He's Shorter. Now What?

8 years ago

I've always thought that if I'm interested in a guy, he should at least be my height, if not taller. It's just...easier, you know? People don't think twice when they see a shorter woman with a taller man, but when it's the other way around it tends to create chatter. I would say that most women I've ever heard from about this subject have said they have this preference, too.

Some people would ask, well, what about guys who are a little shorter than usual? Is it unfair for someone like me, being 5'9", to eliminate a guy from romantic consideration if he's, say, 5'6"? What's my hang-up?

On an online dating site, if you do a search for people and attempt to narrow the number of results (in addition to searching for something obvious like geographic proximity), one of the many filters you can use to eliminate people from your search results is minimum height. I haven't used this search feature for a number of months, but I remember what I originally set as the minimum height -- 5'10", which is an inch taller than me.

I have a hypothesis, though. A guy would probably say it's unfair for a taller woman not to give him a chance (if a height difference is the only thing holding them apart from mutual attraction), but I think there are many guys who specifically look for shorter women. This doesn't hold true all the time, for sure -- there are always exceptions to any rule -- but, well, here's the thing. I'm basing this assumption on personal experience. I've dated a few guys who weren't substantially taller than me and the subject of height has always come up, usually sooner rather than later.

Sometimes it'll be a comment, like the guy will say, "I've never dated a woman as tall as you before." Or when we're standing face-to-face, they'll straighten up as tall as they can, just to make sure the top of their head is above mine. (To the other tall ladies out there, have you noticed that when someone does this and you're wearing shoes, they automatically look down to see how much height your shoes are adding?)

And, really, come on -- it's not like I'm an Amazon. What must it be like for women who are 6' or taller?

(And yes, certainly, sometimes there are positive comments as well. Like the tall guys who say it's nice not to have to bend down so far when they come in for a kiss.)

I've thought about what it might be like to go out with a guy who's shorter than me. I know there would be absolutely no difference in the person -- it would all come down to how comfortable I felt about having him be the one to tip his head back when it came time for a kiss. I'm not sure how I'd feel about that. And on the flip side, I think there are a lot of guys who wouldn't know how they feel about that, either.

I don't know what made me start thinking about this recently. Maybe because I've now gone out with men who were older than I said I'd go out with, and I've gone out with people who had a different overall look/body type than my "normal" preference. I guess it just makes me wonder what other things I thought were what I wanted may not really be the case.

Ladies, have you ever dated someone who was noticeably shorter than you? Guys, have you dated someone taller? If you haven't, do you think you'd be okay with that?

Related Reading:

At The Frisky, 6'1" Susannah Breslin has some advice for How To Date A Tall Chick.

When other guys see a guy with a woman who's taller than he is, they assume one of two things: A) He has a lot of money, or B) He's really good in bed. Bagging a six-footer is big-game hunting. If you land one, everyone will assume you're a baller. Now, get out there, and find yourself a tall woman. I bet she's waiting for you -- with her heels on.

Double X: Julia Childs' Height Was Not a Handicap

Tall women's struggles are more subtle. You're not aware of this unless you're tall, but there's a vortex of silence around tall female public figures, and a total dearth of tall female role models. Sure, there are lots of very successful tall women out there. But you probably don't know who they are. Because they don't talk about it.

Kaye Dacus published a novel with a plus-sized heroine who also happens to be 5'11". She said she wanted to address the stereotype of tall men and short women, women "who are short enough the top of their head barely reaches the hero’s shoulder."

(Contributing editor Zandria blogs at Zandria.us.)

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