Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Just tell insensitive friends, strangers that your height is no joking matter

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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: Other readers who are unusually tall, especially women, may relate to experiences I've had since a teen. Many people have not hesitated to speak directly to me about my height. New acquaintances, or even total strangers, have used it as a conversation starter. Unlike comments on other physical abnormalities, one's height is fair game. Why? People who are normally considerate, and intelligent enough not to begin a conversation with comments on size to someone who is overweight, will do this. Increasing acceptance today of skin colour, of scars and amputations, of baldness, of all manner of physical differences has brightened the lives of many. Let's extend that tolerance to tall people as well as short ones. It's easy, just think before you speak. -- Unusual, Winnipeg

Dear Unusual: As a teen I had a friend who was four foot 11. People commented on her height daily. Why wouldn't they leave her alone about it! She had to prove how mighty she was so people wouldn't underrate her. I've had blond hair since I was born and people have made dumb blond jokes to my face all my life. I am anything but dumb. Face facts. People are petty and everybody gets teased about something. I now find the rude comments useful. I can sort the sensitive-and-sophisticated people from the mean-and-unclassy very quickly, and start avoiding the latter. Try it. It's harder to do in the workplace, so sometimes you need to warn offenders you will find something about their looks to tease them with, if they don't quit. That generally stops them. If they say, "Can't you take a joke?' you reply, "That doesn't feel like a joke." If they come back at you again, you say, "Surely a smart person like you can do better at joking than that." Or, in your case "I really don't enjoy tall jokes, so how about you try another topic?" Don't put up with it in silence.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I just ran into the love of my life at the St. Vital Centre movie theatres and I'm in shock. I thought I was years over her, but I have come home to my wife and kids still shaken up. She had a profound effect on me when I was with her and I was horrified when she ditched me for a friend of mine and married him. She has no ring on her finger and she looked very sad around the eyes. She said she missed me badly and pressed her card into my hand. I'm pretty sure I will call her. Help! -- Love Addict, St. Vital

Dear Addict: She was able to throw you over for one of your friends and devastate you because she didn't care nearly as much as you did. That new relationship didn't go well, and now you're looking tasty, but only by comparison. The point is she wouldn't have tried out somebody else if she'd been deeply in love with you. She may be sad and lonely, but don't kid yourself, she's not in love with you. Turn your back on this woman from the past who will use you and perhaps cause you to lose your family for nothing.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 10, 2011 D4

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