I’m short. 5’3” short to be exact. Except when I wear heels and I can trick people into thinking I’m taller than I really am. My husband, he’s tall. Taller than me. Probably average tall for a guy. I can’t remember exactly how tall he is and so I can’t tell you here because you know how men are. If I get it wrong, especially if I err on the short side of his correct exact height, he’ll get all upset and I’ll have to come back and issue a correction. Something like Correction: For the record, my husband is X and 1/4” tall, not X and 1/8” tall as I had previously stated… And I’m so not in the mood for that. So let’s just say he’s a fair deal taller than I am and leave it at that.
For the most part, my height hasn’t been much of an issue. Well, except when I buy clothes and have to pay some highly talented seamstress to trim 3 feet of material off the bottom of my pants. Where ARE all these women who are eight feet tall anyway? I’ve never met any of them but when I shop most of the clothes seem to be made for them.
But this isn’t really about clothes. It’s about attitudes and it’s about music, because it made me think of the Short People song by Randy Newman. It’s about religion and gender (but only barely) and wondering what, exactly, got into my son. Really, it’s about the things kids say that make you go “hmmm…”
Because at breakfast this morning my son Snags said to me, completely out of the blue, “Ms. Trish is short, too!” Then he asked, “Are all women like that?”
I said no, some women are tall. Ms. Trish is one of his teachers, and while I haven’t actually measured her, if I had to guess, I’d say she’s about my height. I reminded Snags that his Aunt Viv is pretty tall. I pointed out that his cousin Christina, standing at her full height of young and strikingly beautiful and about 6 feet, is tall.
And he looked at me and said, rather pointedly, “Yeah, but she’s really skinny.”
A little later, as I buckled Snags into his booster seat in the back seat of the car, he stopped me so he could adjust his shorts. “Do you want my waist band to be higher than my belly button?” He demanded to know.
“Higher than your belly button? Sure. Doesn’t matter to me.” I replied, still stinging from the implied fat comment.
Then he made up a song and sang “Higher than the women were the lemon drops! Higher than everything were the clouds. The rain came down on all the women and the men hid inside their houses.”
Yeah, the men were probably watching football, or playing Xbox, I thought.
Then his song turned kind of dark…
“The men locked the doors so the women got soaking wet. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! HA!”
I don’t know why but I started getting irritated at his five year old callousness. I said “Hey, that’s not funny. That’s kind of mean. You shouldn’t make fun of women. If it weren’t for women, men wouldn’t even be here.”
He looked contemplative then asked “Why not?”
“Well,” I said, “Women are the ones who have all the babies. Girl babies AND boy babies. If there weren’t any women then there wouldn’t be any boy babies so they couldn’t grow into men.”
“Why can’t men have babies?” He asked.
“Because,” I said “God made it so only women could have babies.”
“God could do it!” He retorted. “God is really powerful, right? He could have babies himself or he could just make them.”
“Or,” he added after a short pause, “God could make men have the babies.”
“No,” I said, “That wouldn’t work. The men wouldn’t take care of the babies. They’d probably sit around playing video games all day, ignoring the babies when they cried and needed to be fed or have their diaper changed.”
“Yea-ah” agreed my son. “That’s why the women would take care of the babies. “Anyway,” he added, “You’ll understand one day when you’re as tall as dad.”