I’m Tall (But I’m Not THAT Tall)

I’m 6’3″. Which means I’m tall, but I’m not that tall. I have a good friend, and he is 6’5″, which is taller, but still not that tall. We hang out a lot together, and when we do, awkward encounters regarding our height often happen. But the strangest is when we’re out at a bar or club, and drunk guys come up to us.

The guys are never short, never tall, always average. 5’9″ – 5’11”, without fail. It works similarly like I assume it would if I were a woman being hit on by a drunk guy. He’ll stare creepily, without shame, for minutes. Usually without blinking. Then he’ll walk directly over and get obnoxiously close, and I already know the gist of what he’s going to say. I knew since the third straight second he started staring. “Man you guys are tall,” he’ll practically shout. “Yeah,” either of us will say. Then he’ll make a tall joke. That will be followed by a story about a friend he has that is (usually) taller than either of us. And he’s always a great guy, this taller friend. But he’s also not afraid to kick anyone’s ass.

The story turns into a choose-your-own-adventure at this juncture. He will:

  1. Ask if he can buy us a round.
  2. Keep standing obnoxiously close but turn silent, not sure where to take things from here.
  3. Ask exactly how tall we each are.
  4. Guess exactly how tall we each are.
  5. Ask if we play basketball.
  6. Ask us what’s going on, what’s cool, what’s happening. You know, because we’re tall. I’m not complaining. Just stating that people (especially drunk men of average height) assume that because I’m tall, I know the scoop.

Yet, there are things that normally come up in casual conversation with people I meet that rarely come up in these situations. Like:

  • Anything about women.
  • Anything about family, like if I have kids or a wife.
  • What I do for a living (unless it’s basketball).
  • Anything other than being tall, for that matter.

Even if the conversation is 20 minutes long (I’ve done a lot of hosting or emceeing that requires me to be cordial, so I can’t just up and leave), the guy will find different things to talk about regarding height. Or he’ll just stand there silently for 20 minutes, comforted by the knowledge that he is standing next to two tall men.

I don’t want to draw conclusions here, rather simply point out facts. Here are some more:

  • This rarely happens when I’m alone, it always happens when I’m with my friend. And I do mean always. It’ll be once if we’re at a grocery store. Probably 2-3 times or more at a bar. My friend says the same thing, that he rarely gets approached alone.
  • We are also often approached by groups of drunk girls that scream, “OHMYGOD It’s my birthday, can we please get a picture with you guys?” No, they’re not hitting on us. Trust me, we’ve tried with those. They just want a picture. And it’s always a birthday.

The most awkward time which was hilarious in hindsight was when a guy that fit the profile except he was also in a wheelchair rolled up to me in a noisy club and asked something and I nodded and said “yeah” even though he was too low for me to hear even though I bent down so low I had to steady myself on his armrest. I carried on for minutes before realizing he had asked me if we were professional volleyball players, and I kept going along with it. When I had finally realized what was going on, I was in way too deep, and told my friend to play along, and we told this guy about how awesome it was to tour the world playing volleyball. He asked if we were headed to the Olympics that year, and I shrugged and said, “Well, we’ll see,” which was probably not the right answer seeing as how the games were only like two months away. Oh well. At least he was easy to get away from.