I am nearly 5 feet 2 inches tall. Being petite has its advantages: People think I’m cute, I can pass for 12-years-old and pay child’s fare for ski lifts, and if there is a large crowd watching some sort of spectacle, I can easily maneuver to the front to see the action. But at the same time, when a lot of people meet me, I think they tend to take more liberties with how they treat me than they would a taller person.

Sometimes they pick me up and swing me around. But that’s cool, because let’s face it – who doesn’t like getting free rides? But other times, it can be a bit scary.

One time, a man who looked between 35-40 years old and had a mess of facial hair – similar to the amount Bigfoot probably has – followed my boyfriend and me on our walk on the beach along Del Playa. He called out to us, and when we did not immediately respond, he sprinted towards us. “Hey, what are you doing with that guy?” he asked me. “Come with me! You know, I make $25 an hour!” Then he lunged after me and attempted to grab my arm. My boyfriend intervened, and we walked away from him as fast as we could. Blast my petite womanly wiles!

Twice now, while walking home alone from parties I have been harassed by groups of guys. Because this is Isla Vista and I’m female, I try to wear the baggiest, least sexy clothing whenever I expect to make solo journeys at night, so as not to draw attention to myself. However, my warmest clothes are not particularly ugly – my black, button-down coat is quite fashionable, if I do say so myself.

The first time it happened, I was wearing a sweatshirt with my hood pulled over my eyes, and my trendy black coat over my sweatshirt. I wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone I didn’t know, so when I saw a group of five guys walking towards me, I stepped to the right of the sidewalk and walked on the dirt so as to avoid them. However, they had other plans.

“Where’s the party?” one guy hoarsely yelled at me, stumbling over his feet like a wounded hare who just escaped a bear trap. I figured he was too drunk to care whether or not I answered, so I decided to look busy and called my friend. This aggravated him.

The drunkenness, and the fact he was surrounded by his drunken, like-minded friends, must have given him a lot of courage. “Hey!” he shouted. “Why are you wearing that black trench coat? Are you gonna start the next Columbine or something? What’s wrong with you?” Well, lesson learned. Apparently if you don’t share where the party’s at, it means you are going to start shooting up the school. I guess a lone, barely five-foot tall young woman is intimidating.

The next weekend, I ventured out to a party and ended up walking home alone again. Not the best move on my part, I know. This time, I was half a block away from my apartment when I spotted a group of seven guys heading in my direction. The boys spotted me, deduced I was a girl and decided to warn me about it. One 6 foot plus tall guy from the bunch walked toward me, stopped 3 inches away, straightened his posture so as to tower over me and said “Boo.” Then he started flailing his arms as madly as a recently decapitated chicken thrashes about before keeling over, and added, “You’re a girl. Watch out.” If there weren’t seven of them, I would have kicked him in the balls.

Since this has only happened when I’m alone, I’m now under the impression many boys are cowards. And when they feel the need to show their “manliness,” they can only do it when they’re a part of a big group and they find a lone girl. Needless to say, I rarely walk home alone anymore, and I strongly recommend the same thing to all females in I.V. Particularly the petite ones.