We like to think of ourselves as less superficial than men, but research shows we’re biologically prejudice against short guys.
Once upon a time I met a gorgeous man on a dating site.
He was well-spoken, well-travelled, and well-educated. He was a doctor (my mother was thrilled) who owned two houses, and even better than all that, he’d made me laugh. (The way to my heart is through terrible puns. I can’t explain it, just go with it).
The time eventually came for us to meet in real life. I put on a cute little black dress, slapped on just enough makeup to highlight the best bits, but not enough that should it progress further he’d wonder who the I was in the morning. Then I set off to meet my seemingly charming prince.
I spotted a tiny him in the distance as I was walking to the venue and waved. But then, as I walked closer I realised… he wasn’t getting any taller. He hadn’t looked small because he was far away, he was just short, like, really short. Now before you jump down my throat, I am also vertically challenged; 5’2” to be exact. Yet this man was shorter than me and I wasn’t even in heels.
And then almost as soon as I’d passed judgement on his height I felt totally disgusted with myself. Up until I saw him, I’d been super interested and all of a sudden his height was a “letdown”? What the fuck was wrong with me?
The date went fine, but try as I might, I couldn’t put the fact that he was shorter than my meagre 5’2” out of my mind. I needed to find out if I was alone or not, so I did what any sensible single gal would to: I did a quick poll of my girlfriends.
“Oh gosh, no I wouldn’t date a guy who was shorter than me,” one said. “The idea of leaning down to kiss someone is just weird,” one said.
“I dated someone shorter than me once,” my 5’11” friend said. “But in the end he told me he didn’t want me wearing heels around him anymore, which as I am a shoe lover, was a bit of a mark against him.”
One of my friends even said she didn’t think a guy shorter than her would be any good in bed. “I mean he’d have to, like scurry up and down my body to cover all the bases… what if he couldn’t reach my mouth to kiss me while we were having sex?”
“I mean, I’ve never dated anyone who’s been shorter than me but I am not sure I’d love it. It just seems… wrong, you know?”
And while I did know from experience, I still didn’t know why. Turns out neither did my girlfriends. While they didn’t rule out dating a shorter man if they felt the connection was strong enough, none of them could tell me exactly why they’d still have to “get over” the height thing… so to speak.
The dislike of short men in preference of someone tall, dark and handsome seems to be an enduring feeling among women on the dating scene. But why?
Psychology Today found that when it comes to height, women overlook short men because they’re subconsciously seen as not manly enough, or as likely to have an inferiority complex, which just seems a really unfair snap judgement.
A 2011 study at the University of British Columbia also suggested that other than just height, it’s the “social and emotional image a man presents that was crucial to sexual attraction.” More to the point, the study discovered that “women were least attracted to smiling, happy men, preferring those who looked proud and powerful or moody and ashamed.” So then there is a certain amount of truth in the fact that even though we say we hate being treated like shit, women are attracted to the bad boy.
But how does this link in with height? Well it seems subconsciously, women just don’t believe the short guy can be a bad boy because how can someone who doesn’t have the physical advantage ever fight another guy to defend their honour?
If you’re thinking this sounds like damsel in distress bullshit you’re not alone. My initial reaction to reading this was to say “well that’s a load of crap, I want a nice guy not a bad boy and I certainly don’t condone fighting.” And yet, I myself had been turned off by a man who was shorter than me.
On further research, I found out that most of the so called reasons women rejected short men were also founded in theories that just weren’t logical at all. Many women don’t see height challenged men as being capable of protecting them when in actual fact “plenty of short men exist whose overall weight and muscular strength far eclipses that of many tall men” according to Psychology Today.
Another argument is that women are wired to be attracted to men with deeper voices, and men who aren’t as tall as others have a tendency towards having slightly higher pitched speech.
Many psychologists seem to think that women’s distaste for dating men shorter than them stems from a lot of social pressure based on what it means to be manly, but that most women don’t even question their own feelings on it. Instead, they prefer to just say “I’m just not attracted to short men,” without even asking themselves why. Which made me feel a lot better about myself because I had actually stopped and chastised myself for having such a heightist opinion.
And when you think about it, how is a woman saying “I don’t date short guys,” any better than men who say “I don’t date fat chicks”? In fact, I think it’s probably a bit worse because you can usually lose weight but height? Height is something you’re stuck with. Women would collectively lose their shit if a man said he didn’t want to date a girl because he just wasn’t attracted to curvy women. We’d be all like, “Who the fuck do you think you are by passing judgement on my body without getting to know me?! Misogynist pig!”
And yet it’s somehow socially okay for women to eliminate an entire section of people from the dating pool because of the size of their body. Well, no more. I vowed that the next time I went on a date with someone who was shorter than me, I wouldn’t be so quick to judge. As long as you’re not an asshole, you’re okay by me.
Images via shutterstock.com and pexels.com.
Comment: Would you date a man shorter than you?