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″.
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.

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 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.

Join our conversation (1,590 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 481
    Orange Rhino

    Mara (47) argues that we have never had a short president.   This telsl us more about Mara than about evolution.   James Madison, principal author of the U.S. Constitution and president from 1809–1817, was 5’4″.   That’s five-feet four in case my fickle laptop is acting up again.   My experience suggests that women seem to prefer tall guys who can make a lot of money but do not have very much higher education. Where I work nearly everyone has a PhD, and we have a very large single and divorced population of males.   

  2. 482

    I’m 5’2″. I very much dislike standing on my tiptoes to kiss my guy, so I prefer shorter men.

    I realize I am a minority, but I wanted to indicate that the minority exists.  

  3. 483

    I’m short, 5’7. It doesn’t bother me if some even a majority of women want to date taller men. What bothers me is they constantly complain when they’re rejected for not being hot enough, not having big tits, not living up to the celebrity weight standard, etc.  

    Can’t have it both ways.  


  4. 484
    In Love

    I am an attractive, easy-going, college-educated, tall woman (5’8”). Men I’ve dated over the years have always been tall (which for me, is my height or taller) for the simple reason that I could not be attracted to a man shorter than me.

    BUT SOMETHING HAPPENED. I met the love of my life, and he is a good three inches shorter than me. And you know what? I found myself extremely attracted to him, despite his height.

    Moral of the story: Give love a chance with a nice guy, because when you love them, nothing else matters. You WILL find your love, no matter what package it comes in. 🙂

  5. 485

    Sam (2) said, “unlike being overweight, being short does not mean you are physically incapable of things.”
    Wow.   I can’t believe you said that.   Let me give you my backstory.   I was 155 while I was in the army, and I passed my PT tests.   I was 170 and 180 when I did my two marathons.   I was between 165 and 175 when I had a couple of successful mountain bike racing seasons.   I’m back up to 200 after having to move to an area with no outdoor adventures (flat farmland) due to a job loss.   I am now working again and slowly getting back into a regular exercise schedule.   It’s really hard, especially with it getting dark before 6 p.m., and darkness makes me tired; however, I managed to get out for a two-hour bike ride, today.
    People do *not* think I look 200 lbs.   I am very athletic.   I’m not always fast, but I have endurance.   I am perfectly capable of doing things.   I am not handicap because I’m overweight.   I also have a great resting HR and a low BP, which is a hell of a lot better than many skinny people have.   My blood vessels are perfectly healthy (my previous job was ultrasound, and I could look at myself).  
    Moral of the story:   overweight women are not unable to go out and have good, hard, physical fun.   In fact, some of us can probably kick your butt doing a few things.   Instead of avoiding overweight women, it would be worth it to figure out whether the one you might be interested in is active.   If she is, then I’m pretty sure that she’d be grateful if you would spend time with her while doing some of her favorite activities.   You might actually discover a great woman, and you might actually help her rev up her metabolism.  

  6. 486

    Hey DianeM 492,
    FYI, most overweight women won’t go near or even consider a shorter man a worthy option.   Why?   A bigger woman, especially if she’s taller or weightier almost always has self-issues being larger than the man.    She can’t deal with the public making  fun of her size, calling her names  and being compared to the smaller guy on her arm.   I have yet to meet  ONE, SINGLE, SOLITARY  woman who is comfortable being the taller and bigger person in the relationship equation.   Big and tall  women avoid these situations at all costs which is why they seek the image sheltering nature of a taller man.   It’s way easier for women to hide behind the tall guy because his size and height takes away from her size and imperfections.  

    I’m tough, fit, strong, atheletic, yet not as muscled when I was in my youth.  It really  doesn’t matter how fit and good looking a shorter guy is.   He is  still SHORT which makes him unnattractive to the majority of women socialized by western culture.   I  can’t see how grateful you say an overweight woman would be if she has initial trouble including a shorter guy for her lifestyle activities.   The key is getting past his lack of height which is still extremely hard for a lot of women  look past.   The short  guy can be a total catch,  a quality guy, educated and fit with  good values.   In the end it doesn’t matter because his height is the first thing he’s going to be judged by and this is where the discrimination lies.  

    The only thing that trumps height is the almighty dollar.   A thick wallet adds inches to any guy.   A short guy can do well for himself with women if he’s got the cash to burn.   It’s best to have a back-up plan or an  additional bank account with readily available funds because she won’t stick around as soon as the money runs out.   It’s all over the courts in todays world.

  7. 487

    “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.”
    I wish there were more girls in the world like this.

  8. 488

    Horace, I disagree with some of what you said… I think it does matter how fit and good looking a shorter guy is, just as it matters how fit and good looking a taller guy is.   So many tall guys I see today are ill-proportioned and have slumping shoulders, whereas I at a little over 5’7″ am built better than I would say 90% of males out there… not being conceited, just calling it like I see it.   I do think it helps when, as a male, you are taller than the average female… so being 5’6″, 5’7″, 5’8″ ish still makes you as tall as or taller than 75-85% of females (I would guess), whereas it’s a tougher game probably being in the 5’2″ish – 5’4″ish game… but at the end of the day I like to think how someone is put together overall physically matters.   And personality/who you are matters too.   I know for me physical attraction is much more complex than simply how big some girl’s tits are… it has to do with proportion than some simple stat.   On a dating website, I could never see myself saying only C cup or larger message me… to me that’s just stupid,  even though I generally like larger breasts, just as I think it’s kind of stupid for a, say, 5’4″ girl to list only, say, 5’11” + to message her.   Limiting your dating pool  based on one-dimensional statistics just doesn’t seem smart, because there might be other PHYSICAL things that are harder to put into a stat that you might like about someone upon meeting/experiencing them, even if on one stat they aren’t your preference.  

  9. 489

    I, a woman, have no sympathy for the shorter man. I am 5’10” and weigh about 140. there is nothing physically wrong with me. I am confident enough in myself to be completely comfortable with any healthy man, be it 5’4” or 6’4”. i have been told a handful of times by men i truly liked that they will not date me because i was noticeably taller than them. I have yet to meet one that is comfortable enough with himself to be ok with dating a taller woman.   so im guessing my question for your friend is… would he be willing to date a significantly taller woman? if not maybe he should reconsider what he is asking. you cant have your cake and eat it too.  

    1. 489.1

      i am a 5’7 guy and i have a massive massive crush on my 6’2 female coworker. it is a little weird standing next to her sometimes and people definitely stare when we walk together, but i don’t care. she’s amazing.

      we’re out there.

  10. 490

    We’re all the same height lying down. <3

  11. 491

    It’s a pretty raw deal us short men have in life, especially in love. Like the article says, we can be intelligent, successful, make good fathers etc.but still we will have far fewer chances at having kids than a deadbeat violent man who is a few inches taller. I can’t help but imagine all the talent wasted when surpassing short men for taller ones down the generations – sure your child will be taller, but will they be raised the right way? I can think of a few short men from history, full of talent in their own fields yet ultimately all of that is lost as he fails to find a partner to pass on what he learnt. Meanwhile a short tempered taller man with nothing to contribute (but his height it seems) to his offspring manages to father multiple kids.

    Which brings me onto the next issue – the Napoleon Complex, being temperamental, trying to compensate because of his height. Well, if you are frequently told by tall men and most women – all strangers – that you’re short, you must have a complex – wouldn’t that get to you? Of course, when a tall man gets angry, goes beserk, beats up and shouts at his wife etc. – that’s not Napoleon at all, that”s just a man being angry…. but apparently, short men need to never lose it otherwise they’ll be branded Napoleon…

    Also about overcompensating, trying too hard – well yes, that’s we do, because if we were just like any other average man – as all the women here have crudely explained (but more on that later) – we’d be completely ignored! And as mentioned in the article, even if we do excel at things, have talents, crack the funniest jokes, have the best social skills – ultimately it amounts to nothing because of ONE UNCHANGEABLE ATTRIBUTE THAT WE HAVE NO CHOICE OVER. So apparently (and I suppose this goes for Asian men in the west too), through the apparent sins of being born a certain way, we are not allowed to experience love, to have children.

    Now, think of another demographic for women that has it hard – fat women, old women. Notice how society, through ample doses of media brainwashing, have treated them differently. Sure there are pressures to be “thin”, but there are just as many media stories, magazines, adverts, campaigns etc. that promote “big and bubbly”, curvy, rounded, “real” women… add to that, any man who flat out says to fat women that they are fat is scorned – just compare that to the blunt comments here about short men by women, as if we were subhuman and unworthy of respect, basic HUMAN dignity. We also don’t have an established media backing, something that big women can refer to and be represented in. Short men… well they shouldn’t be seen or heard it seems!

  12. 492

    496 niki

    We should meet up. It’s a rare thing to find a tall woman who doesn’t draw out the “well I need to feel secure too, that’s why I need a bigger man!” line… that IS a sign of total self confidence. Though I find it hard to believe shorter men have turned you down if you yourself had no issue with it.

    Btw I’m not some loser who hinges all his life’s failures on height – it is just fact. Women do not, in general, want shorter men, no matter how better they are in other areas than a tall man. I would argue this applies in careers too, tall men (over 6ft) make up the majority of CEOs in the top companies.

    But at least with business you can start your own! It isn’t the same for love, where it solely depends on other parties outside your control.

  13. 493
    Shaswata P

    Jeff —-The author of The Game , Neil Strauss,   is 5’6 and has seduced to bed hundreds of women……I don’t know (more on that a bit later) but it seems when it comes to attracting women (be it for one-night stands, sleeping partners, girlfriends or wives) all out social skills of pick-up artistry seems to have all the answers….. I am 6’1 ,24 years old and have tried to live a celibate, chaste life till now because of my commitment to spirituality….But I am in a transition mode right now and contemplating whether I should dip my toes in a hedonistic lifestyle…I have left the next couple of years or so for a contemplative time regarding which decision to make (if my spiritual progress improves meanwhile I will decide against it) ..That’s why I have started to visit these blogs to learn the ways of the world…I have a very close friend who is 5’7 and although time and again he has confided in me that he is jealous of my height he has had absolutely no problems in pursuing flings, affairs, girlfriends, one night stands what have you….and is probably going to marry his girlfriend who is 5’6 just an inch shorter…

    I am starting to be conducive to the idea that if extraordinary success in your life with women is what you are looking for then all out social skills as espoused by Mystery and Neil Strauss might be the answer…………….Hope you consider that   

  14. 494
    Ron Diggity

    As a realtively tall guy, and solely as an outside observer of this: You like what you like, and you don’t like what you don’t like – as long as women can admit they are being superficial, I guess it is what it is.   Not suprisingly, instead of owning up to this shallowness,  we find women trying to shift the blame on short men (ex. “probably has a Napoleon complex”, “makes me feel fat” – uh, no you are doing that to yourself, one way or the other).

    Perhaps it would help put into perspective to women their own flaws such as rapidly depreciating attractiveness and accumulated emotional & sexual baggage, to develop some empathy and be more open to dating guys who are shorter

  15. 495

    Hi Niki 496, I  have a question for you.  

    Is your lack of sympathy for short men based on previous negative dating experiences with them? I can say the  same thing about tall women.   I have no sympathy for  you but I can understand how some  tall women  endure the same dating difficulties as short guys.   Height is still the  measuring stick  that society  continues to unfairly  associate quality in men.   Some  will disagree with me here but I strongly believe  short women and tall  men  get preferential treatment in the dating world.    They seek each  other out  exclusively.   Tall men know that their height places them at the top  of the  dating chain.   Most importantly, it means  he  can get away with treating his current  girl like dirt because  his replacement girl  is always ready and waiting  for him.    In some cases a woman  openly accepts being treated like dirt as part of the “bad boy” package  that goes with dating the tall  trophy a$$hole  guy.    There  are certainly no shortage in numbers  of the common taller man/shorter woman relationships.   At the same time there’s  no shortage of women  suffering in abusive relationships, dominated by taller/bigger guys.   Short girls hold out for the taller guys because they know his masculinity is contingent on him being taller than  she is.   Lots of tall guys have strong fears of feeling emasculated by a taller woman so they chase after the short girls.    These short ladies take advantage of this attention thrown at them,  so they  discriminate against short guys because they can.   I’ve been rejected  by both short and tall women because of my 5’6 self but I don’t expect  pity from anyone.   Needless to say the harshest rejections have always come from the taller ladies.     I still pick myself up off the ground, keep smiling and approach the next woman confidently with no preconceived notions of failure or any negative residuals whatsoever.    If you truly liked a short guy that gave you grief and rejected you for being taller, he’s not man enough or worthy enough to date you!   Too bad for him! I would have welcomed you with arms wide open and let our personalities decide the fate of the relationship.

    Niki, I’m guessing from your post that you are a quality, equal opportunist woman that doesn’t  care a whole lot about  a mans height?   Right?   Do you have a preference in a mate like most people do?   Do you like being taller than your guy without fetishizing his short frame?   Some tall women really  get off on being the  taller, dominant,  stronger, person in  these type of relationships?    I often wonder where in the world  are these tall  ladies who like shorter guys?   Is it just me or does it seem like short guys and tall girls are trying to connect with the wrong, shallow, and superficial  types?   For me, it’s  absolutely “not”  a  fetish to like a taller woman but an honest,  natural feeling of attraction.   I don’t have a desire to be dominated by one either,  unless it’s behind closed doors………….. sometimes LOL!

    Niki, thanx for not shoving us short guys under the bus and for not coming here to insult  like some have.   Don’t stop looking down  too! There are short guys who really like taller women and don’t have a problem with the height difference or the high heels you choose to wear.

    Happy New Year!

  16. 496

    This topic has always hit home for me.   I’m 35, 5’4 and I weigh 125 lbs, sometimes less.   That really has had a huge effect on my romantic life.  
    Ive unfortunately found that no matter how thoughtful, funny or romantic I am.. it is not enough to make me very attractive to women.   Ive lost track of the number of women who have told me they would never date me solely because of my size.
    When I meet women online, I am always reluctant to let them know just how small I am.   Once I do, its like flipping a light switch.   Im no longer attractive.   Just a nice guy.   Its sad and funny at the same time how quickly it happens.
    Its ok, I do understand attraction isn’t something you can control.   But, it is not very fun being on the losing end of the deal.   I continue to hope and pray someday I will meet someone.   But in all honesty Ive prepared myself to always be alone.
    I realize this can certainly work both ways.   Ive heard taller/larger females say that they sometimes feel invisible to the opposite sex.   That is exactly how I feel as a smaller male.  
    My closest friends have typically been women, I love their company.   It is a painful reality for me that I rarely succeed in proving I have much more to offer than that.
    Not sure what my point with all that is.   I guess it is nice to vent, this has been probably the most painful aspect of my life for me.   Hopefully someday people will put more value on the inside than the outside.   Oh and world peace too.   🙂

  17. 497

    I’m 6’6″ and as someone who has benefited from this preference, I have to say, short guys do get a raw deal.   Casual dating is bad enough, but when women who are serious about a real relationship make this an issue….I got to say, I think it’s a real black mark on their character.

    Also, knowing a lot of taller women, I can say most do have a dominate-the-man mentality, trying to use their height to make shorter guys feel less secure.   When I question them about this, they just chalk it up to “love is a battlefied” mentality. Sad

  18. 498

    I’m 5’11. I only ever dated men who were my height or taller. This is not because I don’t find shorter men attractive, but because I always wanted that romantic feeling of being in his arms, looking up into his eyes…you know, the whole sappy fairy tale movie thing. Additionally, I love to wear heels and this intimidated EVERY single guy who wasn’t at least 6 feet tall. Anyway, I’ve been in a wonderful relationship with my boyfriend for a year now and he is just 5’4. I’m not going to say it isn’t awkward (for the both of us!) and that we don’t feel uncomfortable with people gawking at us – because I’d be lying. It is uncomfortable and some people suck. But he is a total sweetheart and he is ridiculously handsome and I love him.  

    PS) I was never attracted to guys OVER 6’2. There is such a thing as too tall to me. 😉

  19. 499

    I’m a curvy, attractive, and successful women and stand 5’9″ (6′ with heels). For years, I’ve been a strictly 6′ and over dater claiming there was no possible way I could be EVER be attracted to someone shorter than me. This past fall, I broke my own rule and went out with a guy who was 5’6. Even though I found him handsome, I was not attracted to him and thought I had proved my point. And then in December, this 5’7″ guy approached me in a bar and play pool with him (and his 6’2″ friend). I spent the night talkiing to both guys, assuming I’d leave with the tall guy. Well, guess what? By the end of the night, I could not keep my hands off the shorter guy.   I still think about him and think “man, that guy was HOT”.

    What did I learn?

    Height really has nothing to do with anything. It’s a man’s confidence and  his sexiness.           The first short guy had this apolegetic “I’m not worthy” quality to him that I found repulsive. The second short guy? There was nothing apologetic about him :).

  20. 500

    Really?   Is this man available?   I love men short tall whatever…..it is about who he is not how tall he is.   I am 5’3″ and I love my height!   I have a friend who is the same height as I am and if he were available?   Oh I would date him in a heartbeat!   He is attractive, funny, outgoing and makes me feel beautiful!   Short doesn’t mean anything but a number like age it is a number.  

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