I knew someone who got in the habit of calling me “Lil Bit”, cute. Of all the short tags I could be assigned with it could have been worse. I’m choosing to take it as an affectionate name rather than an insult. Right or wrong, that’s how I am gong to remember that.
I’ve mentioned it before and it’s not new to anyone that has seen me: I am petite. No, really petite. I’m all of five foot tall, not even a buck and nickel soaking wet, small boned, thin, tiny – I am the epitome of petite.
I have a girlfriend who is about 5’7” or taller, not really sure and I’m not going to ask, blond, thin, a beautiful girl. We had lunch a while ago and we were discussing the challenges of our heights. Well, let me share the view from down here. Here are some common things that perhaps people should not do when speaking to a petite person:
I had a meeting yesterday and in the middle of a serious discussion the gentleman looked down at my boots and asked, “How do you walk in those heels?” Side note: I have a lovely collection of kick-booty shoes all with about three inch heels. This is a very common question for me. My canes are hidden behind the chair to help me balance when I walk out.
At a networking meeting the other day I had someone introduce themselves then look me up and down and blurted out, “Wow, your really are tiny aren’t you?” Thanks Mr. Obvious, I had not realized that before. Never crossed my mind and never pointed out before.
Normally men are very delicate when shaking my hand because they assume that they are going to crush my hand. Seriously. My dad taught me how to shake hands and I have a great grip thank you very much. And it is even better to tell me after shaking my hand, “Wow, you have a great grip for such a little woman.” Gee golly gosh thanks.
I’ve had lunch with women who look at me in disgust when ordering and say, “You could probably eat anything you’re so tiny” and you want me to apologize for this? Here’s a diet tip for you: completely stress out it just melts the pounds away! Back off, if I want the Death By Chocolate I’m going to get it and the treadmill upstairs isn’t there to hang my cloths on thank you.
Please do not assume that because I am closest to the floor that means I am a doormat. I was raised by a wonderful, strong father who taught me there are very few things that I could not do that men could – I’m not going into that discussion. And I preferred baseball and basketball to Barbies as a kid.
My ex-husband is 6’4” and about 230, he’s a big guy and a man of few words. Yep, total opposites. You would think in looking at the two of us that his dad is the one that our son’s friends would be afraid of – not so much. Several have told me that I’m way scarier than his dad. I did this on purpose. I knew it would not take long and all those kids were going to be taller than me so I had to instill a sense of fear early on.
I remember when our son got in trouble in school once and we were both called in. As we are sitting in the office classes were changing and all of our son’s friends were passing by; when they saw his dad they all laughed and you could see them mouth, “oooh, he’s in trouble!”. When they saw me they all mouthed, “Oh SH*$, he’s DEAD”. They know me.
But I digress. I used me as an example today to hopefully add a bit of humor; however, my point in today’s rambling is this: don’t assume. About someone due to their height, weight, looks – anything. When you assume you are really projecting your own stuff on someone else. The comment about the food – I think someone was a bit angry about their own weight. The height stuff – maybe a little uncomfortable in their own skin. Immediately assume you should not apply for that job or ask someone out – your own insecurity about yourself.
Stop judging with your eyes. From the song “Small Talk” from one of the greatest bands ever, Sawyer Brown:
Daddy told me when I was young
You got two ears boy and just one tongue
He said the reason why were made that way
We got more to learn then we have to say
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Polish, Inc.