Thursday, May 17, 2012

Representin' for the Tall Girls

In romantic fiction, there are certain characteristics that are pretty much mandatory for our heroes to possess. They’ve got strong personalities and they’ve got hard names – Jake, Luke, Jack. You’d be hard pressed to find a Trevor, an Elijah or a Julian as your romantic hero. Our heroes also, virtually without fail, have got impressive height.

Our heroines can be any height, but they’re generally average or below average when it comes to stature. I cannot count the number of times I’ve read sentences such as, “Even in her sky high stilettos, she barely reached his shoulder” or “He towered over her by at least a foot.” As a tall woman, I must confess: I find such sentences a bit irritating.  Do these dainty little ladies really need these towering studs? Certainly not.  Women of average or below average height can pair up with practically any man without feeling like she’s dating her son. Tall women… not so much.

Yes, I know that these stories are works of fiction, and let me be clear that I do not begrudge any of the couples I know who fit this description, nor do I shoot daggers at said couples when I see them on the street. But when I started writing Fashioning a Romance, I was determined that in my book it would be a tall girl who gets the tall guy. 

Not that John towers over Caitlyn by “at least a foot”. He’d have to be over seven feet tall to do so.  But he has got a few inches on her, which inspires Caitlyn to buy her very first pair of heels. For the first time, she gets to experience the sensation of feeling delicate and dainty, a sensation that’s completely foreign to her. And more than a little thrilling.

So I’d like to give a shout out to all the fabulously tall gals out there, and specifically to my pals: Sally, Hilary, Laura, Vikki, Natasha, Alida, Cristina, Celia, Martha and Allison (I hope I’m not forgetting anyone) and to my virtual tall gal pals: Bronwyn and Ladylilchub. And to those of you who are single, I hope you find your very own John Harrington soon. 



  1. haha, go tall girls!! I can't wear heels when I'm with my man because we're the same height but when I go out with the gals, it's all about the rockin shoes!

    Thanks for the mention btw =)

    5"10 and a bit...

  2. I'm the short arse of the family at 5'8 and my mum's 6'1 so I'm always a big supporter of tall women. Natalie Anderson, who is no petite, shrinking violet herself, has a tall heroine in To Love, Honour and Disobey, and I found myself reading it and agreeing with the character's take on tall vs petite women. But I've also written a petite heroine who makes up in attitude what she lacks in height, so it goes both ways. (P.S. New Zealand trousers are really long - I have to get them taken up now, rather than have British ones flapping round my ankles)

  3. Hey lovely,

    Thanks for the shout-out! Us tall ones need to stick together in real, virtual, and literary life :).

    ~ll (...who wears stilettos. Unrepentantly. )

    By the way, congrats on the coming release! I'll be buying myself a copy :)

  4. Glad you lovely tall gals are pleased! And BTW, I'm all about the heels too (unlike Caitlyn). Joanne, I didn't know you were vertically gifted too. :-) I think it must be something in the New Zealand water - three of the women who got shout-outs are Kiwi. And thanks for the info about Natalie Anderson's book! I will definitely be purchasing that one. She's such a great writer...

  5. I'm a shorty, but my beautiful 15 year old niece is 6'2". We can't believe the rude things people say within earshot about her height. What's funny is that she was born 10 weeks early and was so tiny.

  6. I'm average height but my daughters are tall. I always wanted to be taller. Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. Lauren, so sorry about the delay in responding (I hope you read this). I feel for your niece - it can be hard to be tall, especially at that age! You might suggest she search for tall people groups in her area. Most of the gals I gave the shout out to are ones I met through the London Tall People Group. Hanging out with them made me feel so much more comfortable with my own height. :-)

  8. Author "Elaine Viets'" main female characters are always very tall, 6 feet. She writes cozy mysteries. I really enjoy them, but I have been surprised at the height of her women characters. I like it for a change. Here is her goodreads profile and books, if you'd like to check it out.
    But, this is a very good post, I like it when readers/writers bring up a point like this.
    Chick Lit Girls

  9. Thanks so much, Chick Lit Girls! And thanks for the recommendation. I'll definitely check out Elaine Viets and add her to my ever growing TBR pile. :-)

  10. LOL! I, myself, am VERY short. And in real life, my boyfriend is 5'8" which is still tall to me. But I have so many tall girlfriends it's almost comical. I know your struggles! The heroine in my first book is somewhat based on myself, so she's also a pipsqueak. But the rest of my forthcoming books feature tall or average height women. I guess that's me living vicariously through them!

  11. :-) Does your boyfriend tower over you by at least a foot, Lucie? That's wild that you've got so many tall gal pals and that all your recent books feature taller women. And props for writing from a viewpoint (so to speak) that's so different from your own!

    My heroines are always pretty tall - not as tall as Caitlyn (she's my tallest one at 6') but usually 5'8-9ish - which is kind of a cop-out, I know. Maybe for my next one...