No, We Are NOT All Getting Taller or Growing Bigger Feet

Posted on September 19, 2016


Hey manufacturers: remember that there are plenty of us still around who haven’t grown much in the last several decades.

Lila is a mere five feet tall with size 5 feet, a situation that has not changed since… oh, probably about age 13 or so. So when headlines trumpet that we are getting taller, or that “everyone” has feet that are getting bigger, Lila would like to remind the media, and marketers, and designers of everything from clothing to cars to cabinetry to furniture… that NO, there are plenty of us still here on the planet whose bodies are NOT getting any bigger, so please stop behaving as if “everyone” wants shoes the size of bread boxes and driver’s seats that would accommodate Chewbacca.

Alas, my pleas fall upon deaf ears. With globalization and mass production, producers aim squarely for the “average” or the most dense part of the market in order to maximize profit, and to hell with anyone else’s desires for choices in life (frighteningly, this is also the force behind “orphan diseases” for which no one does research or produces medicines).  We live today in a “service-based” global economy in which profit trumps service every time.

As you know, Lila and Hubby are moving in to our “dream home” which was built just in the past year. The kitchen cabinets were initially so high I could only reach the lowest shelf; I had them lowered to the “old” standard and can now reach the top shelf. The bathroom folks tried very hard to convince us to buy the “comfort height” toilet; I don’t see what is so comfortable about my feet dangling while I do my business. They tried to sell us those enormous garden tubs that I would have needed to pole-vault into while wearing a life jacket; we insisted on the plain old normal tubs we have always had in every other home we have lived in. Then it got a little insulting when they hawked the “adult sized” bathroom vanities; I think it was at that point that I may have said, “LOOK at me. I’m an adult, but I’m NOT TALL and I will NEVER be tall. This will be MY house, and I don’t want to chip a tooth every time I bend to spit out toothpaste in the sink.” To all of this, the barely apologetic explanation was, “Well, people are taller these days.”

Then there are the shoes.  Oddly, way back in high school, Lila could walk into any Woolco (remember them?) and find a selection of cheapo size 5 women’s shoes right off the rack, and amazingly enough, they fit! Now, however, size 5 is hardly anywhere to be found in any brick-and-mortar store, and even when I order a size 5 from an Internet source, that shoe may be too big for me. I have long harbored a suspicion that shoes – like clothing – have been getting bigger and bigger even as the label stays the same. As it happens, I actually still have a pair of shoes from about 1980, and indeed they are noticeably smaller than a similar pair from about 2008.

Check out the photo: the shoes have the same heel height and are placed against a wall. The brown shoe from ca. 1980 is both shorter and narrower than the more recent black shoe; in fact I had to insert one of those grippy heel things in the black shoe to help it stay on my foot when I walk. It’s hard to find a nice adult women’s shoe in a size 5; and it’s even harder to find them in 4 1/2, which seems to be my new size now. So for office attire, I am now limited to size 5 shoes that have laces or straps, since pumps such as the black ones here won’t even stay on my feet. Thanks, manufacturers! Yay for globalization and mass production!

Vintage everything is looking pretty good to Lila right about now. We are in the market for a new sofa… and it may just turn out to be an old one instead. Like anyone else, I like to be able to sit back and still have my feet firmly on the floor. I was fortunate to inherit my Dad’s old 1950s Danish Modern furnishings, which fit me like a charm; so I guess we will be bypassing the new-furniture stores and looking for something similar for the family room as well.

Not that the manufacturers will miss me at all. I’m used to that.