January 9 , 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 55  

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Confessions from an Amazon

Give it to her straight
Lori Mastronardi

A&E Editor

“Hey, do you play basketball?”

Such is an annoying question in the world of a five-foot, ten-inch tall female. Filling the shoes of such a role is no simple task. First of all, finding shoes that size is quite the feat, and you can just forget about additional feminine features like heels. I don’t want or need six inch heels — my father’s genes make me high enough already, thanks.

Being tall has always been a stand out feature in my life. I’ll be the first to admit that I was more than slightly self-conscious regarding my ability to tower over all others, particularly during my tender childhood years. As the tallest person in my class, I learned to assume my position in the back row centre on class picture day. On the school basketball team, I knew I would always play, and I would always play centre. The high school volleyball coach urged me to play on the senior team, I guess assuming my sheer height would intimidate members of the opposing team, thus securing an easy victory.

When I was growing up, my selection of boys was rather sparse. Things were a little bit tricky seeing that only three boys were at my eye-level. Let’s just say that being simultaneously picky and tall didn’t work to my advantage.

My selection in shoes was even worse. As my friends pranced around in charming size six styles, similar shoes clearly couldn’t support my vertical span. My mother would try to reassure me and organize trips to the United States in search of the perfect pair of shoes. However, this led to me never sporting trendy shoes, but always practical, mature, grown-up a la Naturalizer comfort-focused styles.

Despite my seemingly horrific childhood, things did get better. Thank you Marco for being the first boy to go through your growth spurt, thus shifting me over one spot from my usual centre stance in school photos. Thank you Jean Machine for selling 34 length jeans. Plus, shoe stores have begun carrying my size (I love you Transit). Though I may be the source of the problem, I never have a problem viewing at concerts. And though I sometimes feel awkward dancing among some of my significantly shorter friends, the marvel of heels has actually come to my aid.

My roommates, quite aware of how much it bothers me, continue to label my stature as “giant-esque,” “amazonian” and the most flattering of all, “sasquatch-like.” But every so often, I think right around my breaking point, they reassure me I have been blessed with “model height.” And it seems that more often than not, people are genuinely jealous of my height.

I’m still faced with the ever-so impressive observation of “wow, you’re pretty tall for a girl.” Yeah, I guess I am, but you know what? I think I’m finally OK with that.



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