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  #1  
Old 04-08-2006, 05:05 AM
Charlie Tan Charlie Tan is offline
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Is 6' tall for a man?

I've read a lot of books where typically a physical description can be something like "He was a big guy. Tall. Almost 6 feet."
Now, being 6'3" myself, I don't consider 6' to be tall, slightly above average, maybe, but not tall. Yet I find this description often enough to suspect that my perspective might be skewed. Or are most writers tiny guys?
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  #2  
Old 04-08-2006, 05:13 AM
Ice Wolf Ice Wolf is offline
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According to this , 6' is only just a bit more than average height for men in most part of the world. I'd term anything from 6'3" onwards as being tall (enough that I have to crane my neck to look up at you fellas up there.)
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  #3  
Old 04-08-2006, 05:21 AM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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The average American man is 5'9" or 5'10" tall - this New Yorker article says average is 5'9.5". So "almost six feet" isn't particularly tall in an objective sense, but heights are so often mentioned comparatively. "Big" has even more meanings than "tall," since I think it tends to connote a sturdy or stocky build even in a shorter man.

And yes, some of us writers are short.
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  #4  
Old 04-08-2006, 05:28 AM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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Height norms vary by geographical region/ethnic population and by time period. Average height tends to increase or decrease depending on nutrition, and has increased for much of the twentieth century. So if you're reading, say, British or American books from before the mid-twentieth century, it wouldn't be at all surprising to find a six-foot man described as "tall" in them. However, six feet is still taller than average today; see below.

Wikipedia on human height:
Quote:
Human height is regulated by many factors. Since the development of modern medicine and plentiful nutrient-rich food in the developed world average height has increased dramatically. Nutrition is the most important factor in determining height; and height records from military records and other documents can be used to quite accurately compare nutrition and height in various eras. Evidence has shown that height decreased in Britain in the early nineteenth century, before beginning its long increase around mid-century. Increase in height has not been constant; however. The European Middle Ages was an era of tallness with men of above six feet (1.83 m) considered unremarkable. In Europe human height reached its nadir at the start of the nineteenth century. Until the general rise in human health, as urbanization increased, the accompanying trend was a height decline.

Europeans in North America were far taller than those in Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in fact the tallest in the world. The original indigenous population was also among the tallest populations of the world at the time. However, several nations, indeed many nations in Europe, have now surpassed the US in terms of average stature, particularly the Netherlands and Scandinavian nations. Most markedly is the Netherlands where average height has increased at the greatest rates. For instance: the Netherlands was in the late nineteenth century a land renowned for its short population, but today it has the tallest average in the world with young men averaging 6 ft 0.5 in (1.84 m) tall.
You can see from the accompanying chart in the link that average height for modern males is a few inches shorter than six feet in most of the sampled countries. Note that those countries are heavily skewed towards populations of western European descent; the only ethnically non-"Caucasian" population included is that of Japan, whose average height is considerably shorter.

So even in most of the well-nourished first world countries, a six-foot man is still taller than average. So I'd say yes, your perspective is probaby skewed by your own extreme height.
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  #5  
Old 04-08-2006, 05:34 AM
Ice Wolf Ice Wolf is offline
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Cool! Then I used the right link.
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  #6  
Old 04-08-2006, 05:35 AM
Otara Otara is offline
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The standard deviation for Australian men is about 7cm, so I wouldnt say you're 'tall' till you're at least into the second deviation, ie 186cm for a male 18-24 years old, just over 6' 1".

Of course even at 178cm you're as tall or taller than 50% of men assuming a bell curve, and taller than most men once you go over that.


Otara
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  #7  
Old 04-08-2006, 09:17 AM
Otto Otto is offline
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Just remember, I'm 6'5" and I eat punks like you for breakfast.
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  #8  
Old 04-08-2006, 09:27 AM
bordelond bordelond is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto
Just remember, I'm 6'5" and I eat punks like you for breakfast.
We did a "tallest Doper" thread once. Anyone remember who it was?
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  #9  
Old 04-08-2006, 10:17 AM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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I'm 6'1" and to be honest I don't notice that I'm that much taller than other men. I guess I'm taller than most guys, but not so much that anyone cares.

It does seem to me that the younger you are, the taller you seem to be; high school kids these days seem really, really tall, much taller than I remember them being when I was in high school, which was only sixteen years ago. When I stroll aorund the mall on my lunch hour I'm always amazed at the number of high school kids who're 6'3 and taller. Huge, huge kids. Perhaps prenatal care and such is getting them off to a quicker start.
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  #10  
Old 04-08-2006, 10:26 AM
pseudotriton ruber ruber pseudotriton ruber ruber is offline
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I used to think I was a tall guy when I was six feet tall. But I've come up a quarter-inch shy on my last measurement, despite straining my posture to the max, and now I feel all puny and insignificant.
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  #11  
Old 04-08-2006, 10:37 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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When you're 5' 1", the whole world is tall. I hang around with my MIL for this reason. She's 4' 9" at best. I like to rest cocktails on her head.
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  #12  
Old 04-08-2006, 10:38 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimstu
Height norms vary by geographical region/ethnic population and by time period. Average height tends to increase or decrease depending on nutrition, and has increased for much of the twentieth century. So if you're reading, say, British or American books from before the mid-twentieth century, it wouldn't be at all surprising to find a six-foot man described as "tall" in them. However, six feet is still taller than average today; see below.

Wikipedia on human height:


You can see from the accompanying chart in the link that average height for modern males is a few inches shorter than six feet in most of the sampled countries. Note that those countries are heavily skewed towards populations of western European descent; the only ethnically non-"Caucasian" population included is that of Japan, whose average height is considerably shorter.

So even in most of the well-nourished first world countries, a six-foot man is still taller than average. So I'd say yes, your perspective is probaby skewed by your own extreme height.
You're still in the Netherlands, right? Your cite says the Dutch are among the tallest in the world. Do you notice that? I haven't been over there for about 10 years, but that's one thing I remember. I'm 6" 2", and I just felt like an averaged height guy in that country!
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  #13  
Old 04-08-2006, 11:39 AM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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Now I know where to shop for tall women's dresses.
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  #14  
Old 04-08-2006, 11:42 AM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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I'm 6', I've never considered myself tall. I would say I'm about average because I always see people taller and shorter than me everywhere I go.
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  #15  
Old 04-08-2006, 11:44 AM
ultrafilter ultrafilter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bordelond
We did a "tallest Doper" thread once. Anyone remember who it was?
According to this thread, Giraffe is 6'8" and Mullinator is 6'10".
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  #16  
Old 04-08-2006, 11:59 AM
jayjay jayjay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ultrafilter
According to this thread, Giraffe is 6'8" and Mullinator is 6'10".
Y'know, you'd think a guy named Giraffe would win a Tallest Doper contest...
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  #17  
Old 04-08-2006, 12:04 PM
ultrafilter ultrafilter is offline
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Originally Posted by jayjay
Y'know, you'd think a guy named Giraffe would win a Tallest Doper contest...
You would think. Assuming the distribution of heights is about the same in America as it is in Australia, giraffe is about 3.7 standard deviations above the mean. I don't feel like calculating the exact percentage of the population that's shorter than him, but it's well over 99%.
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  #18  
Old 04-08-2006, 12:14 PM
CynicalGabe CynicalGabe is offline
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I'm 6'2", and I don't consider myself tall. I know plenty of guys taller than myself.
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  #19  
Old 04-08-2006, 12:27 PM
Malacandra Malacandra is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ultrafilter
According to this thread, Giraffe is 6'8" and Mullinator is 6'10".
That makes Mullinator the same height as the guy who plays Hagrid in the long shots - Martin Bayfield, some time England Rugby Union line-out forward. (He did some post-match interviews during this year's Six Nations series and it was amusing seeing interviewee after interviewee craining their necks to look at this person who was out of shot.)

Six foot eight is giraffe-like enough for me though.
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  #20  
Old 04-08-2006, 12:45 PM
Charlie Tan Charlie Tan is offline
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I'm aware what average height is, but that's only statistics. I'm more interested in why writers woud describe someone 6' as tall and if the perception would be that it is indeed tall, as opposed to average.
I tend to see this in crime stories from the 50's and 60's and I guess average height has gone up.
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  #21  
Old 04-08-2006, 01:08 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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Was it environmental conditions caused by Britain's Industrial Revolution that stunted the growth of the proletariat? Something about "dark Satanic mills"?
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  #22  
Old 04-08-2006, 02:58 PM
Skywatcher Skywatcher is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Gaspode
I tend to see this in crime stories from the 50's and 60's and I guess average height has gone up.
Several years ago, The Smithsonian had an exhibit on humans which featured an analysis of human height over the centuries. On average, children grow to be two inches taller than their parents.
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  #23  
Old 04-08-2006, 03:01 PM
Quartz Quartz is offline
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Something for the ladies to consider when talking to we tall guys - I'm 6'3", 6'4" first thing in the morning, and shoes only add to that - is that when we're talking to you, we're looking downwards, and you're craning your head up, and if you've got a low-cut or thin top, you're (ahem) displaying yourself. So go easy on us.
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  #24  
Old 04-08-2006, 05:22 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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Lute Skywatcher writes:

> Several years ago, The Smithsonian had an exhibit on humans which featured
> an analysis of human height over the centuries. On average, children grow to
> be two inches taller than their parents.

Oh, please, consider just how impossible that is over the long run. Say a generation is 30 years. In 120 years, the average height would increase by eight inches. In 300 years, the average height would have increased by twenty inches. I don't believe that in any 30-year period the average height has increased by two inches, and certainly over any long period that can't be consistently true.
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  #25  
Old 04-08-2006, 06:58 PM
Skywatcher Skywatcher is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner
Oh, please, consider just how impossible that is over the long run. Say a generation is 30 years. In 120 years, the average height would increase by eight inches. In 300 years, the average height would have increased by twenty inches. I don't believe that in any 30-year period the average height has increased by two inches, and certainly over any long period that can't be consistently true.
I was only reporting what the exhibit was, not pontificating on its accuracy.
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  #26  
Old 04-08-2006, 07:03 PM
Zabali_Clawbane Zabali_Clawbane is offline
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What was the setting of the books, and when were they written? The average height was less than it is now, and this shows in books (which are still popular/classics) from that time.
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  #27  
Old 04-09-2006, 02:40 AM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quartz
Something for the ladies to consider when talking to we tall guys - I'm 6'3", 6'4" first thing in the morning, and shoes only add to that - is that when we're talking to you, we're looking downwards, and you're craning your head up, and if you've got a low-cut or thin top, you're (ahem) displaying yourself. So go easy on us.
One more reason to be glad I'm a tall womanóand I wear heels. Speaking of heels, Quartz...
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  #28  
Old 04-09-2006, 06:25 AM
Malacandra Malacandra is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanna
Was it environmental conditions caused by Britain's Industrial Revolution that stunted the growth of the proletariat? Something about "dark Satanic mills"?
There's a popular supposition to that effect, if nothing more rigorous. George MacDonald Fraser alluded to something similar in one of his "McAuslan" army stories, remarking on how the unhealthy urban environment and diet had made the Glaswegians in his platoon small and slight compared to their forebears (although what they lacked in stature they made up for in attitude, as many an Afrika Korpsman discovered to his cost).

I remember the Children's Encyclopaedia I read as a lad attributing this to the change in Scottish eating habits from whole-grain porridge to white-flour bread. This may well have been reflected elsewhere too. Machine milling led to white flour being more widely available and inexpensive, and it must certainly have been easier to munch through your daily calorie allowance as white bread than wholemeal.
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  #29  
Old 04-09-2006, 07:07 AM
glee glee is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace
You're still in the Netherlands, right? Your cite says the Dutch are among the tallest in the world. Do you notice that? I haven't been over there for about 10 years, but that's one thing I remember. I'm 6" 2", and I just felt like an averaged height guy in that country!
I'm 5' 9". I've played a lot of chess in Holland, and the Dutch certainly seem tall to me!
(They also all speak about 3 languages more than me. )
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  #30  
Old 04-09-2006, 11:05 AM
AncientHumanoid AncientHumanoid is offline
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The one thing that's most annoying about exactly six feet tall is buying suits. 6' is right on the border of sevearl brand's switch from regular to long. Add in that I am rather broad shouldered and this makes buying a new suit a fairly involved procedure. I don't have to do it often, as I don't work in a suit, but a guy needs to dress up every now and then for certain occassions and I like my clothes to actually fit.

At 6', I sometimes feel much shorter than a few guys I know, but part of that is their ultra thinnisity coupled with their being a couple of inches taller. However, when I wear my fancy western boots while dressed up, the heel adds a couple of inches to my height and I have the sensation of feeling like a polar bear in an double breasted suit.. Other than that though, I don't tend to notice my height placement too much, which leads me to believe I must be near average for my area. Yeah, I don't notice it too much at all when in work clothes or just jeans and stuff. Go figure.
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  #31  
Old 04-09-2006, 12:59 PM
Jman Jman is offline
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I too am just around 6 feet. (Truly, about 5' 11 1/2"). However, unlike a few posters here, I have noticed that I am taller than most people. Certainly not to the point where I'm taller than most everyone, but most people. Of course, I'm also a big guy, about 225 of mostly muscle, so that may skew things.
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  #32  
Old 04-09-2006, 04:09 PM
Kizarvexius Kizarvexius is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quartz
Something for the ladies to consider when talking to we tall guys - I'm 6'3", 6'4" first thing in the morning, and shoes only add to that - is that when we're talking to you, we're looking downwards, and you're craning your head up, and if you've got a low-cut or thin top, you're (ahem) displaying yourself. So go easy on us.

Thanks Quartz. Just ruin the view for me, why don't you?



I'm 6'3" on a good day, when the stars are in their proper alignment.
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