The big man in the little suit; the tiny girl descending the staircase in her mother’s evening clothes; the cliché of nouvelle cuisine as one-inch square meatball with three dots of colorful sauce on a large, white plate; the diminutive Jack Russell intimidating the Great Dane; reed skinny Stan Laurel & round Oliver Hardy… Size matters in descriptive visuals and sizable contrasts in size produce humor.
I giggled when I saw a picture taken with one of my tall friends at a Tango dance. We’re both wearing heels so it is not her shoes making her tower over me. She simply towers over me and there’s some kind of easy humor in the contrast. I’ve been this height for most of my life (since I was 12) so for a short time I experienced being the tallest girl in my elementary school class only to become one of the shortest by the time I graduated from high school.
I’ve discussed height and general size with many people—both large and small—and enjoying the humor or, at the very least, making peace with it—feels like a healthy strategy. At least from down here.
The petite size of the protagonist in my novel-in-progress is an essential part of her experience of life. She was an accomplished gymnast in high school and the plot requires that she draw on her athletic past. Being only a little over her competition size/weight is necessary. She is still small.
There’s an essential joke in being small. You don’t FEEL small except in contrast to someone much larger. I’ve spoken to big people about this internal gage and they don’t feel particularly big except, of course, in comparison to someone like me. I, on the other hand, feel enormous when I’m in the company of a size 0, ballet dancer. I think my feeling of being big by comparison shakes my tree and, since I normally feel NORMAL-sized, I get an odd kick out of feeling like an Amazon warrior. It’s a joke that never fails to tweak me.
The few times I’m required to duck going through a doorway are way outnumbered by the times I need a step ladder or find myself asking for help reaching the top shelf when shopping. So I kind of enjoy the chance to reach up and touch the ceiling. Heheheheeee… It’s a good visual for someone my height.