As someone who’s 5ft 2, I’m constantly asked if I only go for taller men.
While the majority of guys I’ve dated have been above 5ft 8 (great for gigs, not so great when walking with them), I wonder if I’m being too choosy.
After all, discriminating against someone’s gender/race/religion (insert as appropriate) isn’t okay but saying you have a preference for only taller guys is widely accepted – and even encouraged.
Considering that the average height for a UK male is 5ft 10, how do short men navigate dating and relationships in a society that’s height-obsessed?
We spoke to several shorter men to sort fact from fiction.
Lamiin Pickett, 39, 5ft, Philadelphia, USA
‘I would say my height has affected me more positively than negatively. Ever since I was young, girls always used to tell me I was cute.
‘Some people think of the word “cute” as in the baby sense, but I have always embraced it as a compliment.
‘I’ve never had difficulty finding a woman. I have found that woman are attracted to a man who is confident in themselves. This is how I approach women, with my head up and confident.
‘It’s only in large crowds that I actually feel short, otherwise, I feel normal.
‘But I did have a recent situation arise because of my height. My ex was a co-worker of mine when we met and she was 5ft 9in. After a year of dating, I went to meet her parents who lived four hours away in another state.
‘They invited us to visit for Thanksgiving. Her parents greeted me with open arms and then invited me back for the Christmas holiday. Her dad even allowed us to stay in the same bed together, which in some families is not allowed with couples who aren’t married.
‘A couple days after leaving her parents’ house, she gets a phone call from her dad, saying how he disapproved of our relationship because I was shorter than her. She was so devastated because the whole time we didn’t even have a clue that he didn’t like me. I found out her mother felt the same way.
‘She stopped talking to her parents completely after that and we stayed together for another year but eventually broke up because it became too difficult for her not having a relationship with her parents. That’s when I realised wow, I am short. It has also given me a sense of awareness.
‘If I’m not accepted by a woman’s family, it won’t work out. That was the only negative thing I have experienced.
‘For some odd reason, tall women are more attracted to me than shorter women. I love long legs and when tall women give me hugs, but it’s more difficult to kiss them standing up. I have dated one woman my height and loved the way our bodies naturally fit together but it’s hard to find a woman my size.
‘Everyone is the same size lying down, so size isn’t a preference for me. I just want someone with good morals and values and knows how to treat a man.
John, 63, 5ft 4, Oklahoma, US
‘For a long time, I negatively thought it affected my dating life. As a young man, the vast majority of the time taller women just ignored me. As I got older, I figured that height didn’t matter as much as actually having something to talk about when dating.
Funny thing is over time, it seemed like the women I went out with kept getting taller, the tallest being 6ft 5. People did look but then again, my guess is they were looking at her not at me.
‘Dating someone no matter the height is always a challenge. After that, it gets interesting since I figure it takes time just to get a handle on who the woman is and where she is coming in her life.
‘Yes, there are a lot of women who are just looking for either eye-to-eye contact or they have this princess thing that the big guy on the horse must be the best. When I first met one of my best girlfriends, the first thing she said to me was ‘ok here we go…short guy alert’.
‘From my experience, women in their 30s move towards biological clock and start to look seriously at genes. Meanwhile, women in their 40s are settled – they know what they want and go for it and height becomes much less a factor.
‘I like women who are 8-10 inches taller because they have a different viewpoint and sense of humour because of their life experiences. In terms of sex, everything fit nicely – bodies good for alignment on several points. I kind of figure everyone has their own things to share.
Ben*, 5ft 5, 41 years old, retired Army Veteran of 20 years in service
‘Being a short man has had a huge impact on my dating life and making my love life non-existent. It’s almost like most women put aside short men discriminating them as sub-human beings.
‘Society thinks it’s okay to discriminate short men and it’s an invisible discrimination that society can get away with. Women are programmed by society that they must have a guy who is tall. Look hard and you will see it every day – even in adverts, the shorter guy is always made out to be a clown while standing next to the taller guy. And the man is always taller than the woman.
‘For example, I overheard women talking about how there aren’t any decent men in the world anymore. About ten minutes later, I came up to her and introduced myself and to ask if they would like to join me in a game of pool. She looked me up and down and said: “Gross, you’re like only five feet tall, you’re not even a real man what made you think I would talk to you?” and turned her back to me as some other people in the immediate area laughed.
‘How different would my love life be if I was taller? I would say that if I was taller at least average height for a man, I would have been married and had a family of my own 20 years ago.
‘I only say this because many women over the past 25 years when I’ve approached them have said things like ‘I think you’re really hot and love your personality, but I just wish you were taller’ or ‘If you were taller I’d be all over you’. Many have told me that there was nothing wrong with me and that I’m funny and confident but my being short was a deal breaker.
‘Just recently, a woman contacted me from a dating website. She wanted to meet me at a bar. I spent £350 on a new outfit just for the occasion. I walked up to her at the bar and introduced myself; she looked at me and said ‘You looked taller in your pictures’. She drank her beer real fast and paid the waitress and left without saying a word.
‘I don’t speak for all women – just the thousands over the past 25 years that I’ve talked to. Women do seem to gravitate to taller men because they like to feel smaller, feel more protected. They like a guy to grab things on the taller shelves for them; they like to be picked up, most women feel that taller men are more successful and leaders. Women like to wear high heels and will feel sociably uncomfortable being significantly taller than the man she is with and short women will use the excuse that a man has to be at least a couple of inches taller than her when she’s in heels. Not all women are like this but it is really hard for short men to find a woman who doesn’t put limits on height.
‘I would love to have a tall girlfriend and the only reason why I want to find a taller woman is so we can send a message to people that height does not matter and it is ok to date a man shorter than her and it’s ok to have a woman taller than a guy.
‘Other than that, I’ve never discriminated a woman because of her height.’