It was fourth grade when I realized there was something, uh, unique about me. Everyone in my class was getting new shoes every few months, as their feet were growing faster than Usain Bolt during a 100-meter dash.
Me? Still in the same FILA sneakers I wore the grade before because they still fit perfectly. Much like my feet, my height didn't change much at all throughout grade school.
At an early age, I learned feeling bitter about being 5' 3” tall would get me nowhere. But even when you confidently own the vertical challenge God has blessed you with, there are still annoying struggles short men face every single day.
1. The barber chair is a nightmare.
I'm quickly reminded of how short I am every week when it comes time to get a haircut. I sit in the barber's chair and my barber spends what seems like 10 minutes pumping the chair up to a normal height.
Sometimes, I'm surprised he doesn't just pull out the booster seat.
2. People question why you drive a big car.
I was walking out of Party City when a woman saw me jump into my Jeep. I heard her say to her friend, “Oh, he must drive that car because he has a Napoleon complex.”
She wasn't the first or the last person to think that about a tiny person driving a huge car.
3. The sun visor in your car is completely useless.
I have no idea what it feels like to have the sun visor in my Jeep actually keep the sun out of my face. And contrary to popular belief, short people do not sit on books when they drive, even though that would probably solve this problem.
4. Sharing the squat bar is awkward.
The guys at the gym never miss the chance to spotlight how “cute” my squat bar is -- not because I squat any less weight than they do, but because my bar is so low.
Sometimes when I have to share the bar with them, they count taking the bar off the rack as an extra rep.
5. Buying pants is expensive.
Buying pants is a S-T-R-U-G-G-L-E. I go into every shopping scenario budgeting not only for the pants, but for the tailoring/hemming that will undoubtedly ensue.
There's no such thing as “last minute” shopping for dress pants, unless I want to go for the parachute pant look.
6. Your "little" cousins are taller than you.
Last month, my little cousins came to visit and the first thing they said when I picked them up from the airport was, “We're taller than you -- this is awkward.”
They're 12 and 14.
7. You have to remind people you meet online that you're 5'3."
I'm a fan of online dating. It's convenient, and it allows you to meet more people than one would in a more traditional way. But having to pre-requisite every “first date” with, “You know I'm 5'3”, right?” gets old real quick.
8. You have to deal with people who have a “short guy” fetish.
It's surprising how many people think it's a compliment to say, “I've never been with a short guy.” On the surface, it may seem flattering, but it makes me feel like a circus freak show. Not to mention, it reminds me how many people aren't into short guys.
Being short isn't a death sentence, and while it does have its shortcomings (pun intended), there are definitely some positives about being on the shorter side, like paying less for sneakers, having extra legroom on every flight you're on and being the strongest guy in the room by power-to-weight ratio.
Not bad, right?