It’s no secret that I’m short. I’m 5’7” on a good day. But what you might not know is that being vertically challenged is an obsession of mine. I freely admit that I have a Napoleon Complex. I have all the classic signs: I feel inferior to those who are taller than me and harbor a secret resentment toward them. Plus, I even have a sister named Josephine. At least I admit it. No one would say that I have Napoleon Complex to my face. I’m described as scrappy. Perhaps what I lack in height, I make up in assertiveness. I hate to hear the word, No, and I become even more determined when someone suggests that I can’t do something.
Chad is 5’11”, a perfect height for a man. Fortunately for me, he likes shorter guys. My friend Ron Ferg feels the same way. “Pocket gays are so cute. They’re compact. What’s not to like?” For some reason being assigned to a ”type” irritates me more than being short.
I don’t know what it is but I hate being short, and what makes matters worse is that every time I go to a party lately, I feel like everyone around me is so tall. I’m serious. It’s as though every gay guy under thirty has been blessed with height. At the last Out 100 Party, I felt like Lil’ Sprout amongst a forest of Jolly Green Gay Giants.
That night I vowed to never go to another party again unless I grew an inch or devised a way to appear taller. Then a friend suggested I get lifts for my shoes. “You know those pieces you lay in your shoe? You can add like two or three inches to your height.”
“Are you joking?” I asked.
That night I located a distributer of shoe lifts on the Internet. Who knew they were so popular. One particular company in London sold various types of lifts including ones that added six inches to your height. I nearly gasped. However I did not want to be greedy, so I purchased lifts that added a modest four inches. “That would make Chad and I the same height,” I told myself.
Within ten business days my lifts arrived. As I raced up the elevator to my apartment, I opened the box only to become deeply disappointed. These lifts were simply a soft rubber wedge that appeared very narrow particularly for my wide flipper-like feet, and the ridiculous thing was that it is impossible to put your foot inside a shoe that has a four inch lift in it. When Chad returned home that evening he found me on the bedroom floor in a sea of shoes, jamming my expensive English wedges into every pair of shoes I owned. He winced quietly and walked away. Hours later, I emerged from my room exasperated. All my efforts to gain several vital inches had failed. So I decided to accept the loss and throw out those stupid lifts. Marching through the kitchen, I passed Chad paring and apple with a knife. That’s when the light bulb went off. I grabbed the knife from his hand and began sawing my wedges so that instead of four inches they were now fitfully two. It was a stroke of brilliance. My new lifts nestled perfectly into every shoe I owned. All had not been lost. I could live with being 5’9′. Anything is better than 5’7”.
When the invitation to the Advocate Magazine Party arrived, I knew that would be the perfect occasion for me to try out my new and improved wedges. No more staring at slender knee caps in tights pants that cut off at the ankles. Now I could look those tall, young gays in the eye and feel superior to those Pocket Gays who enjoy being dominated by taller men. I felt liberated like Norma Rae. No tall gay man was going to use me as a crutch, resting their arm on my shoulder for support or tussling my hair as if I was a child. I am no tall gay man’s child!
Dressed up in my best suit and new heels, I entered the party and began working the room. But over the course of the evening my serrated wedges starting digging into the soles of my feet, and with every step I took, my face winced with pain. Even though I tried my best to hide my agony, it was all becoming too difficult to manage. “Are you okay?” asked Chad.
“No,” I barked. “My feet are killing me.”
“I’m wearing those lifts.”
“Oh my God,” he said rolling his eyes in frustration. “Well I seriously suggest you go to the bathroom and discretely remove your pumps because your face has the expression of someone in an advanced stage of constipation.”
“Thank you,” I said sarcastically as I limped away. “I hate tall people.”