How important is height disparity to short guys?
March 6, 2014 9:02 AM   Subscribe

Does size---especially height---matter to guys?

I signed up to play in the orchestra for a musical production at my university, and I met a wonderful guy. We seemed to hit it off and enjoy each other’s company, although we saw each other only at the nightly rehearsals for two weeks. At a party after the first performance, some other guy asked me to dance. I accepted and as we were dancing, I saw the guy I liked asked another girl, someone I think is in the chorus. I left the other guy after one dance, but the guy I liked kept dancing with the other girl.
I am fairly tall---about 5 feet 7 and a half inches, and the guy I like is an inch or two shorter. I have dated shorter guys in the past. This guy seems to be self-confident. How much does being an inch or two shorter really matter to a guy?
posted by 1270AEH to Human Relations (36 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
He either likes it or doesn't care. In my experience, it's the taller person who it is important to (i.e. "I only date people taller than me.").
posted by bensherman at 9:04 AM on March 6, 2014

To some guys (like me), it doesn't matter at all. To others, it will matter a lot. I think this is 100% a YMMV situation.
posted by Betelgeuse at 9:04 AM on March 6, 2014 [16 favorites]

I think it can matter in two ways:

1. As a general rule, women (or at least heterosexual women) seem genetically wired to seek out taller guys. So shorter guys may feel they are less noticed by women, or less preferred by women, or feel they have higher hurdles to overcome in courting women.

2. Taller guys have more physical presence, and therefore they tend to command more notice or attention.

Whether or not those things matter to any particular shorter guy is an individual thing.
posted by Dansaman at 9:05 AM on March 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Since men are no more a monolith than are women there is no way to answer this question. Your height could be anything from a major turn-on to a major turn-off to neutral.
posted by Justinian at 9:07 AM on March 6, 2014 [33 favorites]

One thing to consider is heels - I've had a few boyfriends my height or shorter and one of them hated me wearing heels and would vociferously object any time I did so. I'm short so like to wear heels, and it was a problem for us.
posted by goo at 9:16 AM on March 6, 2014

It matters to some guys. It doesn't matter at all to others.

Only one way to get to the bottom of this. That's right, read his email.

Just kidding, talk to him more and try to get to know him. He might like the other girl for reasons that have nothing to do with height, by the way (or, he might not like her at all).

This forum will be unable to help you actually get to the bottom of this, except to encourage you to do the relational work necessary to find out what is important to him.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:19 AM on March 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

I’m just over 5’7” and I actually like being with taller women; doesn’t bother me one bit.
posted by angry.polymath at 9:19 AM on March 6, 2014

Does it matter? Sure, for some dudes. For some it doesn't. It doesn't even have to be a 'confidence,' thing, necessarily. A guy could prefer women shorter than he is the way he prefers women with a certain color hair, and not having anything to do with their relative height to his.

Did it matter in this specific scenario? Unless you have any actual evidence by way of something he said, or some sort of very clear pattern of behavior he's demonstrated, there's no benefit to jumping to conclusions, especially if that conclusion leads you to be down about an aspect of yourself you can't change.
posted by griphus at 9:21 AM on March 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

I once met this really tall Dutch girl (Dutch girls are really tall) at a party. She wore heels. Her boyfriend was short and stocky. They looked madly in love and when they introduced themselves he said "We like to pretend she's my model girlfriend".
posted by Dragonness at 9:23 AM on March 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

I am with angry-polymath; I am a 6' (ok, 5'11") foot guy who would love to date a woman who was my height or slightly taller. I have also dated (ok married) a woman who was 5'3".
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:25 AM on March 6, 2014

I felt like I'd seen this question before, and did some digging and found this. Not sure if that's your question from a couple years ago and another account, but if not, some of the answers might also provide insight.

I'm a 5'9" girl and I have to agree with everyone who says a) it depends on the guy, and b) you're probably more concerned about it than most guys.

I've dated shorter guys who were super bothered and insisted I wear flats. I've dated shorter guys who didn't care one whit.

The only way to get an answer to "Did my height cause this guy not to be interested in me?" is to ask him. Generalizations about "men" won't help you, because he's not "men", he's "a specific fellow with his own thoughts and insecurities".
posted by dotgirl at 9:28 AM on March 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm 5'7" and was in a pretty long relationship with a guy who was 5'4" and he thought I was awesome, so I'm going to go ahead and say that no, how tall you are doesn't matter one teensy little bit.

I'm 5'7" and was in a pretty long relationship with a guy who was 5'7" and constantly anxious about how I looked taller than him in some types of shoes so I should wear these shoes and not those shoes so he doesn't look weird, so I'm going to go ahead and say that yes, how tall you are matters a lot.
posted by phunniemee at 9:28 AM on March 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

Doesn't matter to this guy. I'm 5'7, my boyfriend is 6'1, my ex was 6'1, other past partners have ranged from 5'2 to 6'6.

The only way to know if it matters to this guy is to ask this guy.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:31 AM on March 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

I dated a guy who was 2 inches taller than me and would flip the f out if I wore heels.

I am currently dating a guy who is probably a half inch shorter than me (or the same height depending on which of us you ask :) ) and really couldn't care less.

So yeah. The internet can't answer this for you.
posted by magnetsphere at 9:35 AM on March 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There's no way of knowing whether the height is a factor or not. You'd need to ask him.

And I recommend that you do, in fact, ask him. It's entirely possible that, despite his apparent confidence, he may be a little shy about expressing interest in someone he likes; if this is so, maybe he was having similar thoughts about you, and then he saw you dancing with some other dude and he figured you were into that guy and not him. Silence is fertile ground for a lot of wrong ideas.

Imagine an alternate universe where he's asking,

I signed up to play in the orchestra for a musical production at my university, and I met a wonderful lady. We seemed to hit it off and enjoy each other’s company, although we saw each other only at the nightly rehearsals for two weeks. At a party after the first performance, I was going to ask her to dance, but then I saw her dancing with some other guy. I was kind of bummed so I asked this other girl I know to dance, someone from the chorus whom I've talked to a couple times. We wound up dancing most of the night and having a pretty good time, but I really like this other girl. I figured that if she was into me, though, she'd either ask me to dance or she'd at least be talking to me.

I'm not super tall - about five foot six or so, and the girl I like is an inch or two taller. I have dated taller girls in the past. This girl doesn't seem to be the kind of woman who only dates taller guys, but I can't really be sure. How much does being an inch or two shorter really matter to a girl?

If you like him, just go talk to him.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:41 AM on March 6, 2014 [9 favorites]

My boyfriend is two inches shorter than I am and although I think if you asked him about his platonic ideal of an attractive woman he would make her shorter than he is, it certainly didn't affect our courtship at all.

I do generally avoid wearing heels around him, although in fairness I mostly own flats anyway.
posted by jess at 9:41 AM on March 6, 2014

Some guys care. Most of them don't. If you're into him, ask him out already.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:43 AM on March 6, 2014

1270AEH: "At a party after the first performance, some other guy asked me to dance. I accepted and as we were dancing, I saw the guy I liked asked another girl, someone I think is in the chorus. I left the other guy after one dance, but the guy I liked kept dancing with the other girl."

"I like this guy, and I danced with someone else, but he danced with someone else a bit more than I did... so obviously I'm wondering if my height turned him off."

Not only can we not tell you if your height bugs him, we can't even tell you if he was really interested in the first place, if he actually lost interest or not, or if he found both of you interesting.

You're showing a lot of insecurity here that is only hurting you. Flirt with him some more, or ask him out. You can't learn anything about that night by rehashing it anxiously.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:44 AM on March 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'm 5'11" and I've always dated guys my height or shorter. Kinda goes with the territory. I lost out on dating a guy who was 5'9" because he felt I was too tall, and then literally the next day met my current SO, who is 5'7". We are madly in love.

So, ask him out one on one and see!
posted by chainsofreedom at 9:58 AM on March 6, 2014

Five foot ten lady here. My dearly departed mom told me when I was a teen that boys like taller girls for a reason. She arched her eyebrows in that way and my response was, "Oh Mom!" But it's true! Most of my boyfriends have been right at my height, with one markedly shorter (5'6" I think). So anytime I was in heels I stood over them. None ever had a problem with it.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 10:01 AM on March 6, 2014

I'm 5'6 and place no importance on height in a partner. My current partner is 6'1. I have, however, been shot down by women and men for being too short for them.
posted by stubbehtail at 10:04 AM on March 6, 2014

Oh, also, Michelle Obama is taller than her husband when she's wearing heels. Her husband seems cool with it. Her husband is also the President, which I think makes it illegal now for dudes to not be cool with tall ladies.
posted by phunniemee at 10:09 AM on March 6, 2014 [22 favorites]

I'm 5'8", and my wife of 33 years is 5'9". It's never been an issue to me, even when she wears heels. Frankly, I'm more aware of my height difference with other men, simply because men are jerks.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:14 AM on March 6, 2014

I think you're focusing on the wrong things, here.

The thing is, it is really hard to know when you hit it off socially with someone of the opposite sex whether it's mutually agreed flirting with romantic intent. Or maybe they're just a nice person, or maybe you're hitting it off because you have a lot in common as friends, or really a million other explanations.

So you thought "here is this boy who is both cute and nice! I'll be sure to make a move on him at the wrap party." I have had this exact feeling before. And like you, when the day I'd decided to make my move happened, it turned out I got beaten to the punch. (Ask me about the time I made out with someone at a party, went to get a beer, and then came back to find her hooking up with someone else! Someone else who became her girlfriend as of that party! If only I hadn't gone for that second beer, right?)

Timing sucks, is my point. Sometimes you have the best of intentions, and hey, maybe the guy in question was into you and would have danced with you if you'd asked him first instead of some other rando you weren't even into.

It's also possible that guy was never into you. Or that he thought you were OK but had spent the entire musical rehearsal process crushing on that other girl (who may or may not be into him). Or that he does actually like you and would totally go out with you, but for whatever reason he happened to dance with some other girl at a party. Or maybe it is a height thing -- maybe he thinks he can't have you because you might think he's too short. Or maybe he has a thing for more petite girls for reasons totally unrelated to his own height. We can't know.

Bottom line, it's not like the boy you like and his petite dance partner are married now. Just go ask him out or whatever you college kids do these days when you're not milling around on my lawn.

TL;DR - Just go make an actual unambiguous move on the guy and see what happens. Maybe he likes you. Maybe he doesn't. Maybe it's about your various heights. Probably it's not. You will never know until you go fricken throw yourself at him. (Don't bring up height when you do!)
posted by Sara C. at 10:15 AM on March 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

My boyfriend is a hair taller than I (I'm 5'7, he's 5'8). Put a pair of heels on me and I'm the taller one. Doesn't bother him as far as I know. In fact, he loves when I wear heels, even though it makes me taller by a couple of inches.

Yes, there are women out there who won't date a shorter man, for any number of reasons. There are also men out there who will be self conscious if their partner is taller. Some people won't date people who are too fat, some won't date someone too skinny. Humans have a diverse range of preferences. You'll never know what his are until you ask him out. Which you should!
posted by futureisunwritten at 10:18 AM on March 6, 2014

Speaking as a gay man I find short- that is, short and stocky "fireplugs" with, preferably, really nice thick legs- to be the hottest men on the planet. One of my keenest fantasies has always been to get with a guy from Papua New Guinea- I saw this BUFF, hairy PNG guy, maybe 5'4", wearing almost nothing walking down the street in Singapore when I was there a few years ago and almost fainted.

I think short guys also have much sexier proportions- not all daddy longlegs limbs- and age much, much better than tall guys.

I'm 5'10" and actually wish I were shorter. I've never wanted to be taller since maybe grade seven.

I can count on one hand, though, the number of women I've ever met who prefer- or who will admit to preferring- short guys. This must suck as a short straight guy.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:23 AM on March 6, 2014

I'm a 5'9" or so male, and I've never considered dating anybody I couldn't easily see eye-to-eye with. So there's that.
posted by oceanjesse at 10:45 AM on March 6, 2014

Mod note: Folks, please try to answer the question and try not to overcomment?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:49 AM on March 6, 2014

Ask him. It's the only way to know.

I'm 5'8" and two inches taller than my husband who positively encourages me to wear heels. Everyone's MMV.
posted by gaspode at 11:03 AM on March 6, 2014

A guy who is 5'6" and only into women his height or shorter is not going to get a lot of dates. Let's face it, he's well shorter than average. Of course there are all types in this world, so the only way to know is to ask him or ask him out.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:12 AM on March 6, 2014

How much it matters to this particular guy no-one here can tell you.

If you are curious about guys in general, like people have said there will be a wide range of feelings about it from some who hate it to some who love it.

My guess is that on the average a difference of an inch or two is "slightly" important. If you were to sit down and imagine the ideal partner, you might imagine them as a little shorter than you. But when it comes to a real person, that gap is easily trumped by other factors, and you wouldn't think twice about dating them if there was strong attraction happening.

Also bear in mind that if you are a 5'6" guy half or more of all women you meet are taller than you. Generally you wouldn't want to rule out half of all possible dates and mates, so even if it seems slightly less than ideal, you accept it as a fact of life.

Something else to consider... While a lot of us act confident enough, we all have our insecurities as well. No one likes rejection, and what you take for lack of interest in you can just as easily be them not wanting to seem too interested because they think you're not.

All of this makes guessing games about "But does s/he really like me?" fairly futile.
posted by philipy at 11:14 AM on March 6, 2014

I prefer guys who are a bit shorter than me. Some guys are into it, some don't care either way, some are bothered by it. Really only one way to find out which direction this guy will go in.

As with all things that have people's life choices being influenced by what stereotypes and media tell them is true, the stereotypes get less true as people age out of caring about fitting in.
posted by Dynex at 11:17 AM on March 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm average (between 5'10" and 5'11") though my girlfriend insists that I'm "short, for a guy", and think taller women are attractive.
posted by pullayup at 12:18 PM on March 6, 2014

I'm 5"7' and happened to have have mostly dated men within an inch of my height. I actually prefer this, but I also think that the guys who have asked me out didn't have a problem with it and the ones who did, didn't.

You don't mention your location, but you are not that far out of range for the average US woman, so I think Occam would say that if this guy had a strong preference he probably wouldn't have shown any interest.

But this?

I left the other guy after one dance, but the guy I liked kept dancing with the other girl.

People are not mind readers. Were you trying to telegraph that you wanted to dance with him again? Next time, just ask him! And stop trying to read his mind. Did you want to dance with him again? Next time, just ask him!
posted by Room 641-A at 12:42 PM on March 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm 5'11 and a lady, and I agree with the people who are saying that height tends to be more of an issue for the taller person. I've only ever dated people taller than me, as that's my strong preference, but it does narrow the pool - and my current SO, who is 6'2, is kind of horrified by the idea that I'd probably have passed him over if he'd been a few inches shorter.

Nthing that you should ask him.
posted by terretu at 1:25 AM on March 7, 2014

I am the reverse of your situation in that I am a short person, but have some interesting ideas that might help you.

I am a five foot one inch female and I strongly prefer men my height or shorter (kissing height, bodies fit together height). I often attract tall men, over six feet, and while they are not my first physical choice, as I get to know them I find them wonderful. Perhaps the gist of this (that height is not important when you get to know someone) is applicable to your situation. I realize the comparison is off in that it is more conventional for the women to be shorter. That said...

I have also noticed that men as little as two or three inches taller than me are rather insecure about it, even though I am still shorter, and these men tend to come off "louder" and more "macho" then they actually are. So you see, it is not a technical matter of height if the man still considers himself short. If you have a strong personality and find that type attractive it can be a wonderful match. So, for me it works.

If a man is shorter than you or close to your height and intimidated, I suspect it is either:

- irrelevant to his height, and probably the that he is uncomfortable with a very minor physical attribute of yours. This suggests he is not a great person to be with for you personally due to this mismatch

- he just has some unique "type" that he finds attractive, like pale skin, nice legs or a big nose. There is nothing you can do that will make him have a weird animal attraction to you so why bother trying when there are others out there who will find you attractive as you are?
posted by partly squamous and partly rugose at 7:32 PM on March 7, 2014

« Older Rock Out With Your Doc Out   |   Uses for a PowerPC Mac Mini? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.