Friday, December 7, 2012

trying something new

"How do you feel about being tall?” he asked. We were on our first date together, and we hadn’t even been seated at our table yet.

“Wow, you’re just going for it,” I said, trying to smile and make light of his question. I looked awkwardly around the busy restaurant and willed the host to come back and rescue me from having to answer. Then, causally, “I mean, I don’t really think about it all that much.” 

That was a lie. I thought about it all the time. It was hard not to. People are always trying to reconcile my height with my gender, and so am I. When I ride the elevator at my office building and the doors open to allow new guests to join us, they without fail look down at my feet. I think my heels only partially satisfy their curiosity. Growing up, I was asked about basketball all the time. Today I know I played in part so I would have an answer to everyone’s question. And now, dating in Southern California, half the men aren’t even options because I want to be able to at least look my husband in the eye. At 5’11”, I’m more often peering at the bald spot men are trying to deny. Or looking over their heads.

My date was tall, and offered a generous smile. “I’ve never dated a girl as tall as you.” 

It took me a second to register that this wasn’t a judgment, but a simple fact. The host came and led us to our table, where we sat next to each other, our bodies slowly reflecting our openness to each other. I was glad to know we were both trying something new.

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