In BigRob’s Five Elevator Commandments, my number one relates to confidence. I call it ‘the confidence trick’ not because I am being critical of it (I do it myself every day and have done so for 15 years!) but because it is a sleight of hand you have to do with confidence. And it is actually very easy.
Fear of being detected
Unless you are really unusual, or your circumstances are different, the number 1 fear you will have about adding height is detection. If you have ever thought about doing it, you just NO WAY want anyone to ever know. Ever. I am the same. The very last thing I want is for anyone who sees me to ‘know’ that I am using ways of adding to my height. It would spoil it. And for this reason alone, many guys shy away from doing it.
For most guys, this fear is based on day-to-day practicalities and the unknown if they have never worn elevators – they worry that, firstly, it will look like a flashing neon sign if they add so much as an inch in height. “Look at Rich, he must be wearing elevators as he is half an inch taller today than he was 6 weeks ago”.
The second worry is that the boots/shoes themselves will give the game away. Because of the past and the type of elevators that there were, there is this idea that it is all about some clumpy great blocks swinging around on the end of your feet, you hobbling along like you can’t walk. Looks lame, like you look lame.
Well I can just tell you that myself and my mate Steve have both worn elevators for the best part of two years (and added height before then for many years in other ways). And no-one has EVER detected or realised, because we have followed another commandment which says ‘stick to footwear that fits your lifestyle and clothes’. And stick to quality.
People are REALLY unobservant
But I think way the most important point to understand about detection at the lower levels is that people are radically and spectacularly unobservant (not all, but most). My mum works as a psychologist and she often deals with the police. She tells us of the funniest stories where people are asked about crime scenes and the criminal is reported variously by different witnesses as 5’7″ or 6′, blond hair, brown hair or dark hair. spoke with an American, South African, Scottish etc accent. At times, she says, every single witness varies so greatly that it covers almost the entire population.
Now this applies to height. I once grew long thick sideboards (blame Bradley Wiggins the gold medal winning cyclist) and mates who saw me over the next few weeks simply did not notice. People who wear glasses will tell you the same – when they stop wearing them, even those closest to them don’t notice if they are not told, or they say “Have you been away, you look different. Is it your hair?”!!
As a general rule, unless you have been standing side by side with mates listing your heights in minute detail, marking them on a wall for some reason and you are over 21 (ie no longer growing), or unless you have a close mate who is obsessed with his or your height (“I am one tenth of a cm taller than you – FOR A FACT”), then your height is genuinely and amazingly movable in their minds. People are only vaguely aware of your height within quite wide bands and they see it in general terms (trust me, many people don’t even really know their own heights properly, never mind judge others’). Just look at the comments about well known people on sites, they are all over the place when it comes to height. Posture, what you wear on your feet etc all come into play anyway.
“Never realised you were so tall”
So in general, if you were to start by adding lifts or buying a 3″ elevator, it is pretty certain that no-one will really notice that you have GAINED height. The MOST that anyone will say is “Never realised you were so tall”. And this is not being said with suspicion or challenge. It is just that they never really gave it much thought.
I want to tell you my own story to back this up. 15 years ago when I started helping with a mate’s club, there were these three enormously tall and built guys that came in all the time – Damian, Pete and Donald. Pete was Pete Steele, the guy who sang in Type-O, the band. All around 6’6″ I guess and I (at a lowly 6’2.5″!!!) was envious and wanted to be up there with them as, frankly, they seemed to have the pick. And that was my spur to add height. Now only one of those guys is still on the scene and I see him from time to time. Remember, he knew me when I was about 4″ shorter than him. But earlier this year I had reason to talk to him a lot more than usual and it was clear that I at least equalled him if not exceeded him. He knew I was the same guy he had met over the years and he was really put out that I was probably taller. I know that he is very aware of his height and being usually the tallest around. But no way did he query it or think anything other than that I was as tall/taller. Just a fact. And he is a guy who really plays on his height and being the biggest in the room. If he thought I had added height, he is the type that would make real play of that too, and would have no mercy.
One of my contacts added several inches of height through lifts then elevators to equal/exceed a growing younger member of his family who was visiting – and he pulled it off without a blip and the lad thought he had been well beaten.
And of course technology and the incredible improvements in elevators styles has made a major difference. To be honest that’s why I myself only got into elevators two years ago – till then, all I had seen was those mass produced old fashioned things and there was no way I was going down that road. But now there is quality available. OK if you want a lift above 4″ you have to go for heavy duty workboot style soles. But even with that, so what (in the right place, worn with the right stuff)? Loads of people wear them, like on trainers and Timberlands and Docs.
And this really all boils down to improvements in quality of elevators + observation and people’s general lack of it. Unless you are particularly obsessed with some aspect of appearance, it is pretty difficult to keep in your head all the minutiae of other people’s appearance.
Trying stuff out
If you doubt this, I challenge you NOW – next time you go out wearing some boots, stuff a couple of pairs of socks into the heel of your boots if you don’t have lifts. Or better, cut some old carpet tiles or cardboard into heel shapes. Aim to get well over an inch if it fits comfortably, two if you can. Best for this are some boots that are a size bigger than normal. Walk to the shops to get it right in terms of walking and then come home to partner/go in to work/wherever. No-one will notice a thing. Not even those closest to you. You will be VERY aware that you are taller. Very. But they will not. Because EVERY pair of shoes, even flipflops, are elevators, people close to you are used to you being a little taller in your shoes to varying degrees, and do not even think about it.
And of course the other key to confidence is wearing the right kinda clothes with your footwear. If you DO add height then you will not so easily carry it off if you are in some suit and wear clumpy great boots which LOOK like you are trying to add height (I’ve mentioned before the red carpet shots of people like Stallone and Robert Downey Jnr). Your boots absolutely should NOT be the focus other than as good looking, quality stuff. You should be wearing them, not the other way round.
So some tips then if you are starting out:
1 Start by adding a bit of height through lifts etc to test out your confidence.
2 If you are, say, less than around 5’10”, buy the 3″ elevators (actually 3.1″, (8cm)! in a classic style to start.
3 If you are taller than 5’10”, then you can get away first time out with 4″ elevators, specially if you have been adding height in other ways first.
4 Only go for 5″ elevators at first if you are very tall (I know, sounds crazy), or if you are well used to wearing lifts etc already.
5 Make sure that your pants/jeans cover the top of the boot and do not expose too much of it. This is not such a problem as you might think, but right at first it will give you a bit more confidence. I myself wear some elevators even with skinny jeans, but this is for “advanced wearers’ imho! And not all are suited.
6 Try all stuff out first just walking around generally, down the shops/mall – it makes you realise “OMG, the world hasn’t fallen apart, people aren’t pointing and giggling, there are no flashing lights over my footwear.” And I cannot tell you how much of a buzz that is.
7 And finally, as people are way less observant than you think, whatever you do, do it with confidence. That can carry you through a lot of things, even slight mistakes. The more confidence you have the easier it will be for you to ‘grow’. But that all varies with character and personality. Trial and experience and taking it easy in the journey upwards makes for confidence.
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