Short men are screwed when it comes to dating, right?
After all: most things in your dating life can be worked on and improved upon, but the cold hard truth is that some aspects are set in stone. One of those is height… and there are few other aspects that cause men as much dating agita as being short. If you’re not 6 feet tall or taller, then you may as well just resign yourself to a sexless life of Napoleon jokes.
Of course, short is relative; what we consider “average” height varies depending on geographic locale and someone who’s 5’6″ would consider someone who’s 5’9″ (the average for American men) to be lucky. But hey, that’s cold comfort when women are putting “six feet tall, minimum” in their dating profiles and your friends all call you “Short Round”.
The thing is, as with many other masculine insecurities, this is predominantly in our heads. At 5’8″, I’m short for an American caucasian male. Worse, I’m the shortest of all my friends who range from 5’1o” on the short side, to 6’7″ on the tall side. But my height has only been as much of a problem as I’d let it be. Over the years, I’ve dated and slept with women of all heights, ranging from 5’1″ to six-foot tall amazons. The trick is understanding how to make height less of an issue.
Seem like a tall order1
It’s not, if you know the secrets.
5) Ditch the Short Man Attitude.
One of the worst things that guys can do to themselves is to get defensive about being short. Look, I get it: you’ve been getting Oompa Loompa jokes since forever. You’ve been called midget, Tiny Tim, Grumpy and all the other names. You watch women – even women who’re around your height – pass you by to date taller men. Society tends to equate height with masculinity and power; when you are lacking in one, you feel that people assume you’re lacking in the others as well. You’re understandably resentful about it. I completely sympathize with it.
But you know what’s unattractive on everyone? Bitterness.
I have lost track of how many short men I have seen, online and in person, who are seething balls of venom and rancor over the unfairness of it all. There’s a reason why “short men are angry” and “Napoleon complex” are stereotypes, after all. The truth is that barely-sublimated anger makes itself known in every aspect of your life. It bleeds into your body language and into the way you talk and relate to others. You may think that you’re hiding it like the professional poker-player you could be, but in reality, that sour attitude is shining off you like an especially greasy halo.
The other common mistake that the height-deficient make is assuming that they’re rejected in advance. This pre-rejection theory quickly becomes either an excuse to not approach (thus guaranteeing that nothing happens) or colors the entire interaction (ditto). Approaching anyone, whether online or in person, with the attitude of “I know you don’t like me” is going to kill any potential attraction, no matter how awesome you may be otherwise. A shitty attitude, whether angry and aggressive or defeated and negative, will nuke any chance of sex or love faster than telling them that you eat live puppies.
The attitude that your height is a defect and nobody could possibly love a short man is attraction poison. Is height an attractive feature? Yes, it is. But notice how carefully I said an attractive feature, not the. There is a world of men who are considered brain-meltingly, panty-soakingly hot who are also under 5’11”. Jason Statham is 5′9″. Robert Downey Jr. is 5′8″. Daniel Radcliffe is 5′5″. Peter Dinklage is a goddamned sex symbol now because of the way he plays Tyrion Lannister.
Yes, you’re short. Yes, some people find height attractive. You know what’s universally attractive? Confidence. The more you let your height (or lack thereof) bother you, the less attractive you get. A short man with confidence is far more attractive than a tall guy without it. Yes, you may have to fake it for a while as you unlearn the bullshit that’s been shredding your ego. That’s fine. Just remember: Cultivating an air of ease and self-assurance is not only attractive in and of itself, but it leads into my next tip:
4) Develop Presence
It’s not how tall you are; it’s how tall people feel you are. There are some people who can fill a room, regardless of how tall they are or aren’t. They’re the ones who stand out in people’s memories, who can command attention (and affection) with seeming ease.
One of the best things you can do – especially as a short man – is to develop your sense of presence.
Presence is, simply, your ability to command people’s attention. It’s the way that you can make people focus on you instead of the distractions that surround them. As I’m always saying: attraction isn’t about looks, it’s about how you make people feel, and when you can make them feel like they’re the only person in the world, you become magnetic.
The best way to develop presence is to be present. OK, before you click the back button in disgust, hear me out. Most of us rarely give our full focus to somebody. We inevitably find our focus divided among the million little things that occupy our attention. But when we feel like someone is giving us their full, undivided attention… it’s amazing. They make us feel special. One of the reasons why Tom Cruise is so ridiculously charismatic is because he can make anyone feel like they’re the most fascinating person in the world. Simply connecting with them – strong (but not intimidating) eye contact, open and relaxed body language, and actively listening instead of waiting for your turn to talk – is absurdly powerful. When you can build presence, women won’t remember you as that short man at the party. They’ll remember you as that incredibly charming guy who made them feel like he got them in a way nobody else did.
3) Work Your Style
One of the mistakes that short men make is that they dress in ways that emphasize their lack of height. The last thing you want to cut yourself off at the knees… ore, more accurately, at the waist. One of the reasons I tend to be remembered as being taller than I actually am is that I dress in such a way that flatters my physique and gives a more unified silhouette.
First and foremost: embrace monochrome. One of the biggest mistakes that men make is to wear clothing with a strong contrast – a white shirt, brown belt and blue jeans for example. The problem with this is that the sudden color change – from white to brown to blue – creates a visual interruption. The eye doesn’t travel smoothly down your profile; the sudden change cuts you in half, truncating your torso and skewing your proportions. Instead, you want clothes that are relatively consistent in hue. They don’t have to be perfectly monochrome – you don’t need to dress head to toe in black, for example – but keeping things within the same color-scheme helps the eye track over your body without stopping. This is one of the benefits of suits – the uniform color scheme helps create a unified silhouette.
Similarly, vertical patterns and stripes will help direct the eye in the ways you want. The old saw about how vertical stripes is based on this idea. The stripes encourage your eye to follow them up and down, which creates the impression of height while your eyes want to follow horizontal stripes to the side, creating width. Even subtle patterns in the fabric, such as herringbone weaves, can help you slim your visual profile and make you seem taller. However, you want to keep those stripes thin – think pin-striping, rather than wide blocks of color. Wider stripes don’t work as well. Window-pane patterns are a definite no; the horizontal stripes and the negative space created negate the eye-tracking effect you’re looking for.
It’s also important to wear clothes that fit – and this means clothes that are cut close to your body. Straight-leg jeans, slim-fitting tees, fitted dress shirts… these are all your friends when it comes to creating the illusion of height. Baggy clothing is clothing that hangs off of you, creating the impression that it’s too large. The last thing you want is the “kid wearing Daddy’s clothing” look – which also makes you look shorter. Clothes that are cut close create a smother, sleeker silhouette which minimizes the visual cues that subtly imply a lack of stature. Yes, you may love your relaxed fit jeans but trust me: they’re doing you no favors.
But what about artificial height-extenders such as boots or lifts? I’m not in favor of them to be perfectly honest. I had a pair of New Rock boots that made me a good three inches taller which felt amazing. But at the same time… well, those shoes had to come off eventually and the women noticed that suddenly I was at boob-level instead of eye-level. A subtle lift – one inch or less – can be a confidence booster but honestly, it’s just a shoe-version of Dumbo’s magic feather.
2) De-Prioritize Online Dating
This one’s gonna suck, but I have to be honest: online dating may not be the best venue for short men looking to meet women. There are many women who will make height – especially heights of 5’9″ and under – a deal-breaker.
One of the great things about online dating is also one of the biggest problems with online dating: we can screen for specific traits we want. The problem with this is that what we think we want isn’t always what we actually want and we may well miss out on people we may otherwise be incredibly compatible with. Online dating, sadly, doesn’t allow for as many happy accidents as meeting in person.
There isn’t much of a way of getting around this, unfortunately; people are allowed to set their standards wherever they wish after all. You aren’t going to have any luck trying to argue someone into giving you a chance. Lying about your height just to get past their filters is an absurdly bad idea – who’s going to want to begin a relationship based on obvious dishonesty – and listing your height as N/A is not only going to mean that you won’t show up in many searches but screams that you’re insecure about your height.
The cold hard truth is that short men may want to make online dating less of a priority when it comes to meeting people. By all means, continue to do so – make sure you have some awesome photos, message people who visit your profile and practice good dating SEO. But recognize that when you meet people in person, you have more of a chance to impress women with your wit, personality and charm – all of which works out to your advantage in the long run.
1) Date The Right Women
There will be women that don’t like short men.
That’s the cold hard truth. Yeah, it kind of sucks. There will be some women who are especially vocal about it, and that can sting too. But you have to ask yourself: why are you going to want to date someone who’s going to assume that your height means you have nothing to offer? It’s a sign that you are incompatible right off the bat. Let’s say that you, a short man of, say, 5’5″, asks someone out and she out-and-out laughs at the idea that you thought you had a shot with her. Yes, that can hurt but come on: she’s just shown you that she’s an asshole. You didn’t get rejected so much as dodged a fucking bullet. Why, in pluperfect hell, are you worried about what an asshole thinks? These women, in may ways, have done you a favor by self-selecting out of your dating pool, leaving you free to find women who you are compatible with.
But part of the point of dating and approaching isn’t to weed out assholes, it’s to find cool women who do want to date you. So who should you approach?
One of the first things you should consider is dating women close to your own height. The less of the difference in height, the less of an issue it tends to be. Considering that the average height for women in the US is 5’3″, the odds of finding someone your height or shorter are on your side. But don’t get caught up in the idea that you can only date petite women or women who’re shorter than you… that leads into the same trap that leads to height being a social advantage.
In fact, you may want to consider tall women too.
Those hang-ups men have about height and it’s connection to masculinity? Women have absorbed them as well. Men aren’t the only people who’ve had those toxic messages about what makes a “real” man and strict gender-roles drilled into them, after all. The idea that men must be taller than women – towering, even – is born out of the idea of “man as protector” and “women as protected”. Just as many men get uncomfortable with women flouting gender roles by approaching, they get equally uncomfortable at the idea that a woman is somehow more powerful than he is.
Many tall women often find that men don’t want to date them because their height implies an inverse in the power dynamic, making those insecure men profoundly uncomfortable. Even men who are of relatively equal height may find tall women less attractive. They want to find someone who can appreciate them, who sees their value instead of weighing them against social rubric and gender roles.
You could very well be that someone. Appreciating a woman for the qualities that she does have instead of obsessing about what it may say about you demonstrates considerable confidence. And women will respond to that.
Just don’t make the common mistake of using her height as a come-on; telling a tall woman that you’d like to climb her like a jungle-gym is an invitation for a visit from the slap-fairy. And yes, I’ve seen people use that exact line before.
But regardless of whether she’s a sexy hobbit or the Amazon of your dreams, what matters most is attitude – yours and hers. You want to find women who are independently minded, who are willing to disregard the traditional role of “the man must be taller” and see you for who you are. But you have to do your part too; if you’re going to throw a sighing fit every time she wears heels, even the most patient woman in the world is going to get tired and start looking around for someone who’s more secure in themselves.
But regardless of the woman’s height, it’s important to own your own. Yes, being tall brings advantages in society; nobody is arguing that it doesn’t. But lacking an advantage in one area doesn’t invalidate success in other areas. Height is attractive, but it isn’t the only attractive feature. Bringing your best, most charming and confident self is the greatest dating advantage of all.