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4 Disadvantages of Being a Big Guy

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I've always been a big guy -- I'm 6 foot four inches tall and sturdily built. I think a lot of people believe that there's an automatic advantage in being a large person, but there is a downside that goes along with those advantages. Stuff like...

4. The World Is Scaled for Smaller People.

Ducking becomes second nature (hopefully) because doorways are often too low. I have to sit down in some showers because the shower head is mounted so that water hits me somewhere in the midsection. Low ceilings make me feel uneasy and claustrophobic. I can only imagine what it's like for my friends who are even taller, but anyone over a certain height really becomes aware of how most things in this world are scaled for people smaller than they are.

3. Finding Things That Fit Can Be a Challenge.

Shopping for clothes when you're a certain size is a challenge, particularly if you are built a certain way. I am tall and while not stick-thin, I'm not overweight, and finding things like jeans that fit well can be rough -- It seems that beyond a certain height, the assumption is that a person is also fairly large in the waistline, but that's not always the case. Things like shirts and jackets can be problematic, too -- either sleeves are often too short or the chest is enormous if they fit. Sizing gets weird, as I'm an extra-large in some things and an extra-extra-large in others. It seems like the standards get pretty vague at some point along the line. Yes, there are "Big and Large" specialty stores, but it's not just clothes that don't fit you when you're a large person.

For instance, I recently bought a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and I also owned a custom chopper. Now, the chopper was "raked and stretched" -- its length was effectively increased from a more typical stock size. That custom-fit me like a glove, and when I went shopping for a Harley, I figured it would fit well, too; after all, Harleys are big bikes, right? No, not really. There are things that can be done to make them look and feel bigger, but most stock Harleys are not all that big, and like most things, are really designed for people falling into an average size range. Big surprise, I'm now in the market for a new custom bike again.

2. You're the First Person to Be Considered for Certain Types of Tasks. I found that when I owned a pickup truck, I was inevitably the first person most of my friends would call when they needed to move something. Similarly, big folks are often called upon to do certain types of manual labor. If I'm in a group of ten people and something large and heavy needs to get moved, most of the time I'll be the first person asked to do it. Not that I mind, usually, but this has been going on most of my life, and after a while it gets tiresome to always be on the radar for chores that require heavy lifting. If that sounds like a silly complaint, consider how a person might feel after he's been asked to move his tenth refrigerator...Opinions might be different then.

1. People Will Draw Weird Conclusions About Your Background and Character.

I often get asked if I played any college football. I don't even know the rules to football. I'm not a hater, but I don't watch sports at all; they just don't interest me. When you're big, it's rare that you get asked about your interest in art or playing music, but I sure get grilled about an assumed interest in sports. I also have had lots of people over the years admit that when they first met me, they thought I was scary and intimidating. That one doesn't bother me much, but it seems odd considering my actual temperament. When I've compared notes with large friends of mine, most of them report similar experiences -- according to the perception people have of us, we all played a lot of football when we weren't scaring the hell out of strangers or getting in gang fights. Unfortunately, I have to assume that if that's what people who eventually became friends of mine were thinking, then others must have as well. Not exactly the image I was trying to cultivate most of the time.

Writing this made me think about how we are all sort of given certain advantages and disadvantages based on our appearance and physical traits, much of which we have no control over. Being tall and just generally a big guy has presented me with challenges, some of which are minor annoyances, and others that are more problematic, but I'm still much more fortunate than many other people. I wouldn't mind the ability to magically shave three or four inches from my height, but there are plenty of others who would gladly add those inches to their own height.

My problems are insignificant compared to many, and I realize that. I still wish I could find a pair of jeans or gloves that would fit me perfectly, though.

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