07/27/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Are Tall People Discriminated Against?

In short: Yes.

I get a lot of emails from average-height and short people asking why I bothered to write a book about tall folk, who earn $789 more per inch per year, have a longer longevity, and are slightly smarter. Do talls really need a cheerleader?

Let me tell you a story: At both my office and my boyfriend's apartment, the toilets are built so close to the wall that I cannot sit on them as their design intends, because my knees hit the wall. So instead I sit perpendicularly, at a 90 degree angle from the bowl, which, frankly, works poorly because the seat is an oval. This goes on a half dozen times a day. I've never told anyone this before, except all of you.

Anyone who experiences this six times a day might feel a wee bit alienated, and knows that there are both pros and cons to the tall life, and that all need to be talked about openly. And some of the cons are doozies. There's this 6'1" man, who was told by Southwest airline that he needed to buy two seats. And this 6'10" man who is apparently too tall for Weight Watchers.

But most tall discrimination is omnipresent. The next time you're out in public, look around. You'll see tall people's knees bent well past 90 degrees on subways, buses and in restaurant chairs. You'll see them stuffed into theater seats and falling off exercise bikes that are blatantly designed for the 10-90th percentiles. You'll see tall folks hanging off of yoga mats and massage tables, limbs sticking out of cubicles.

Tall folks are fairly complacent about this, lulled into calmness by years of being squished into pretzel people. It's really not okay. Really, who decided that it's okay to let airlines not provide appropriate seating for all naturally sized passengers? And why do American companies commonly not design for tall and short consumers, a practice that's not tolerated in much of Europe?

I vote for the easy solution: Tall Consumerism. It's simple: Only spending dollars on products that fit perfectly, priced the same as other sizes. It's a campaign of positive reinforcement: only supporting airlines that provide reasonable legroom to all passengers, only buying clothes that really do fit. It's high time for tall folks to start using all their spending power.

At, I've started Tall Activism!, where we contact companies and educate them on how their products can better fit the whole population. Because often, they simply don't know. And we have to tell them with our dollars and voices. So that we all can reach our goal of sitting straight on the loo.