I would not say that I’m as vertically challenged as some men, but it is safe to say people laugh when I claim that I’m “almost touching 6ft”.
When being measured up for my best man suit for a friend’s wedding some years ago – in earshot of the groom, unfortunately – the tailor announced I had the shortest legs of an adult male he had ever seen. Needless to say the groom told everyone at the wedding and several years later told everyone at my wedding in his capacity as my best man.
Being low to the ground has had some advantages. It made choosing a position in the rugby team quite straight-forward – hooker or flanker, certainly not a second row.
Also, I know that if I ever wanted to move into an old, traditional cottage then I wouldn’t have a problem with ceiling heights.
I tend not to be too defensive about height issues and I’ve never been called “Titch” or “Munchkin” – “Stumpy” reared its head a couple of times, but I’ve been called far, far worse than that over the years.
I do get a bit miffed, however, about the so-called “short man syndrome” gleefully peddled in the media at every opportunity.
I certainly don’t recognise any of the jealous traits painted in the study, produced by the universities of Groningen and Valencia and featured in the journal of Evolution and Human Behaviour.
Equally, I don’t regard myself as being overly aggressive to compensate for my lack of height – in fact, an almost complete lack of aggression was a factor in the failure of my youthful rugby career (that, along with an unwillingness to train or play in the rain and a lack of talent).
Somehow the myth of the Napoleon Complex endures, despite a study by the University of Central Lancashire that actually found taller men – you know, “Lofty”, “Stretch”, “Lanky” and his sky-scraping mates – were more likely to lose their temper. Yet we are still served up TV programmes that reinforce the stereotypes.
At least the medical profession appears to take a more considered, professional and grown up attitude to the myth of short man syndrome.
Clearly, there is no such thing as this syndrome, rather we’re complex characters and people are simply too lazy or unwilling to get to know us properly.
Of course, there will be those who suggest that I protest a little too much.
Whatever, I’m really not bothered. It doesn’t make me mad, I’m not jealous of taller people.
In fact I’m proud of my height. Despite being short, my legs are perfectly formed and rather attractive – something I’m sure my wife would be happy to confirm.
I’ve inherited my father’s legs, but my mother’s temperament – what a fantastic combination.