we aren’t carrying on like two old chooks, I think we are hard to miss – for all the right reasons.
Being tall is character building, it’s a super-ability, it’s different and it’s wonderful, especially when you can find pants to fit!