Bits and pieces from the astoundingly normal life of Paul Carlisle Kletchka

I’m 6 feet, 4 inches tall. Honestly, I don’t think that’s particularly tall, but then again, I can go for days without seeing someone else as tall as me. For the most part, it’s a pretty good gig, and here’s a far-from-comprehensive list of reasons why:

  • In a sea of people, it’s easy to find me. (Sometimes, a down side…)
  • At movies, concerts, etc., my view is very rarely obscured by the person sitting in front of me.
  • There is something to people having to literally look up to you.
  • I can store things on the top shelf without a step stool.
  • Changing light bulbs – no problem.
  • Dana likes that she can wear heels and I’m still taller than her.
  • Pretending that I didn’t see someone because I wasn’t looking down has actually worked.
  • My reach is absolutely phenomenal. If, for some reason, you think you need to run away from me, it will take you longer than usual — and our daughter hasn’t quite figured that out, yet.

There are plenty of things about being tall that aren’t so great, but the one that always stings worse than the rest is the absolute dearth of clothing out there made for people my size. Now, before you start in on the “Oh, nothing ever fits me, either. I’m right in-between sizes, so things are either too big or too small, too long or too short” comments, just stop. Because for me, it’s all too short. That’s right, all regular sizes are too short for me. So, if you’re between sizes, you can bite me, because you can get something too big/long and have it taken in/hemmed. I, on the other hand, cannot break the laws of physics and magically make things longer. I just can’t find clothing that will fit me in an everyday store. With one notable exception – jeans – for which I’m thankful, but I need more than jeans in my wardrobe. Regular sizes of mens pants almost always max out at a 34 inch inseam, and mine is 36 inches. Regularly sized tailored shirts max out on a sleeve length of 36 inches, and mine is 37. Yes, you’re allowed to laugh at my ape arms, but remember the reach thing. In jackets and overcoats, I’m a 44 extra-long. And in the world of S, M, L, and XL, I’m a – wait for it… XLXT. That’s extra-large, extra-tall.

Oh, and don’t even mention “big and tall mens” stores. I’ve tried them. Apparently, they are quite literal on that, because you have to be both big and tall in those stores. Taking in an inch or two on clothing is one thing. Taking off enough for a second shirt or pair of pants is something else.

To show my age in true grumpy old man style, I will note that back in the 90s, when fashions fit rather loosely, I could get by with regular sizes most of the time. But now that closer-fitting, more tailored looks are fashionable, I’m screwed. And I was reminded of that in a very big way today.

We have a brand new department store in town, and today was our day to go and check it out. As a brief aside, I’ll mention that we first went out to find a pair of shoes for me. Shoe sizes aren’t a problem for me. With shoes, the problem is that I’m incredibly picky, so I have no one to blame but myself for coming home without new ones. But I will say there’s always a small selection of ugly and/or poorly made mens shoes compared to a friggin’ smorgasboard of womens shoes. Boooooo! But back to the clothes. I wandered through the mens section of our new store, finding shirt after lovely shirt, great sale prices on good pants, and a jacket or two that I would absolutely rock — and not one of those items of clothing were long enough. I even tried a couple of things on in the desperate hope that maybe I’d shrunk or this store’s clothing ran a little on the long side. No luck.

So… Tomorrow I will likely place an order on-line for some new clothes. I have an old stand-by for my clothing needs that I will not name here, because every time I look through their catalog of tall mens clothes, I really have to hunt for decent stuff. Most of what they have reminds me of a scene from the movie Sixteen Candles, where an exchange student has gone missing and when his clothes are described to the police over the phone, the next line you hear is “No, he’s not retarded.” Great stuff. So if you ever think that I seem to have one or two outfits, just in multiple color combos, you’re probably right, and that’s why.

I’ll tell you what, though. Come hell or high water, I’m going to find a pair of shoes that I like…

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