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 doesn't define a man as a husbandI 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.

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

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 Pittsburgh 5’10” in Philadelphia
Mutual matches 0 80
Reverse matches 12 400
Petite women w/pics w/in 50 miles 45 650
Views in 3 days 11 212
Emails received – unsolicited 0 32
Winks received – unsolicited 2 28
Emails sent out 6 6
Replies received to emails sent out 0 6


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.

Join our conversation (1,557 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 691

    I think I might have already posted on this but yeah, here goes. Nominally height is not a factor for me. If someone asked me to describe my ideal man, I would mention personal qualities and not the physical. If I imagine my ideal man, I don’t even have a mental image of what he’ll look like. He could look like anyone as far as I’m concerned. If the attraction is there, it’s there and I won’t question something that’s true.
    I’m 5ft 4-5″. I have dated men the same height as me. This doesn’t make me particularly noble. I don’t care. I pick out men that I like and get on with.
    The issue I have with short men is the “short man complex” which is more common than you’d think. And if I dated a man shorter than me, my father would tell me to aim higher. He doesn’t pull any punches. He has nothing against short men but I guess he knows that since I’ve grown up in a tall family (despite being short), it will reflect in what I tend to find attractive.
    People get judged. That’s life. No point in getting angry about it. I’m sure plenty of men judge me for not being slim, my slightly promiscuous behaviour and personal failures in certain areas. It’s hard but you’ve got to own what you’ve got and make it into a positive.

  2. 692
    Revo Luzione

    Peter, it’s not as bad as it seems. You just may need a change of city, or better, change of country.
    In the US, the northeast and midwest & especially the great lakes states have high concentrations of tall, scandinavian descended people. These are not good areas to live in for shorter men.
    In the southwestern US, particularly New Mexico & texas, there are a lot of native american & mexican descended people, who are a lot shorter and a lot more willing to date short people.
    This effect is 10x in southeast Asia. Go to Thailand or Indonesia, you’ll fit right in.
    But first, change your attitude and find your inner and outer strengths, and do your best to find the silver lining in being short.
    For example, taller people are statistically more likely to get cancer (due to higher exposure to growth hormone throughout life.
    Your attitude is 1000x more important than your height.

  3. 693

    We had a discussion about this issue last week at work.
    As a 6″ tall woman, I get a lot of comments about how I should be dating shorter men to expand my dating pool.  People often say that height doesn’t matter because [insert crude reference here].  People say these things to me despite the fact my ex-husband was shorter than me by an inch or two, and that I have dated many men shorter than me (and many men taller than me).  The shortest gentleman I ever dated was 5′ 3″.  He was a great guy but the height difference was just too awkward.  I don’t mind an inch or two, but 9″ is just too much.
    So when a 6’2″ gentleman said this to me last week, I asked him — So you would be okay dating a 6″ 11″ tall woman?  a 6′ 5″ woman?  a 6′ 2″ woman?  Suddenly everything was different.  Not only would he not date a 6′ 11″ woman, he didn’t think he would even date a 6′ 2″ woman.  And most of the guys at the table agreed with him.  A few even admitted they wouldn’t date me because I was 6′ and usually wore heels, making me at about 6′ 3″ most of the time.
    So it’s not just women who have an issue with height.  Men have their own also.  🙂

  4. 694

    @Cat5.  In my experience, yes, some men have a height issue as well.  I suspect many are just not very confident and by being taller it makes them feel more manly.  Isn’t it odd that taller guys have this insecurity?  Tall men, like short women, have lots more options.

  5. 695

    @ Peter 698…I feel for you I am 5′ 4″ was overwhelmed facing the reality of NO dating options…then a couple years ago I discovered the Philippines…men average 5″4″ women average 5″0″…the younger generation speaks English quite well… they are very attracted to foreign men…age differential is very accepted. Lots of online dating sites…just beware there are some that are there to earn a living scamming stupid men…keep your brain engaged and you will discover a paradise for us short men. Online contact is full of difficulties…but remember the Filipina’s entering the US through fiancee visa’s blows ALL other countries out of the water. I spent time there and men from ALL over the world flock there for there women…just use your common sense and you will never look back.

  6. 696

    ……..”as soon as I did away with the height issue, I have had more dates than ever..mostly with short women”…..

  7. 697

    Women are just shallow

  8. 698

    That’s right Joe it’s ONLY women and it’s ALL women who are shallow…

  9. 699

    [email protected]
    “Women are just shallow” — Hmmmm, perhaps your attitude might explain why you are having problems with having good relationships with women.
    Yes, SOME women are shallow and SOME men are total jerks.  Overall I’d have to say the vast majority of men and women are wonderful people.

  10. 700

    This story is a bit misleading though. He said he changed his location from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. The pool of potential women immediately increased 5 fold because Philadelphia is five times the size of Pittsburgh.

  11. 701

    I am 5″8 and I’m seeing a very very sexy man who is 5″5. Love every single thing about him…would not for the world change a thing. I’m used to being with taller men sure but you don’t get to pick who you fall for…he’s THE best  friend and lover i’ve ever had. 
    I am a very attractive woman (not meaning to be full of myself it’s a fact) but like everything in life..beauty fades mine will and so will the “beauty” of some 6″2 man. My guy is perfect…I don’t feel big beside him I don’t feel unfeminine – he makes me feel AMAZING.
    Just my two cents….shine on little guys I think  you are HOT

  12. 702

    Wow this is quite the thread.  Kudos to those few short men who claim that they have no problems attracting women.  As a 5’5″ straight male in Canada I have definitely experienced a lot of height discrimination in the dating world.  I am reasonably good looking, friendly and outgoing, have never been significantly overweight and sometimes have been in great shape, and have a well-respected and well-paying career.  I have had “my share” of women, I suppose, and I am now engaged to a great girl about my height, but my dating life as a whole has been very different from that of my taller friends.  I’ve had far fewer partners and far fewer choices overall.  A tall friend of mine last year, when rebounding, slept with more women in a few weeks than I have been with in my whole life (I’m 40).  My tall friends get lots of dates and routinely go out with fitter women, saner women, and more successful women than I usually did.
    To those of you who say that height discrimination against men by women is “natural” or “no big deal”, I call complete BS.  In many other cultures in the world, male height does not matter nearly as much.  There may be a mild “ingrained” female preference for taller men (just as there is probably a mild male “ingrained” preference for ample breasts) but this idea that a shorter man is simply not attractive or acceptable as a mate is completely a cultural construct.
    No one should force themselves to date someone they are not attracted to, but at the least we can all recognize that short men are treated unfairly by society and this is reflected in female dating patterns.  If we can all admit to that, then we’ve taken the first step in someday levelling the playing field.  I think a similar idea applies to race, especially for Asian men and Black women who both seem to have it rough in North America.
    As for weight in women, there are a lot of men who will accept or even prefer a few extra pounds (including me).  And if you weigh more than that, well, absent a rare medical condition or medication side effect, you can lose it.  It will be better for your health anyway!  It may be hard work for some, but think about this: if it were possible to gain a few inches of height through hard work and dedication, there would be no short guys anywhere.
    One more thing, taller women also have a difficult time, though not quite as bad as short men.  Men who refuse to date tall women are guilty of the same prejudice as women who refuse to date short men.  But ladies, especially if you are tall, please leave your options open for shorter men.  Unless the height difference is so great that it would literally physically awkward to be affectionate, it should not matter what the height difference is, or who is taller, the man or the woman.  I’ve had girlfriends that were up to 5’10” and we had a great time 🙂

  13. 703

    you have done all right for yourself.
    of course there are others who do better, esp if by better you just go by quantity. Is someone who dates a hundred people before getting married more  successful than someone who dates five?  Maybe mr/ms five made better choices?  You only need one wife or husband, is it necessary to have a smorgasbord of people to choose from?
    A general comment, not aimed at you, some of us could stand to look at ourselves  rather than “collecting” numbers of dates, sexual partners or relationships and seeing that as proof of something.  It,s front loading our encounters rather than looking to something long lasting.  Assuming that,s what we,re looking for. it may not be them ,it might be us ( and I don,t just mean our heights)
    i get what you say about presentation. I put a lot of time and effort into exercise, and a healthy diet. Has it helped me to attract someone? Bluntly, yes. Though my main motivation is that it makes me feel good and women have x no. of years to lay down bone mass before old age.  It,s not just genetic, I,m fitter than my siblings, who don,t exercise as much and aren’t watching their weight despite my nagging ( diabetes runs in the family). Anyway, I,ve gone off on a tangent.
    congrats on your engagement.  My brother is short, he,s a darling. The other is nearly six foot and he,s a darling too. Both married now for around ten years after a mere handful of girlfriends each. I,m sure they regret nothing.

  14. 704

    I’m 55, caucasian, 5’2″ a few pounds overweight and curvy. I’m newly dating a man who is 64, 5’5″ Pacific Islander, stocky, athletic and balding. Met on-line and we have chemistry off the charts! Too soon to know for sure, but I have a feeling I’m going to have the best sex of my life. He’s got a big heart, warm, caring, good conversationalist, good listener and great kisser (those are skills that anyone can learn). And while I thought my next big love would be younger and taller, I’m no fool.
    You might like what you like, but the heart wants what the heart wants. A big hearted man is wonderful at any age, height, race or build. Good to know it’s never too late.

  15. 705

    i’m 5’9” and 120-130 lbs, 32, seriously active (rock climbing, ice climbing, marathoner, triathlete, etc) and it is my lifestyle that won’t allow me to date someone who isn’t fit because they love being active.  I really want to rock climb, hike, cycle, etc, with my partner, and that simply isn’t possible if they can’t keep up or don’t enjoy it.  The height thing does seem to be a subconscious genetic mechanism though.  I have dated someone who is an inch shorter than me, but I wasn’t super attracted to him.  I know perfectly well it doesn’t matter, but I’ve tried to ignore the initial lack of chemistry and wait until it forms from personality and compatibility…it doesn’t seem to work.  I feel for all people who are outside of the average “norms” – but, hey, that includes me.  It seems impossible for me to find a guy with whom I have chemistry and compatibility…

  16. 706

    I think this has more to do with passing on “short genes” than we are leading on… 
    I don’t think there is a mother on earth who would want to read stats like those listed above about her son’s dating profile. 

  17. 707

    My ex was 5 feet, 6 inches.  I had three kids with him, never once thought “oh!  I don’t want a short son”.

  18. 708
    Revo Luzione

    Little Princess,
    The bit about the genes is really only about 1/3 true, because height is largely, though not completely determined by prenatal and childhood nutrition. A good example is seen in Asian Americans, who are almost always taller than their home-country counterparts, sometimes substantially so. One or two generations is not enough to impart a genetic shift in height alleles. 
    Average height in Asia is growing dramatically due to their rapidly westernizing diets.
    No, female height preference is like so many other female mate preferences, it’s about status. Height conveys socials status, because diet is a status marker as well.
    As it’s said, this isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.

  19. 709

    I am embarrassed of my fellow females in this.  If a man is masculine with other wonderful qualities I would still date him even if he was shorter.  It would be very OK.  I also wouldn’t feel less female because just because a man is shorter doesn’t mean he isnt’ stronger.  I wish people would get a grip.

  20. 710

    We all have physical preferences … a man may gravitate towards boobs, legs, whatever … If women prefer height in their man, let it be. There are all sorts of reasons. All valid. None to be taken personally. Someone for everyone ….

  21. 711

    Here is my tip for shorter men.  Go for women who are close to your height.  You’ll have more luck.  If you’re 5 3″, approach women who are 5 3″ or smaller.  You might want to avoid investing too much time in ladies that 5 9″.  It is unfair that height is such a significant factor.  But I think the issue for women isn’t height as much as it is height differential.  So don’t loose heart.  If your a guy who’s 5 3″ you have a great shot with ladies that are around the same height.

  22. 712

    Hi Evan and thanks for the very real article. As a past client of yours I am very aware of your hours of questionaires lol.  I never was willing to date a shorter man (I am 5’9″).  I always felt that the man would feel weird reaching up to kiss me. So I just avoided it.  Well just recently I met a great guy, and although Im still feeling self akward, he doesnt seem to mind and he is the best connection I have made in years!!  We really hit it off and he is a great man… hot too!!  Best of all, I met him while wearing heels… he is 5’7″ but in his mind he is 6’3″. lol.  I love his confidence!  So, Im going to suck it up with an issue that is clearly on my end and enjoy this fantasic, fun, exciting man… every inch of him!

  23. 713

    I’m female and 5’10” and I too have the strange feeling like I’m caring for a child when I’m with a shorter guy. But 2″ shorter is no big deal but not shorter than that. If I have to bend over to kiss or hug him, its a deal breaker. I don’t think its the guys’ faults at all. I wish I were shorter so more men would be taller than I. But I have been physically attracted to guys shorter than that…but they didn’t ask me out so I don’t know what it would’ve been like to date them.

  24. 714

    Snort. You think this guy Tom has it bad?
    Most of my dating problems came from my Asian heritage. I’m 5’7″. My facial features aren’t typically attractive to American women. And I’m definitely not all that well-endowed compared to non-asian guys.
    For years, I was completely out of luck in the dating scene. Heck, it was even worse because back then, I was 220 pounds. (I don’t lose fat very much no matter how much I diet or exercise. I do 4 hours of martial arts every single day, and have been dieting since I was a teen).
    But hey, I learned to deal (and drop down to a healthier 180 pounds after much hard work). And I did eventually luck out. My lovely wife wasn’t shallow enough to judge me immediately for my appearance and penis size when we were dating, and I love her more everyday for settling with me when she could have gotten so much better.

  25. 715

    Hi Michelle 719
    I appreciate the fact that you might be honest, trying to be helpful with your suggestion that short guys should stick to equally short women. It may seem practical by your intuition but it’s not a solution that is always viable for short men in the dating world. It is far from accurate actually.  I’ll tell you why if you don’t already know. 
    Short women are notorious for their disdain of short guys.  I’m barely 5’6 on my best day and most of the time I AVOID short women because the overwelming majority of them exclusively prefer the guys who stand 6’0 minimum.  Her eyes and the look of disgust that goes with hating short guys tells me the story 90% of the time.  I’ve been rejected by ladies of all heights and some of the harshest have come from women 2, 3 or 4 inches or more shorter than me.  That’s right, the 5’0, 5’1, 5’2 and 5’3 ladies have no use for me most of the time. What I have discovered with age and experience is that a mans height to women generally doesn’t matter after her 3rd or 4th try at marriage.  When she’s been through the divorce courts numerous times, all she wants now is a decent man that shares his life with her.  I’m not saying short guys should wait in vain for those divorced or separated ladies who have had their kids but it certainly does seem like these women are more opportunistic for short men.  In many cases they have no choice because the tall guys don’t want them anymore.
    So my advice to the short guys of the world?  Approach as many women as possible, even the super tall ladies who tower over you by half a foot or more.  Rejection is a lot more common in short guys because many women believe that the rules of Hollywood are the truths of dating.  The belief  that a woman must never be taller than her man is very real and a commonly practiced prejudice.  Don’t just go after the short ladies because society says it looks right.  Look past the stupidity that is Hollywood.  Go after the women you find attractive and want to date regardless of her height.
    FYI, I’ve always had better luck with women my height and taller.  I tip my hat all the time to the taller women of the world who don’t need a man equally tall or taller to date.  They are rare and very few, but I have faith that more women are shedding the prehistoric traditions for modern common sense.  You can’t measure the quality of a person’s heart or character by how tall they stand.

  26. 716

    I agree with you, a woman that has been married 3 times always has company…life has taught her many things….

  27. 717

    Yes Hunter,
    A woman that has been married 3 or more times has likely accumulated a ton of baggage that no tall guy wants or practically any guy for that matter.  More importantly, those marriage values have absolutely no weight or value to her.  How could they if she’s repeatedly running back and forth from the courts to the altar?  This is the very reason why I’m skeptical of women, dating, relationships, engagement talk, marriage talk etc. etc. etc.  People are always getting married for all the wrong reasons which I don’t want to be a part of.  It does take two to tango though. 

  28. 718

    …for some women, gathering wealth is important…(women that had a rough childhood/come from impoverished neighborhoods)…there are women that don’t need that, they mostly, keep a low profile, stay in there own little circles, etc…..

  29. 719

    Being a 5’4″ tall man, Strong, Athletic, Successful, Smart, Funny, etc… None of these qualities seem to make any difference at all in the dating world. I’m almost 30, I own two homes, and have a very successful career. I have been single my entire life. The entire height requirement for dating is a load of crap. I am amazed at how shallow the FAIRER Sex can be. Its sad really.

  30. 720

    Although the exception doesn’t prove the rule, I took a leap of faith and added a 5’6 guy to my faves on POF because he appeared to have other qualities I like.  He contacted me and if anything gets off the ground, I’m going for it.  If he can overlook me not having perfect measurements, I sure as hell can be forgiving on height.

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