Human height

Me with 8 foot tall woman

Image by cgrossmeier via Flickr

Is it a form of bigotry to discount short men as mating prospects? Blogger Kay Steiger thinks it is. She’s stirred up a little hornet’s nest at The Daily Dish with responses to her recent diatribe against prejudiced women of a certain stature.

Although not a dwarf herself (she’s 5’6″) and freely admitting that she’s never personally dated a man shorter than she is (her current paramour is in fact freakishly tall by any measure), she finds some women’s disinclination to date … beneath them … puzzling and open to scrutiny even.

Being on the tall side of womanhood myself, I have never had much option where height and dating is concerned. Most men are eye-level or lower and if I wanted to date at all, I wasn’t in a position to rule out such a large segment of the male population. It was a matter of practicality because I found very early on that young boys and men of most ages don’t like to date tall women. And their reasons for this are just as lame as the reasons women give for not dating shorter men.

Aside from Rob and a guy I had a wildly irritating attraction dance with at university, I have never dated or been married to someone taller than I am.

Will was an inch shorter. It made him crazy enough that I played along with his assertion that we were the same height. He was slightly built though with a solid muscle base that made him much heavier than he looked. Dee inherited that from him. She is a peanut to the eye but lift her at your peril.

The shortest man I ever dated was just 5’2″. Bald and as tubby as a Hobbit to boot. None of these things doomed the relationship but his obsession with being shorter than I was one of the tipping factors for our not dating very long.

I went out with a red-headed ROTC Marine during university who I towered over as well, but he didn’t even seem to notice, which made him unique.  Most men I dated, and they were shorter, noticed – a lot.  It was tiresome.  My height is not something I can alter though I avoided heels as much to increase my dating potential as I did because I found them dangerous to walk in.

Ms. Steiger, however, seems to confuse actual bigotry with attraction, and attraction is all about finding a “good fit” with someone who could wind up fathering your children and being the one to hold your world together when it threatens to fall apart. It can’t be underestimated or lightly scoffed into a shameful submission. And it certainly shouldn’t be analyzed from the point of view of a petite girl who apparently only dates taller.

Being with Rob has been a physical revelation. Not only is he taller, he is bigger than I am. Because the other side-effect of a man who is shorter than you are is that he is often smaller in other ways. Less muscle. Not as broad. Sports the same or a tinier waist span.

Rob can lift me easily. In our early courting days, being swept up the stairs like Scarlet O’Hara was not uncommon.

I don’t have a wider shoulder span than he does or bigger hands. His biceps require two of my hands to encircle and he couldn’t get a leg into my jeans let alone wear them with ease.

The looking up thing though is surprisingly hard on the neck. I can understand why a shorter man might want to avoid that.

His greater height makes spooning actually possible and I can fit into the crook of his armpit while we are sitting close without having to slump in my seat.

Which isn’t to say that any of these “advantages” means that short men should despair of taller women if they are attracted to them. I certainly didn’t use any of the above as criteria in my dating days. In fact, intelligence, a biting sense of humor, lovely eyes and a firm lifted bum* atop a pair of shapely legs will take a man a long ways in my estimation.

Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to be able to grow a beard. As Beatrice once said, “He who hath a beard is more than a youth.” Which is a good thing too.

In my opinion, the physical side of attraction probably stems from those moments in our childhood when our sexual awareness was taking shape and we began to thrill or be repelled by all manner of things big and small. My beard thing has its roots in my dad’s habit of not shaving when he was on vacation and the teasing way he would whisker rub us. It developed further when I was a just teen and wildly enthralled with the Bee Gees for reasons I can’t even begin to rationalize. Twinkling eyes were a hallmark of my dad’s family. All the men had them though for a time I was drawn to big chocolate peepers because the first boy I ever adored beyond reason was a little fellow (yes, he was shorter) in kindergarten whose eyes were melty brown and his hair fringed like Jack Wild.

If not for attraction, we could easily interchange one mate for another. We could be Borg like in our ability to assimilate romantically, but where would the fun be in that?

But I think short women should refrain from comment on this topic, they don’t have the proper perspective.

Quickie Update: I emailed my two cents to Andrew and he actually posted it. You can read it here. It’s number two, in case that wasn’t obvious.

*Hockey butt. Both Rob and Will played hockey as youngsters and it does a man’s lower half good, imo.