You Can’t Teach Height

Tall women

In basketball, height is an important and obvious advantage. So much so, that extremely tall players are coveted by teams and coaches even when their ability and talent level is far below that of shorter players. The well-known college basketball commentator for ESPN, Dick Vitale, often uses the expression “You can’t teach height” to highlight this fact. Most sources say it was first uttered by the great Celtics coach Red Auerbach. I use this expression as well, but for an entirely different reason.

I dig tall women.

Before I get hate mail, yes, I acknowledge that I am and have been happily married to a somewhat petite woman for over thirty years. Actually, petite may be generous. My wife, Theresa, is five-two on a day with light gravity. We fit together nicely and I am quite happy with the arrangement. I just am instantly distracted by a strikingly tall woman. Also, I probably should report that at five-nine-and three-quarters, I am of relatively average height for an American male.

This is not a secret. When Theresa and I are out with our friends, Ed and Hugh, Hugh is the perfect wing man. If a tall woman walks into the restaurant, he surreptitiously gets my attention and flicks his head almost imperceptibly toward the target. I will casually fake stretch and turn to take a peek at which time, my wife will shake her head and ask, “Seriously, Hugh?”

I used to work with a woman named Daisy, who towered above me at six-foot-four. One of her subordinates was a fellow named Reggie. One day, I was sitting in Reggie’s office with my back to the door. I was telling him about my particular fetish and the enjoyment I had working with his boss. I may have mentioned a fantasy that included me wearing a Tyrolian hat and lederhosen, singing Val-da-ree, Val-da-rah, when he started laughing uncontrollably.

The length of the shadow cast across Reggie’s desk was enough to tell me that Daisy was standing in the doorway. I gave Reggie a “be cool” look, which only made him laugh harder. After she left, he tried to apologize for giving a brother up.

A recent embarrassing incident fortunately, did not involve me. My cousin Beth and her family were visiting Southwestern Florida, and I drove across Alligator Alley to spend the day with them. We went out to dinner in a Mexican restaurant with a bar. While sitting and waiting for our food, a couple came in and you could just tell that it was a first date by the way they greeted each other. I assume in this day and age it was the result of an internet dating site.

I know that people take liberties with their profiles, but I don’t know if they even include the person’s height. If so, they need a software upgrade. The guy would have needed to stretch to reach five-foot-six, and she was probably six-foot-three. I pointed them out to my cousin and she speculated that he might be the owner of the Lamborghini that we passed in the parking lot. I guess a $300,000 car adds a few inches in some dimension.  Still, I felt that he would need two Lamborghinis to close that gap. She certainly deserved someone at least five-nine.

Alas, this will always remain a harmless fantasy for me. I will continue to honor my wife by putting her favorite foods on the top shelf of the pantry. It may seem cruel, but when she pulls out the step-stool to reach them, that’s when I come running. I can’t teach height, but I surely can try to simulate it.


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