On Being Lanky


You all know lanky people. They may be friends, family, neighbors, even lovers. But are you truly adept at living with these goofy, lumbering beings that inhabit our communities?

Let me be clear, I’m talking about actual lankiness. Not Snatch-era, degs-loving Brad Pitt, who is thin, but could still beat up someone with 150lbs on him. No, I’m talking about the all-angles-and-straight-lines, limbs-going-everywhere, might-disappear-if-they-turn-sideways kind of lankiness.

Lankiness calls to mind certain types of attributes. To be lanky you must have some slight inclination towards physical coordination. Without the very minimum of consciousness of where you’re placing your limbs and why, you’d simply be considered gangly — a human, non-green, real-life Gumby. This is not to say that we lanky people have any sort of inherent sense of physical grace. Absolutely not. We are not majestic herons, worthy of gracing the innumerable paintings in New England living rooms. And, while perhaps shaped like antelope, we do not leap effortlessly; both agile and sleek. No, we lanky people plod, lurch, and bound. When running, we do not reflect the millennia of evolution that have enabled the human body to move with a fluidity and economy of motion. Instead, each of our limbs seems concentrated on escaping our bodies at the first possible opportunity. If anything, we have the elegance of a flying sack of potatoes that just happens to have the exact dimensions of a stick insect.

Because of our distinct deficiency in overall volume, people often conclude that it would be a great idea to lift us up. This is probably because the ability to lift up a full grown adult, particularly one that is quite tall, is seen as some sort of feat of strength. Upon meeting a lanky person, most people, particularly if drunk, will immediately undertake the mental calculus to determine that they could, in fact, lift them off the ground. This is swiftly followed by an attempt to do so, often without warning. Once the lanky person has been hoisted like a child into the air and the ensuing comment about the ease of doing so has been uttered, traditional introductions and conversation may resume.

Romantic relationships also present unique challenges for lanky people. It is a specific niche. Do you like the thought of razor-sharp elbows and knobby knees? Are you sexually attracted to toothpicks? Are your fantasies only in two dimensions? Is your internet history replete with stick figure porn? (Does that even exist?) If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should not be surprised that you find yourself drawn to people with a BMI bordering malnourishment, and should be prepared for the rigors of dating a lanky person. Want to snuggle up to them and lean your head on their shoulder? You better wear some sort of head padding. Want to engage in any sort of sexual activity? Hope you like some pain involved in that, and not the way that Rihanna sings about, but rather the hip-bones-constantly-digging-into-your-thighs kind of pain. In fact, it may be sensible to suggest that your partner equip themselves with a minimum of elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards before commencing any sort of activity. These will serve to dampen the inevitable blows as they strive to control and contort their limbs atop you.

One last word of warning: never, ever attempt to dance with a lanky person. Unless you feel like you can keep up with a life-sized marionette controlled by a five-year-old meth addict, this must be avoided at all costs. They will turn into a whirlwind of sharp bones and stomping feet, a force of unimaginable danger. I share all of this so that you may better understand these stalk-like humans you may encounter, as we are a common sight.

Just don’t f-cking lift me up.

You should follow Thought Catalog on Twitter here.


image – Nele En Jan