Are women not interested in short, petite men?
January 15, 2005 1:46 PM   Subscribe

I'm have a fairly small frame (5'7", 123 pounds). Should I assume that this excludes me from consideration by 90% of women out there (even ones smaller than me), or am I overestimating the importance of this aspect of my appearance?
posted by ldandersen to Human Relations (68 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I am not a woman, but I don't think any one physical attribute rules somebody out for that large a swath of the population. For every kind of physical appearance, there's someone attracted to it.
posted by jonmc at 1:49 PM on January 15, 2005

Why assume anything? And what are you fishing for with this question? Are you funny, are you smart, are you kind? Men are given much more leeway than women, I believe, to "overcome" any perceived physical shortcomings through personal/intellectual charms.

As a (tall, thin) woman I can tell you:

*I don't "prefer" short, slight men, but had a huge crush on a man of your physical description who was also was a funny, charming art student

*I don't "prefer" heavy men, but was swept off my feet by a short, heavy bearded guy who again, had a killer sense of humor and was gentle and creative to boot.

Feel better?
posted by availablelight at 1:55 PM on January 15, 2005

There are plenty of women who don't buy into that my-man-needs-be-taller-than-me-so-I-can-feel-petite-and-feminine crap. So, yes, you are overestimating the importance of your height. However, insecurity stinks from a mile away, so maybe you've confused women being turned off by your appearance with women being turned off by your attitude.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a hot date- with a man much shorter than me.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:03 PM on January 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

Simply, no. Size does not equate to desirability, especially not for a woman you'd want to marry. However, if being small means you are less sure of yourself or less willing to try, then yes.

Keep your head up and don't stop getting up.

On preview: this is pretty much what PinkSuperhero said, but in my own words.
posted by sled at 2:07 PM on January 15, 2005

However, insecurity stinks from a mile away, so maybe you've confused women being turned off by your appearance with women being turned off by your attitude.

ThePinkSuperhero, I'm sure your intentions were good, but that comment would only make someone feel worse (ie, "it's not your build, it's you"). And even insecurity is attractive to women with earth-mother type personalities.
posted by jonmc at 2:07 PM on January 15, 2005

You know, Jamie Zawinski occasionally posts links to unusual news stories with the remark, "It is completely irresponsible journalism to run this story without a picture." Just sayin.

In answer to your question: Your height is around 80th percentile for (white) women (in the US) and closer to 20th percentile for men. What that means is that around 75% of white women in the US are shorter than you are, although it may not seem like it (heels, etc). (50th %ile for women is around 5'4".) The major criterion most women express to each other about height in men is that he be taller than she is, so you're in OK shape there.

Your weight could pose a problem for a lot of women, because of the brutal appearance expectations in our culture. For example, you and I are the same height, but just reading the number of pounds you weigh makes me feel like a hippo. And I hate my body a lot less than many women hate theirs.

So I went to your website and your Flickr site. You're a vibrant person with a good aesthetic sense. Good. You are in San Francisco - this is also good. I instruct you to come to the next SF Meetup (February 11) or swing over to the next Berkeley meetup (January 29), and live women can evaluate you in person. Just kidding! I mean, you can increase your social circle, which increases the probability of meeting people who are already disposed to be curious about you and are not as hung up on your height and weight as stranger might be - perhaps, by mere presence, even give them a chance to be specifically attracted by those qualities.
posted by caitlinb at 2:10 PM on January 15, 2005

You have a point, jonmc, but I stand behind what I said- if, for example, he were to stand around bars, saying "Woooooooooe is me, I'm short and all stupid superficial women hate me!", then the statement, "I never get chicks because I'm short" is probably not totally correct. Not that I think you do that, ldandersen, just saying! :-D
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:11 PM on January 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

You have a point, jonmc, but I stand behind what I said- if, for example, he were to stand around bars, saying "Woooooooooe is me, I'm short and all stupid superficial women hate me!"

Agreed, but I don't think that's what he's doing. He's asking if his build is a problem in attracting women. But the whole "self-esteem and confidence is everything" paradigm of attraction is way too Tony Robbins for me. Personality types are as involuntary as eye color as far as I can tell, so telling people to be something they're not (ie, confident) isn't all that productive.

Again, I'm not accusing you of anything, just voicing some thoughts I've had on this issue.
posted by jonmc at 2:17 PM on January 15, 2005

Speaking as a woman who is overly sensitive regarding her size (6' ish and weight of "never in a million years") I would probably have issues with it. Not to say that I'd rule such a guy out, but it would be something that I'd have to fight. Thankfully for you girls like me are pretty rare so you're still in good shape. If you're having problems finding girls your height probably isn't the root cause...

On preview: yeah.
posted by pookzilla at 2:18 PM on January 15, 2005

5'6", 150lbs. Dated a 5'10 who liked her 3" heels for a good three months, and it wasn't the height that ended it. Unless it's comical, height isn't much an issue.
posted by The White Hat at 2:19 PM on January 15, 2005

I don't consider a 5'7" man short and I'm 5'8". Although I do concur with caitlinb regarding weight issues.

When I see a vertically challenged man with a much taller woman I always think that man has it going on. I think that the height issue is often the man's problem, not the woman's. I went out with a guy a few times that would make comments about the high heels that I wore and how they made me taller than him. It showed his lack of self confidence and was a real turn off. Don't let that be you.
posted by Juicylicious at 2:27 PM on January 15, 2005

Well... speaking as a man, I like short, skinny boys. So it rather logically follows that a lot of women do as well :)
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:28 PM on January 15, 2005

Personality is definitely more important, imho. Having spent most of my teenage years swooning over the skinny hair-free androgynous types with a penchant for eyeliner, I am now planning to marry a man who is relatively short (5'8", taller than me, but I'm 5'3" and consider myself tiny), 250lb+ and incredibly hairy. That type do not suit eyeliner, but I still go weak at the knees for a man in nail-varnish. No, I don't understand either.

Speaking of comical height issues, my friend's brother is 6'3", and for quite a few years dated a girl who was 4'11" in heels.
posted by corvine at 2:31 PM on January 15, 2005

2nd what white hat says about "unless it's comical"

I also think that there is going to be a general "type" of person who is going to be interested in you at all.

I know that the girls I meet and like are bookish, nerds, diy culture, musicians, artists, etc.. people I consider less likely to consider my height. They're not looking for a beefcake trophy boy, they're smarter than that.

Yes, your initial paragraph is overstating the importance.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 2:33 PM on January 15, 2005

Personality types are as involuntary as eye color as far as I can tell, so telling people to be something they're not (ie, confident) isn't all that productive.

Yes and no. I agree that for the most part personalities are pretty much set by the time that one reaches adulthood. Telling people to be more confident is probably not the most productive answer, but it is the truth. Although it maybe difficult, people can at least work on aspects of their personalities that may help them lead a fuller life.
posted by Juicylicious at 2:35 PM on January 15, 2005

Although it maybe difficult, people can at least work on aspects of their personalities that may help them lead a fuller life.

And the biggest thing most people have to work on in their personalities is acceptance, embracing other people the way they are. Just saying.
posted by jonmc at 2:43 PM on January 15, 2005

jonmc, you've given your perspective as have others. Let the original poster decide whats of value and what isnt. I dont think its fruitful to start a debate here.

My opinion, and thats all it is, is that height is only an issue if you let it be, which is what I think many other posters are trying to say. There's something to be said about having the self-confidence to believe that, yes, that tall, pretty girl is attainable or perhaps, she may not be, but it wont be because of your height.

Another way of saying "be self-confident" may just be "don't unnecessarily shoot yourself in the foot"
posted by vacapinta at 2:56 PM on January 15, 2005

"it's not your build, it's you"

This may be harsh, but it's true. I am not the best looking guy in the world (or the worst), but for YEARS I blamed my inability to attract women to my looks. It actually took therapy for me to realize that this was a lazy excuse.

Someone here said we are stuck with our personality. I'd say that while SOME aspects of personality are immutable, not all are. After working on my personality, I WAS able to attract women and I've now been happily married (to an extremely attractive woman) for seven years.

Listen to the women here: CONFIDENCE. One CAN go from being less confident to being more confident. I did it. Sometimes it just happens with age. Sometimes people need help (i.e. therapy).

I would also add that there's a way that women could help out a bit more. We men tend to suspect women are being dishonest about their feelings. Most women SAY that they don't care all that much about looks, but then we hear them swooning over George Clooney. We also notice that the really good-looking guys seem to have dates all the time. (When we get older, we realize that GETTING a date isn't the be-all-and-end-all. How many of these guys have meaningful relationships?)

I realize that looks aren't the only (or even the main) thing that matters for most women. And I realize that, for many women, a less-than-physically attractive man can become more physically attractive if he has certain compensating traits. I think many women hold back from the complete truth because they don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Also (unlike men), some women are raised to feel like there's something wrong with them if they admit to liking a hot body.

But I'd like to hear a woman be 100% honest about the role looks play for her. Maybe she would say something like, "if you're a tall, good-looking guy, you WILL have a better chance with me. If you're not, you still have a chance with me, but you'll have to work harder." Maybe she'd say, "I like to fantasize about good-looking guys, but I don't necessarily look for a relationship with one." Maybe she'd say something else.
posted by grumblebee at 3:03 PM on January 15, 2005

It's really not worth assuming anything in these cases, especially when it's not something alterable.

Some people specifically go for shorter guys - my sister, for instance, has practically never dated anyone over 5'5" and is now engaged to a guy the same height as she is(about 5'3"). Shorter, smaller, "boyish" guys are her "type."

But 5'7" isn't even really that short anyway. You will be taller than most women. I usually find myself more attracted to taller rather than shorter guys, but it's by no means a dealbreaker, and you're in a middle range where the woman will probably not even really think about your height unless she is particularly tall to start with (she may unconsciously have a less intense attraction to you, as some women do respond to height, though).

If you're unhappy with your weight, you can always join a gym & bulk up a little. If you don't want to, though, don't do it to attract someone - it's like false advertising :)

As others have said, it's more important how you comport yourself.
posted by mdn at 3:06 PM on January 15, 2005

Don't worry about it. Really. Get past what you're expecting people to think on appearance and work on being you, whoever or whatever that is.

I've dated men ranging from 5'2" to 6'4", very skinny to very much not, and the only real problem I've found was trying to fit the tallest one into my tiny car. Some women will be bothered by it, but don't expect all of them will be.
posted by cmyk at 3:07 PM on January 15, 2005

All the women i know dated--and eventually married--men shorter or the same size as they are, if that's any consolation. I think that in a bar or crowd you may be at a disadvantage heightwise (it's harder to catch someone's eye across a crowded room maybe), but in groups or more casual settings, you're fine. And what everyone else said about not worrying about it.
posted by amberglow at 3:14 PM on January 15, 2005

Right on. Forget about facades. That's just a teaser. Sooner or later it will boil down to your level of attitude and confidence to open the door. Then it all depends on what you have in common regardless of height, weight, or sexy red hair.
posted by oh posey at 3:15 PM on January 15, 2005

I've dated men who were 5'6" all the way to (I am not lying) 7'5" (I'm five feet tall). Physically speaking, I happen to be attracted to strong facial features, and that's what's common across the men I dated seriously or for any length of time. Very few women are going to include or exclude men on height and those who do are usually very tall or very short, and they're doing it so that they don't feel freakish (in my experience, with people I've known). Even then, I married a funny, smart guy. If he wasn't funny and smart, the fact that I subconciously find his straight, dark eyebrows, high cheekbones, and strong chin attractive wouldn't matter.
posted by Medieval Maven at 3:24 PM on January 15, 2005

telling people to be something they're not (ie, confident) isn't all that productive.

Yeah, but telling someone that confidence is more important, attraction-wise, than skinniness, should be productive. Maybe that realization will increase his confidence.

For what it's worth, I swoon over George Clooney but the men I fall for tend to be funny looking. I have a theory that gorgeous guys never have to develop a personality. And I'll pick interesting dinner conversation over cheekbones any day.

Also, the most key thing for any insecure guy to know is that girls are fifty bazillion times more insecure than you can ever understand. The most gorgeous supermodel secretly thinks she's hideous and no one will love her. We are all taught from day one that our looks matter and it scars us. (Okay, I'm generalizing terribly but it applies to an overwhelming majority of women in my experience.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:33 PM on January 15, 2005

Also, the most key thing for any insecure guy to know is that girls are fifty bazillion times more insecure than you can ever understand.

No disrespect, CL, but I don't see how that's possible. Men are traditionally expected to be capable earners, intelligent, charming and educated, and now post-feminism, we have to be good-looking and sensitive as well, and of course "cofident." That's waaaay too tall an order for most guys.

And how many females a man can attract is crucial to a males self-esteem and to the esteem he is held in by his peers (right or wrong), so that creates an incredible amount of pressure around this stuff.
posted by jonmc at 3:39 PM on January 15, 2005

Women (and well, some men) won't care about your looks per se because we're always willing to make an exception for anyone we assign any importance to. Grooming, however, goes a long way.

Don't focus on factors that you cannot change (height, weight, facial features) because as long as you're clean and decent, people focus less on your appearance and more on the other things you're up for offering. This goes for ANY type. Keep your teeth clean, make sure your breath and your armpits don't stink and that your hair (including facial hair) is reasonably kempt, wear clothes that aren't soiled or ill-fitting, and you're good to go.

I suppose this goes hand in hand with confidence as well. In a way, it tells people that you know what to do with yourself, and that you care enough about others not to pollute the molecules that surround you with funk emanating from things crusting and/or decomposing on your person. Never underestimate the power of a toothbrush!
posted by furious blush at 4:15 PM on January 15, 2005

I am only slightly larger at 5'9"/140lbs but I have never felt it an impediment at all. Granted, there's a difference there, but out of the question for 90% of women? I highly doubt it.
posted by scarabic at 5:01 PM on January 15, 2005

I'm 5'6" and 128lb., and I've dated plenty of women taller than me. It's never been a problem, although it did seem sort of Roger and Jessica Rabbit when I dated a 5'10" person. But, I think it was weirder for me than for her.

I have no doubt that women exist who wouldn't want to date someone as small as I am, but then again I also have my own personal restrictions on women that exclude some from the dating pool. So do you, I imagine.

You're shorter than average. Whatever. I don't mean that as a dis, but just as the attitude you should take to it. You're not going to will yourself taller, so don't think about it unless you're buying clothes or reaching for pickles on a high shelf.

Follow furious brush's directions and you'll be dandy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:03 PM on January 15, 2005

I think your putting to much importance on your height. Generally I've always been very attracted to men who were near my height (I'm 5'7"). I also second what availablelight said. Personality always wins out over physical appearance for me, I've been attracted to people of all different sizes and descriptions.
posted by squeak at 5:11 PM on January 15, 2005

You sound physically like all of my previous boyfriends (and most of the other guys I've had crushes on). I tend to fall for scrawny geek guys. I agree with whoever said that weight issues will probably be more of a problem than your height. None of my boyfriends has seemed threatened by the fact that I outweighed them by anywhere from 20-60 pounds, but some of the non-boyfriend crushes had an issue with my size.

I'm 5'5" and find that guys under 6' have an added benefit: it's easier to kiss them without getting a sore neck. ;-)
posted by belladonna at 5:20 PM on January 15, 2005

Your height shouldn't be too much of an issue, as mentioned, because, while you're shorter than the average male, you're still taller than the average female (just never move to West Michigan or anywhere with Dutch people).

I also personally definitely prefer underweight/scrawny guys to overweight, I think this is pretty common. I've also dated a guy actually three inches shorter than me (not counting heels, which I didn't wear).
posted by dagnyscott at 5:21 PM on January 15, 2005

Personally, I've dated guys of all description in comparison to my specs: much taller, much shorter (I'm 5'8"), much heavier (as in, over 300 lbs), much skinnier (as in, your size). The ones that became full-blown relationships were all kindhearted, funny, interesting, smart people, excepting the first, who taught me everything I needed to know about the importance of putting kindness ahead of all the other factors. If you cultivate those aspects of yourself, you're far more likely to find a worthwhile woman to love you.

But will you see her, if she's much taller, heavier, or different somehow from your physical ideal? I hear people argue all the time that it's either "there" physically or not, but obviously, many don't even get close enough to someone who deviates from their ideal to find out. I've known plenty of men who physically didn't do a thing for me until the conversation started. Likewise, I've known lots of men who disqualified themselves from the running as soon as they opened their pretty mouths to spill out their ugly thoughts.

So, don't be so quick to take yourself out of the running, and give the same gift to other people. The hardest thing to do, if you've ever been seriously lonely for a long while, is to keep open enough to see the possibilities in other people. That means chancing rejection, refusing cynicism, pursuing a full life, and taking care of yourself in all ways so that you are as attractive and interesting as possible to the right woman when she comes along. Best of luck to you.
posted by melissa may at 5:21 PM on January 15, 2005

I'm 5'9" and I consider myself to be rather short. Yeah, it's just one of those things.

Men are given much more leeway than women, I believe

I would disagree. I think things are about equal. Men might, when talking to each other, rate women on a 1 to 10 scale and anyone who isn't busty and hot will get given a 6 or less, but privately most don't think this way. As it is, men will pretty much settle for anything that will date them.

I have found, bizarrely, that women tend to be pickier over appearance, although perhaps it isn't so bizarre when you consider that most women receive significantly more advances than the average man.
posted by wackybrit at 5:30 PM on January 15, 2005

So, you're smaller than a lot of people. So what?

A couple of my best friends in HS were guys smaller than me (I'm not quite 5-6). (It was a small HS, there weren't that many guys smaller than me.)

Two of my bestest (girly word. deal.) boyfriends were smaller than me. We used to joke about it. One of my bestest friends now is a smaller guy. I think he's shorter than me, but I don't really know. It's not important to either of us. We like to talk to each other, we like the same kinds of things, and we make each other laugh and think, sometimes at the same time. Nothing else really matters.

If a girl doesn't want to be friends with you because you're short, maybe she's not the kind of girl you want to have as a friend....

Don't let it bother you. Really. Keep yourself neat and clean, develop interests outside of finding a girl, and the girls will find you. (It may take a while, though.)
posted by jlkr at 5:36 PM on January 15, 2005

See, I've always thought the solution to this whole problem should be that girls under 5'5" can't date boys over 6'. That way the shorter male has a good dating pool, and those of who never got to dance in junior high because we were too tall have a field open to us too.

Modest proposal aside, I am, however many comments in, the first girl to own up and say I don't dig guys smaller than I am (5'9", 180-190). I'd bet that's probably the ratio in real life too. So screw us and figure the numbers are actually with you. Good luck.
posted by dame at 5:37 PM on January 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

what jonmc said, plus the fact things are contextual. i've never understood the ease people seem to have in boxing up their preferences for members of the sex they find attractive--you know, "i'm into blue eyed guys," "girls with sunstreaked looking blonde are always the hottest," whatnot. it makes sense in a platonic ideal portrait sort of way i guess, but when i'm faced with a barrage of guys as i go throughout my day, i might think one's collection of attributes makes him pretty attractive or another would be so cute but it's too bad he has X or acts X or whatever. i mean all things being equal, would a guy who was identical to another guy save for being half a foot taller be more attractive to some/most women? maybe, maybe even probably. but that doesn't even matter really, does it, in that everyone has a package of attributes and how they gel into the entity that is you is pretty much unique and based only on its own context. so: sure you may be short, and sure maybe some girls tend to think tallness is more attractive than shortness, but hey, how's your hair? your hygiene? your attitude?

also, as an aside. girls i think tend to be able to tell a mile away a guy who's thrown in the towel and just seems bitter and totally like "screw those petty girls who'll never even look at me once because i'm not 6', now i'm gonna eat a shitload of nachos and burp in their faces and not change my shirt more than once a week." that is less attractive. fine if you truly have stopped caring and just want to be yourself and that includes such behavior--but if you would like to be reasonably attractive and it's not much skin off your back, coming across like you're interested/somewhat confident and taking care of yourself and your appearance is generally important.
posted by ifjuly at 5:42 PM on January 15, 2005

Everyone has things that they are looking for, whether they know it or not, whether they admit it or not. Doesn't make them bad people, or insecure or anything, it just means that they are attracted to certain things. Height is a factor for some people, but not for everyone. There's nothing you can do to change how tall you are, so there's no reason to get all bent out of shape over it.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:43 PM on January 15, 2005

i don't think i'm being very clear, so maybe an example will help: i tend to think tallness is extremely hot, as an abstracted inavacuum nootherconsiderationsaffectit ideal. but i met, thinking off the top of my head, three, no four guys on campus last year who were quite short (one was super short, like. shorter than me and i'm 5'2) and incredibly attractive. mostly because they were just really freaking cool guys--interesting (i picked up a zillion new records to listen to on their recommendations as well as places to see, shows to attend, books to read, and movies to rent), funny, fun to be with (one in particular threw great small parties), generous with their time, considerate, and open with their feelings and passions--but also i remember...two had a great but unique/quirky/memorable fashion sense (and no, they weren't gay! ;) and one was just really hot period. none of them seemed to have any problem finding girls to date. (one in fact was pretty much a heartthrob womanizer, hee.)
posted by ifjuly at 5:50 PM on January 15, 2005

If a girl doesn't want to be friends with you because you're short, maybe she's not the kind of girl you want to have as a friend....


Regarding Mr. Clooney - he's not particularly good looking. He's actually fairly average in the looks department. What makes him attractive is the sparkle in his eye, his grin, his sense of humour. There are plenty of "stars" out there that aren't clasically handsome but are attractive as hell. Kevin Spacey...hubba hubba. Now, there's probably those out there saying "ewww, Kevin Spacey?" Yes, indeedy.

While I'm initially attracted to taller guys (I'm 5'4") it's personality that wins out every damn time. Mr. deborah claims to be 5'8". Pffft. He might be 5'7".
posted by deborah at 6:53 PM on January 15, 2005

Here's a secret that it took me far too long to learn: Taste varies so much that there will always be someone who likes what you've got.
Ultimately, for me, it came down to consciously adding "likes what I've got" to my criteria for digging on someone. That is, don't fret about the girls who don't like you because you're small; go find the girls who do.
Easy for me to say, though, I guess; I'm huge.
posted by willpie at 6:59 PM on January 15, 2005

the whole thing about physical details in people's diagrams of their perfect partner, is that they ultimately will find themselves falling for someone who is absolutely nothing like what they thought they wanted. Truth is, we live in a lonely, rough world, and anything that makes you feel safe and at home is worth hanging onto, regardless of meaningless details like height and weight.

Love is like humor, you laugh or you dont, you love or you don't, thinking too hard about it is to analyze it to death.
posted by jonmc at 7:02 PM on January 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

If a girl doesn't want to be friends with you because you're short, maybe she's not the kind of girl you want to have as a friend....


Not being sexually attracted to someone who's smaller than you has nothing to do with being friends with that person. And not finding a particular feature attractive doesn't make someone a bad person. I know we are trying to help raise the poster's confidence here--and that is a worthy cause--but it doesn't need to be done by impugning others.
posted by dame at 7:45 PM on January 15, 2005

The first person I thought of. Height: 5'7"
Chosen by "People" magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world.
posted by geekyguy at 8:59 PM on January 15, 2005

I'm 5'9" and I consider myself to be rather short. Yeah, it's just one of those things.

I find this bizarre. I'm 5'9 (male) and I don't consider myself to be short at all.

I suppose that, depending on what pool of men you're comparing yourself to, you may be right, but it couldn't matter less. There's no tallness competition going on. I've never been rejected (that I know of) for being too short, though I have dated some girls who have told me that they usually go for taller guys, a statement that has always bewildered me. Still, I'm not really attracted to women taller than me, so maybe in my life this tends to be a convenient non-issue.
posted by bingo at 9:42 PM on January 15, 2005

I'm about the same size as you (maybe ten pounds heavier) and I've never dated. Probably never will. I've always been self-concious about my size, have always felt like a child, insubstantial with zero presence, and I suppose that's retarded my personality so I can't compensate in the way people here have suggested.

Lately I've been paying a lot of attention to the size of other men where I work (inspired by the fact that someone I had an Internet thing with was dating a guy who was 6'8"). They're standing beside me and I notice I don't seem any higher than their shoulder. I start thinking how many inches must there be in a head, what is that guy, 6'6"? I wonder how I could ever compete, these larger people just seem more grown up, more admirable because of their size. But then I see other guys who are as small as me, smaller even, and they're able to joke and talk with people, act like adults without feeling all phoney and contrite and I start wondering how they do it, if they just don't understand they're the size of an eighth grader.

I guess size or any factor of appearance becomes a problem if it seems like a problem inside you. Most of the world manages to pair up despite being clearly less attractive than Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.
posted by TimTypeZed at 10:55 PM on January 15, 2005

I admit I prefer the men I date to be taller than me. But I'm only 5'3" so this is not a hard requirement to fulfill. : )

ldandersen, it sounds like you're built similarly to my last boyfriend, and a few other guys I've dated. One of the fringe benefits to dating guys who are not super tall is that I don't have to stand on tiptoe to kiss them. : )
posted by SisterHavana at 11:11 PM on January 15, 2005

First comment ever anywhere on mefi! Rule.

My take is pretty much like everyone here, in that there's always someone who will like your attributes, appearance, etc. There are even some girls who are attracted to insecure, dopey man-children (like my girlfriend). I'm 5'11"-6' depending on who's measuring, I know for certain than I'm 183.5cm. Not tall, not tiny, but my "averageness" always bothered in America. But see, I'm doing the expat thing in China, and I'm ginormous here, and it feels really good. For whatever it's worth, 5'7" and 123 lb. is plenty of man for your typical foxy lil' communist babe. Short depends on who you're chasing.

The weirdest thing, though, and probably the most encouraging, is that you'll see these scrawny little dudes with moppy hair and natty shoes walking around with goddesses who are as often taller than the men as not. And I mean every day. These guys are small even by Chinese standards, and they probably live with their parents and spend the majority of their free time sitting in a net bar chain-smoking and playing CS, and they're definitely not rich, but somehow they routinely seem to get the most desirable women. It defies all conventional wisdom, and so the only conclusion I can make is that they must be incredibly devoted, charming, gentle, funny guys. The tiny ones who I've become friends with sure are.
posted by saysthis at 12:30 AM on January 16, 2005

As someone who's both 5'3" and hates wearing those scary-looking instruments of death with spiky heels, I can definitely say that height does not play a defining role for me when it comes to men.

I generally prefer chubby men, but when I first clicked on your blog and saw the signs of a fellow Mac addict, everything else just faded into the background:-) So don't underestimate other factors.

Most of us grew up (and continue to live) in the same image-conscious culture that more or less programs us to find some part of our physicality dissatisfying. If you find a girl attractive, and you start feeling self-conscious about your height or weight, don't automatically assume that she's as aware of it as you are.

I know, all of this is easier said than done, but hey, you gotta start somewhere.

Also, what caitlinb said.
posted by invisible ink at 12:32 AM on January 16, 2005

there's been a lot of good advice here! i have a couple of little stories about perspective for you to consider:

i am 5'7". my best friend is 4'10" with shoes on (but she'll say she's 4'11" if you ask her). when she started dating her now live-in boyfriend, i asked her to describe him to me. she said, "well, he's cute. . . blah blah blah. . . and so TALL!" i met him a few weeks later - and he's 5'5" at most.

i met my husband online. when we decided to meet, he was nervous about his size. see, he's 6'4" and probably 280lbs. yup, big. and also about the same size as all of my dearest boys - my "little" brothers and my father. he didn't believe i could be so comfortable with his size until he met my family - and he fit right in.

size is all about perspective. and so's love, which isn't easy for anyone! hang in there.
posted by katie at 8:12 AM on January 16, 2005

Just don't be one of those short guys who can bench press twice their weight. You are not compensating anything.
posted by Napierzaza at 8:37 AM on January 16, 2005

There's a lot of excellent advice in this thread, and I won't repeat the stuff about making the most of yourself physically and personality and confidence being very important.

I will say that perhaps you could try to change your mindset from "will women like me" to "which women do *I* like". I'm an average-looking woman whose weight tends to fluctuate, and I used to feel I was single because I was unattractive to men. Then I realized that I was turning down men a lot more often than I got turned down. Sure, a lot of guys aren't interested in me, but a lot of guys are. So now my approach is that I am doing the choosing. I focus on getting to know guys I think I'm interested in rather than trying to impress them or assuming they won't be attracted. This is a very empowering attitude and insulates me from a lot of hurt, because who cares if someone I don't want anyway doesn't want me. And I know I'd so much rather be with someone who demonstrates interest in getting to know me than someone who is trying to get me to like him.
posted by orange swan at 8:45 AM on January 16, 2005

And TimTypeZed, your comment made me wince. No one ought to write himself or herself off as a person because of their physical appearance, whatever it is. I hope you succeed in changing the way you feel about your height, both for your own sake, and for the sake of your chances of success in meeting someone, if you want that.

Ask yourself this - there are a lot of overgrown apes out there who have women in their lives and treat them like shit, and there are a lot of happily paired-off short men out there, while you're alone. Does that seem right or inevitable to you?
posted by orange swan at 9:01 AM on January 16, 2005

dame, the comment said "friend", not SO or mate or whatever and that's how I took it. I'd rather not be friends with anyone who would judge other people on their physical appearance.
posted by deborah at 10:37 AM on January 16, 2005

I too was horrified by TimTypeZed's post. It was largely the horror of recognition. Fifteen years ago (and most of my life up until that point), I WAS TimTypeZed.

There are too tough issues here that we're avoiding. I suspect we're avoiding them because they are tough. We've established here that height need not be an impediment to having a relationship. But one's feelings about oneself (lack of confidence, etc.) can be a hurdle. The sad fact is that knowing this truth isn't a solution (though one MUST know it to begin to find the solution). The solution is to change one's feelings, and that is hard to do. For most of us, feeling aren't overtly controllable. So how DO you become more confident?

There's no quick prescription. And there's no one-size-fits-all prescription. Some people need therapy. Some people need to focus on non-dating activities (becoming really good at their job or hobby). Some people need to age a little. Some people need all-of-the-above.

Some people need to get to the bottom of WHY they feel so insecure. It's probably false to say that we feel insecure because we're short (fat, whatever). If we suddenly, magically gained height, we would probably still feel insecure. Why? Here's where therapy (or rigorous self-searching) might be handy.

For me (and this is probably a common story around here), I was an eccentric child. I was different that my peers, and this put me at the bottom of the grade-school totem pole. I was bullied and teased. And, since I lived in the same town until college, my bad reputation followed me through High School. Any girl who would have dated me back then would have had to be -- at a young age -- incredibly self-assured. Girls tend to be much more socially-embedded than boys, and any girl who dated me would have be dragged down the social ladder with me. I really think that in high school I WAS undatable.

This was not true in college, but by that time I was internally damaged. Since I'd had little experience with girls in high school, I was also socially backward. I didn't understand how to talk to a girl. And just getting a date was SUCH a big deal to me, I screamed desperation. For me, therapy was the key. That -- and aging. It also got better as the girls became women. They matured too and started looking for deeper things in a man. I had to learn to SEE that and not to assume that grown women were still high school girls. And I had to learn to forgive the female "species" for ignoring me when I was younger.

Okay, that's one problem. Problem number two is what I call the There-Are-Many-Fish-In-The-Sea Fallacy. People keep advising the poster to stop pursuing the girls who don't find him attractive and focus on other girls who do. I've heard this a zillion times. When people go through a horrible breakup (or when their partner dies), they are told "don't worry, there are many other girls/guys out there. You'll find someone."

This ignores a human truth. Most of aren't just looking to be loved. We're looking to be loved by that special, particular someone. This isn't true for ALL people. Some people really CAN find happiness with any of a great many number of people. I can't. In the first 30 years of my life, I only fell in love once. Luckily, I'm married to her. So even after getting over my own lack-of-confidence, I had to get over my own pickiness. Well, I didn't get over it. I don't think I could EVER get over it. I just got very very lucky.

If my marriage ever ended, I'm not saying I would be alone for the rest of my life (thought that's possible), but I wouldn't be at all surprised if it took me a decade or two to find someone else.
posted by grumblebee at 10:49 AM on January 16, 2005 [1 favorite]

orange swan's comment about pursuing who is right for you rather than worrying about your general am-I-hot-or-notness is very wise. It's a powerful fantasy to assume that attractiveness is a universal factor, and the little rating games both men and women play with their friends don't help. If you're insecure and weakwilled, you're going to be heavily influenced by whatever you think the group consensus will be on a potential mate, or on yourself.

Interesting people become that way by departing from group consensus and defining their own tastes and preferences for themselves. Once you know your own values, what's truly attractive to you, likely romantic prospects will reveal themselves to you.

(Also, grumblebee: I don't think anyone's advocating for being indiscriminate, or settling -- just openness and self-confidence.)
posted by melissa may at 11:10 AM on January 16, 2005

Melissa, I know no one is advocating being indiscriminate. And if the poster just wants to have a date -- or to be able to casually date -- then things shouldn't be too hard.

I just know that when I was going through tough times romantically, people always gave me useless advice. They tried to cheer me up by telling me that there was "someone out ther for me." But I wasn't interested in "someone out there"; I was interested in some SPECIFIC person who wasn't interested in me. That's the hard part. And I don't think there IS an answer to that problem. It's part of the pain of being human. When we tell people, "you'll find someone else," we may be trying to help them. We may also be trying to brush a difficult problem under the rug.
posted by grumblebee at 11:34 AM on January 16, 2005 [1 favorite]

Yikes--thanks for the advice everyone! There's no way I'll be able to respond to all of the wisdom here--I guess that will teach me to post something on here and then not check it for half a day!

I'm a bit amazed at how quickly people seem to have "gotten my number" about lack of confidence. I would say that worries over my height are one of the biggest causes of this lack of confidence, though there are others (my experience is a lot like grumblebee's, to be honest).

I sincerely appreciate knowing that my build is not universally a deal-killer (special props to caitlinb with her detailed statistics :-)). Armed with that knowledge, I'll at least be less likely to take myself out of the running before I've even had a chance to be considered.

Also, melissa may: I think you've got some really sage advice about a whole bunch of things, and I appreciate it. I do need to be less concerned about what groups of friends think (I think my friends are actually holding me back in some ways), and I definitely need to concentrate on just being an interesting person (something I think I actually used to be before I became preoccupied with all of this).

Thanks again to everybody who chimed in--this is an amazing community we've got here!

PS: Since caitlinb asked for it, and so people can see that I'm not some kind of grooming nightmare (at least I don't think I am), here is a picture
posted by ldandersen at 11:52 AM on January 16, 2005

Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti. The most beautiful and sexiest famous woman of my lifetime and a short balding guy. If only I could be so short and balding.
posted by TimeFactor at 12:01 PM on January 16, 2005

Deborah, the comment was then totally off topic as the question here is not about being friends. And everyone judges people based on their physical appearance whether they admit it or not. The question is whether you make it a deal breaker or not.
posted by dame at 12:14 PM on January 16, 2005

As a tall (5' 9") woman, it is frequently the case that my man is shorter than I. Or the same height. Tall men are often more attractive from a distance or at first sight, but once I get to know someone it doesn't matter much at all. Personality is more important.

NB: Some short men have a napoleonic complex, i.e. they are assholes. If you avoid trying to compensate for your height by being overly agressive or macho, there is no reason for girls not to want you.
posted by mai at 12:58 PM on January 16, 2005

dude, you look like ed norton! and ed norton=hott. ;)
posted by ifjuly at 1:26 PM on January 16, 2005

A plea from me (5'11") to all the shorter guys: please, please do not moan about your shortness to me. I don't care, I probably didn't even notice (almost everyone is shorter than me, it doesn't make much of an impression), and when you harp on it you make me feel grotesque and monstrous. I know you have to deal with stereotypes of men as tall strong providers, but please consider that I have to deal with stereotypes of women as petite delicate flowers and try to have some sympathy. If you can do this for me, I will continue to appreciate you for who you are and be grateful to have you in my life. Gracias.
posted by cali at 4:15 PM on January 16, 2005

People always think their height is the worst possible height to be. Short people feel insignificant and powerless, but large people often feel like giant, lumbering oafs, or feel like "What am I doing to justify taking up this room?" -- if there is any such thing as respect based on height, there's two sides to that -- more is expected of you, even if there's no logical reason why it should be and you're totally unprepared.

Also, much is made of women who say "I don't want to date shorter men" but I bet as many men wouldn't date taller women, they're just not as vocal about their desires.
posted by dagnyscott at 4:47 PM on January 16, 2005 [1 favorite]

I find this bizarre. I'm 5'9 (male) and I don't consider myself to be short at all. I suppose that, depending on what pool of men you're comparing yourself to, you may be right, but it couldn't matter less. There's no tallness competition going on.

I'm in a family where all the men are 6'0 or above. I'm not. Also, I was an early bloomer, I was the height I am now at age 14. So I was a tall teenager, and.. well.. a not very tall adult, so all my friends are taller than me too. It's not a big issue, but I just sense that I'm short, and have accepted that.

I'm about the same size as you (maybe ten pounds heavier) and I've never dated. Probably never will. I've always been self-concious about my size, have always felt like a child, insubstantial with zero presence, and I suppose that's retarded my personality so I can't compensate in the way people here have suggested.

Sorry to hear that. I hope things work out. I've also never dated (well, I've had a bit of action, but nothing that went beyond, oh, a few hours) and while you seem to have a feel for why you're in your predicament, I'm finding it a real pain in the ass to feel why I'm in mine. I get on great with people, like to do things, am generally confident.. but no-one has either been attracted to me, or people I've been attracted to are not interested. Let's just call it a day and say we have incredibly high standards!
posted by wackybrit at 4:58 PM on January 16, 2005

Wackybrit, how do you KNOW that no one has been attracted to you? Are you waiting for them to make moves and then assuming -- because they don't -- that they're not into you? Or have you actually revealed your desire to many many woman and have been rejected many times?
posted by grumblebee at 8:22 PM on January 16, 2005

Or have you actually revealed your desire to many many woman and have been rejected many times?

You mean when you try to strike up a conversation or whatever, then you get back that whole body language vibe like "I really don't want to be here" or polite "I'm off to the bathroom"?

how do you KNOW that no one has been attracted to you?

I'm pretty sensitive to body language, but, of course, I could well be way off course in what I pick up. Put it this way, the amount of times that it was her who initiated the conversation versus me is tiny. What other subtle signals are there?
posted by wackybrit at 9:40 PM on January 16, 2005

I'm not a man, nor do I date women, wackybrit, but my understanding is that women just don't make the first moves towards a man very often, even when they are attracted. Go to the most attractive and successful Casanova you know and ask him what his ratio is for times he approaches: gets approached.

A guy I dated told me that men are so used to having to make that first move that if I want to indicate interest in someone, all I need to do is smile at him. If he's interested, he'll be thrilled to get that much encouragement and zoom right over.
posted by orange swan at 9:30 AM on January 18, 2005 [1 favorite]

Forgot to add that I tested that theory, and damn, he was right.
posted by orange swan at 9:31 AM on January 18, 2005

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