“Heels are a short girl’s best friend.”
At the end of my senior year in high school, I attended my ex’s graduation after he attended mine, and among the many wise things that his father said to me, I remember the following quip extremely accurately. The entire audience stood as each soon-to-be graduate walked down the aisle individually towards his or her seat on the stage, and one girl in 5-inch stilettos made her way towards us rather clumsily. It wasn’t a surprise that she was walking clumsily, according to him, because not only was she wearing 5-inch heels but she was also at least 5’11”. “Tall girls don’t need to wear heels, so on occasions when they feel like they should be wearing them, they don’t have the necessary grace that heels require. Whether that’s a blessing or a curse, you decide,” he told me with a slight smirk, pointing down at my 4 or 5-inch tan pumps.
My mom has always told me to adorn heels whenever possible: graduations, interviews, Sunday mass, auditions, performances, work, dates, weddings, you name it. According to her, tall girls “have an upper edge” on short girls, such as myself, when it comes to first impressions. I may be “cute,” “sweet,” or “charming,” but does my height detract from my ability to command respect from my peers and seniors? It most definitely shouldn’t.
Yes, your first visual impression of me is that I am petite, perhaps “cute.” But if you were to give me two minutes to make my case, in words, during what my dad calls a “1-1 VIP opportunity,” I would like to think that I would most certainly command your respect. This is not to say that I won’t make any mistakes (because believe me, I’m prone to making a fool of myself), but I definitely will change any preconceived notions you might have made based on my small stature. My education and life experiences of 18 years, although not that extensive yet, have taught me to be at least decently articulate.
All of this aside, your physical appearance DOES matter significantly. This is not shallow of me to say because fact: it is very, very difficult to change another person’s inherent tendency to pass judgment right off the bat. You cannot take the “higher moral ground” and claim that a lot of people don’t first judge a person by his or her appearance because some people, in fact a LOT of people, do and can’t help it. And sorry to say, but the admissions director of your dream college or your future employer may be one of those people! Thus, in the completely unfair albeit very common chance that I will be judged by an interlocutor as soon as our eyes meet (maybe even before that moment), I do not want to have to dig myself out of a hole without having said a word. Especially since I can actually avoid starting from sub-zero with only a little preparation, i.e. 5-inch platforms and a touch of eyeliner.
So…I wear heels. A lot. I was wearing them a few seconds ago. Do you want to know the secret advantage to wearing heels and working at a desk? (You can take them off at your desk and no one can actually see you doing so.) Yet each night when I examine the carnage (blisters), I don’t have any regrets, and I’ve already explained why. 😉