I Wish Women Would Stop Acting Like Straight Bitches About Short Dudes

If we want men as a gender to question the beauty standard, shouldn't we be willing to do the same?

Jun 19, 2013 at 1:00pm | Leave a comment

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Must be this tall to ride?

Recently, I was out to dinner with a group of girlfriends, and one them, a super-smart feminist writer who has contributed to this very website, was filling us in on her dating life. Specifically, she was lamenting the fact that she had made a date with a guy from an online dating site before realizing that he was only 5'6. Now she felt obligated to attend despite the fact that she "didn't even want to go anymore."

The friend in question is roughly 5'2.

Now, I don't mind a short guy one bit. A short man who has the confidence to go after me, a 5'10 woman, is sexy as hell. But I've noticed that the subject of male height has the capacity to turn even the most open-minded and feminist of my friends into straight-up bitches.

The general consensus around the table that night was no short guy is ever gonna get it, no way, no how, ugh, never never never never, with the kind of vehemence that would make me feel sick to my stomach if directed at a woman's size or shape by a group of men. Even for the short women of the group, it wasn't enough that a guy be taller than them -- he had to be objectively TALL, even if that meant towering over them.

Of course, this was an uncensored conversation among friends, not intended for public consumption. But while the tone may be variable, the sentiment is real. A recent poll found that 70 percent of British women prefer men over six feet, and an quick xoJane staffer poll on the topic came up with about 80 percent agreement.

"I can't date any man shorter than me. I tried when I was younger and I was felt like I was a giant in comparison. My first serious boyfriend was just under my height (he was 5"8) and I couldn't deal with it. Does that make me a bad person?"

"He must be taller than me. Six feet is pretty much the perfect height. I once dated a guy who was the exact same height as me and it was a turn off for some reason. It's not logical."

"My height limit is at least 4 inches taller to accommodate my high heel shoe obsession."

"I am much more attracted to guys over 6 foot. I'm 5'7" and I wear 3" heels a lot and like to feel smaller next to a dude."

A lot of women, especially those who are tall themselves, want to meet men who "make them feel small," thus reinforcing the traditional gender expectations.

As a 5'10 woman, I can understand the impulse -- most of us tall girls grew up towering over the pre-growth-spurt boys, feeling towering and gawky and overdeveloped in their presence. We learn to slump and slouch and shrink in an attempt to disguise our height, to choose our shoes with consideration for our prom date's ego.

But for me, going through all that makes me even more open to dating short men, who as fellow outliers, probably went through the same kind of shit. Mandy, the tallest xoJane staffer, feels the same way:

"I'm 6'2" and have no height requirements. To me it's like having racial or weight requirements. I've had a wonderful relationship with a guy who was 5'6" and way sexier than a lot of over 6-feet dudes I've dated. It really just doesn't matter."

Ultimately, of course you can't help who you're attracted to. But a preference for tall men is borne of the same kind of social conditioning that has some men insisting they're only attracted to thin women. If we want men as a gender to question the beauty standard, shouldn't we be willing to do the same? After all, we'd probably be pretty horrified by any dude who set the kind of specific requirements for a woman's height or weight that many of us do.

And purely anecdotally, I've gotten the best oral sex of my life from men under 5'6. The same way that feeling unattractive most of my life led me to get really good at putting my mouth on penises, there's a special kind of charisma that can develop as a compensation for perceived shortcomings. 

Helena feels me:

"I'm 5'8'' and my first major crush in high school was maybe 5'6''.  We went to prom together and I wore heels and I remember feeling badly about it until he said something like, "Nah I love that shit." So since then short guys have been synonymous with sexy to me. I dated another sexy ass short guy in college who was maybe 5'5'' and my girls were horrified."

And look, I of all people know that the vagina is a fickle creature whose preferences cannot be bound by politics. And it's not our fault we've been socialized since birth into believing women are supposed to be the smaller, more delicate party in a romantic relationship. I'm not asking you to change what you like, because that's easier said than done. But I think we'd all do well to at least examine our height requirements, to think about the context and the connotations surrounding them, and to try to keep an open mind about who we're willing to date.

And even more than that, to practice the golden rule when it comes to how we talk about men's bodies: Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you.

Do those of you who date men have height preferences? If so, do you feel bad/hypocritical about it or you DGAF? Anybody else found short men to be amazing in bed?