Colleen Smith admits it's sometimes fun to meet a guy in a bar and, after a friendly chat, watch his expression change when she stands up, rising to her 6-foot, 6½-inch height (taller with shoes).
"You have to entertain yourself a little," she says.
The former pro volleyball player, who lives in Ocean Beach, tries to take her height in stride, referring to it neither as a blessing or a curse but an "attribute." She rolls with the verbal punches as well-meaning folks make remarks.
"The three most common questions I get are: 'How tall are you? Are you a basketball player? How tall are your parents?'"
When she responds that her dad is 6 feet, 2 inches and her mom is 5 feet, 8 inches, she can predict the next question: "How tall was the mailman?"
Colleen, 36, wasn't sitting at a soda fountain on Rodeo Drive when "discovered" by Hollywood.
She was working at Trader Joe's in Liberty Station when TLC network asked her last November to join the cast of its new reality show, "My Giant Life."
She decided to do it because, if a genie were to grant Colleen one wish, it would be that people could get along, embrace diversity and accept everyone's differences.
Her philosophy: "I just smile and don't pay attention to people who are mean and rude… I'm used to it."
The Tuesday series, which debuted July 14 at 10 p.m., follows four young woman, all taller than 6 feet 6 inches, grappling with everyday life.
For Colleen, the emphasis is on dating. While she's not interested in getting married right now, she is anxious to find a partner.
Surprisingly, she concentrates on shorter men. Experience has taught her: "Tall guys don't want to date tall girls" because they're used to being top dog and don't want to be bumped from the spotlight. She looks for men ranging from 5 feet, 10 inches to 6 feet, 3 inches who are self confident. (After all, she does stand 6 feet, 10 inches in heels.)
There are other issues. Most off-the-rack capri pants don't even reach her knees, so she shops online at sites such as Talltique. She is currently car hunting but having difficulty finding a mid-size car that accommodates her lanky legs.
Sofas, chairs, counters and sinks are often too low for comfort. In fact, Colleen had to build a food preparation table 13 inches higher than the norm for her part-time catering business.
The biggest drawback, though, is getting stared at wherever she goes. "I can't make a mistake in public," says Colleen, "because everyone remembers, 'It was the tall girl.'"