The Super Tall Good Lads group chat is allowing men over 6ft2 to find community (and trousers that fit)
“Am I tall or am I long?” is a question that was posed by comedian and artist Peter Smith in their one-person show titled Peter Smith’s Diana, which recently wrapped its run at the Soho Theatre in London. As the lights came up in the theatre, I realised that a lifelong feeling of mine had finally been verbalised. At 6ft4, I’m substantially above average height, but I always forget that until I catch my reflection in the mirror next to my more vertically average friends. I asked my also-tall boyfriend if he ever felt the same – cursed with an inability to truly embody his bestowed tallness – and he was less conflicted.
It made me wonder, was my tallness a part of my identity or secondary to it? Was I tall in practice, but not in theory? Could I ever really embody the same raw, towering presence as Lee Pace (6ft4)? Or will I spend my life with hunched shoulders, forever aching to truly soar above my shorter friends and foes? This line of existential questioning is no coincidence. I’ve been thinking about my tallness more so than ever, after being added to one of the UK’s most culturally impactful WhatsApp groups and safe spaces, Super Tall Good Lads (STGL).
I come from a family of talls, and one of my brothers Max, who is a few centimetres shorter than me (who’s counting!), was out in a south London bar one night when a pair of eyes caught his, towering over the rest of the vodka-cranberry slurpers. The man approached him and whipped out his phone, inviting him into the Super Tall Good Lads chat. The London-based WhatsApp group currently has 421 members, who all bond over the tribulations relating to their size.
In it, they share the best places to buy shirts, pants and suits (Marks and Spencers, allegedly), post photos of their tall-specific personal projects (kayaks, bed frames), and sad images of their legs trapped in Ryanair plane seats. The group is active almost every day and isn’t exclusive to purely tall-chat, with the men sharing links for five-minute mobility routines for bad hips, or helping fellow talls out with disputing a parking fine. Most recently, someone managed to get former English Footballer Peter Crouch (6ft7) to pose for a photo for the group. While he was allegedly hesitant to join due to fear of bombardment, hope does not seem lost within the group.
When my brother first told me about the group, I did have my reservations. I imagined a group of absolute ladsladslads, bonding over one of society’s most undisputed upper-hands. However, after being added to the group myself, I’ve noticed a sincere and genuine sweetness blossoming six-foot-four inches above sea level in the UK. It was as if they had created an online fellowship of sorts, a welcome antidote to the incel vibes that sometimes seep into male-dominated internet spaces.
So what do the other users get from the group? Alex (36, 6ft7) was added to the group at a wedding, after he was approached by a fellow tall man. He, like many other STGLs, calls the London tube system “unsympathetic” and is passionate about plane seat equity (“a petition should be started, give us first dibs on double seats, business or wing seats”). However, despite a life filled with concussions and cramped legs, when asked what he likes most about the group, he replies with one word: “brotherhood”.
Will (26, 6ft9) holds a similar sentiment. “I’ve experienced a certain sense of brotherhood among tall people in real life,” he tells me, “and this sort of illustrates that in group chat form. I’m now part of a collective who have all experienced similar ups and downs”.
The group isn’t isolated to just messages. Its creator (who remains unknown) started a STGL height index, where members are able to document their height, weight and waist stats, ranking them against other STGLs. The tallest member currently is someone called Jack G, who is 7ft1 (Jack G was not available for comment). The shortest member in the spreadsheet is someone who’s only listed themselves with the initial B (6ft2), perhaps to safeguard their inclusion in the chat. The group has also recently started an expression of interest form for speed dating for women who are into abnormally tall men, and have organised meetups at some of London’s smallest pubs.
“I’ve experienced a certain sense of brotherhood among tall people [...] I’m now part of a collective who have all experienced similar ups and downs” – Will
But it’s not all plain sailing. A watershed moment for the group happened earlier this year when someone infiltrated the chat and began to delete members en masse. My brother Max noticed something was amiss when he was added to a new chat called ‘STGL 2.0’. “What the fuck is going on?” Max sent the group. “Is everyone OK?” another asked. Max went to the original group and saw that countless members had been removed. It’s been alleged that the infiltrator was a ‘short king’, but this hasn’t been confirmed. The STGLs, however, like giraffes rising from the ashes, rebuilt the group, and refer to the incident as “The Exodus”. A moment to remember – but never let happen again.
I usually sit on the sidelines of STGL, watching countless meet-cutes being documented after another lad has been scouted, usually on a Friday or Saturday night. However, while predominantly wholesome, STGL lacks substantial queer representation (although a member did get an incredibly cute photo with a Super Tall Drag Queen at the Fringe last month). The lack of queerness is fine, everything doesn’t need to be for everyone, but I yearned for a group more specific: my Super Tall Gay Lads.
My prayers were answered when the prolific London instagram meme page @dalstonsuperstoned initially brought my attention to WhatsApp group Tall Gay and Handsome (TGH). The call-out message read: “Hey! I‘ve just started a WhatsApp group for very tall gays. Partly just to network and have fun but also because I think it would be really hot to organise a group of tall tops sharing a short bottom some time. Not limited to that though. Would you be interested in joining?”
What the group lacks in subtlety, it makes up for in directness. A friend, Alex (27, 6ft3) was scouted for the group via Grindr, but was banished after he didn’t introduce himself promptly. They have their own version of a height index, except instead of documenting what their height is, it’s whether they’re top or bottom, side or vers. Despite fitting the bill (tall, gay and handsome on a good day), I’ve yet to be scouted, and have had no reply from the founder after begging to be added. When Neil Patrick Harris said to me as a young closeted gay boy “It gets better”, I believed him. My exclusion from TGH is forcing me to have doubts.
When announcing to Super Tall Good Lads that I’d be writing this article and was keen to talk to fellow good lads, I was nervous. Did they want to maintain the sanctity of the community within the encrypted WhatsApp walls they had to rebuild? Could I be trusted in shining a light on our community? Yet, the response was immediately supportive, with members messaging me to thank me for “the great thing that you’re doing” and for “shining a light on the men people rarely look up to see”. Not all heroes wear capes. Some of them have to wear Marks and Spencer’s Big and Tall range – a collection I wouldn’t have known about if it wasn’t for the brotherhood I’ve found this year. They might not be Gay and Handsome, but they are Super, Tall and Good.