On Being Tall: If The Shoe (Doesn’t) Fit.

Despite being a “freakishly” tall woman, I’ve never been one to hate my height.  This is despite the facts that:

  • I am a full foot taller than the average woman;
  • I’ve frequently been made fun of;
  • I am stared/gawked at everywhere I go;
  • People whisper things behind my back everywhere I go;
  • Complete strangers ask me very personal questions;
  • Complete strangers ask me very offensive questions (e.g. “Are you really a man?”);
  • Everything is extra-cramped to me (e.g. leg room on planes, buses, cars, bathroom stalls…);
  • My head is constantly in a danger zone (because people like to hang signs, light fixtures, cabinent doors, pipes, and fans at about 6’… as if its unthinkable that anyone in the world would be taller than that);
  • I frequently trip over things that are out of my line of sight (the ground is really far down, y’all);
  • It is ridiculously difficult to find pants, dresses, and shoes;
  • There is an extremely limited pool of men who are taller than me (although luckily I found an amazing one so this is no longer a concern 😉 ;-)).

None of these things really bother me (unless it’s that time of the month, and then you better just watch yourself before you try to say something rude to me in the grocery store line.  You’ve been warned, strangers of the world!).

Besides, there are tons of perks to being tall:

  • I can see over pretty much anything;
  • I can reach pretty much anything;
  • I can hold things out of the reach of pretty much anyone;
  • In crowds, my entire head is above the cloud of heat/sweat/BO that everyone else is stuck inhaling (fresh, cool air… be jealous shorties!);
  • Nobody ever forgets me (this can be a con too, but I largely think of it as a pro);
  • I can pretend everyone is staring because I’m a famous celebrity and/or extremely attractive;
  • My long legs make a great slide/climbing device for small children (which will come in handy when I have some);
  • Allegedly we tall people (even women) make more money than shorter people;
  • My height can be very intimidating (which comes in handy when dealing with opposing parties, jerkfaces, and strangers on the street when walking alone at night).

Both of these lists can go on and on.  The point is:  I’m comfortable being tall, and I like it.  However, the one thing that can send me into a sudden pit of anxiety and despair is attempting to shop for shoes.   Unfortunately, several weeks ago, Ellie chewed the toe off my only pair of “go to” shoes for dresses.   Ever since, I’ve been desperately searching for a pair of shoes because I’m going to a fancy-pants wedding next weekend and I need fancy-pants shoes.   Unfortunately, the only shoes I can find that could possibly work are shoes with huge 4″+ heels.   Besides the fact that I do not feel the need to be 6’8″, that type of shoes presents several other serious issues (see notes above about tripping and hitting my head on things).  

Yesterday I went to Nordstrom Rack with a friend who wears a size 8.5-9.  She had several AISLES of shoes available to her.   After looking at the couple of hideous pairs of shoes available in my size,  I felt a wave of anxiety come over me, and I contemplated whether I needed to find a paper bag to breathe into.   Especially after hearing her say something along the lines of “it is so frustrating having all these awesome shoes available but nothing to wear them to!”   I can’t imagine how difficult that must be… as I sit and look at the 10 pairs of shoes available in my size, which consist of shoes for trannies and middle aged psychologists who like to express their individuality through fugly shoes (excuse my french ;-)).

Why, in this internet age, does it have to be so stinking difficult to get a decent pair of shoes in a size 13?!  I understand every store not carrying tons of 13s because it wouldn’t be very profitable.  But what about making that size available for all shoes on the internet?  It’s seriously the only thing that sometimes causes me to rage out about being tall.   To be fair, it used to be impossible to find anything but boy shoes in my size, and now I do have quite a few pairs of very feminine shoes that go with my work clothes and casual clothes.   But I don’t get the luxury of finding a particular pair of shoes to match certain outfits or dresses.   It’s more like: find a pair of shoes that fit my feet and are not hideous, and then look for the clothes to match.  I’ve been browsing Nordstrom.com, Zappos.com, and Barefoottess.com for weeks and I can’t find any shoes that would work with a cocktail dress with a reasonable heel height (not to mention browsing for shoes for the wedding since practically the day I got engaged).   Finding the right pair of shoes for me is like discovering the a sunken ship full of buried treasure on the ocean floor. 

I stand out enough without wearing flipflops or man shoes to a “black tie optional” wedding.  Come on, shoe gods!  Help a tall girl out and magically make some cocktail-attire appropriate shoes appear on the internet in a size 13!


6 thoughts on “On Being Tall: If The Shoe (Doesn’t) Fit.

  1. I only wear a 10.5 or 11 in US sizes. I live in København and you might think this part of Europe has a better shoe selection, but it doesn’t. I work in apparel and it is pretty hopeless looking for low volume size extensions of lines and things seem to be getting worse. 😦

    If you have unlimited assets there is always the bespoke route – even for shoes. But sad to say there just isn’t much out there. All I can suggest is see if there is a custom cobbler in your area.

  2. OK here are some gals to get in contact with. Kacy is really styish and does personal shopping. She’s Boston based, but has a really good sense of what you can get in the US. http://heightofstyle.wordpress.com/

    Alicia is also focused on finding togs and shoes. She’s at http://www.tallswag.com/

    Both are helpful, friendly and your height or taller:-) There are others, but this is a good place to start before the pre-wedding panic sets in.

  3. Michelle, I literally laughed out loud and almost cried at the same time. I HATE shoe shopping. Miracles do happen, however. I’m in the size 13-14 range; but I was at walmart (of all places), the other day and saw a pair of 12’s that looked big and tried them on and they fit!! You’re in my prayers often…and I love you!

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