I’m a pretty tall guy, measuring a little over 6’2. I’m also a pretty big guy, weighing in at don’t worry about it. Weight is just a made-up number that doesn’t mean anything. Big Scale interests don’t want you to know this, but scales can be off by as many as 150 pounds.
Anyway, I’m a big guy, tall and . . . broad. And to be a big guy, you have to be both: being tall but not broad doesn’t cut it, and neither does being broad but not tall. I actually haven’t always been a big guy. I was pretty short throughout junior high and high school, not getting my growth spurt until college. I haven’t always been broad, either, although that transformation is a story for another day. In any case, the fact that I’ve attained big guy status later in life has enabled me to see the difference between how people feel about big guys versus how they feel about normal-sized guys. And I’m happy to report that people loooove big guys.
I once had a job where my old boss was replaced by a new one from Latin America. In the first meeting my team had with him, he turned to me, ignoring the ten other people present, and said, “Hello, beeeg guy!!” In college I dated a girl for a while whose grandparents we visited fairly often. Every time I entered their home her grandfather would remark to her grandmother, “Why, look at that big hunk of meat! He must be, what, 6’4? 6’5? Say, how tall are you, son? What do you weigh?” I’m constantly getting extra peanuts on flights because the stewardess knows that a big guy needs (and deserves) more peanuts than a regular guy. And so on. I could tell you ten other stories like these, where someone instantly took a shine to me or did me a favor just because I’m a big guy.
So why do people love big guys? Maybe one reason is because big guys come with a ready-made nickname. I can’t go to the bank, buy a hot dog, or walk past a homeless man without being called, “big guy.” People just absolutely love to call me “big guy,” or in the case of African-Americans, “big man.” To be honest, though, I don’t think that the average person’s love for big guys can be entirely attributed to the nickname factor. Although one should never underestimate just how much people love to give and receive nicknames; I’m certain that most of the missteps of the second Bush Administration can be traced back to a few individuals’ desire to receive a nickname from W.
Adviser 1: “He just called me Short Stop!!! I’m not going to tell him Iraq is a bad idea. You do it.”
Adviser 2: “Iraq? I stopped listening after he called me Brain Train!!!”
“What’s my exit strategy in Iraq? You believe this guy? That’s what I’m gonna call you from now on, ‘Exit Strategy.’ I like you, Exit Strategy. Exit Strategy, you wanna go see the White House bowling alley? Condi, go show Exit Strategy the bowling alley. OK now, we’ll see you later.”
No, I actually think it’s clear why people love big guys: normal-sized guys can’t be trusted. They’re too shifty, always up to no good. They’re either looking to lighten your wallet or sneak off with your wife, or both. But not big guys. Big guys are generally too slow-moving for crime and intrigue, and they have the strength to carry you if you become injured, and you know they will because a big man never leaves a comrade behind. And I never have.