I could blame my mother, of course. While my father stood a respectable six feet even, she barely scraped the five foot mark -- in low heels, of course, as she could not wear high heels without looking like she'd had a few too many (an odd point as my mother disliked alcohol).
So I went through life being called names like "pee wee," "shorty," and "sawed-off little runt." Despite being intelligent, witty, and courteous, dating was always a nightmare. A man could be only slightly more evolved than a Neanderthal, have a long arrest record, or be addicted to some drug, but as long as he was tall, women would give him far more than the time of day. I rarely got a second glance.
The Internet was helpful. Online you were either simply words or text, where your personality (or a reasonable facsimile) came through. On graphic sites you were an avatar whose height was determined by moving an on-screen lever. Of course, almost everybody was slender and over six feet tall. Women were all large-breasted and most wore tight, sheer, or otherwise suggestive clothing their real life selves would never wear in public.
Although women online never fully matched their internet descriptions of themselves, they would always claim things like age and height were insignificant. However, real-life meetings were usually disappointing Suddenly height did matter. It's bad enough being rejected by a woman five inches taller than yourself. When she's five inches shorter, it does hurt. And while I might feel like saying "You're not exactly an amazon yourself!" -- what would be the point?
One morning, I was checking my email when I saw a topic "GROW INCHES!!!" (Yes, that is exactly how it appeared in my inbox.) "Interesting," I thought. The enclosing sales pitch was even more interesting.
Are you ever embarrassed being the "shortest" guy in the locker room? Do women ever look at you and giggle? Have you had enough of being called "stumpy?" Let MagnaGrow3000 help. Our team of scientists have created an all-natural product guaranteed to add inches to any man! For only $19.95 (+$4.50 s/h) you can have the stature you've always dreamt about. Do it NOW!!!
I'm not the most spontaneous person, but within 5 seconds I was clicking the link to their website. The splash page showed a before and after picture. The first was of a scrawny, pale old man in boxers, looking disappointedly at a white sock he held in his hand. The second showed a rock-hard guy in spandex shorts, his thumbs poked inside the waistband, and a look on his face suggesting the shorts would soon be lying on the floor, kicked to the side.
Below these two pictures, in bold letters, the question: WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE?
I was hesitant about using my credit card number over the internet, but then I saw they also accepted an internet payment service. Twenty-five bucks was not a bad price -- especially considering I might walk away from the deal five-foot-eight, maybe five-foot-nine. Hell, maybe I might even hit the six foot mark. I ordered immediately.
Two weeks later, a small brown box arrived in my mailbox. I opened, struggling for a moment to get past the well-taped bubble wrap. Inside was a small amber bottle wrapped in the instruction sheet. The label itself was in Chinese. I read the sheet: "Take one capsule with each meal. Results will become noticeable in 2 - 3 weeks."
While waiting for the time to pass, I bought a six-foot cloth tape measure and attached it to my bedroom doorway. And from day-one, the first thing I did upon waking up was to line myself up against doorway and measure how tall I was that morning.
After two weeks I did notice some changes. But instead of being taller, the increase was limited to one specific part of my body -- a rather private area at that!
Okay, I should have been happy about this -- it did, after all, make my reflection in the mirror a lot more interesting. And it did not make solitaire encounters any more enjoyable (although being able to look down and say "hey there, big guy!" had its charms.)
But the sad fact is where height is immediately noticeable, this statistic generally goes unrecognized. I briefly considered using my webcam to document matters, but standing naked in front of a camera is an intimidating experience -- and for the first time in my life I was envious of those magazine models with no qualms about posing and the IQ of their company's cotton-tailed mascot.
A letter of complaint was in order. But when I checked the instruction sheet, there was no return address. Pulling the box from the garbage, I found the same, only a faint postmark, bearing the name of some town in California. And between an empty FAQ page and the "support" page warning (in annoyingly large letter) "ALL SALES FINAL," the website was even less helpful.
So here I am, still ignored by the opposite sex, still largely invisible in most social situations. I'm the "nice guy" -- the shoulder to cry on. But sometimes I'll be talking to an attractive woman, notice something interesting (anything from her going braless to the way the sleeve of her sweater encases her wrist) and the effect of the capsules rears its ugly head. She'll notice, and I get a disapproving stare and the question, "Why are men such big dicks?"