"How's the weather up there?"

"Do you happen to play basketball?"

"Would you mind wearing flats?"

I am part of a distinct breed of women, a type that can often be spotted from a distance. Our demographic in America forms a relatively small group but one that is rather difficult to miss, unless we happen to be lounging in a chair, driving a car or tying our shoes.

When we're not reaching for the jar on the top shelf, we can often be found running up and down the basketball court or playing volleyball. During our leisure time, we are often spotted shopping the stores with long jeans; pants often only reach our ankles, and our bodies have an amazing ability to make dresses look like shirts.

We can't change it, and we can't stop it. We're born this way, and (most of the time) we embrace it.

At 5-foot-10, I'm a tall girl. I honestly can't remember a time when I wasn't lanky; growing up, remaining a solid 5 inches above my friends seemed as concrete as my hair or eye color.

In America, we're surprisingly more rare than one might expect; a U.S. census reports that the average height of women in the country falls around 5 feet, 3 inches, and the average male height is approximately 5 feet, 9 inches. 

For girls who grew with more typical measurements, height may not have been a major part of their identity or perspective of self. However, as someone born with height, I can honestly say that being tall absolutely factors into a person's life, whether he or she desires such designation or not.

Tall women form a somewhat interesting group. Like people with red hair, there is a sense of community because we can often relate on the various nuances that come with our height.

Middle school posed a unique struggle – for many tall girls, relationships were decidedly less idyllic when a tall girl stood a head taller than her crush. Even into adulthood, the factor of height cannot be fully ignored when dating or even considering a relationship.

High heels present a unique obstacle for us. Five-inch stilettos look beautiful when on display; many of us can certainly work a gorgeous pair of heels. Many others find that, despite our best efforts, sky-high shoes can often mean a huge fall – and it's a long way to the ground. Elegant, dainty stilettos (even when found in the correct size) are not for the faint of heart.

In the classrooms, we found out the back of the room really wasn't so bad. We've almost come to expect that sitting up straight will block others' views; slouching in class wasn't a sign of passivity, but rather the function of necessity. Small desks pose a unique problem for our legs, and sitting for long periods of time in cars, airplanes or buses can be a distinctly uncomfortable experience.

We can't hide, and we can't change the fact that we're tall. Many of my tall friends growing up often expressed their desire to be shorter, and to be able to fit in more seamlessly – and to look up, rather than down, at boys. Vertical "giftedness," can be delicate balance between awkwardness and gracefulness. Yet, at an indistinguishable – but crucial – juncture, many tall girls decide to ditch the flats and wear a great pair of gorgeous high heels.

And despite the change in weather, we're not even sorry.

Sarah Hagaman is a sophomore in English. She can be reached at shagama1@utk.edu.