My phone buzzed with a text from a friend. "Important question: can I go out with a man who is five foot four?" My response was: "Yes, providing he's not a dickhead". Because, surely, that's more important, right?
It coincided with me meeting a male friend for lunch who, standing at around that height, is really struggling in the dating world. "Once they find out my height they don't want to know," he said despondently.
Heightism is rife, particularly on apps like Tinder, and particularly towards men. Statements like "I'm 5'10 in heels – you do the maths" scream out from the profiles of lots of women. I wonder what the response would be if men looking for a date wrote: "If you don't have big boobs and a small arse, don't bother". There would be blood. It's terrible double standards.
When I asked around my intelligent, liberal and usually lovely girlfriends, the majority agreed that they would be hesitant dating a short(er) guy. In fact, most had quite a strong reaction to it, like height was a deal-breaker. "We're so feminist about everything else but not this," said one, a little shame-faced.
I think there's a sense, which is terrible, that a guy who is shorter is somehow less manly. It's the Mills & Boon swooning-little-woman-in-arms-of-strapping-man cliché. Or it seems that way. One of my girlfriends used the term "throw-down", as in that's what she wants from a guy – a wrestling move. It's ludicrous. And, well, short-sighted. Who says tall guys have all the best moves?
A few days after that first text, I asked my friend whether she did end up going out with the five-foot-four man. As it turns out, she hasn't yet but they have been swapping "fun messages". I'm rooting for this guy. After obviously giving it some thought, she's decided she "wouldn't not date somebody, full-stop, simply because of their stature". Her conclusion: "I think I liked his chat, and that would overcome any issue with his height."
It's tentative, but progress of sorts. Guys – short, tall or whatever shape you happen to come in – if a girl is giving you annoying height restrictions up front, like she's a ride at Alton Towers, pull the emergency stop – because that ain't cool.Reuse content