What Do You Do When You’re Not Their First Choice?

Name: Curious | | Location: Boston , MA |Question: It’s a multi-part question regarding height.  I’ll try to get them all out of the way here, since I can’t seem to generalize it all into a single question:

Why do women always go for the tallest/biggest guy in the room?  Is it in your DNA, do you do it subconsciously, do it to feel secure/protected by that man, or is it part of the “tall, dark and handsome” cliche?  Why not go for the “right” guy instead, based on the overall connection and chemistry?  Do you think the tallest/biggest somehow guarantees you’ll get a non-a**hole or good experience overall?  And last, but not least – how can a 5’7″ guy get around that, or get women to look past it and capture their attention?

I know that the man is supposed to be taller than  the woman – I have no problem with that, in fact, I want a woman shorter than me, otherwise, it doesn’t feel right for me either.  But even women in what I consider to be my range, ~5′ to 5’4″ish, tend to want and go for 6′ tall guys.

A little history about myself – besides my obvious height – I’m not ugly and have had relationships with good looking women, including a marriage (now over).  I’m overall a good guy but not a pushover.  I’m not desperate and I can get dates.  But I’ve been noticing the height disadvantage lately and these are the questions on my mind.  It’s always been harder for me to get a girl in social gatherings due to the height.  But in a more personal setting with fewer people around, it’s much easier.  It is, however, frustrating for me, because at times I bump into someone I’d like to get to know better, at a social place, but there’s little to no interest because of other “options” in the room, and without an exchange we never see each other again.  What can a guy do?

And please understand that, while I’m looking for tips on what to do, I am reluctant to do anything above and beyond, because part of me wants a woman who already knows meeting the right person has little to do with details such as height and more to do with what I like to call the three spoke wheel:  physical attraction – this doesn’t mean you need to look like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jollie, it just means you need to be physically attracted to each other; communication – you need to be able to sit down for 5 mins with that person and talk about something or nothing at all, but enjoy those 5 mins and be able to communicate clearly and in a positive way; and finally personality – what we all like to call “that spark”, basically meaning “you” as far as who you are, and also in that you want to have enough in common to share things and moments with each other and at the same time have enough differences to keep it interesting and have separate identities that are attractive and complement each other.  Now, if you have these 3 things, it doesn’t mean it will last a lifetime, but I believe it’s enough to have something meaningful, however long it lasts.  This is what I’d like to find, and I’m finding it difficult due to my overall height and size, regardless of my strengths and qualities.

So – why do women tend to pass on shorter – but potentially better – guys in a group environment that they otherwise might chit chat with?  is there anything I can do about it?

ps:  I also see a trend with age – older women don’t care so much about things like height, whereas younger ones do… |Age: 34

Is it in your DNA, do you do it subconsciously, do it to feel secure/protected by that man, or is it part of the “tall, dark and handsome” cliche?

Each woman has her own reason for why she might prefer taller men. Some are drawn to taller men because they convey a sense of safety and security. Others do it because they like to wear high heels. But the overall reason, I think, is because we are conditioned to believe that we’re supposed to be with a man who is taller. Just like we’re conditioned to believe that the man is supposed to be older than the woman.  People were supposed to want to get married and have kids.  These are what was presented to us, from a very early age, as “normal.”Anything that strayed from that was considered weird or odd and mocked.

That , I think, plays a big part – more than we’d like to admit – in to why so many  women insist upon dating a man taller than them. We’re afraid of what other women will think. It’s as if dating a man who doesn’t tower over you screams, “I settled. This was the best I could do.”

Some men have the same blindspot. They don’t want to date a woman who is anything bigger than a size 6 because they fear other men will think that means there’s something wrong with them. They must have “no game” or have a small penis or have some other “flaw” that forced them to settle.

These are people who choose a mate based on their desire to be perceived as something they’re not. What’s important to them isn’t how they feel about themselves. It’s how others feel about them.

A common problem that many of us encounter is when we assume what we can pull for a casual sex relationship is the same as what we can reasonably attract in general. Not true. Someone who will fuck us once or twice, usually behind bedroom doors and who will not be seen with us anywhere where their friends or colleagues might catch us, is not our “typical” pull. Sure, they’ll have sex with us. But they won’t date us. We’ll ruin they’re average. Your type is the person that fosters a genuine relationship with you beyond sex. Not the person who agrees to screw you once a week after they meet you for a cocktail or let you buy them dinner.

It is, however, frustrating for me, because at times I bump into someone I’d like to get to know better, at a social place, but there’s little to no interest because of other “options” in the room, and without an exchange we never see each other again.  What can a guy do?

I have an idea. Try speeddating. In a situation like that, it’s a level playing field because you’re all sitting down. I’ll even comp you in to a few of our speeddating events in Boston if you like. The upside here is that you already know what situations work against you. You’re right in that, if you put yourself around other”more desirable” options, you’re going to struggle. So put yourself in situations where you have a better shot. Choose smaller activity groups or events. Do online dating.

And please understand that, while I’m looking for tips on what to do, I am reluctant to do anything above and beyond,

Well, then, don’t expect things to get better. Listen. You’re not in a position to be so rigid. You’re just not. 5’7″ isn’t a bad height at all. But it’s not 5’10”, you know? The only people who can get away with being so rigid and unyielding are the genetically blessed 10’s of this world. The rest of us? We have to compromise. And by “the rest of us” I’m addressing about 80% of the single population. We all have something that serves as a strike against us.

So – why do women tend to pass on shorter – but potentially better – guys in a group environment that they otherwise might chit chat with?  is there anything I can do about it?

They’re not passing on you as much as they are buying in to the idea that there is always something better out there or that they can do better. Keep in mind that both men and women think this way.  That sort of thinking is common in all aspects of dating. Take online dating. The reason why so many people reply selectively to messages is because they assume if they can get one person that looks attractive to reply to their profile, that they’ll always be able to do so, so why stop there?

ps:  I also see a trend with age – older women don’t care so much about things like height, whereas younger ones do…

That’s because younger women have more options. They don’t have to “settle.” At 25 or 27, they think they have all kinds of time to be so choosy. Fast forward a few years and they’ll be looking up all those guys that they passed on in an attempt to reconnect. that’s how it works. You’re getting to that age where the advantage will be yours. Right now you’re stuck in a bit of a void. In a couple years you’ll encounter women who did the “I refuse to settle” thing and realized it didn’t work for them, and they’ll have realized that they should have been more open when they had the advantage. But for now? You need to be willing to go above and beyond. That means giving women you wouldn’t typically look at twice a second look.  You know as well as I do that you have your own deal breakers. We all do. My suggestion is to re-evaluate that list and get rid of the things that don’t really matter.

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60 Responses to “What Do You Do When You’re Not Their First Choice?”

  1. Trouble Says:

    Listen…we all have reasons why someone might not want to date us. I’m 45. Kiss of death for a woman, right? I have two teenagers. Strike 2. I work in a male-dominated job and I outearn a lot of the men here. Another strike against me.

    Life is not fair. Your height is never going to change. My age is only going to get worse, and of course, my kids are only going to get older (and maybe more threatening to a lot of guys, who don’t want to take on a woman with a 13-year-old son and a 17-year-old daughter).

    You have a couple of choices. You can keep dwelling on this stuff, paying attention to it, letting it throw you off your game, continuing to pursue women for whom you aren’t a first choice, or you can get over it. So much of dating is mental. I can choose to see my age as an asset, or a liability. I can choose to see my kids as an asset, or a liability. I choose to see these things assets, and I choose to embrace the positives about them. My age (and my experiences) have brought me a certain degree of wisdom, a degree of unflappableness, and my life experiences have made me pretty easy going and low maintenance. I know what I want, I know what I don’t want, and I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on negatives. I choose to be happy. My kids have taught me a multitude of things that I’d never have learned without them. Those are assets that I bring to a relationship, and I choose to see them that way. Anyone who sees them differently is not someone I want in my life, anyway, and I’m not going to give that person’s opinions a moment’s attention.

    Your height is an asset and a liability. It’s an asset, in that it forces you to up your game, be stronger, find confidence in other things, and it stretches you, as a human being. It’s a liability in that some women, shallow women, aren’t going to be able to see past it. In another sense, that makes it an asset, as well, because the sort of woman who would discount a man because of his height is the sort of woman you dont’ want in your life, anyway. You have to wrap your brain around this thing and learn to see it not as a hindrance, but as a gift from the universe.

    When I was growing up, I had a cousin the same age. My cousin was always referred to as “the pretty one.” I was always “the smart one.” Let’s not even get into the cruelty of a family doing this to two girls, but as I’ve matured, I’ve seen that as a gift. The fact that I wasn’t as pretty as my cousin (who is drop dead gorgeous) meant that I had to develop other means of smoothing my way, socially. It forced me to develop a sense of humor. it forced me to focus on developing my intellect. My teenage years were really kind of brutal, but I survived them (mostly by reading and showing horses), and frankly, I have thrived considerably more, in my life, than most of the really pretty girls I went to high school with, because life wasn’t handed to me on a silver platter because of my looks.

    I got prettier, but I had to develop other things, first. And, that has made all the difference for me, as a person.

    Life is not fair. To be happy, as an adult, you must first disabuse yourself of the notion that there is some greater justice at play out there. Life is not fair, and it never will be. Dating is always going to be slightly harder for you, as a short man, than it is for a tall man.

    So what? It is what it is. You can either embrace who you are, as a person, and expect that others will do the same, or you can grow more and more bitter about the fact that women (hell, people) are shallow.

    So you’re short…so what? The right woman isn’t going to care. The more time you spend dwelling on this and letting it get to you, the more you handicap yourself in finding her. Deal with it internally and move on.

    • Mike Says:


      • bree Says:

        I totally 100% agree with Moxie and trouble on this one……curious boost your self confidence and self esteem….carry yourself as if your 6’4 and women will be drawn to that confidence…be your charming wonderful self and present yourself as a precious gem of a man….make it so if the woman chooses not to get with you it’s Her Loss, not yours….
        Women are drawn to sex appeal, “swag”, and self confidence as much as looks. Trust me if u carry yourself like a tall man with a huge di** women will swarm to you…..good luck…*smile*

  2. RC Says:

    I am a long time reader and don’t usually comment, but, I felt compelled to voice my opinion here.
    I am 5’7”, size 4 and curvy (being Russian Jew and all…), I get noticed in a social setting by guys of all sizes. What attractive to me is their attitude, not height. A guy who is not shy, interesting/intelligent and not arrogant is going to come to the front of the line, trust me – not merely the tall one. ;)
    I always wear heels – usually about 3 inches. I know I am not small, and I am dating a guy who is 5’3” and appears smaller than me. But what really matters is how much fun I have with him in and out of the bedroom, not his height (although, I have to admit, this is a first time for me being with someone who is smaller than me). I think by about 25-27 most women realize that there is no correlation between height and the (important) “size”. No matter how tall a guy is, if he lacks in personality and bedroom performance, he will only get thus far.

    You are saying you are looking for something substantial, then, not getting girls who only care about superficial traits right off the bat saves you time and money. You get the girls who see you for who you are and what you have to offer. Is it a smaller pool? – absolutely! But if you are not merely looking to get laid, who cares. If you want a real relationship, you only need to find one good woman (at any given time). If you want an arm candy, advertize your wallet, women who are looking for sugar daddies, don’t care as much what you look like.

    Good luck!

  3. Trouble Says:

    FWIW, my ex-husband was 5’5″ and 34 when I married him (we were married for 12 years). Since our divorce, I have to give him credit on this one: He has never lacked for female company. He recently married a 29-year-old hottie (and she’s a very sweet girl). Height is no excuse. There will always be women who will not give a crap how tall you are. Focus on those girls.

  4. Saj Says:

    Ive dated some tall dudes (6’3 and 6’4) and I think it was because of the “I’m supposed to be into this as it’s a universal attraction thing”. Now I’m with someone who is 5’11 and that is a much hotter height IMO. Even living in the land of the giants where even the girls all seem to be 6 foot I never gawk at the big guys.

    Also I come from a family of women marrying shorter. My grandma married shorter and my mom married a guy who is 5’3. I can’t think that a 5’7 guy who is adorable and charming would be having as much trouble as your claiming unless you have an attraction for girls who are into the flashier things (like $, a nice house or a tall boyfriend to show off to their friends). Also you know how to solve your problem by mingling with girls in small groups and not the bigger events so work with what works instead of wanting to be successful in every venue. Now you are just being greedy.

    • Cackles Says:

      “Even living in the land of the giants where even the girls all seem to be 6 foot”

      This is the freakin’ truth. I’m also 5’7″, but virtually every male in my family (immediate or otherwise) is 6′ or taller, as are most of my friends. Forget preferring someone shorter than me, it’s usually hard enough just finding someone roughly my height. They certainly know how to grow ‘em here in UT.

  5. pistola Says:

    OP, this is probably gonna sound kinda brutal but you asked so I’m giving it to you straight.

    I’m a tall woman–5’9″ in flat feet, up to 6’2″ in heels. My women friends range in size from 5’1″ and tiny to a bit taller than me and curvy. None of us have a problem dating a shorter/smaller guy. However, most of us have found that it’s just easier to date taller guys.

    Why? Because over and over again we’ve found that shorter guys are insecure and hung up on their height/size and insist on making it an issue for US. It comes out as excessive peacocking, or being too easily threatened, or being obnoxious and possessive…dozens of ways. We end up dealing with a bunch of crap that has everything to do with how the guy feels about himself, which isn’t our problem and isn’t something we can fix–and don’t want to deal with. We aren’t interested in being therapists or self esteem coaches for our boyfriends. See what I’m saying?

    So, unfortunately, a lot of us have just moved away from dating anyone under 5’10” over time because when we’re OK with it, he isn’t most of the time…and there’s nothing more toxic and unsexy in a new relationship than continual insecurity that comes out toward you.

    • Jaclyn Says:

      I had this experience with an ex who was the same height as me. I was taller in heels and he once yelled at me because I stepped up on a curb before he did, and was even taller temporarily. I didn’t want to deal with the insecurity again and was a bit more leery of shorter men. But if I had met you in person, and you seemed completely at peace with your height it wouldn’t have been an issue for me.

  6. nathan Says:

    You know, I have heard this kind of thing from many shorter guys. It never occurred to me, being 5’11” how common this is until I started paying more attention to writing and conversations about dating. But it really does seem like a lot of shorter men are struggling in part due to their height.

    Pistola, I agree that insecurity about height isn’t sexy, but you’re just blaming these guys as “screwed up” individuals. You’re totally right that you can’t fix their insecurity, and that it’s not your job to be a therapist – but you know, I’m not convinced that the majority of younger women are going to choose the shorter guy, despite they’re saying otherwise. Hell, I remember being picked over a friend of mine back in college, and although it certainly had to do with personality and other differences, she also didn’t like “dating shorties.”

    It makes total sense to me that the older you get, the less focused on these kinds of issues people get. So, perhaps the letter writer might want to consider dating women right around his age or older.

    • pistola Says:

      Dunno, Nathan–can’t speak for all women, just my own set. They range in age from 27-early 40s. All are college educated and looking for real relationships, not casual dating. When I asked about the height thing, they ALL cited insecurity as the reason to avoid it–not liking tall men better. These women are looking for partners, not arm candy.

      I myself have often had the experience of being interested in a same height or shorter man who freaked out and said he couldn’t handle the height differential, or made such a big deal of it that I gave up on seeing him. It’s happened way more than one time so not an isolated phenomenon IME…

      • pistola Says:

        If it makes a difference…the last two guys I dated before my current BF were both tall, All American good looking, athletic, etc. And they both had crap luck with women because they were so insecure (and, resultantly, passive aggressive) that women couldn’t take it…and neither could I!

        • nathan Says:

          Well, I find it interesting that you and your friends would cite insecurity as a reason not t date shorter guys. I doubt you’d do the same with any other group of men, regardless of how many within that group may or may not be insecure.

          That said, I think Craig’s point about narrowing his focus on women who were more likely to be interested makes a lot of sense.

          • pistola Says:

            We all have to make certain decisions, based on our experiences, about where to focus our energy when dating. Maybe not all guys with kids are difficult but I’ve eliminated guys with kids. Maybe not all recovered alcoholics are bad news but most women eliminate those guys, too.

            Women who are looking for partners don’t have infinite amounts of time and energy to weed through every single person who could potentially be a good match. So yeah, generalized decisions get made. Do I think my GFs or myself would go out with a short man who presented himself as confident, kind, loving and together? Hells yeah. I KNOW we would. We just don’t seek out short guys any more due to our experiences with them.

            • DrivingMeNutes Says:

              So, you’re making decisions based on assumptions which are themselves based on a physical attribute that a peson can do nothing about – height. I don’t think you’re thought this one through. Your argument is indefenisible.

              I think you have a prejudice against short men and you are using some pseudo-statisical analysis (based on you and your friends’ “experiences”) to justify it. If you want to be prejudiced, go ahead. But, don’t pretend you have a valid basis. And don’t complain when other people are prejudiced against you. I mean, maybe in my experience some people of a certain race or ethnicity have had insecurities as a result. So, I’m justified in concluding that ALL people of that height, race or ethinicty have that insecurity and treat them accordingly? I mena, I don’t have infinite amounts of time – I have to make judgments based on SOMETHING right? Being a drunk or a “guy with kids” are about choices. Height and race are not. Give me a break. You don’t like short guys. It’s nothing more than that.

              • Saj Says:

                To let the superficial flag wave I was once semi intimate with a guy my height 5’5 and it was just WIERD. Like getting it on with someones teenager brother. It just felt unnatural to the point of distraction.

                I do know short man syndrome exists but it wouldn’t be fair to judge all shorter guys as having it. These insecure guys though are just more easily threatened and seem to be all into wanting to be cops or martial artists or owning guns. Those personality traits seem to show up fairly early though but it reminds me of that south part episode that was on recently about all these guys in anger management and all by chance had penis sizes smaller then the natural average. As soon as they lowered the size of the natural average these guys stopped being so angry.

                It’s not fair to bash Pistola for avoiding small guys as a time saver because I absolutely believe her that she has ran into these insecure guys. I put it in the same camp of women liking a well endowed man not because it feels better but because he is less likely to keep asking you “Is it big enough? Is it big enough?”

                So funny how my super tall boyfriend was insecure about his penis size and my average size husband is insecure about his height. Girls don’t have the dibs on being insecure about their looks.

                • DrivingMeNutes Says:

                  I’m not “bashing” anyone and, frankly, the only reason I responded to Pistola among all the other ignorant crap written here the past few days, is because she typically writes sensible comments.

                  There is lots of prejudice out there and I’m sure “well, it saves me some time” is as good a justification for it, as any. If you extend Pistola’s logic even a tiny amount, you are justified in judging people on the basis of immuntable characteristics like gender, race, ethnicity, height – provided you and your friends have had a few negative experiences with a person who has that characteristic. I actually don’t even think it’s worthy of debate. I don’t even care if people are prejudiced from a moral sense, at least for the purposes of this blog. I just think it leads to make bad decisions and, apparenlty, to give shitty advice sometimes.

                  • nathan Says:

                    I completely agree with Drivingmenutes.

                  • Geoffrey A. Says:

                    You know, that’s what gets me here too. It’s not so much the refusing to date a certain type of person (whether based on race, or height, or weight, or religion). It’s the ignorant reasons behind such a requirement that sometimes borders on bigotry that I don’t like.

                    So, it’s one thing to say “I don’t date Jews”. O.k., that’s fine. It’s another thing to say “I’ve met SOME Jews in my time who tended to be greedy…a girl shouldn’t have to deal with that and so I just avoid all Jewish men”. See the difference? If you tend not to be attracted to Jews, then fine…leave it at that. But don’t go and try to justify it with some lame stereotypes and cultural prejudices which are used to marginalize that very group.

                    So it’s O.K. to say “I’m not attracted to short men”. But it starts to look like bigotry when you say “SOME short men tend to have self-esteem issues based on their height and they manifest these insecurities by trying to act all masculine when they are clearly not….a girl doesn’t need this and so I just avoid all short men”.

                    See the problem?

                    Geoff A.

                    • Saj Says:

                      I think it’s a combination of not being very attracted to short guys plus having bad experiences with some.

                      Why is it ok to say I don’t like jewish guys because I’m not attracted to their overall look rather then I don’t like jewish guys because I don’t like their overall look and the personality traits many of them share in common turns me off. Its the same damn thing. It’s ok not to like curly hair and olive skin but not ok to dislike the mannerisms and their family values? (I’m using this as a hypothetical)

                      Women judge a man on everything not just his looks where as guys are more focused on the outer package. A guys aggression level, his self confidence, his accent, his smell are all judged at the same time with the same weight given to each factor.

                      If a girl isn’t all that into a short guy but dates him anyway its because shes hoping he’ll have something great about him in another aspect to compensate. If you run into enough short guys who are pains in the ass then what is the point when you can just find someone taller and at least he doesn’t have to measure up so much somewhere else?

                      Also for the guy who mentioned women being into short guys with money for social status and it’s not even really about the money….trust me it’s the money.

                    • dimplz Says:

                      Women who date a short man when it’s not what she wanted, but because she finds another one of his traits endearing, will always be sore if the man screws her over. We all have types of people whom we are attracted to, and I think it’s pointless to justify it. God knows how many tall assholes I’ve ran into, I never said, oh, I’m never dating another tall guy again because they are all assholes. The reason the woman who isn’t into short men makes that decision is because short men aren’t her first choice, therefore she feels better about herself by saying, “Well, I gave it a shot, but short men are just [fill in the blank] and not for me.”
                      The truth is that you don’t care enough about that type of man to keep dating short men. However, you don’t give up dating on men altogether because so far none has turned into a meaningful or lasting relationship. You just stop dating the type that’s least attractive to you. What’s so hard to admit about that? Not everyone floats my boat, and I’m perfectly ok with that. I’m also not everyone’s type. It it what it is.

                    • pistola Says:

                      Thing is guys, these are not just my experiences. These are experiences that all of the women I know have had. The short guy thing. We’ve all shared this. Sorry you don’t want to hear it but that’s how it is.

                      I have no problem with short men. I do have a problem with insecure men. My girlfriends are the same way. It’s one of the first things we eliminate when choosing partners.

                    • Charlie Says:

                      It’s a rather confusing aspect of women’s dating advice that so much of it appears to be “don’t date type x because MAYBE y.” Don’t date short men as they may be insecure, don’t date nerdy guys as they may not be romantic enough, don’t date athletic guys as they may be narcissistic, don’t date guys who are too available as they may be doormats, etc. If you eliminate new people solely on one or a handful of shallow factors eventually when you put all the “rules” together you’ll find there is no one left to date.

                      And really, if you are nixing short guys just because they are short then chances are you are contributing to any possible insecurities. A nutbar that is afraid of you in high heels? Sure nix him. Normal short guys? Give them a chance first.

  7. Craig Says:

    Life is definitely not always fair. The vast majority of us aren’t perfect 10s and have some sort of percieved “flaw” that keeps us from being the most desirable person in the room at any given moment. So you just deal with it and play the best you can with the hand you were dealt in life. You can certainly win the game without having the best of everything. You don’t always need to have been dealt a royal flush to win. As a multi-ethnic person of color, I learned the hard way to give up pursuing women who only wanted 100% Caucasian men. Instead, I began to pursue women who were known to be into guys with a little flavor: the Derek Jeter or Daniel Sunjata-looking type like myself. Once I did that, it opened the floodgates of ass for me. The moral of the story is that whatever your physical type is, there’s someone out there that wants it, so that’s who you pursue.

    The average American male is 5’9, so at 5’7 it’s not like the OP is a dwarf. That’s plenty of inches to work with. What you do is target the women willing to work with what you’ve got. Some women of all heights are always going to want a 6’0 guy no matter what. You can’t change their mind, so ignore them. But there are plenty of 5’0 – 5’3 women that will find a man the OPs height plenty tall enough. Embrace and exclusively pursue that target audience. Then the floodgates of ass will open for you as well. So go forth and get laid by petite women my son.

  8. Vox Says:

    I think women are attracted to tall men for the same reasons why tall men get more promotions at work (promotions granted by women AND men), are more likely to win elections etc. Taller men are assumed to be more powerful and intelligent, to be natural leaders. Don’t blame women for that, everyone does it, subconsciously or not. I have a nephew who is 6’2″ at the age of 14. After a massive summer growth spurt, he went from just another kid in his group of friends to alpha. I have no idea whether he suddenly asserted himself, but I doubt it. I think everyone simply respects taller guys more, and it extends to women being attracted to men. I don’t have a “thing” for height, and have dated several men my height or shorter. But still, I too take notice of the taller guys. Why wouldnt I, they do stand out in a crowded room.

    5’7″ isn’t bad, op. you could be a lot shorter. But you are going to have to work a little harder and be a little more charming than the next guy. Such is life, and we all know that life isn’t fair. Most of us have dating handicaps: too short, too fat, too old, too ugly, too tall… You just have to overcome it.

  9. C Says:

    I’m 27 years old, 5′ 9″ (and a half…), and clearing 6′ in heels (which I wear every day to work and every time I go out). I have dated mostly guys that were my height or shorter. I can honestly say one of the sexiest guys I ever dated was your height. I think he liked the fact that I was tall, in sort of an exotic way, which made me feel super sexy and powerful. Oh, and might I add that the main reason we didn’t work out is because he was a major ladies man!

    I just think it all comes down to personal preference. Maybe these women are not writing you off because you are shorter than them. Confidence goes a helluva long way. A woman doesn’t need a tall man to feel secure…she needs a secure man. And If a tall man is her preference, then you two probably are just not compatible. Period. Why try to analyze it? It is what it is.

    My boyfriend is maybe an inch or two taller than me (and forget it when I am in heels). It has never bothered me to be with a guy that did not tower over me.

  10. Mandy Says:

    The OP said “I know that the man is supposed to be taller than the woman – I have no problem with that, in fact, I want a woman shorter than me, otherwise, it doesn’t feel right for me either.”

    Clearly, he himself has height requirements. So why disparage other people from having them as well? This makes me think he’s insecure about his height, to want to be taller than the woman. I totally agree with some of the other posters here that the problem with a shorter guy isn’t that he’s short, it’s how he is insecure about being short. I bet you are giving off a vibe you don’t even know about being insecure about your height. Get over it, and the women won’t care about it either. They (we) can sense that you care about it, and it’s a turn off.

    • chuckrock Says:

      They (we) can sense that you care about it, and it’s a turn off.

      How can you sense it? I ask just to see if you can point out somethings that the OP might be doing that help you sense it – that maybe he isn’t even aware of. To say ‘we can sense it it’ is a blanket statement where specifics might be more useful.

      • trouble Says:

        There’s an anger that you sense coming from a guy who has a chip on his shoulder, for whatever reason, whether it’s height or weight or race or education or something else. And the anger is from every other girl who ever snubbed him because of ________. I’m pretty sure that men have also dealt with other men who have these obvious anger issues, and there is just a palpable bitterness and negativity that you feel coming from them. They make little passive aggressive comments, they try to compensate in other ways, they posture aggressively, and they start controlling what we do (like telling us that we can’t wear shoes we like because they make us too tall). My ex definitely had this issue. He went around totally overcompensating for his height. It spilled over into his control issues in a hundred different areas. It was, I think, part of why he would even start fights with people in parking garages, on the road, and in other places. He just walked around being an angry guy who had something to prove about his masculinity ALL THE DAMN TIME. It’s exhausting.

        The guy I date now is 6’2″. I don’t think he’s ever been physically challenged, because he’s a big muscular guy. As a result, while he LOOKS super masculine, he’s like a lamb. He never starts a fight. He’s not confrontational. He’s extremely mellow in every possible way. His manhood never gets threatened, in fact, I doubt he’s ever contemplated the topic of “his manhood” at all.

        That’s an extreme comparison, but I think that it has to do with the fact (and I’ve seen it happening with my own son) that short/smallish guys really start getting physically and verbally challenged in middle school with the guys are all sorting out their maleness and their pecking order in things. J, my guy, was 6 foot in middle school. Only an idiot would want to fight a guy that big. My ex, however, was 5 feet tall in middle school and only made it to 5’5″ in high school. He got picked on a lot by other guys, and so he does this thing where he thrusts out his chest and acts physically aggressive. He’s 54 years old, and he’s still reliving middle school.

        That’s the stuff that women don’t want to deal with.

        On the flip side, I’ve known some very very sexy short guys who don’t have issues with their own height, have accepted and embraced it, and aren’t walking around angry about it all the time. It’s a choice.

        It’s just like the choice between the divorced bitter 40-something woman who walks around angry all of the time, and a woman whose life experiences have hurt, but have made her softer and more tolerant. The former is really unattractive, to everyone, and the other is really attractive.

        • chuckrock Says:

          Thank you for this well thought out informative response. Now, I ask the OP: Do you see these traits in yourself? Maybe this is your answer.

        • Geoffrey A. Says:

          This is totally bogus, imho. All you did was make generalizations based on a person’s height and ascribe all sorts of behavior to it. How do you know that a short man is aggressive because he was picked on as a child because he was short? Did your ex tell you that this was the case, or did you just assume it based on his height? I’ve met more aggressive tall men in my life than I have aggressive short men. What was their (the tall guys’) reasons for aggression?

          Here is the sad fact. If a tall man “thrusts out his chest and acts physically aggressive” then he is asserting his dominance or maybe he’s just a jerk. But if a short man “thrusts out his chest and acts physically aggressive”, then it must be because he is short and is compensating for that fact.

          It’s all a matter of perception.

          Geoff A.

        • pistola Says:

          That’s a spot on post Trouble. I volunteer as a counselor in a middle school and what you say is pretty much the picture of how this stuff forms in vivo. And yeah, people can continue acting out their responses to this stuff throughout the rest of their lives. It’s up to the individual to choose to become self aware enough as an adult to overcome it.

  11. Joe Says:

    Since when is 5-7 short? Only in the Dinaric Alps is the average height of women above 5-6 1/2.

    • Cackles Says:

      Come to Utah sometime, sir. Saj’s quip about this being the land of giants wasn’t far off. Maybe it’s something in the water, or maybe just genetics I got the recessive end of, but they know how to grow ‘em here.

      • Joe Says:

        I live in Utah. It’s probably all the nordic genes.

        While I was born and raised outside of Utah, both sides of my family are from here. And both sides are full of short women (probably 5-2 on average) marrying tall men (over 6-3) including my parents and grandparents.

        I’m just under 5-8 and shorter than my boys, but my daughters are both shorter than their mother, who is 5-4. Most of my current collegues are my height or shorter with three exceptions and they are between tall and very tall. (One colleague claims he’s 5-11, which is a total crock.)

        That aside, the average female is allegedly around 5-4 1/2, which fits well with my observation. (I tried to find Utah stats and will bet could predict the regional breakdown due to known immigration patterns.)

      • Joe Says:

        Having lived in Utah on and off for almost 20 years, I wonder if I’ve gotten used to women being taller than average. On the other hand, I’ve worked with a lot of short and really short women (5-2 and under) in both Utah and Salt Lake counties and few women have been taller than me. Small sample size and I’d be curious how atypical this is.

        Come to think of it, I think the wife of one of my collegues is a half inch taller than him.

  12. myself Says:

    Wellll, there’s the other end of the spectrum, there’s the tall woman. Who gets sometimes just as shafted as the short man. See I don’t much care what height a man is, yes, it’s really nice when I’m not the talles woman in the room (and note I’m not that tall, but men in Montreal tend to be 5’8″ and below as do women)

    Tall men don’t look at me because I’ll never be little & petite, and shorter men won’t look at me because I’m tall.

    Cute little catch 22.

    Currently dating someone that is taller than me, but easily 50 lbs lighter (he’s a skinny dude), so then there’s that little bit to factor in. But I liked him, not what he looks like or his height, his personality & confidence is what got me.

  13. chuckrock Says:

    Until about 8 months ago I probably had never given a woman who was 5’7″ or taller a second look. It was just a preconceived notion that I had that I wanted someone shorter than that. I am 5’10”, so not short but not tall either. Then last november i had a brief unexpected fling with a woman who was also 5’10” and quite frankly it was the best sex of my life.

    ever since then, I have noticed and the woman I am currently dating (6 very good dates – and i am excited about her :) ) is 5’9″ and I include that in as something i really like about her.

    sometimes you just need a reason to go outside of your “norm” in order to understand that the “norm” wasn’t a great idea.

  14. Abby Says:

    I don’t know why we go for the taller guys. IMO, it’s the dna. We’re hard-wired to go for the alpha male. That means the biggest, tallest, most intimidating guy in the pack. Not fair, but we all know about fairness in life. I’m only 5’0 and have never dated under 6’0 until now. (He’s 5’10 and seems small to me, but I guess I’m weird like that) I’ve never been able to help myself – I immediately gravitated to the guy who commanded the room – usually that includes their height as well as their personality. FWIW, most of my friends completely dislike tall men. They all prefer and date/married guys nearer their own height. Don’t fret, just play to your strengths, you’re plenty tall enough for most girls, but I agree that you’ll have more luck in smaller settings. My bf’s best friend is 6’2, and I catch myself comparing their heights all the time (to my shame), and if I’m honest, I would have gone for the friend first had the setting been different. We all have to play the hand we’re dealt, I guess.

    • Joey Giraud Says:

      “IMO, it’s the dna”

      We have a winner!

      Men are taller then women on average. That should pretty much rule out the social conditioning idea. For whatever evolutionary reason, women have chosen taller men, and so men are taller.

      Women have driven sexual evolution ( not consciously, of course. )

      ( but there’s such a thing as too much of a ‘good thing.’ Six foot six is a bit much, IMO )

      • DrivingMeNutes Says:

        This is actually true. Women are genetically programmed to select tall men. That’s why, over millions of years, we have evolved into a race of giants.

        • Joe Says:

          In part; good nutrition has had a far bigger effect.

          • DrivingMeNutes Says:

            Hm. Yes, nutrition. Well, that, and the fact that our male ancestors were actually rapist-gorillas.

            • Joey Giraud Says:

              “Women are genetically programmed to select tall men. That’s why, over millions of years, we have evolved into a race of giants.”

              OK. It’s taken a while, but I’m finally understanding it’s pointless to try to explain anything here using science.

              Thanks for learning me good, DMN.

              • DrivingMeNutes Says:

                Sometimes science must give way to hilarious commentary. Or philosophy.

                What you wrote Darwin is more “romantic politics” than “science” because your argument assumes a social order and culture that likely didn’t exist when human beings were evolving into the creatures we know today. I don’t share your rosy view of humanity. Since females didn’t achieve anything close to equality until well into the 19th century, I think it’s safe to assume that, without social order, prehistoric females were not the sexual selectors in our species. They were victims of male brutality. Males fought over females. So, yes, larger, stronger males were more successful but not necessarily “taller.” Also, female “smallness” relative to males could be explained by the fact that smaller females made easier victims.

                It’s nice to romanticize and think of females who got the tall caveman they wanted through their guile and cunning. Eh, not so much. More likely they didn’t have much choice. And, if females are not the sexual selectors than there is no logical basis to claim any biological or evolutionary basis for female preferences. Female preferences are cultural. They may now, but they didn’t matter then. Pure and simple. And, I don’t disagree that American females seem to prefer tall guys.


  15. Christina Says:

    It’s only a problem if you make it one. As you already said, you’re automatically weeding out the superficial who place height as a requirement over other, more substantive traits.

    As a tall girl, I’ve dealt with the same kind of “discrimination” and I’ve only exacerbated it by cutting my hair short. As far as I can tell, those two things which are apparently deal-breakers to a lot of guys has had no discernible negative impact on my dating life. If anything, it’s saved me a lot of grief in not having to waste time with people too superficial for my taste.

    Generally speaking, I like shorter guys. Just like those of us girls who are less than gorgeous, they’ve had to work on their personalities a bit if they want to be successful in dating.I don’t buy the whole short/insecure business. I’ve met just as many tall and skinny, or tall and hefty guys who had insecurities about their size.

    Any woman who has her head on straight will realize that height is fundamentally unimportant when it comes to picking someone who will be a great long-term partner. Those are the women you want, and if you come across as happy and confident, you’ll find them.

  16. dimplz Says:

    I think this is just going to be a problem until you meet the right person. At 5’8, I was always the tall one. Most Hispanic guys aren’t that tall, unless they are Cuban. Don’t know why that is, but that has been my experience. I am one of the tallest people in my family and the tallest woman in my family. My current boyfriend is Greek and 5’9 at the very most. I really don’t care, and previously, I wanted men over 6′ just because I am tall. My father was probably 6′ while my mother was 5’2. My friend M is 4’11 and wants a really tall guy. I keep telling her, look on the inside. My father wasn’t a pig, but if my mom had chosen someone who wasn’t tall, dark, and handsome, maybe she wouldn’t be a widow today. Ever hear that song, “If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife…” Same goes for women. Just pick someone who likes you for you, regardless of height or try to relax your standards for appearance. People shrink when they get osteoporosis.

  17. Geoffrey A. Says:

    Here is my two cents on some of the comments posted about this article:

    The argument that female brains are “hard-wired” to select tall men is probably overblown. There is probably a tendency at work (much like the male tendency to like larger breasts on females or younger females over older females), but to say it’s “hard-wired” is false. The fact that a “preference” for something morphs into a “requirement” usually suggests a strong cultural component. We are socialized to convey social privilege to tall men and social derision to short men. It’s really as simple as that. The women are more responding to perceived social status and not the height itself. This is why a short man with a lot of money can obtain the same numbers of sexual partners as tall men. If it were “hard-wired” this wouldn’t be the case (and don’t try to argue that “gold digging” has anything to do with it). More women are attracted to short men who have money because the money acts as “proof” of social dominance and so it cancels out the social stigma against short men (it has nothing to do with them wanting the short guy’s money….usually).

    Plus, there are gender issues going on as well. Tall height is seen as a “masculine quality” while short height is seen as a “feminine quality”. That is why tall men are rewarded when “performing masculinity” and short men are punished when they likewise “perform masculinity” (i.e. – they Napoleon Complex concept).

    We are social animals and society is actually an even more powerful driver than evolution in a lot of cases. Also, we should be consistent here. A lot of comments are coming on the side of “it’s natural” and “that’s life” while most people wouldn’t make such comments about something like race or even weight. There was a big controversy about the Psychology Today website recently because they posted a scientific article which showed that African American women are the least desired ethnic group among women. People went crazy. So the argument that we can’t criticize people based on their dating preferences or their concepts of beauty is pretty much bogus.

    Geoff A.

    • trouble Says:

      We are social animals and society is actually an even more powerful driver than evolution in a lot of cases. Also, we should be consistent here. A lot of comments are coming on the side of “it’s natural” and “that’s life” while most people wouldn’t make such comments about something like race or even weight. There was a big controversy about the Psychology Today website recently because they posted a scientific article which showed that African American women are the least desired ethnic group among women. People went crazy. So the argument that we can’t criticize people based on their dating preferences or their concepts of beauty is pretty much bogus.

      People like who they like. I “get” that a lot of men in my age group prefer a younger woman than me. It is what it is. You can criticize to your heart’s content, but that’s not going to get you anywhere personally.

      • DrivingMeNutes Says:

        “People like who they like. I “get” that a lot of men in my age group prefer a younger woman than me. It is what it is. You can criticize to your heart’s content, but that’s not going to get you anywhere personally.”

        Well, yes, it is their choice not to change their behavior. We are all entiled to “like what we like” but frequently “what we like” leads to bad results, and is the root of our problems (as you have pointed out too.) So, I think criticism – that is not a personal attack, but a pointing out of the weaknesses in one’s arguments or explanations – is perfectly fair whether it is about someone’s personal prefences or not. If personal preferences (I like tall men) are not tailored to achieve the stated goal (I’d like a substantive relationship with a good person), I think it’s fair to point that out.

        As for the “victims” of height or other discrimination, I agree that there is no value for them in trying to convince people to change their preferences on here or otherwise. But, that’s different than criticism. Everyone has things about them that other people won’t like – many of which people cannot change – and you don’t get a free pass to complain, or to have people to comform to YOUR preferences, just because your “defect” happens to be height, race, stupidity, or whatever.

        • Paula Says:

          “People like what they like.” I keep hearing that like it’s something immutable, but often people like what they choose to like. What is one or two dates, compared to a potential lifetime of happiness?

          If someone is really into me, regardless of whether I’m really into him, I’m going to give him a chance to make his best case as to why we should be together, unless he’s got some deal-breaker qualities (which are only a handful). If you’re so worried about how it looks, go somewhere you won’t run into your friends, because if you end up meeting someone you really care about, you aren’t going to care about what your friends think anyway.

          I’ve been out on multiple dates with and getting to know two guys, that, had I known certain things about them, I might not have chosen to go out with them. Because I took that chance, I’ve been having some great times and have really expanded my horizons in certain ways. Yes, I’m one of those older women, but the older I get, the less I find that certain things matter, especially the superficial characteristics that will only decline with age. That’s not settling, it’s wising up.

  18. M Says:

    OP – Are you open to dating many different types of women as well? If not, then maybe this is something to consider. Are you willing to date someone who is a heavier than you might typically go for? What about (more than a bit) taller than yourself? Or even below 5’0″?

    Although your height is fine, there will be those women who will simply want to date someone taller (good, bad, or otherwise). Some women care, others don’t. But I’ll ask…how flexible are you in who you would approach/date?

  19. Mike Says:

    Regarding what we are “suppose” to do, as I am getting older I less and less think about getting back into a relationship. I am getting seasoned in my ways and don’t have the mental energy for the building of a relationship.

  20. Cackles Says:

    I’m late to the party here, but being in the same boat as the OP I’ll throw in my 2 cents.

    As I’ve said in replies above, I’m 5’7″ as well, and possibly have even more of an uphill battle (no pun intended) due to living in Utah where the average height for both genders seems to be “Jesus, but you people are freakishly tall.” I know for a fact I’ve been passed over by girls when out at the bar with the guys (all of whom are 6’+), and on the occasion I’ve landed a few dates with a girl taller than me I’ll admit to a bit of insecurity about my height. Not crippling insecurity; it doesn’t really effect the way I act and I’d never dream of telling the woman I’m with she shouldn’t (let alone can’t) wear heels when we go out, but I can’t help but be consciously aware of it when I’m the one tilting my head up to kiss her. (nothing wrong with it, of course, it just feels odd – social conditioning at work)

    That said, minor insecurities aside I actually enjoy being shorter than other guys. The giant segment of the local population excepted, I’m roughly the same height as most women, which suits my personality just fine. Physical stature notwithstanding, I simply lack the necessary disposition to play the part of the Big Strong Man, and being at roughly eye level with most women is enough to handily subvert that preconception most of the time. Sure, I’ll probably never be asked to reach an item placed atop a high shelf or to open a jar of pickles, but neither will I be expected to open the hood and act like I have any idea what the hell I’m looking at when our car breaks down. (“Did you check the alternator?” “Yeah, it looked like it was full…”)

  21. A Says:

    “have had relationships with good looking women”. So basically you’re complaining that women are judging you based on your height, but you’re judging based on their physical appearance?

  22. Laura Says:

    I’m one of those women who love tall guys. At least 6′ and preferably 6’4 or 6’5 (I’m 5’4″). However, a while ago I met a guy who barely topped 5’6″. I would usually look past guys like that since I’m just not attracted to them, but he was confident, charming, outgoing, and just didn’t seem to even notice or care he was shorter than all the other guys. That is what you need to have… that confidence that some short guys seem to lack. Don’t get mad at women who overlook you because of height as I’m sure there are certain physical characteristics you would look over on a woman. People can’t help who they are attracted to. However, you will significantly up your chances of success if you build a confidence and act like you don’t even know you’re on the shorter side.

  23. Mark Says:

    Fair question. You say you are on the shorter side, but notice that women seem interested in taller guys.

    One way to look at it is in terms of accentuating the things you are good at, or qualities that play to your strengths. Try not to worry about things that you don’t have much control over. That instills an aura of confidence. And that is something that many do find attractive. Confidence is attractive. Arrogance is not.

    Think about it. Some actors are very short. Some successful musicians are not photogenic. Yet they do have an appeal for many. I’m not suggesting that you become one of them, but you might borrow a page from their success and tailor it to your own personal style.

    Best of luck.

  24. VJ Says:

    This is a shorter answer, but Yes it’s a biological preference that’s present in most mate selection. Hence you’ve got to try & ‘Game’ harder, chose smarter and select your audience better. Living in Boston this should be easier. Start with all those smart college gals, and work your way through the under-grads and then the grad students. Many will not have too many preconceptions about dating, and or be aware of them and actively try to overcome the bias. You might also make that same argument to some. (Some will be willing to admit this, but not many. But there’s a vast literature on this well known prejudice & preference nearly everywhere).

    But overall? Cut your losses. Some women will be naturally more prejudiced than others about height. Some will be less amenable to ‘changing their minds’ about seeing you as a romantic partner. At 34 no one has the luxury of playing games with such things. Go where you’re wanted. You’re close to normal height. Me? I’m short, fat & surly. And happily married for a long time. And I was certainly short & surly when she found me too! Cheers & Good Luck, ‘VJ’

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