Maybe it’s because I’m five foot one; maybe it’s because I think Napoleon seemed kind of cool, or maybe it’s because I’m a bit soppy - but I can’t help feeling sorry for short men.
And I want to make a stand for them. Because something strange and unacceptable in our culture has happened where women think it's ok to publicly slate their petite counterparts, and dismiss them romantically, based on their height.
If you don’t believe me, you need only look at the statistics. Data compiled by OK Cupid shows that being a shorter man is considerably less advantageous in the dating world, with taller guys consistently receiving more messages and getting more sex from women than the vertically challenged. As a result, the latter is often lying on online profiles – adding a couple of inches here and there to impress the ladies.
From personal experience, I have seen how brutal women can be about shorter blokes. Indeed, even my five foot nothing school teacher once announced to our class that she wouldn’t dare go out with a man under six foot. This sentiment is now reflected on dating apps such as Tinder, where women's profiles often include height requirements. And today I even read an article in which an anonymous woman cruelly documented her encounter with a short man. “Thank goodness I was sitting down at the bar when this little bundle walked up to the table I was waiting at,” she wrote. “This guy was teeny… I told him from the off that I was doing research on Tinder because I didn’t want him to make a move on me as I would surely burst out laughing.” I couldn’t believe what I was reading – such outrageous discrimination so needlessly displayed and openly tolerated.
Unfortunately, this type of rhetoric has become a normal part of life. Over the years the sisterhood has become incredibly shallow when it comes to men’s stature – convinced that we have some entitlement to Thor-like creatures. In fact, many of my friends will now dismiss guys on dates with no other reason than they were "too short".
Like I say, I’m only five foot one myself, so part of my sympathy is personal. I’m sure had I been male I would have been just as likely to spend my time wondering what it’s like to see someone else’s parting. The thought of operating in such a Spartan dating world sends shivers down my spine.
But what especially vexes me is this double standard of women criticising and making fun of short men, then expecting them to tolerate all different types of weight (which isn't even a fixed state). For a man to openly reject a woman because he found her fat would be social suicide.
Yet for women to complain about a man’s height is fine, apparently. Hilarious, even. (And they call us the fairer sex…)
It’s not really ok, though, is it? Any more than telling your friends you dismissed someone because they had black hair, or small tits, or anything else that is, undeniably, genetics. And that is, actually, not that big a deal.
Some of the cleverest, most determined, interesting and handsome guys I know are short. I’d like to say I feel bad for them that they have to face this wave of judgement when they go dating, but my only reassurance is that at least they will weed out shallow women from their pool of potential partners. Girls who cannot see that there are far more important things to have in a boyfriend than long limbs.
And girls who cannot see that openly dismissing someone because of their height is, at best, plain rude. Of course, we all have our personal preferences when it comes to dating. These may focus on height, weight or even teeth (I’ve got a thing for chompers with a gap in the middle, would you believe.) But the thing is that they are just that – personal. Everyone in their right mind would judge a man for telling everyone he would never date a fat woman – and probably have a massive go at him if he openly mocked a date online for being on the plus size side of things. So why is it ok for girls to be so insensitive about height requirements? If guys can learn not to fat-shame, surely we can learn not to short-shame either.
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