But I’ve been short all my life, and I’m here to tell you that it is not all doom-and-gloom for my short brethren. For 25 years of my life I’ve been writing down the reasons I am grateful to be short. I started this list because this miraculous group of short people absolutely needs support—yet there are absolutely no support groups for short people.
So, short people: take a read and be inspired.
Tall people: read this and weep.
11. Short people more easily tolerate rainy days
When walking in the rain next to people with umbrellas, short people don’t get poked in the head and eyes as easily as tall people do. If you’re from the less-crowded Middle America this may not seem like that big of a deal. But in crowded, pedestrian-driven cities like New York, tall people have to deal with thousands of umbrella-wielding, hurried commuters swinging the sharp umbrella edges at eye level. Short people’s eyes are at a safe height below umbrella-poking level.
BONUS: Short people can sneak underneath the umbrellas of the tall masses and receive extra coverage from the rain.
10. Short people are better for the environment
We use less fabric in our clothing, we probably eat much less, and we just typically don’t need as much stuff. Therefore the environmental footprint of a short person is much less overbearing than that of a tall person. And if you haven’t noticed, the health of our environment is quite important, and I would argue that it’s the tall people who are leading the way to the beginning of the end.
9. Short people pay less for clothing
Sometimes you can fit in kids clothes, which are always cheaper. Also, you are NEVER charged for extra fabric needed in manufacturing. XXXL-sized shirt-wearers not only have to pay that extra $3 per t-shirt at racing events, but they actually require entire dedicated wings in clothing stores and even entire stores!
8. Short people befriend children more easily
If you haven’t noticed yet, you will now. Short people have an immediate and special bond with children of all ages. (And if we were going to be honest as adults, we all secretly would prefer to be sitting at the children’s table.)
Kids keep us young. They remind us to appreciate everyday life occurrences we typically take for granted — like playing in the park, listening to the sound of a bird chirping, or installing the latest Clash of Clans update.
Therefore, this advantage for short people is quite monumental. Just by default, the most appreciative and least jaded humans on earth — children — prefer short people over tall people.
Short people look more like kids
Short adults are only slightly taller than children, which makes short adults less intimidating and more unique.
Children expect grown-ups to be much taller than them. When children see short adults, they are immediately intrigued by this uniqueness. Short adults stick out to children, kind of like Barney, Doc McStuffins, and Elmo.
Short people can easily empathize with kids
Short people are able to share with children their similar issues with being short. Together the two can talk about getting shots blocked and not being able to reach the top shelf. It’s an immediate conversation-starter.
But more importantly it’s easier for a short person to drop to eye level to talk to a child. This allows a short person to quickly appear more empathetic to the dramatic plight of a child. In fact, to quote the Children’s Administration Office of Child Care:
Eye contact improves communication. You may have to stoop or sit to be eye-to-eye with young children, but the results will justify your effort … In the eyes of a child, you may be a giant. Whatever you can do to minimize the distance and the difference in size will help improve your communications.
Short people are amazing at Hide-&-Seek
This may be the least debatable and most valuable advantage of being short. Mainly because beating a child at Hide-&-Seek is a surefire way to build grade school street cred.
Tall people are so limited in their hiding options that it’s almost comical. Short people can hide under more beds, fit behind doors more easily, and squeeze into dog houses, clothing dryers, trunks of cars — and this is just the short list (pun not necessarily intended).
Check the archives: you have never seen a Hide-&-Seek Champion over 5’6″.
7. Short people are more comfortable when flying
This needs very little explanation, and of course extends to all other types of transportation: small or crowded cars, cross country train rides, public buses, school buses, urban subways.
In airplanes, short people’s knees don’t bang against the seat in front of them like tall people’s knees do. This extra space doesn’t just feel better, but it’s also extremely practical: it allows more room for carry-on items, including backpacks, electronics, luggage, and other short people.
Short people are also more comfortable using hotel shower heads, lying on loveseats. Damn it feels good to be a shortie.
6. Short people can, in effect, read people’s minds
Let’s face it: being short is obvious. In fact, it’s impossible for someone to NOT notice that a short person is short. Being short in a tall-loving world ensures that everyone a short person meets or speaks to notices that the short person is short.
This is a Jedi mind trick advantage for short people. Ironically, it makes speech-making and conversation-starting much less stressful.
In all of life’s conversations, you achieve a significant increase in confidence if you know what the other person is thinking.
Short people can earn immediate respect in just a few self-deprecating words
Everybody appreciates another person’s self-deprecation. It earns coolness points. Tall and short people alike appreciate someone who can laugh at themselves and who isn’t in denial about their supposed deficiencies.
Napolean actually did short people a huge favor. Now, all short people have to do is not be assholes, throw in a pinch of humbleness, and then magically you’re liked!
5. Short people have nothing to lose in the pick-up scene
Being short can be a pick-up artist’s secret weapon
Short people have their height as default peacocking — the act of wearing something or achieving a unique appearance that receives attention by potential mates.
Short people know that potential mates prefer tall people. And when starting at the back of the line, the only way to go is forward.
The only way to go is up.
This is the situation for short people at the beginning of the courting process. Knowing this is a huge advantage over taller competition. Literally having nothing to lose is the most freeing and confidence-building situation possible.
Short people are able to live like they were dying.
Or, less dramatically, flirt like it can’t get worse!
4. Short people have an advantage in many competitive sports
Weight lifting. Gymnastics. Baseball. Professional tree-climbing. The aforementioned professional Hide-&-Seek playing. And much more. The lower center of gravity, shorter distance to extension, and overall smaller body type is a huge and consistent advantage across numerous athletic competitions.
Short baseball players have smaller strike zones
Smaller strike zones make it more difficult for pitchers, who are typically tall, to throw strikes to short hitters. In fact, read up on Eddie Gaedel, the shortest baseball player in history, at 3’7″, who only had one at-bat. He walked.
Short running backs (RB) are harder to tackle
Being shorter than everyone else on the field ensures that defensive players are much more challenged in finding and tackling you — a HUGE advantage for a running back. To quote BJ Kissel from Bleacher Report:
You don’t want the player (running back) to stand too tall in the backfield because it makes him easier to find for the defensive players. Shorter players can “hide” behind the taller offensive linemen. You also want to have a low center of gravity and make it easier to get underneath the pads of defenders looking to make a tackle.
In fact, being short has become such an advantage for NFL Running Backs that the average RB height decreased nearly a full inch between 2002 and 2012.
Only short people can be jockeys
And of course we all know that only short people can even consider riding horses for a living. Fast Fact: In the U.S the minimum riding weight is 53kg — around the average size of a 14 to 15-year-old boy (CNN).
Olympic Gymnasts benefit from being short
Gymnastic events would be extremely challenging for tall athletes. We’ll just have to assume this, though, BECAUSE NO TALL PEOPLE ARE GYMNASTS! Whipping that body around bars, balancing on beams and turning flips require a compact base and an unparalleled physique that only the short can offer.
3. Short people make better entrepreneurs
You heard it here first, folks. (Or maybe you didn’t, because Inc. Magazine covered it months ago.) But for short people with a chip on their shoulder, this makes total sense.
Consider this quote from fellow short person and author John Warrilow, who sprang into entrepreneurship after being rejected by a hiring agent, in part due to his height:
Shortly after the interview I was turned down. I was told something about “not being ready.”
“Well, screw you,” I thought. “I am ready and I’ll prove it.” So I started a company and have never worked for anyone since.
Realize that descriptive terms like “tenacity” and “perseverance” appear on all lists of necessary traits for an entrepreneur. Short people typically spend their entire lives, from childhood to adulthood, working harder than tall people for what they achieve. In adulthood short people have a harder time capturing the attention and respect of followers like staff and Board members. There is simply a proven prejudice against short people in leadership positions.
A few years ago I had a female friend tell me her theory that beautiful women weren’t pressured to use their brains as much as their less-attractive counterparts. Surely tall people, male or female, also fit this mold.
2. Short people are more likely to over-achieve
The general population (see: average height and tall people) expects less from short people. Short people, therefore, can easily take advantage of these lower expectations — simply by not sucking.
When a short person succeeds at anything, they surprise the masses by exceeding the lower expectations already set for short people. Virtually any time a short person simply succeeds, he or she is hailed as an OVER-achiever.
No place else is this ease at over-achieving more obvious than in the aforementioned world of sports. You will rarely see “Tall Athlete’s Succeed” lists. But lists like “Top 5 Short MLB Pitchers” are all over the web.
Spud Webb’s victorious Slam Dunk competition is a prime example of this over-achieving bias. Dominique Wilkens would have NEVER won the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk Competition with as simple of a dunk as Spud Webb’s (shown below); regardless, no one will ever think less of the 5′ 7″ Spud, and he will remain historic in his success.
Acting is another great example. To quote Zach Galifianakis about Bradley Cooper “basically carrying the hangover movies.”:
Yeah, everybody loves Bradley. Good for him.
Being like that in Hollywood? That’s easy. Tall, handsome: that’s easy. Be short, fat and smell like Dorito’s and try to make it in Hollywood.
Skip to 1:58:
In any pursuit, if you start at the bottom, you only need to approach the top to earn respect.
I serve as one example. I grew up a decent athlete. I made all the All-Star teams in Little League baseball and youth basketball, and often my teams won Championships and set records.
I even received personal awards in high school, twice winning “Mr. Hustle,” and being voted to the All-Conference and All-District football teams as a defensive back. Not to mention that I won the game ball on my adult wood-bat baseball team after a tournament in Cooperstown, NY.
But wanna know a secret? I was never better than the players around me. I was only shorter.
And yes, I did have a Spud Webb poster in my bedroom as a child.
1. Short people get less cancer
Breaking news: being tall is hazardous to your health. Cancer, specifically, seems to prefer tall people. Full disclosure: I didn’t (want to) read the stingy details of the studies; The headlines were just too good to pass up.
Surely causation could someday be found here. But for now correlation works for me. (I’m writing a Short Person listicle here!)
But one thing’s for sure: tall people just have more body. They have more skin, larger body organs, and just overall more places that cancer can reside.
Short people: rejoice. Ignore the masses, and appreciate your stature.
WARNING & DISCLOSURE: as a marketing consultant advising full transparency in business communications, and as a pseudo-journalist with a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, I highly recommend you ignore all headlines and instead skip to the article’s details—especially the articles you read online.