In cyberspace, no one calls you "Stretch"

Certainly over the last several decades, our culture has grown more accepting of tall women. Some of that is by necessity: The average American woman is now 5 feet 5 inches and growing--up from 5 feet 2 inches several generations ago. Size also matters for women: the very very tall are taken more seriously, dismissed less easily, both in business and when operating heavy machinery. And our aesthetics seem more inclusive of tallness--evolving to encompass the beauty of the supermodel, the grace of the female athlete--tall broads all.

For some of these very very tall women, the VVTW chat room has given them a forum where tall is the norm and they can feel average for the first time in their lives. But for the majority of these regulars, it has given them a chance to tout their tallness, a place to be downright chauvinistic about it. "For us height isn't a matter of inches," proclaimed Nanner59. "It's an attitude."

Perhaps it was that attitude that made me retreat to Marie. Did her husband really drag her into VVTW? Maybe at first, she says, but then the very very tall embraced her for who she was.

But wasn't something lost on-line--nuance, innuendo--those nonverbal cues that give meaning to conversation and prevent people from being misunderstood? For her, that wasn't a problem: these weren't her virtual friends; the emotions between them were real. "Now I am tall in spirit!" she bellowed.

As we spoke, the very very tall took notice and all talk in the den ceased. To fill the silence, I said something...stupid.

"I don't know," I shrugged. "I just feel comfortable talking to Marie."
"That's exactly what we mean!" shouted one. "It sums it up right there!" hollered another. "Men are intimidated by tall women."

I began to backtrack, searching for some nuance or non-verbal cue to give a different meaning to my conversation. "No, really, I feel comfortable talking to all of you. I mean come on, look at me, I'm 6 feet tall."

"Yeah right," said Nanner59, spotting the extra quarter-inch I tacked onto my true height. "And I'm blonde and skinny."

The women uttered a collective hoot. In one sentence, I'd managed to antagonize the whole large lot of them and be cut down to size. I lowered my head in disgrace, which made me even shorter.

Somehow we got past the awkward moment, and I got ready to leave. They were certainly gracious enough, inviting me to meet the rest of their members for dinner at an Italian restaurant--then go dancing with them at Cowboys to end the evening and the weekend's festivities. I told them thanks, but I had made other plans.

I was going to dinner and a movie with my wife. She is only 5-foot-1.

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