Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

Too Tall for the Teahouse

special_teahouse_of_the_august_moon_stage_MF00150_LI detect a trend. It is pretty much a given that those who write also read. It is not uncommon for writers to identify themselves as introverts, or at least people who prefer solitude to louditude. (“Louditude” is not a real word. I just made that up to confound spellcheck.) Most of the blogs that I follow are written by women, but that has more to do with my reading preferences than anything else.

Lately, however, I’ve noticed that several female writers here in Blogburg have mentioned that they are tall. My point being that their height is, or was a significant factor of their identity.

It could be that I am just sensitive to any mention of height. I may have been a late bloomer, but I was an early sprouter. When I was around 12 or 13, I shot up four inches in a season. I towered over just about everyone, including many adults in my world. Intimidating to boys? Oh yeah. There I was, 5’10”, all limbs and no boobs. No dates for this gal, not until I graduated high school.

Who needs boys anyway? I had my studies and my music, and plays and stuff. (This is me, re-enacting the stiff upper lip. Are you buying it?)

Ah yes, the high school play! Before I attended high school, Mom used to take me to see the annual production. What a riot! ” I’m Charley’s aunt from Brazil — where the nuts come from.”  Think of Nathan Lane as Charley’s Aunt. Or better yet, either of the Matts from Friends. However you might like to retroactively cast the part, the important thing to note is that I was smitten with the stage.

In my first year of high school, the drama club mounted Teahouse of the August Moon. The story is set in Japan in the months following the end of WWII.  An American colonel in charge of the occupation troops wants to bring Western civilization to the natives. The comedy revolves around the underling assigned to the task. The well-meaning but bumbling Captain encourages the Okinawan women to build a schoolhouse. The villagers, however, have other ideas – they want a “teahouse” [nudge, nudge] serviced by pretty geisha girls.  And there’s a goat.

The moment that the casting call was posted I rehearsed for the final curtain calls. Bow to the audience? Or curtsey? Both, maybe?

All of the lead roles were male, except for the geisha girl. I did not have what it took to, ahem, “fill” the role, so it was no surprise that I was not awarded a call-back to play Lotus Blossom. There were any number of non-speaking parts: villagers and the geisha’s girlfriends. You can imagine the indignation when I wasn’t called back at all.

Drama Queen

Drama Queen

I took it in stride. For about a nano-second.

Why, oh why wasn’t I chosen? Was I really that horrible? Oh, the humanity! [wrist to forehead, hand at throat – hand me the dagger so I can end it all now, will ya?]

 Mom worked at the high school.  Bless her heart, she asked the director why I wasn’t chosen. It was a good news/bad news answer. The good news was the bad news. I was too tall for the Teahouse. 

Well crap.

Speaking of which, that was my assignment backstage. Goat handler.

***   ***   ***

Movie Poster Credit

Overacting photo credit

Categories: Personal Growth

Tags: , , ,

29 replies

  1. I hit my senior year at 5ft3 and will never be taller. Back then Elle MAcPherson was THE model and it didn’t matter if you were pretty or not if you were under 5ft9 you was as well be a dwarf as far as the fashion world was concerned.

    I think there must have been something in the was water at school because I was one of the shortest in my year the average was between 5ft8 and 5ft10 with legs up to their armpits – (bitches). Still it did tend to make me stand out in the crowd at dances etc which in the end was all to the good.

    Funny isn’t it what different eras in fashion determine as ‘the look’. Now your teenage self would be all the rage, long and lanky with minimal bust line seems to be the fashion du jour.


    • I do enjoy reading your comments, Jenni. Not only here, but elsewhere. Thank you. You are so right, Jenni. I look at pictures of myself from those days and am astounded at how pretty I looked… at least compared to my memory of how I ugly I thought I was, at the time.


      • It is odd isn’t it.

        I thought I was fat but when a few years later a friend (who I thought a little skinny) tried to put on one of my formal dresses to which would suit for this dinner she had (I had a few from the different formals I went to) she couldn’t zip it up. At first I thought oh it must have shrunk – weird huh.

        Our view of ourselves as young people is so harsh at times.


  2. I’m short and I have no boobs. Killer ass-ets in other departments. Our differences are often not to distinguish us from others but to force us to love ourselves more. At least, that’s what I think. As I said in my own last post: we are all works of art.


  3. AMAZING stuff, Maggie! – where in the name of all the gods do you get your inspiration? 😀
    Maybe you should run a writing challenge for posts with the-most-outrageous-but-still-totally-relevant titles! – whaddya reckon?
    Loved it.


  4. Could have been worse. You could have been cast as the goat. Imagine how the goat would have felt! For what it’s worth, I’ve taught uncountable Japanese girls. None of them were over 5’4″. I’m 5’1″. I cannot reach things in supermarkets. I am awkward in the kitchen (counters built for people of “average” height). The only place I haven’t been inconvenienced by the heightist world was in Canton, China and on any airplane. I cannot even bear my cross. I must drag it! 😉


  5. I was 5’10” before I started to shrink with age, so I totally sympathise! Teenage boys reached your armpits, apart from anything else. But I’m also convinced that tall women are copers because they don’t have any choice. No one runs to their aid. No one sees them as dear little helpless female things in need of strong shoulders to cry on or strong arms to change flat tyres. Which does stand you in good stead later, I find!


  6. Hi Helen – I hate to confess, but I have a ways to go toward changing my own flat tyres. I admire you and other women who are mechanically inclined.


  7. In high school, I was always cast as either the man, or an old person. At least once, as an old man. It’s hard to be the tall girl in a high school — true anyway, but certainly in the theatre! I’m sure I’d hit 6′ before graduation, and goodness knows few of the boys had. It’s still rough, as I’m still in the theatrical world, but at least I’ve finally embraced my niche as a character actor and often a villain type; it’s WAY more fun than being an ingenue! I tried once at being an ingenue, and even with a fun character (Sylvia in Two Gentlemen of Verona), there’s just not as much depth as villains and other character types get to have.
    Though I confess I’m well pleased I at least get to portray women more now…


    • [“Sarah” Hi. I just noticed that this comment was posted in the wrong reply spot, so I’m fixing it tonight – four months after the fact. 🙄 ]
      Hiya! Glad you stopped in! Thanks for reading and commenting. I have heard exactly that – more fun to play the nasties. I played Queen Isabella once. Can’t remember the name of the play, but it was a one act, set in a psychiatric ward. All the “inmates” were women and each had delusions of being a famous female character. Izzy had only one dimension. I sat catatonic the entire time, except for one brief moment when I launch up and holler “Land Ho!” I think there was more, but cannot remember that either. Huh. I haven’t thought about that in years! Thanks for triggering the memories!


  8. LOL, all this AND you’re a fellow Wallace and Gromit afficionado?? Awesome!



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