Can An iPhone App Help A Short Guy Get Tall?

Co.Design’s shortest writer puts himself on the digital rack. The results were not what he expected.


Confession: I’m short.


While I may not be a grotesque imp like Tyrion Lannister or Jason Schwartzman, I only stand around 5 feet, 6 inches tall. According to my mother, this can be chalked up to lack of personal character, and definitely has nothing to do with the two packs of Marlboro Lights she smoked every day she was pregnant with me.

Whatever the truth, like most short men, I have always dreamed of being taller. In 1995, I once had to be dragged out of a shoe store by a friend when I insanely threatened to buy a pair of platform Converse All-Stars. I have even gone so far as to perjure myself with the Registry of Motor Vehicles in order to get them to add an extra inch to my height on my license.

But then Spring came along, a height-lengthening photo app for iPhone that made some bold promises. “This app would make your body looks good [sic]!” the copy enthuses. “You would be look like a model [sic]!” “No more highheels.”

I won’t lie to you. That all sounded good. Real good.

An app that would eliminate the need for me to walk around en pointe like a Rob Liefeld character at every social engagement? A free download that could transform this lumpy, roly-poly body of cottage cheese-like flesh into a muscular and towering Adonis? A piece of software that, with just a few simple taps, could make me be look like a model?


Spring was promising me everything I’d been sobbing into my pillow about since I was 12. But could it really deliver? Loading up the app with half a dozen pics or so, I tried it out. Here are the results.

I started off with a picture taken of me leaning against the rail of a chasm in Turkey. Employing Spring’s easy-to-use sliders, I was able to lengthen my torso no problem. Instead of looking like a dumpy weirdo holding his wife’s purse, the new Brownlee is a sort of rakish, Indiana-Jones style adventurer, right down to the archeological satchel. What a he-man!

Encouraged, I loaded up another photo and tried again.

Okay, now we’re talking. Just look at this guy!

Far from being the short, endomorphic loser he is in real-life, this Brownlee is some sort of barrel-chested, kickboxing titan. Okay, judging from the proportion of his head to his chest, maybe he’s suffering from just a twinge of microcephaly, but when you’ve got gams like those, who cares about gray matter! Am I right, ladies?


But here, the disappointments begin.

One thing Spring can’t do, it seems, is make a single person taller in inverse proportion to other people in the picture.

Even after stretching the above photo (taken with friends outside of Austin’s Stiles Switch BBQ, which used to be the pool hall from Dazed and Confused), I appear to be the same height as everyone else. I thought I may have made a mistake, but sadly, it turns out there’s no way in Spring to make one person taller while shrinking everyone else.

Talk about a bummer. What is height, after all, if not a subliminal weapon that broadcasts your sexual, social, and genetic superiority to everyone shorter than you? If there are no short people to intimidate, what’s the point of being tall at all?

Perhaps a future patch will allow Spring to heighten certain people, while shrinking others. Until then, though, many people will be disappointed.


We are now beginning to see the limits of Spring’s algorithm. Although the app has succeeded in turning me into a veritable beach-bumming Slender Man, even Spring can not smooth away my pasty skin or tuck in my love handles. Even worse, it has turned one of my most frankly magnificent qualities–an ass that just won’t quit–into a sloppy, dangling baboon’s bottom! Love the jams, though.

I thought my face looked a little doughy in the original picture, so I wanted to see what the app could do to lengthen my jawline. Instead, I merely succeeded in turning myself into a Dick Tracy villain, while simultaneously giving the poor woman behind me osteoporosis.

But then, Spring redeemed itself.

What’s the point of having the height of a basketball player if you can’t have his other assets? I speak, of course, of his feet.

As a short man, I have long tucked myself into size 8 sneakers, never daring to dream of one day sinking my feet into a roomy pair of Size 18 Air Jordans. But thanks to Spring, I now can! Look at the size of that foot.


Five stars! Download Spring here.