If You Are Short, Fat, Older or An Asian Man, You Must Read This. But Especially If You’re Short.

If you’re a regular reader, you probably knew that I was on the CBS Early Show in July. Appearing with me was one of my all-time favorite clients, Tom Pandolfo. Charming, charismatic, successful, warm, athletic… Tom has it all. The only thing missing in his life is a woman. So, after hiring me as his dating coach, we set to work in rebranding him on Match.com.

We took new professional photos. We had Tom fill out my long questionnaire and submit to an hour of questions from me on the phone. We wrote two new profile essays that were unique, funny and confident. We renamed him “LookMaNoHair.”

And we watched as his in-box filled up with interested women.

You can see what a great experience it was in this CBS Early Show clip:

What I haven’t yet mentioned is that Tom Pandolfo is 5’3″.

Height is irrelevant to anything that makes a man a good husband or father.

I didn’t want to mention it for the same reason that Tom didn’t want to mention it in his profile: because it’s irrelevant to anything that makes him a good accountant, husband, or father. Yet his height defines him, since it has prevented otherwise interested women from being interested in him over the course of his entire life.

This instantly reminded me of a story that ABC did years ago on this very issue.

To see if the women would go for short guys who were successful, ABCNEWS’ Lynn Sherr created extraordinary résumés for the shorter men. She told the women that the shorter men included a doctor, a best-selling author, a champion skier, a venture capitalist who’d made millions by the age of 25.

Nothing worked. The women always chose the tall men. Sherr asked whether there’d be anything she could say that would make the shortest of the men, who was 5 feet, irresistible. One of the women replied, “Maybe the only thing you could say is that the other four are murderers.” Another backed her up, saying that had the taller men had a criminal record she might have been swayed to choose a shorter man. Another said she’d have considered the shorter men, if the taller men had been described as “child molesters.”

Lest you think this is an example of reality TV finding evidence to support a story, Tom tried his own experiment last week. Sure enough, few women give a fair shake to a man who is 5’3”, no matter what else he has going for him.

I’m going to let Tom take it from here.

So I tried changing my profile for three days just to see what the difference was between being 5’3″ and 5’10”. I wanted to know if height was the only difference and the constant deal breaker. So I moved my profile from Pittsburgh and posted it for 3 days in a town where nobody knew me (Philadelphia). Here’s what I found:

5’3” in Pittsburgh5’10” in Philadelphia
Mutual matches080
Reverse matches12400
Petite women w/pics w/in 50 miles45650
Views in 3 days11212
Emails received – unsolicited032
Winks received – unsolicited228
Emails sent out66
Replies received to emails sent out06


This proves, in stark and undeniable terms, two things:…

Life – and people – can be incredibly unfair. We talked about this just the other day. People want what they want. They’re attracted to what they’re attracted to. And no amount of complaining is going to change it.

Oh, and I am one helluva dating coach. 60 unsolicited contacts in three days? Six replies from six emails sent? Come on. That’s pretty damn good!

Okay, I’m kidding about the last part, but only because I’m so serious about the rest of this. Really, it kills me.

Why, in God’s name, is it important for women to stand on tiptoes to kiss a guy?

Believe me, Tom is no “woe-is-me” kind of guy. He’s just been confronted with a very ugly reality that has shaken his confidence in people. And even though we had good initial results, the fact remains, empirically: women don’t want short men.

And although you can feel free to substitute “older women”, “older men”, “heavier women”, or “Asian men”, I honestly feel that nobody gets a rawer deal than short guys.

Honestly, ladies…You can get your own dishes from the top shelf. You don’t really need to feel “protected” from the dangers of suburbia. And why, in God’s name, is it important to stand on your tiptoes to kiss a guy?

So how about it, women? Is there any legitimate reason not to go out with this amazing, amazing man?

Talk to me. I want to hear the truth.


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  1. 1
    lady anonymous

    Honestly? It’s because I like to feel small next to a guy. I’ve been insecure about my weight my whole life. A tall, broad man does wonders for making me feel dainty next to him.

    1. 1.1

      Why do need to feel small next to a guy and feel dainty? I feel like I’ve been transported to the 1950s. You make no sense. Today’s women are so weak and pathetic.

      1. 1.1.1
        Just My Two Cents

        Hey, that’s not fair. It’s rude to call her sad and pathetic. That is just her preference as many people have. Same way some men are absolutely not attracted to fat women or skinny women. Could it be also that the women HE WANTS simply do NOT WANT him?

        1. SparklingEmerald

          I’m beginning to think the problem isn’t short, fat, bald, skinny, big noses, little noses, crossed eyes or what have you. I think a real sense of entitlement has crept into male/female relationships.

          I think the rudeness that abounds between men and women might be a bigger barrier than anything.

        2. Trimmer80

          Refusing to date a short guy isn’t a preference. It’s a deal breaker. I have a preference for brunettes but I’d still date a blonde. Too many women use “preference” to try and not sound like shallow bitches. If you refuse to date someone based on one thing that’s completely outside of their control, that has nothing to do with preference. Refusing to date a guy SOLELY because he is short is shallow by definition. Having a preference for taller guys is one thing; flat out refusing to date a guy who’s short is completely another.

      2. 1.1.2


        1. Day guu

          Well limb lengthening
          is an option

      3. 1.1.3


  2. 2

    I agree that short men have it very, very hard. The discrimination short men face is more unfair than the discrimination overweight women face since no one has any control over his/her height and being short, unlike being overweight, being short does not mean you are physically incapable of things.

    One question I have is why women find it so easy to make a guy feel self-conscious about his height. I’m 5’8” and several women have admitted – before our date = they have reservations about my height, asking me questions like “are you really 5’8”?” I would NEVER make a woman feel bad because of her height or weight, so I do not understand why many women do not give shorter-than-average men the same consideration.

  3. 3

    I’m 5’6.5″ and average weight. Like lady anonymous said, a taller man’s body makes me feel more feminine by comparison.

    Conversely, when a man is short enough to nestle into my chest, it feels oddly like having a child in my arms. My ex was about 5’9″ and it was hard to shake that feeling of being a mommy when he’d cuddle into me.

    The unspoken thing that vexes me sometimes is how women who are much shorter than me, say 5′ – 5’3″ will only date men who are +6′. What’s up with that? Jeez ladies– Leave some of the really tall guys for us taller women. Why won’t you date the guys who are still a good 5″ taller than you?

    1. 3.1

      i don’t really understand how a guy nearly three inches taller than you can make you feel like a mommy when you cuddle, and i can’t see him nestling into your chest easily. i just don’t get the whole “taller man’s body” thing, it would seem to make more sense to me if the guy was just broader and still somewhat taller, with a bigger emphasis on the broadness. A lot of tall guys look like gumby to me and sure as hell couldn’t manhandle 130 or so lbs.

      1. 3.1.1

        Yeah, she’s a weirdo 

    2. 3.2
      Anita Simmons Kearney

      the reason we have such disparity in heights is because when two short people mate they make short people duh, short women marry up literally.They want their children to be taller. we are attracted to our polar opposite for a reason. also our culture conditions us to what is attractive and desirable and we follow like the sheep we are …superficial little sheep that pay lip service to  “it only matters what is on the inside”  I call BS on all that 

      1. 3.2.1
        Torsh Johansen

        Anita, I disagree on the kids part — it’s not that simple.  If it were, you’d find short women who’ve already had their kids and not wanting more, not find height a problem with guys.  Or you’d find short ladies roll right to a much cuter shorter guy vs the okay-looking taller guy, but not want a relationship. Or when on Spring Break (just for fun!), the shorter gals wouldn’t aim to pair up with the taller guys. Not all short women are that way so much.  But still, they want a guy notably taller than they.  Why?  They don’t want the “shorter” guy in the room.  They don’t want to look/feel like they’re “settling”.  The more avid a gal is for social status, attention, etc — the more apt she’ll be to want a taller guy when she’s short and the whole height thing is taken care of by 99% of options out there.  She wants an Accomplishment — a big fish pulled out of the sea where there’s plenty of fish.

        1. bruno

          Women love powerful men, in stature and social dominance. Taller people are perceived more as leaders and have higher status. When a women’s husband is taller than her friends husband, then she wins that one–he may be an ass, but he is more of a man in the most shallow sense. Silly, but until women become more confident in their own values and self assessments, they find comfort in playing the games where society tells them what to avoid. BTW, I am 5 foot 8, which is not tall, but does not seem like an issue with my attractiveness–maybe they just want me for sex?

  4. 4

    Most short guys I know have wicked Napoleon complexes. It may be subconscious or not, but they tend to overcompensate by being overbearing, sanctimonious know-it-alls who are often bitter about women. I feel for them just like I would for an obese woman, but pushiness in a short man tells me he hasn’t gotten over his height and is a major turnoff.

    1. 4.1

      Comparing a short guy to someone suffering from obesity? Really? I guess this one really sums it up! I guess women would prefer a man 150 pounds over weight, than date a 5 foot 3 inch gymnastic stud? That is not to pass any judgment on such a choice–it is theirs alone to make. I just find it eye opening. But, if an overweight women wants to feel something that she is not (dainty), then the 350 pounder is a match made in heaven! I actually understand now.

    2. 4.2

      Oh yeah, and what type of complex do fat women have?

  5. 5

    My friend “T” likes short guys — because she’s 5 foot 5, 108 pounds, with basically no curves at all and has always been super skinny. She likes short guys because they aren’t twice her size.

    Along the same lines, most women may not be into short guys because it makes them feel big and heavy. There’s such a strong emphasis on women being small — mostly thin, but also petite — so maybe if it was okay for women to be any other size it would be okay for men too. If a guy is going to outweigh me (I’m 5 foot 6, mid 140s) yet not be fat, he’s probably going to be a few inches taller than I am.

    Come to think of it, I know a woman who is 5 foot 9 and has dated men shorter than I am. In that situation, both parties have to have TONS of self confidence and not really give a damn about how other people are perceiving them. Because he kinda looks short and she kinda looks like a giant.

    1. 5.1

      I am 5ft. 8 in. and 170 and have abs and very fit. So my height should not be a concern for you, at least not for your posted reason. But I know if I were 6 foot 2 that women would be all over me. But I, me as my own person, prefer 5 foot 8 as MY height.

  6. 6

    In line with the others, I’d have to say that as a tall woman (I’m 5’11″) I enjoy being shorter (and smaller) than my guy. However, most of my boyfriends have been an inch or two shorter than me. One of the things I look for in a man is confidence, and even if he’s 5’7″ and loves himself as he is (without any cockiness or napolean complexes) sure, I’d go out with him. (Though it would help if he were a stocky fellow, in that case.) Unfortunately for men like Tom, 5’3″ might be too extreme for me (and 5’11″ for him–especially since I love wearing heels). In the dating world I am “discriminated against” plenty for my height but I have no problem with it. Preferences are preferences, fair or not, and if a man can’t get past my statuesque externals, I don’t want him anyway. Here’s to all of us still looking and best of luck to Tom!

  7. 7

    I was in a relationship with a shorter (than me) man. It was great! We were both normal weight, probably both with some “baby fat”. The feeling of being a woman next to a man never left me for a second while with him. On the contrary, I think he despised my high heels (although he never commented on that) – and I like high heels, so I never asked if he feels bad about them (well if it was my wedding day I’d probably go on flats and give some heels to him!).

    Why? I am European. In Europe. There is something wrong with the U.S. in this regards, don’t know what. Like shame of nudity in changing rooms – that’s quasi impossible to understand on this side of the pool.

  8. 8

    SO, there are a number of reasons that women are not as attracted to shorter men: Since I’m not so sure the other ladies have the guts to say it:

    there’s something disturbing about going out with a guy who is eye level with my chest. It’s that whole Oedipus complex issue. We know you guys like breasts, so to have a guy who has even easier access to looking at them ALL the time is creepy. Then there’s the issue of intimacy. I enjoy being face to face with a lover and if he’s that much shorter, it’s a bit of a mood killer having his face buried in the fun bags constantly. And that’s coming from a girl who enjoys a little attention in that area.

    Then there’s the issue of fashion: Most of us love the way our Choos or Manolos make out legs look long and toned, even if we can’t walk after going out on a date with them! Incidentally, it also gives us a little more height, thus creating the need for a taller guy if the premise previously mentioned holds true for most of us women.

    SO it’s not that dating men who are shorter that is the problem. It’s dating men that are much shorter that is the hurdle. So, to the short guys out there: There are plenty of short girls. Stick within 2 inches of your height and you should be just fine.

    As a side note: I’m 5’9. I am currently dating a man who is 5’8. I specifically asked him if he cared about my love for heels and if he did, he’d have to get over it! There are those of us out there who don’t care but we’re a small portion of the population. Oh, and prior to 5’8 guy my last boyfriend was 6’9. So the same difficulty can be said for a guy who is unusually tall. Your dating pool is just going to be smaller.

    AS for the other items (fat, bald Asian…) IF you’re fat;start working out. It’s only fair that you are seeking out someone with the same level of fitness as you. If I’m taking care of my body, I would expect the same in a partner.

    If you’re bald: shave it all off. Don’t fight it. Embrace the baldness. It’s sexy. And it’s not that big a stigma anymore. and for god sakes, SKIP the hair implants. They look awful.

    If you’re Asian: this is NOT a disadvantage. You are the largest population in the world (all nationalities combined!). There are plenty of women for you to date…if you prefer Asian women. If you prefer white women, then you’re dating pool is smaller. Only a certain percentage (I don’t claim to know what it is) of white women will consider dating outside their race so again, the same senitment rings true: your dating pool is just going to be smaller.

    1. 8.1
      Hory Sheet

      I can’t believe these comments….”most of us love our choos”…Great .illustration of your intelligence in general,. Your life revolves around an overpriced, shitty shoe brand that hurts your feet and makes you unable to walk properly, but decides decides your choice on  future partner. I am sure your children will have great moral values!

      What happened to attraction based on looks, intelligence, and personality? Caking yourself in makeup does not make you a better person, nor does dating some idiot that is tall enough to get a parking ticket if he stands around for too long

  9. 9

    I’m 5’9.5″ (though people say I look taller) with an atheletic build. I dated a 6′ guy who looked scared of me when I wore heels, I did try wear flats around him but that felt unfair.

    I recently dated a guy who claimed he was 6’6″ but I’m almost certain he was more like 6’9″ and that felt awkward. I’m used to being one of the tallest people in the room and it just felt odd being dwarfed by a guy. Not being able to sneak a kiss without a running jump – not my idea of fun.

    The shortest guy I’ve dated was 5’8″. There is something about a guy gazing down at you (in my case, as long as it’s not from too far up!) that would feels great, it would take a lot of getting used to if the guy was significantly shorter and I had to be the one looking down. I don’t know if I could do it…

    I’m also an avid ballroom/social dancer so the ability to spin me without smacking my head is a huge plus, that usually requires a guy to be about eye level or taller. Maybe it’s a pipe dream and one of the reasons why I’m alone on a Friday night but I’d like to find a guy with a sense of rhythm who “fits” me on the dance floor. I think the rhythm requirement eliminates more people than the height one :)

    Jaya, I hear you on the petite women that are only after 6′+ men. It has to go both ways though – I have a 5’10″ female friend who had what seemed like an amazing connection with a 6’5″ guy, however he couldn’t get past the fact that she was over 5’6″ (the max height his profile stated). Some (or many?) men enjoy that huge size differential.

  10. 10

    Just for the record, I didn’t break up with the 6’9″ guy because of his height (he dumped me for non-size related incompatibility issues).

  11. 11

    Count me in with the ladies who don’t want to weigh more than the guy I’m dating. But, that being said, I have dated men shorter than me, and it really doesn’t bother me. What counts in the long run is how they treated me… and that was always wonderful. I am with a guy now who is not much taller than me, and close in height does give a wonderful “fit” during intimate times! :)

  12. 12

    My first husband was 5’6″ and 130 pounds soaking wet (runner with a small frame). I’m 5’5″ and muscular (freakishly strong for a woman when working out regularly) and also overweight; I always felt like a horse next to him, and when I did his laundry, folding his tiny T shirts and underpants… it was like folding a child’s clothing. Just really killed any sexual desire on my part, which was minimal to begin with. He was a great guy in a lot of other ways, which is why I married him, but that piece was always missing for me.

    As for the Napoleonic complex thing: he was very even tempered and rational until he got behind the wheel of a car — can you say road rage? Apparently having control of several tons o’ steel with which to be aggressive is the great equalizer. It got to the point where I didn’t want to be in a car when he was driving. So when I divorced him after 10+ years (mainly because of the missing sex/affection/passion piece) I vowed, no more guys who were self-conscious about their stature, whatever it was.

    My next relationship was with a guy who was 5’9″ and told people he was 5’10″; so he was a little insecure about it obviously, but he was the perfect height/size for me. My next relationship after that was with a guy who was 6’4″; then with one who was 6’6″ — both way too tall for me. I could only kiss them properly if I was standing on the first step of a staircase. I got a stiff neck from craning my head up all the time to look at them. My new husband is 6’2″ which is still a smidge too tall for my taste, but he’s a keeper in every other way. ;-)

    He sometimes teases me for being unable to reach something because I’m short and I say, “Listen, buster… the average American woman is 5’4″ tall. I’m 5’5″ tall, which makes me slightly above average in height. The average American man, on the other hand, is 5’10″ tall. You, my friend, are the pituitary freak around here, not me.” We always get a chuckle out of that. It’s a turn on for him when I wear heels, which I dislike, but I occasionally indulge him. We do feel better matched, walking together, when I have 3″ heels on, but it’s a pretty minor note in the grand scheme of things.

    I will say this: I once stood in an airport security line in L.A. and a guy struck up a conversation with me… man, was the chemistry UNBELIEVABLE. He was totally hot looking, blond, off to Hawaii on a diving trip. We flirted for the duration then went our separate ways. That was the day I realized, OHH, yeah… I could totally date a guy his height. Which was? Well, he came up to my chin and I’m 5’5″, so… after that, I never put a height restriction on my dating but wound up with 6’2″ anyway. Go figure. I also said I would NEVER marry a smoker… and I did. So for me, it kinda comes down to, is a guy’s height REALLY a deal breaker? Also, if an Asian man had asked me out, or a black or Latino man for that matter, if I liked him and he was cute and I thought there was a chance we might be compatible, I totally would have gone out with him — but none ever did ask me out. I dated an obese guy for a while but there was just no chemistry there for me and I broke it off.

    It’s partly “what the universe sends you,” sorry if that sounds too New Agey.

  13. 13

    You gals are terrible ! Good night, what does it matter if the guy is a little shorter? Is he a good man? Can he provide? Does he make you feel safe amd protected? Is he romantic and can he make you feel special? Can he make you laugh ? Aren’t these attributes a a little more important than “I want to feel petite next to him” or “I don’t want to feel like someone is starring at my breasts”. I can’t believe how shallow you all are being. Ya, you’ll get tall guys allright, but that may be all. Whatever happened to chemistry and compatibility? My advice would be, if you can, go back and talk to your Mothers, I have a feeling they may be able to shad a little light on your confusion, because you have definatly lost sight of what’s really important. Best of luck…your gonna need it! And I’m 5’9″ by the way.

  14. 14

    I’ve dated all kinds: short, bald, and Asian. I’m 5’4 and very petite so I always feel that the men are bigger than me. Personally, I don’t like to date men taller than 5’10, otherwise I have to stand on my toes to kiss them and my neck gets sore.

    That being said, the shortest man I dated was 5’6. Right now I’m in love with a bald man who hovers around 5’10.

  15. 15

    I’d like to weigh in on this. I am barely 5’0″, 108 lbs, so every man I’ve ever been with has been taller than me…usually a lot taller. Personally, I LIKE short men, so send them my way. I find them usually to be friskier, more sensual, and generally less arrogant than the tall, head-in-the-clouds dude. Maybe because they’ve had their share of being diss’d, I find short men to be more humble, appreciative & giving. Many women were schooled in the “tall, dark & handsome” times, but the reality is, it’s foolish to limit your pool to a certain height in a man, mainly because you’re shooting yourself in the foot — why restrict yourself to something that’s got absolutely nuthin’ to do with what kind of man he is, his integrity, his level of passion or complexity, his sexual prowess. But overall, I think it’s still all really about attitude. And based on the statitics proven here, is it really any big surprise that men develop a Napoleanic attitude? Since I’ve always been short, I’m used to having most people taller than me. But when I’m engaging with a person who is about my height — whether male or female — where we’re at an even eye-level, the power dynamic changes dramatically. I feel more secure, confident, and relaxed. I do understand what taller women are talking about, not wanting to feel like they are dwarfing their man, but I also know what the flip side of that is. I don’t like the fact that I am always “looking up” at the guy, like he’s some godly father figure and I’m the helpless, submissive, dependent lil’ woman. And I’d be the first to admit that I carry around a bit of the short-woman attitude, which projects: don’t make presumptions about me — I am no pushover, no petite flower. I do wonder why a taller man would be attracted to me, and truthfully, it makes me suspicious when there’s a huge height difference. (You know, “Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?”) When my friends ask about some tall guy who has asked me out, I always ask, “What am I supposed to do with all of that?” I mean, I’m an energetic gal, but that’s a lot of ground to cover…so much scrambling around! If there’s a shorter man in the room and he’s single, you can bet his making his way over to me, and I don’t think it’s got much to do with my looks, body, or anything other than that it’s just such a relief to look a female adult in the eye. So, I say, Short People of the World — Unite! Lift yourself up to your full height proudly. And just send all those spry, fun-loving short guys my way, (including Tony) and I’ll gladly leave the Big Boys for women who want someone more their eye level. But for those women who “need” to feel smaller, daintier, less powerful than their men, I say leave that to the fantasy of the bedroom and use your imagination. And at the risk of waving my feminist flag too vigorously and obnoxiously, remember that a lot of us fought long & hard to NOT be powerless and to not let men dominate us, and to make sure we get our fair share. That applies to our intimate lives, as well, and with whom we romance. (And please don’t say, “Sure, easy for you to say, you’re a small woman,” because it’s not easy for any woman, period.) Yes, humans are visual creatures, and yes, we like what we like, but usually that’s because it’s what we’re familiar with, & sometimes we need to challenge what we think are “natural attractions.” I’m with the European woman — branch out and try something different and you may be surprised. I know several couples where the woman is taller than her man & is likely of equal weight or maybe even heavier. They seem unbothered by this, displaying affection openly and publicly, whether she’s reaching down a little bit to squeeze his butt or he’s reaching up a little to squeeze hers. If you care about each other, you make it work. Thanks for your insights & may you all find your mate, big or small, short or tall.

  16. 16

    The only reason not to date him for me? He lives in PA and I’m not close to that state so it might be hard to see each other. Aside from that, it doesn’t matter to me if the guy is shorter. I’m 5’7″ and height has never been, nor will it be, a dealbreaker.

    The dating world, but most especially the online dating world, has a lot of shallow people who look to what the outside has to offer way before they’re concerned if the inside is as beautiful. Give me a man beautiful on the inside and he could be Quasi Modo, wouldn’t affect me in the least. I’ve dated enough great looking, hard bodied, duds to know what’s important.

  17. 17
    tom pandolfo

    Well, I’m Tom Pandolfo and it’s hard for me not to read this and remain silent (understanding full well that silence cannot be misquoted). In any event, while we all have our own preferences, I was especially impressed by what “Zann” had to comment upon, first because it is consistent with my own beliefs (who can argue with someone whose disposition and atttitude is commensurate with their own? LOL) and secondly due to her maturity about the whole thing, particularly as regards her comment concerning the fight women have had to not be “dominated” by men, which is both laudable and refreshing because it is obvious her own identity is measured not by her own (petite) “stature,” but by the content of her soul and her appreciation for freedom from what I may call the conventional mind set. I find that VERY SEXY. Okay, so I am biased, too, but I have found amongst my other shorter male friends and myself, too, that we may better appreciate the strides women have made towards greater freedom and respect because we have had to confront similar demons in terms of gaining respect that is based on the content and character of one’s soul as opposed to some external attribute that has no relationship to what one brings to any human transaction, be it a professional or emotionally intimate relationship.

    Like most of my shorter male friends, we have hordes of female friends, I suggest because we treat them as equals as opposed to submissive or dainty subjects in need of dominance. Dominance is fun in the bedroom, for sure, but quite honestly, while I like being dominant in bed, I also like a woman strong and aggressive enough to take control, too, for it expands, say, the repertriore, and decreases sexual boredom. I’ve always preferred partners that like to share in bed, it lends itself to better (and mind blowing) sex. It’s tough to have stature outside the bedroom (or in relationships) when one willingly chooses to be the submissive party in any relationship. That’s weakness, not strength, and who wants a weak partner?

    Doing things society (or peers) may not deem normal requires a lot of self confidence (extremely appealing in a woman!) and I believe also increases the amount of respect a man has for her, since, ultimately, her own inner beauty (as opposed to the external) places her on a level equal to her partner. When mates are equal there is greater opportunity for connection, I posit, and lessens the power conflict sometimes inherent in male-female relationships. A woman who suggests her feminimity is measured by being “dainty” sells herself, well, short (pun intended :) and may never realize the esteem that comes from being truly free. For reasons unbeknownst to me, having spent some recent time in Europe, and as alluded to by “Jura,” European women seem to “get it” more (generally) than American women do. They seem INTO MEN while their American counterparts place such substantial restrictions on what a man is, some, not all, of which is based on self imposed height stereotypes. European women, accordingly, seem to have more male options. The more options one has (the real issue for short guys like myself given the way we seem to be limited by a reasonable portion of women), the greater the pool of connections, and the less needy and more desirable one becomes. I suggest American men do the same as their female countertops, implying there are strong cultural, as opposed to biological, elements at work. The biological argument, moreover, seems to suggest that it cannot be controlled, but the ability to overcome what may be deemed innate biological dispositions is what separates us from the animals, is it not?

    I have had female friends state it was refreshing to get outside of the box and try something different (dating a short guy) because it made them more free (and, accordingly, more powerful), and understand feminimity is not a concept based on weakness or daintiness, but ultimately, on a form of strength that may not be physical, but is at the very minimum emotional and intellectual. Women with this type of strength are VERY SEXY. And if some of the men can’t handle this, then why date such a Neanterthal? The posture that feminimity is based on “weakness” is a concept that sells women short and limits not only their possibility for greater emotional connection, but professional progress as well. Women that figure that out, I suggest, lead much happier and fuller lives because they are able to increase the number of human connections they have (and that includes taller people as well). And to be self serving, for a moment, they have also found that it all lines up the same horizontally and they may end up with a real giant if they spend a few hours with a shorter guy (let your minds wander). As someone who coaches athletics, I usually find the shorter guys better athletes in terms of balance and rythm and those attributes can lend themselves to sexual prowess. I very rarely see good tall male dancers.

    The real question, ultimately, is not how hard short guys have it in the dating (particularly online) world, but the power and control women can have over their own lives (and men) by being free from culturally imposed dating standards that limit, not the short guys’ dating prospects, but the ladies true strength. This is not a plea to have women date short guys, but a statement that it doesn’t make a difference unless you place your own limitation on your life. People whose outlooks are so limited (be they tall or short) are not as sexy and appealing as those who have freed themselves from conventional boundaries. My grandmother always admonishes us that you limit yourself most when you limit others. It’s that type of strong character that makes her such a strong, special and respected lady. She gets it.

    And by the way, I like ladies in high heels, be they 4’11 or 5’11, they are all sexy to me, because I like women, not just a small portion of them. But I have to say I was shocked by how significant a difference it was being “5’10″ for 3 days. It was a sad commentary on the state of what is important for a portion of the female dating population out there, and no surprise, accordingly, women are still sold short by many men in many aspects of life.

    Interesting article, Evan, and some cool and honest replies.


    By the way, I am a strong, confident and successful guy, but for anyone to suggest because of such strength I am (or any short guy) “Napoleanic” is in need of some therapy. That’s a stereotype that doesn’t sell the short person short, but sells the believer in that concept short. A woman who is successful is not some power hungry b…ch, but should be lauded for overcoming what are still strong (albeit thankfully decreasing) cultural biases.

    1. 17.1

      Wow. So long as the guy is a gem I don’t care overmuch about height. I always thought other issues like compatibility are more important.
      That could also be due to my job. As a midget female in the military bigger guys always want to push you around or challenge you. (Officer. Nuff said.) Not all mind you but dealing with the alpha male nonsense can be fun. (Big jerks make big targets in deployed conditions… Being short has bonuses.)
      Having dated tall or short – and divorced from a short – I still know one thing. If someone can’t get past something I can’t help I’m grateful. (Shallow? Can’t date a military/alien/short/non-blonde?) Lucky escape for me! Sorry this doesn’t help you though. 

  18. 18

    In response to Paul, this is commenter’s opinion. It is no more descriminating then the men who prefer shorter thinner women, because they feel big and strong!! They also generally want someone that they can show off.

    When it comes to dating, in the US, there are a lot of hang ups. Men and Women are gulity of stereotypes and submitting to cultural norms.

    I’m tall and not thin. I like wearing heels, and can be an easy 6 foot tall when I have a pair on. I also like to walk aroung barefoot and consider myself a normal 5’9″. I’m not sayin’ I need a Paul Bunyan (sp??) but, I want someone that I don’t dwarf. Mainly because I feel just as awkward about my height.

    Yes, I would put the security and safety above looks, but you have to get to the point where you can have that. A lot of shorter men lack self confidence, or have an over abundance. But the same goes for women. If we can’t get over those hang ups, then it can be hard to even get to where you can start to feel safe, secure, and protected.

    I hope Tom finds a great relationship. He sounds like a great guy, but even if you read his profile, he has similar hang ups. As someone who isn’t overly active, I read his profile and thought, he seems like a really great guy. But, then, he has a section on being physically fit, and well I would think, he won’t even look at me, so why bother. If we are asking everyone to be open minded to shorter men, who have a few extra pounds, and come from Korea, then we ourselves should be open to a potential match that is maybe not exactly what we are looking for.

    Evan you are doing great things here, keep up the good work. These are just thoughts from someone who has had it rough in the dating world.

  19. 19
    Jared Meyer

    “Perceptions, Preferences, and Priorities”

    For the record, I’m 29 years of age, caucasian, and 6’0 (without shoes), and have a very athletic build. Positive physical features aside, I have been single most of my life. Why? I value being creative and working 7 days each week though conceptually I am sincerely interested in meeting someone with whom to spend the rest of my life.

    I’m sensing that many Americans live in fear with regard to their romantic lives. I’ve learned recently that many times, two people decide to commit to each other due to two fundamental reasons: the timing was great, the opportunity stellar, and hopefully because of authentic, powerful feelings.

    Personally, for years, I have felt that I won’t stop searching until I meet someone who fits my very specific requirements. I have not lived in fear while thinking, “What if I don’t meet her? What if I’m too picky?” It’s an abundant world. She is out there. Despite my specific preferences, I know that no matter what she looks like, what she does with her time and heart, and what she doesn’t do that if I know we’re truly right for each other long-term, I will make an effort to spend my life with her.

    Cognitive distortions and irrational beliefs make us angry, anxious, or depressed. Please consider understanding, accepting, and forgiving others for having very specific preferences. We are always changing. He who seeks a women with X, Y, and Z today may desire one with A, B, and C tomorrow. Relax and ride the wave. Think good thoughts and think big. Well, you know what I mean.

  20. 20

    Is it so superficial to want someone who is in shape? Let’s say you’re really active with things like tennis, skiing, biking, whatever — you have the right to want someone who can enjoy those activities with you.

    Some girls I’ve gone out with have seen a five mile, no elevation hike as a major physical challenge.

  21. 21
    Miss Julie

    My only complaint with short men is when they lie about it. I’m 5’7″ and, like some of the other posters, love high heels. So I like to know, for real, whether you are my height, taller, shorter, whatever. I’ve dated guys that were significantly taller (6’4″) and significantly shorter (5’3″), but when your profile says that you are 5’7″, then I expect you to actually BE 5’7″.

    I suppose this goes for everything in online dating – I don’t appreciate it when guys lie about their single status or their age, either.

  22. 22

    Personally, I think you can rationalize it all you want by analyzing why it amounts wo social weakness for a woman to prefer taller, broader men. I even understand the arguments. But the fact remains that I automatically respond to a taller man. I’m just physically more attracted to that. You like what you like.

    To suggest that women who prefer shorter men are somehow more enlightened or that those who prefer taller men are somehow deficient in one way or another is ludicrous. There’s very little thinking going on at all where attraction is concerned.

  23. 23

    I think this sort of thing hearkens back to the days of the cavemen where the cavewomen needed the big, tall man to hunt, gather and provide. It’s been encoded into their DNA ever since. While guys like a pretty face and a nice body, women feel the need to be protected and assured that everything’s gonna be okay. Shortness is seen as weak and perhaps childlike, as one of the commenters above noted….and a short, weak guy won’t be able to make a woman feel safe and secure.

    I would be curious to see what would happen if you changed his profession to a doctor, mentioned how successful his practice was, and left his height at 5’3. You might find similar results. Nothing says “I’m a great hunter and gatherer” than a successful medical practice.

  24. 24

    Truthfully, I’ve always felt like shorter men have a raw deal. I am only 5’2″, but I refuse to date any man shorter than 5’9″. It doesn’t have anything to do with feeling protected or wanting to be on my tiptoes to kiss him, but simply the fact that I don’t want my children, especially my sons, to be short and have to suffer the same stigma. Very sad for me to say as I am a short woman, but I have it a lot easier than short men when it comes to finding a date; and since you can’t control who you fall in love with, I figure it’s better for me to not even date a short man.

    1. 24.1

      I hope you realize that being with a taller guy doesn’t necessarily mean the child will be taller. Excellent nutrition plays a KEY role in height development. It’s been studied. Contrary to popular belief, Americans are actually getting smaller over the past 35 years. Mainly due to all of the harmful chemicals and additives that have been put in our food, and all of the horrible, indulgent, bad lifestyle behaviors and choices most people are making, and have made. If you eat extremely well, and you were with a shorter guy that was 5’5 or even 5’6, there would still be an excellent chance that your kids would be (using your stated height) at least 5’10 – 5’11. If you eat the right foods, this would certainly be feasible. Genes are only one half of the equation. Nutrition is the other. I’m living proof. My mother is 5’4 and my father is 5’5. I’m 5’10. My brother is 5’11, and my sister is 5’5 (average girl height). My mother or father never smoked, drank, did drugs, ate bad foods, etc., and they regularly worked out.

    2. 24.2

      It doesn’t work that way. I’ve known guys under 5 ft married to women under 5 ft come outwith children who grew to over 6ft — better nutrition.

  25. 25

    I’m not sure why you felt it necessary to lump an entire race of men into the same qualitative categories as “Fat”, “Older”, or “Short”? Please explain?

  26. 26
    Evan Marc Katz

    Great comments, everybody. But to answer Ken here… I’M not lumping an entire race of men into those who are discriminated against. Women are. If you clicked on the link, you’d see that according to a Columbia University study, Asian men have a 65% lower response rate from white women.

    And to address Marc, NOTHING would change if Tom were a 5’3″ doctor. Click on the link to read about the ABC “20/20″ story where the short guys were millionaire concert pianist cancer researchers and the tall guys were felons…and the women still preferred tall guys…

    1. 26.1

      it’s not because they’re asian, but because they probably just weren’t attractive. all minorities reported a smaller response rate. a decent looking, westernized asian man would have better success with women of any race than most white males. so obviously the study is BS.

      plus, since it was conducted at columbia, the women involved were most likely on the lower scale of attractiveness, and thus most asian men wouldn’t give them a chance either, so it goes both ways.

      1. 26.1.1

        26.1 Calbears

        Your “everything is gray and not so simple” narrative will go out the window when we take an average looking Asian woman and an average looking Asian man (both YOUR definition of average looking) and compare the offers and responses they get.

  27. 27

    Okay, in response to the DNA/caveman/hunter-gatherer rationality — Lordy, can we just put that one to rest. Sure, I’m certain that there is truth to our DNA legacy, but so what? It’s similar to the theory that we are, by nature, a “warring” species. Look! It’s right there is our DNA. So, let’s all just throw up our hands and refuse to evolve beyond the warring, caveman-cavewoman mentality. Centuries of war, sexism, racism, ethnic cleansing, poverty, soil erosion & famine — who’d want to give that up? And I’m sure I’ll be sorry I asked…but women, when was the last time you felt safe, protected, and provided for on any continual basis by a man? And I mean “continual” as in an on-going basis….meaning more than, say, 3 months. Sure, I’ve had men promise me all kinds of things: care, affection, even masculine protection — whether I asked for it or not…but in the long run (or not so long), they were WAY more concerned with looking after their own asses and asking what I could do for them than they were about whether or not they were meeting my needs for security, comfort and compassion. And I’m not even talking about financial security, I’m just talking about reciprocal empathy, concern, and maybe even a little self-sacrifice now & then, heaven forbid. Now, it could be I’ve simply got real, real bad luck — or maybe I’m just a Big-Fat-Loser-&-someone-please-just-put-me-outta-my-misery. But I just don’t see a lot of this protective He-mann stuff everyone’s writing about. Where are these guys, anyway? Must be out on a mammoth-hunt I guess. Meanwhile, I think I’ll go back to digging my tubers out of the ground and gathering my twigs and berries, but I also think I’ll hold onto my day job, thanks very much.

  28. 28

    I don’t understand why white women doesn’t date Asian man? what about African, and Hispanic men?

    1. 28.1
      faded jade

      Some white women DO date outside of their race IF they are attracted to them. Do you ever wonder why white men don’t date black women ? Do you ever wonder why some black men only date white women ?

      1. 28.1.1

        I am Black and in Black culture there is the issue of rejecting internally. I think there is something wrong with a person who does not accept in others what they have in themselves. If you are a Black man and you think Black women are ugly you have some internal issues going on. If you are a short man and you chase tall women then something is off about you inside. My brother is 5’5″ (I think shorter actually) and Black (we are basically fraternal twins except not actually twins). He chases these Kim Kardashians and then cries into his pillow. I tell him why not date a short woman or Black woman? He says he is not attracted to them. Well these Kim Ks aren’t attracted to you! He only likes light skinned girls and tall curvy ones and then calls them sluts when he gets rejected. I think you know I am short and dark just like you and I experience the same as you and it is hurtful to hear my own brother talk about women like that who look like me. Now I know what men are thinking when they treat me like that. I stopped having any sympathy for him and told him not to talk about dating around me. Our own mother thinks we are undesirable. She used to tell us no one will marry us, who would marry you? In fact she still says that! Well it’s her fault she should have married a taller man. 

        1. Marlon

          Why should a man restrict himself? If he just concentrates on “short women” his pool shrinks. From my OWN EXPERIENCE short women are no guarantee to short men. Furthermore, why should height matter at all?

  29. 29

    I have a great deal of respect for Evan’s mind, and Tom Pandolfo seems like a truly stand-up citizen.

    However, I’m a little confused.

    Wasn’t the 9/5 blog post immediately preceding this one all about how life is unfair? I’m not clear on why the dissection of women’s statistically-backed preference for taller men would follow so quickly on the heels of a post that essentially addresses issues such as these.

    The best explanation I could come up with is that: 1) Evan’s 9/5 post bore a difficult, hard-to-swallow message, 2) Evan’s readers nevertheless continued to reject the categorical fact that life is unfair and so’ 3) Evan challenged his naysayers in this post by putting them in the position to invoke his own arguments to defend their preference for taller men.

    Evan is no dummy.

    That aside, I have a few comments about this specific post independent of the previous one. Namely, that Evan asked his readers for their “honest” feedback to the topic. So I’m pretty certain that the commenters who admitted their desires to feel dainty, hug a larger body, meet their partners’ gaze at eye level and avoid dealings with a Napoleonic man are fully aware of the irrationality behind that view. And yet they admitted their feelings because Evan asked and, well, we all know life is unjust. These are HONEST women, not ones in need of therapy, as suggested.

    Furthermore, I noticed in his profile that Tom refuses to go out with a heavier woman. And I couldn’t resist the temptation to picture if this post were about a big-hearted fat woman instead of a short man. In my imaginings, the large woman submits a lengthy response to reader comments containing an exhaustive academic breakdown justifying why men shouldn’t remove fat ladies from their dating options. She appeals to their vanity by extolling the ‘sexiness’ of the enlightened attitudes of men who like their women big and beautiful. She asks ‘Why would anyone want to date a woman who merely conforms to media-hyped/society-enforced notions of what is attractive?’

    Do you think Tom himself would be convinced by this woman’s arguments? Enough to actually open up his dating criteria to include fat women? And how different is Tom’s response from the fictional one I described?

    At the end of the day, I believe Tom makes compelling arguments that nonetheless sadly fail to persuade the majority of women in online dating land. Why? Because this is attraction we’re talking about here. We’re talking about monkeying with human involuntary responses to other human beings. And if given the choice between a) pursuing what one gravitates towards without thinking about it or b) re-wiring one’s responses to be aligned with the ‘well-reasoned’ position, we are always going to choose Option A. I say so because it’s infinitely easier to do what’s natural, especially if what’s natural doesn’t actively do harm to anyone else and it’s been working fine for them anyway. (Try using logic to convince a man to stop reading Maxim, FHM or Stuff if you don’t believe me.)

    As a side note: maybe Tom’s arguments are useful if you’re a woman who’s been limiting herself to taller men and you just can’t seem to find ‘Mr. Right’ among your list of choices. Maybe she should then be persuaded to loosen her criteria. But then again, the converse argument applies to Tom, where perhaps he should consider permitting heavier women who have no issue with shorter men into his dating pool, rather than spend the energy trying to fight an uphill battle against womens prevailing attitudes.

    Tom, I think you’re really brave to put yourself out there and to let Evan put your misfortunes on full display in his blog. I wish you the best of luck, and sincerely believe the right woman’s out there for you. From my perspective, you just happened to have found out the ‘Match’ system of searchable criteria and high-volume dating tends to work against men of your stature. Don’t let your experiences say too much to you about women or your actual prospects.

    1. 29.1

      “maybe you should loosen your criteria’ sounds like code words for ‘settle for less”  the entire tone of your post is pretty condescending.    What’s more, the atavistic argument has pretty much been debunked.  If the caveman/dna explanation for this attitude is at all relevant, then should men see women as only caregivers and homemakers and unsuitable for a career?  Feminism empowered women to take control of their own futures and taught men that women are qualified for any position they aspire to.  Humanity got over that prejudice, atavism be damned.   But not this one?
      And as far as this word “preference” goes, why is it being used as a conversation ender?  “It’s just my preference”  what a load of garbage that is.  we all have knee jerk reactions to things, but it is ludicrous to think that this word makes things set in stone.  I wonder how many of us have preferred one thing over another, but somewhere along the way, our preference has changed.
      @zann:  you rock on so many levels.

  30. 30

    sheseizereason, I was thinking the exact same thing – this doesn’t jive with previous personal accountability posts. Hopefully someone who has no problem dating short men contacts Tom (maybe that was the aim of the whole thing – to get Tom a lot of exposure) but I doubt any rewiring of what people find attractive is going to happen by being berated for being honest. We can’t be attracted to everyone, life is unfair, right? Change your expectations and behavior, right?

    I can see how this would be a hard thread to read if you are short, I definitely don’t want a thread where people state why they wouldn’t be attracted to me. It wouldn’t matter if I called them (in the nicest way possible) unevolved, shallow or rude, it wouldn’t make me any more attractive to them.

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