As you wander through the Old Port this weekend, don’t worry that you’ve shrunk overnight. You’re the same height — it’s everyone else who’s taller.
About 45 members of the Boston Beanstalks Tall Club will arrive in Portland this Friday for their annual weekend party. Among them will be David Rasmussen, the 7’4” Milwaukee man who was featured in the National Geographic Channel’s The Science of Gigantism, and 6’2” Jane Baldwin, of Oregon, who is wearing this year’s Miss Tall International crown.
To gain membership to the Boston Beanstalks club, women must be over 5’10”, and men must be taller than 6’2”. Many are taller than 6 feet. At these gatherings, “I’m the little guy — and it’s the only time I’m the little guy,” says Wini Peterson, publicity director for the Beanstalks, who stretches over the bar at 5’10”.
While tall clubs historically played an activist role (California king-sized beds were the result of lobbying from the California Tip Toppers, who noted that the average bed was too short), and the Boston Beanstalks still promote “tall awareness” around issues like clothing and shoe sizes or doorway heights, the Hub club primarily serves a social purpose these days. Dates and self-confidence can be hard to come by when you’re particularly tall, Peterson says. But “quite a few” romances have bloomed within the club, when people meet others with whom they can “see eye to eye” (ha!).
“Local talls” are also warmly welcomed at Saturday night’s dance, to be held in the Riverside Room at the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel on Riverside Street in Portland. After all, the Boston Beanstalks are the only organization for tall people in New England, which provides Peterson one last chance at a pun: “If you’re looking for someone to look up to, this is a good place to start.”
: This Just In
, National Geographic Society