6 Common Struggles Only a Petite Woman Would Understand
I have been living in the Netherlands for 3 years and have traveled to some other European countries like Greece, Portugal, Italy and France. I am 5'1 and I consider myself an average in height in my home country, but in Holland, I am certainly considered "petite" even tiny. Although there are certain perks to being petite like you look cute and dainty or you look way younger than your actual age, there are quite a few significant struggles and awkward moments brought about by my height.
Here are some of those things only petite women like me would understand especially if they live in the Netherlands.
1. Your size doesn't matter...
Dutch people are the tallest people in the world. It is but natural to build and make everything big to accommodate their size. My partner is 6'5 and so you can imagine that everything at home will be his size. The toilet seat is a bit high for me that my big toe is the only thing touching the floor. The kitchen counter and sink are too high for me that I always have to tiptoe or use a small platform whenever I'm cooking. The fridge and kitchen cabinets are way too high that I can never get anything from the top shelves without using a chair to stand on.
When I use public transportation, my feet are always dangling because I couldn't reach the floor. Getting lost in a city full of people is so easy because everyone is dwarfing me. My partner always holds my hand whenever we walk, it is sweet I know, but the real reason is that if I get lost, he cannot see me in a busy shopping district for example. Not that I am stupid to get lost, but yeah he is just so adorable that way.
What I am trying to say is that, here in the Netherlands, your size doesn't matter. People can easily overlook you because they are tall and so their line of sight will typically go past your head and miss you altogether. Everything that is intended for public use will always be a bit too big for you but that's fine. It can be a bit embarrassing sometimes to look like a kid in public but it is what it is. There is one perk though, at the end of the day, when I get home, it is always comfortable to sleep in a big bed where 5 of me can fit without a problem.
2. Shopping for clothes and shoes in the ladies section is heartbreaking
Yeah, you guessed it right. Your size 32 is a rare item in all the clothes rack. Size 34 is almost always sold out and even if you fit in 34 and 36, you still have to fold the clothes at the hem just so you won't drag them on the floor while walking. Whenever I buy a pair of trousers, the leg length are always too much for my short legs even if the size is 34. I would have to cut and sew to make it perfect. When it comes to dresses, a typical above the knee dress becomes a maxi-dress to me. Heck, even a skirt is already a dress to me!
If you want to find something that perfectly fits, the kiddie section offers you many great and cute options. If you are willing to go past the usual funny look and curious glances in your direction at the kiddie store, you will be rewarded. I often find good jumpers and fleece in the kiddie section. When I buy shoes, the only place where they sell my size 35 is at the kiddie section. Ladies shoes section always starts at 36 and they don't even offer a lot of items in that size. So, whenever we travel to other countries, I always see to it that I buy one or two pairs of shoes because it is just impossible to find what I like in Holland. Countries like Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy and France are very good places to find size 35 shoes and their clothing sizes are also a bit smaller than the Dutch and the Americans.
3. Walking side by side with a tall person feels like a marathon.
Walking is supposed to be fun and relaxing and if you do it with your loved one it can be really romantic. For short girls with tall companions though, walking is always a marathon. One step for my partner equals to steps for me. That is really the reason why he loves to hold my hand whenever we take a walk. I just couldn't keep up with him plus walking while holding hands is really romantic. But the moment he lets go of my hand, I am 3 miles behind panting. He always teases me saying "short ass, start walking". Whenever we go on walking holidays outside the country, he lets me go on my own pace and then he'll just wait for me to catch up. It is not that I'm slow. Oh no. I am fast for my size but he is just faster and bigger.
4. Taking bathroom selfies requires more than a camera.
Taking perfect bathroom selfies is already hard with all the angles and lighting stuff. For a short girl however, it is a real struggle to even have one selfie with your entire face in the frame...Bathroom/toilet mirrors in Holland are too high that if you're short, all you'll see is the top of your head or your eyebrows if you tiptoe high enough. It's a good thing we have a full sized mirror at home but whenever we go to restaurants or at our friend's place or whenever I brush my teeth, I cannot see myself anywhere in the mirror. I cannot retouch my lipstick or put a powder on my face using the toilet/bathroom mirrors. Nope, never. Good thing we can use our phone cameras now for applying makeup and most pressed powder nowadays have its own face mirror.
5. Reaching For Everything
Short girls struggle in reaching for everything. Be it the wine glass in the kitchen cabinet, or the curry paste on the top shelf of the fridge, or grocery shopping in a supermarket, short girls always have to find ways to reach for something. I always have to ask for someone's help whenever I have to put my carry-on luggage in the aircraft's luggage bins. Whenever I am in the busy trams or buses, I just couldn't reach the handle bars overhead so I had to look for a pole or any metal or seat headrest to keep myself steady. Reaching for my partner's neck whenever I want a kiss is also a struggle in itself but a struggle I always do anyway...
6. Dutch kids are literally taller than you
My partner's bestfriend has 2 beautiful daughters and they are aged 6 and 10 now. They are always excited whenever we are coming over to visit but what they also love about us being there is measuring their height and mine. They are somehow fascinated by my height because the 10 year old is already an inch taller than I am and she's got bigger shoe size as well. Her shirts can fit me perfectly and I look like an adopted sister to her. We always find it funny but yeah give it a couple more years and that lovely girl is going to be literally looking down on me just like everyone else.
© 2019 Jennifer Gonzales