The world looks a certain way to guy who stands 5’5”. I can’t see the stage at concerts. I can’t reach items on the top shelf in grocery stores. Most importantly, I can’t get many women to take me seriously. Some aspects of this perspective are more frustrating than others.
I’m going to speak directly to the straight women reading this article (little I’m going to say will be relevant to lesbian readers, but feel free to continue). Many of you claim you don’t care about a man’s height. A few of you are telling the truth. Collective action suggests most of you do care. I’ve appreciated the honesty of those of you who have told me I’m too short. While I offer plenty of other reasons for you to reject me, I’ll bet a decade of my life that more of you would reject me based on height alone than are willing to admit it.
I understand. I’m not saying you’re making the wrong choice. You should like whomever you happen to like. You shouldn’t date anyone out of pity. Perhaps according to cold, unforgiving nature, you shouldn’t select me. My beta genes should be discarded. I’m not looking to breed, though. I just want someone to share an hour or two at a coffee shop with me. That’s all. Anything else would be too ambitious of me.
Most of you don’t want short guys. Research supports this. Although results vary per source, the trend is towards you wanting guys who are at least taller than you. Ideally, you want guys who are taller by a few inches. This excludes me from dating anyone much over 5’3”. From what I’ve read and from what others have candidly told me, even really short women prefer guys taller than me.
Either out of a need for validation or panache for masochism, I’ve done my own non-scientific research on the matter. Using some respectable dating sites and some questionable classifieds sites, I examined how many women list a requisite height for potential mates. I also sought to determine the relative importance of height. I compiled 20 desirable traits a woman might seek and explicitly mention as requirements in her profile. These included a sense of humor, a love of children, and even a mastery of grammar. I also included height—any mention of height. After reading over 500 profiles, height was second highest ranked trait. It scored 75% higher than the third highest trait, which was income or gainful employment. The only trait that trumped height was race, which did so by roughly 400%.
In my findings, the shortest minimum height I saw listed was 5’7”. The most common height requirement was a tie between 5’9” and 5’10”. Some women stated they wouldn’t date anyone under 6’0”. These weren’t giant women making these demands. Although some were tall, many were 5’3” or shorter.
Of course, what I found shouldn’t be considered indicative of how the majority of women feel. Many profiles didn’t mention any of the traits I listed. By using the classified site in addition to a members-only site, I may have been scouring the bowels of the online dating world. The profiles on that classifieds site may represent less-than-enlightened women. Perhaps these women are somewhat defensive because of the less-than-enlightened men they encounter there. Indeed, fewer women mentioned height on the members-only site, but those who did seemed highly insistent and smugly condescending about it.
What I found did support suspicions I’ve held since middle school. During early adolescence, I remember making a list of the shortest and tallest boys in my class. All the short boys were single. Only one of the tall boys was. I noticed girls in my grade seemed to prefer older and taller boys. Girls only noticed me when I hit a brief growth spurt and nearly caught up with my peers. Eventually, my peers outpaced me again and my moment evaporated. I never forgot this.
I could take a beating from women claiming that men display similar shallowness by skipping over heavy girls. I wouldn’t deny men do this. However, although weight loss is difficult, it’s possible. Height isn’t adjustable. Also, many men dig full-figured women. I’d suggest a far smaller proportion of women dig short guys. Big women can be picky. Short guys can’t be.
My point is there are some issues self-help books, relationship articles, and advice columns can’t fix. Some of us have a physiology that gets overlooked (I promised myself I wouldn’t make that joke, but there it is; at least it wasn’t a joke about coming up short). I could start a campaign to raise awareness about the feelings of short guys, but that’s asinine and I don’t know what it would help. To borrow a tired expression, we play the hand we’re dealt. Some of us just have to accept our hand isn’t very good.