Wednesday 2 April 2008

Tall women

Why are so many short men still unwilling to date taller women? How come they're so lacking in confidence and so old-fashioned they find a taller woman intimidating and emasculating?

Does a few inches height difference really imply the man is inadequate and inferior? Or that he runs around doing her bidding like a faithful lapdog? These tired old stereotypes really should have had a decent burial by now.

But a six-foot-tall woman called Penny, writing in the London Independent, complains about the snide comments directed at Jamie Cullum and Sophie Dahl* and says little has changed since her American childhood in the 50s and 60s when boys "did not look twice at females taller than they were."

She longed to be short and cute and acceptable so she could actually date someone.

Even now, she says, the sniping about her height still goes on.
"I am filled with admiration for the men with the cojones to date taller women and for those women who are self-confident enough even to consider them."

And apparently the height hang-up doesn't stop with men wanting to be as tall as women. Even men of similar height can be discomforted if the woman adds extra inches.

One American blogger reports that her second husband, the same height as herself (5'9") freaked out when she wore high heels in public and became taller. She had to give up wearing heels in his presence. After the divorce (surprise!), the first thing she did was buy some new heels.

So be careful with your footwear, girls, it could seriously damage a few male egos!

Oh and since you ask, I'm six foot and Jenny's five six. I would happily have dated taller women but there aren't many taller than me!

* Who are 5'4" and 5'11" respectively


  1. Fisrtly, that's a stunning pic, stronly reminiscent of the famous Athena tennis pic. Well, my wife is shorter than me, I have no issue with women taller than me though. But my experience is they are less interested in blokes shorter than them, unless they are really tall in which case they have less choice in the matter.

  2. 'Love all your tags for this posting :)

    I think that tall women are very appealing. The Dutch, especially, tend towards athletic or willowy shapes that complement their height. So much is in their confidence, eyes, and smiles anyway...

    Men do compare to a tall, rugged, square shouldered and cleft chin ideal. A statuesque woman can be perceived as drawing attention to their short or round stature, or to make them look less important.

    I think it's all about confidence. For myself, I tend to be socially comfortable and outgoing, and anyone with me is a friend to be included, not an accessory to enhance my appearance.

  3. Thrifty - Like the Athena pic? I sincerely hope not, that was a grossly exploitative pic, and I won't even describe why! I think it's true that taller women can be reluctant to date shorter men - but that's often because they assume the men won't stick around very long.

    Dave - It's not a question of whether they're appealing but whether blokes have a problem with the extra height. It seems a lot of them see a few inches as an enormous threat to their masculinity and virility.

  4. Surely personality is far more important than height!

  5. Absolutely, Grannymar. But try convincing some of these insecure males!

  6. In my time, I was tall for a woman, 5'8", and dated several shorter men who had no problem and enouraged me to wear high heels. I noticed at the time though that shorter English men were the most secure, followed by Italians (Yeah, really!)and the least confident were the short Irish men.
    However, my Irish ex-husband who was 6'5" never dated short women (under 5'4") as it was 'too awkward socially'.
    It cuts both ways, I guess.

  7. www, that's good that you never had any such problems. Interesting that your ex-husband had reservations about much shorter women. But I guess it takes a bit of nerve to ignore persistent sniping from other people.

  8. Hey if it talks and wears trousers I'm a happy camper!

    Seriously though the 'short man syndrome' does exist. I've found short men to make up for their lack of height in arrogance. I've only ever dated 2 men shorter than me, I'm also 5'8' and felt a bit luggy beside them but it was their overconfidence that put me off frankly! They're like shetland ponies, cranky and prone to biting!

    In contrast, my daugher at 23 doesn't give a flying fig about height and has dated men twice her height and much shorter. Maybe views are changing!

    (Um if I had pins like the girl in the pic I'd show 'em off too!)

  9. Baino - Everyone seems to have had different experiences here! You found short men were over-confident rather than under-confident. And Clare seems to have no problems with height. Hopefully views are changing as you say.

    Luggy?? It's no good torking strine, I don't understand.

  10. It's a holdover from an era that needs to end, finally.

    I'm 5'1" and Flip is 6'4" and I wish I were a lot taller so we could dance together without my getting a stiff neck.

    Soon after we were married, he was playing with a band in Nashville and two tall young women approached me in the ladies' room to castigate me for taking a tall man off the market when, they said, I could have made do with any short guy.

    I was utterly nonplussed and told them that height had not been a consideration for either of us.

    They shot me another poisonous look and sashayed out to flirt with the band.

  11. It's not just "tall" women with this dilemma. I'm only 5'4.5" and used to have a great friendship with a guy who was barely 5'4". He made it very clear that he couldn't date anyone taller than he is...then again, maybe that was his polite way of letting me down. It's definitely all about confidence. A tall woman who's confident in her height could be huge turn on for an equally confident man of any height but too much for an insecure man.

  12. Heart - Wow, that's quite a difference! A stiff neck must be a constant hazard! That's another intriguing twist about the tall women who resented you taking Flip 'off the market'. As for 'making do' with any short guy - excuse me, doesn't love come into it somewhere?

    Nicole - Another strange twist about the guy who couldn't even handle a half inch difference! But as you say, maybe just his excuse. Yes, confidence is the key, so why are some men deflated so easily by those extra inches?

  13. Sorry Nick, I agree with thriftcriminal that there are at least as many women out there who don't want to date a man smaller than they are, as men who don't want to date a woman taller! In fact when women (often rightly) complain that men are unduly interested in a woman's physical qualities, I've always thought that most women are unduly interested in one of a man's physical qualities: his height!

    Of course we could argue the toss all day about whose fault it is, men for not wanting tall women or women for not wanting short men, as we don't have much evidence other than anecdotal one way or the other. What we want, as Gradgrind said, is facts!

  14. No need to apologise! You're right, John, it's difficult to get hard facts rather than personal anecdotes. As indicated by the variety of opinions above! You seem very certain that women are picky about height too - is this from personal experience, might I ask?

  15. No, not at all, I'm about 6' too. However women I know have mentioned it in the past, purely in a personal-preference way (usually, in fact, if we see such a 'mismatched' couple in public!).

    I suppose we could all ask around with women and men we know over the weekend and reconvene on Monday to compare results!

  16. Damn, I was with a whole bunch of my female ex-workmates on Wednesday and never thought to ask! Yes, must get a few random opinions....

  17. I'm up with wisewebwoman at 5'8", and I get no end of grief when I wear high-heels, mostly from shorter women!

    None of the blokes (a lot were shorter than me) I've dated have really made much of an issue out of it that I can remember. Though there may have been one or two cracks about orange-boxes...

    As a result of being given out to so much I've taken to slouching, so now I just look lanky!

  18. K8 - Yet another twist, women miffed that other women are using heels to look taller! Good that none of your blokes have been bothered about height. Maybe men really are cooler about it now.

  19. Sigh.
    I always wanted to be tall.

  20. And Penny longed to be short! Funny how hard it can be just to accept oneself as one is without hankering after a more desirable alternative.