CAMILLE BERRIMAN: Walking tall has its drawbacks

A personal view
A personal view
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You can’t tell from the headshot above this column, but I’m a little bit tall. At 5ft 10ins I’m no giant, but occasionally being taller than the norm is drawn sharply into focus...

With my advancing years, wild nights out are now a dim memory. However, on occasion I put on my glad rags and go out on the town with friends. Last Saturday was such a date and, after a delicious meal at Saints, in Abbeygate Street, we headed to one of Bury’s bars. On walking in I was greeted by five pairs of staring eyes belonging to a group of young revellers who found my height hilarious.

Immediately I felt 14 again, when platform shoes had just come back into fashion and no shops catered for taller women. I remember walking the corridors of Thurston Upper School wearing comically short 30in inside leg school trousers (I’m normally a 34in) with my platforms, looking like I’d not quite grown into myself.

That gawping group took me back to feeling gawky, awkward and ashamed of my height.

I lost count of the number of times someone said to me ‘aren’t you tall?’ a good 20 years ago. Yet I would never say to anyone: “Aren’t you short?” Or “Aren’t you fat?”

I’m told the ‘tall’ greeting is acceptable because height is deemed a positive attribute. Maybe, but anyone who has struggled to find long enough trousers, jackets where the sleeves don’t end mid arm and swimming costumes which don’t ride up where the sun doesn’t shine, might agree when I say: “It ain’t always sunny up here!”

Last year I had a refreshing experience: I went on holiday with a taller friend. With her standing a gorgeous 6ft 1ins we attracted attention everywhere. Maybe it was down to different foreign attitudes, but there was only admiration behind the stares. For a week the pair of us strode side by side with our shoulders back and heads high. What a shame I can’t do the same in my home town.

-- Two weeks ago I wrote about my love of chips. In response, a reader got in touch asking if I knew of any local fish and chip shops serving fish in breadcrumb rather than batter. I don’t – can anyone out there help?