Depending on your height, you are probably used to looking up or down at people to talk to them. But what would happen if you turned up at a party and found everybody was exactly the same height? That is the idea artist Hans Hemmert had when he threw a ‘Same Height Party’ to photograph for a German art exhibition, as seen above. While Hemmert’s photographs are actually from a 1997 exhibit, they lived in relative artistic obscurity until they made their way on social media sites last year.
The sheer absurdity of the idea made the image of people wearing height increasing shoes go viral and hit the front page of websites such as Reddit - even generating its own meme.
While it is a laughter-provoking idea, the photo actually can serve as a starting point for a serious conversation about how height affects our relationships with others and also make us question what the world would be like if everybody was the same height.
How height affects conversation
While most people are generally aware that height affects how we talk to one another, few truly understand the subtleties of how to manipulate this affect to their own advantage. There are some generalities that often crop up when it comes to tall-short relations, and the following are just a selection of the common feelings that surface. For example, a shorter person talking to a taller person may either subconsciously feel protected or threatened by their strong presence depending on the subject matter. Taller people also tend to physically dominate conversations as they are able to use their height to project, talk with their hands and generally outflank smaller conversation rivals. As is the way with most things in life, short people generally are at a disadvantage unless talking to people of their own height, wherein their ability to look straight in the eye is good for deep conversation.
Leveling everybody out
So what are the benefits of a same height party? As well as getting the chance to wear some truly funky shoes, being on the same level as everybody else enhances communication and negates the physical advantage a tall person may have in conversation by being able to ‘look down on’ the other other. It is also great for shorter men who often find themselves disadvantaged by the fact ladies generally want men taller than themselves. Without height to focus on, flirtatious men and women perhaps would focus on the actual facial appearance of people or maybe even their personalities. Almost in the same way as alcohol, by bring everyone down (or up) to the same level social interactions are made freer and there is one less mode of comparison to make partygoers feel unequal.
Throwing your own same height party?
If you want to throw your own same height party, then it might take a little preparation. Hemmert used specially made blue foam stilt shoes to have maximum visual effect, but it is actually not too hard to make your own decent pair of stilts from wood and straps (or if that’s too much effort, just finding a few pairs on the internet). Then all you have to do is pick a height equal to or taller than the tallest party goer and you have your own same height party! Do be careful that the shoes your guests wear are not dangerous and are firmly attached to their feet, as someone will definitely not feel the benefits if they are lying on the floor!