TIANJIN, China (AFP) - - Zhao Liang needs two beds to rest his 2.46-metre (8ft, 1in) frame, one of life's inconveniences for the Chinese giant who could become officially known as the world's tallest man.
The 27-year-old is 10 centimetres (four inches) taller than the current holder of the title, another Chinese man, but the media-wary Zhao has not yet decided whether he wants the Guiness Book of Records to officially ratify him.
Lying on a makeshift iron bed in a hospital in the northern city of Tianjin after an operation on his foot, Zhao seems almost bored with his sudden rise to fame.
The hospital was forced to put together two standard-sized iron beds to accommodate the giant from central Henan province whose parents are of average height, but he still has trouble fitting his large frame onto the narrow mattresses.
His shoulders, hands, legs and feet are all massive, and he finds it difficult to find clothes and shoes to fit.
Weighing 155 kilogrammes (341 pounds), Zhao squeezes into European size 56 (US size 20) shoes, and has to order his sports shoes from Japan or the United States.
He is huge even compared with China's most famous tall man, Yao Ming, the basketball star who plays for the Houston Rockets in the American NBA and stands 2.29 metres tall.
Asked about Zhao's clothes, Wang Keyun, his 1.68-metre-high mother, laughs and unravels a pair of his trousers -- they reach up to her face when she stands up.
"For my son, everything is always custom-made, and when he was young I would make his clothes myself," she said.
Zhao has also been forced to confront more serious inconveniences, which he describes with few words.
"When I was young, I stayed at home because of my height, and I did not play with others as they were small and I was tall," he said.
Zhao, whose parents are farmers, left school when he was 14, and worked in construction and as a labourer.
But an artistic troupe noticed him in 2006 and employed him as a musician, playing the hulusi, a traditional Chinese wind instrument.
Things changed for the better and he now has friends, he said, although he still does not have a girlfriend -- a fact that concerns his mother.
"I am really worried about that," she said.
However Zhao's reluctant rise to fame could have a silver lining and perhaps encourage him to seek official status with the Guinness Book of Records as the world's tallest man.
The current holder of the title -- 2.36-metre herdsman Bao Xishun from the steppes of Inner Mongolia, launched a highly public search for a bride three years ago.
After a lifetime as a bachelor, Bao, aged in his 50s, heard back from more than 20 interested women and married one of them, who was half his height, after a courtship of just one month in 2007.
And while Zhao may not appreciate the media attention, doctors in the Tianjin hospital are proud of having such a surprise celebrity client.
They are quick to point out that the operation on Zhao's left foot, damaged in a basketball fall when he was 17, was successful and free.
The hospital has pampered the young man -- his room is spartan, but an extra bed has been added for his mother, and he has his own living room and bathroom.
The medics are also the reason for his sudden climb to fame because Zhao was just an anonymous tall man in the world's most populous nation until they measured him and spread the word about his height.