A Love Story: The Short Version


His & Her jeans. Guess which is which.

The Dude is about 2 inches shorter than me. On a good day.

There are days when we’re about the same height, like when I’m in flats and he’s wearing his fancy Cole Haans. And then there are days when I’m about 5 inches taller. Those are the days I wear heels. Those days are few and far between. It’s not because I care about being so much taller than the Dude. It’s because I’m clumsy enough as it is wearing flats.

I’m 5’9 and, before I met the Dude, I usually only dated men taller than me. I didn’t have anything against dating shorter men. Really. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Shorter guys never approached me and I was much too shy to approach anyone, let alone a cute shorter dude that didn’t even look my way. As soon as I sprouted in junior high to become the 2nd tallest girl in the class, the guys immediately stopped teasing and flirting with me. Instead, they asked me to play on their recess basketball teams. In high school, the cute short girls snagged all of my crushes, many of whom were my height or shorter. I never saw tall girls and short boys together. It was only when Tom Cruise married Nicole Kidman that I believed that there were people out there that didn’t give a crap about height.

How many times have you heard a woman say that she would never date a man shorter than her or a man say that he only likes women a certain height?  It’s the kind of stuff I heard in high school and continue to hear well into my 30′s. What gives?

I suppose there is some sort of biological or societal instinct for women to date taller and bigger men. Big and tall men are seen as protectors and women like feeling secure in their man’s arms. Many men also have that urge to protect and shelter their woman. Is this need based on the hunter-gatherer mentality passed down through the generations, is it something biologically driven, or is it founded on simple vanity influenced by media images and societal standards? The only thing I left out is simply this – men, on average, are taller than women. Heterosexual couples usually include a taller man and a shorter woman because that is what is usually available. But what if the best man or woman for you comes in a package that’s shorter or taller than you expected?

Here’s the thing I wonder about – how many amazing people have  been ignored by others only because they didn’t meet a certain height criteria.  How many incredible love stories have never been told because a man or woman was too short or too tall.  If I had cared that much about height difference, then there is a good chance I never would have dated the Dude. He clearly didn’t care about the height difference and pursued me anyways. That kind of confidence was something I had never seen before in another man. Getting to know him early on our relationship, I found everything I had been looking for in a man (and then some) but had never found. We’ve been together over 7 years now and the only time the height difference comes up is when we joke around about me keeping stuff out of his reach on the high kitchen shelves.

I see a lot more couples these days that don’t care about height. Every time I see another taller woman/shorter man couple on the street, I want to give them a high-five. I have to be honest, it’s very cool to see. Thanks to Tom Cruise and other celebs, we’re seeing it a lot more in the media as well. As soon as I see a love story in a movie about a much taller woman and a shorter man (and not one portrayed by actors that really are but have been disguised for us to think otherwise), I’ll know that our society has moved forward with this whole height difference hang-up.

All of this is to say that if your height criteria is the first thing you assess (and then reject) in a potential partner, you have no idea what you might be missing out on. Reject someone because they don’t treat you well or have an attitude problem, not because they’re two inches shorter than your standards. If you’re looking for love, don’t initially discriminate against those aren’t as tall or short as you had hoped.  The love of your life might be right under your nose. Literally.