I am what some may refer to as vertically challenged. A short arse. In fact I am shorter than your average short person. It is rare for me to be taller than any other adults. There have been a few. Mainly little old ladies. In fact at 4-foot-10-and-a-half inches (that half is very important) I am just under the height of your average 12 year old. A fact I know only to well from my 10 year old son’s friends who delightedly point out that they are nearly taller than me.

But I am quite happy with my height. Apart from a slight digression aged 8 when I wrote a poem called “I hate being a titch”, it doesn’t bother me. I am perfectly happy in flats. Yet however much I don’t have a problem with my height, it seems the world does. The world is not built for short arses. That’s why there are so many short girl problems.

short girl problems

Reaching things

Probably the most obvious one. I don’t think I’ve managed a supermarket shop without having to ask a random stranger to reach something for me. Or in the absence of any strangers go without whichever item is tantalisingly out of my grasp.

And why is it the top I want is on the top rail, and the size I need is right at the back? I have been known to pull a muscle stretching, try the jump and grab, or just yank the thing from the hanger, all in the name of fashion!


Shoes deserves it’s own heading. Because why oh why are the bigger sizes at the bottom and the smaller sizes at the top? I mean there is no logic there whatsoever at either end of the spectrum. It’s a long way down for those tall girls with the size nine feet. Now that’s not just short girl problems. Still at least I can still shop in the child’s section for my shoes!

short girl problems


Unless us shorties are curled up on a sofa, it’s virtually impossible for us to sit anywhere comfortably. Seriously some sofas I sit on leave looking like I’m in the Harry and Lou Lou sketch…

short girl problems

But restaurant seats are the worst. I fidget my way through a meal because I either have pins and needles from my feet being on tip toes rather than flat on the floor, or I lose all feeling in my thighs because the edge of the chair is digging into them and cutting off all circulation, because my feet are just dangling. Then there are the booth seats. Some of those sink so low I can barely see over the table! And don’t get me started on bar stools. I mean pass the friggin’ ladder would you.


Cars are actually my biggest bug bear when it comes to being short. There are minor irritations such as the fact that I can’t drive some cars because I can’t reach the pedals. But there is actually a serious safety issue that effects a lot of women who sit close to the wheel due to their height. And it’s serious short girl problems like this that need to be addressed.

The safe distance between the driver and the steering wheel is 10 inches. Sitting closer than that when an airbag goes off causes serious injury and often fatality due to the proximity of the explosion.

In the states you can apply to have an on off switch installed for your drivers airbag if you sit less than 10 inches from the wheel. However in the UK although it is not a legal requirement to have an airbag, most cars do, and if you do deactivate the drivers air bag you car insurance will be void. I think that’s the definition of a catch 22.

Literally anywhere where there is something to be seen

Unless I am upfront and centre then I don’t have a hope in hell of seeing what is going on. So next time you are at a concert let your fellow shorties stand in front of you. Either that or we should get a concession on our tickets!

short girl problems


You don’t make it to your forties as a short women without learning to sew or knowing someone who can (thanks Tess). I have never bought a pair of trousers or jeans that didn’t have to be taken up. I have made tops from the excess material that has been taken from the bottom of dresses. But my nemesis when it comes to clothing is a tailored jacket. The narrow bit that should sit at your waist, sits at my hips. I end up having to size up so much that that shoulder seam sits somewhere around my elbow and I basically look like a child dressing up in their Mums clothes. The tailored jacket is not my friend.


Your step tracker may tell you you have done 9000 steps today. But if I was walking with you my steps would be double that. It often takes my little legs two paces for your average persons stride.

Some people are nice and slow themselves down to match your stride. Some people carry on regardless and wonder why you can’t hold a conversation because you are so out of breath and appear not to notice you are actually running beside them to keep up.

So you see, the world is not built to accommodate short people. Our problems are real people!

Tell me your short girl problems…

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short girl problems




Claire Kirby

1 Comment on Short Girl Problems

  1. In a restaurant my feet always dangle. And at airports I have to use a wheelchair to get to my flight as I am always the last person walking right behind the others and nobody sees me.

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