Lanky freak? Admire the View
Can you sue somebody because they inadvertently allowed you to grow too tall? Does being 6ft 5ins ruin your life? These are the questions being posed at the high court in London as we speak. As a woman who is frequently compared to a giraffe, this story fascinates me.
20-year-old Kate Woodward claims that doctors’ failure to diagnose a tumour on her pituitary gland which led to her soaring to the size of a basketball player has “marked her out as a freak”.
Although she suffers side effects on her back, knees and teeth, it seems sad that she cannot wear her height with pride. She surely needs to, because it’s not something she’s ever going to hide. Surely the advantages of extreme height outweigh the inconveniences? I’ve always enjoyed the extra reach of my long octopus arms. I get a good view at concerts, rather than finding my face crushed between the sweaty buttocks of an overweight Happy Mondays fan.
My long legs won me all the sprint races at school, despite my body being built for long distances (I won those as well). I can eat an awful lot of cake without any ill-effects.
And it’s helped me get on in a man’s world. Being a short woman scuttling around the floor like a toddler in heels can be an impediment when negotiating with male colleagues and business contacts.
And then there’s the double-standards: if Kate was a man she’d be donning a mesh singlet and shooting hoops to the sounds of adoring cheerleaders right now. Surely?
The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust have already admitted it’s their fault she’s too tall. But they don’t want to shell out quite as much cash….understandably given the state of the NHS.
So good luck to you Kate, but money won’t really change anything. You can’t lop a foot off your height without losing something vital, so the only thing you’ll get out of it is tailormade trousers and an extra-long bed.
Better to embrace your size. Find a 7ft Russian husband. Become a model, campaign for better legroom for tall people. Become the poster girl for the vertically un-challenged. And enjoy always being able to see what’s going on at the front.