Dating as a short man: The highs and lows

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Robert and an ex
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Recently Allan Mott wrote about the difficulties of being short, including when dating. “As a short man you can expect eight out of 10 women to dismiss you as a potential sexual partner at first sight,” he stated. Readers – including one taller woman – then replied with some of their own experiences, good and bad.

‘Short guys often complain that it’s hard to find a woman – I’ve never felt that way’

Robert 5ft 1in (pictured above, with an ex)

Sweden is famous for being a country of tall blond men. But I never felt that I stand out too much. I have always been friends with very tall people – most of my male friends are between 180cm and 190cm (5ft 11in and 6ft 3in) – and that has made me feel comfortable around tall people.

Of course people have mentioned my height from time to time, but I have not been bullied for it. I was just the short guy in the class.

OK, some annoying things have happened over the years – like when people want to lift you up because you are easy to lift.

Probably the most annoying thing is when someone asks you about your height and you tell them, and then they say, “OMG! That short?”

It’s like, “Dude, I’m standing here, did I suddenly get shorter when I told you my height in numbers?”

Sometimes I feel that maybe life would be different if I was taller, but at the same time if I was taller would I still be the person I am? There was talk about giving me a hormone injection to make me grow when I was a kid. They did an X-ray on my arm to see if my bone had hardened or I could still grow.

I’m aware that short guys often complain that it’s hard to find a woman, but I have never felt that way at all. It’s always been easy for me to befriend women. It just comes naturally and maybe that is the key, not trying too hard and not feeling that your height is a handicap. If I’m on a date I don’t give my height a second thought. The women I have dated have ranged from 155cm (my height) to 175cm (5ft 9in).

‘Many women won’t date anyone under 6ft’

Chris, 5ft 7in (170cm)

I did an experiment on the dating app, OkCupid. I originally listed my height as 5ft 7in and I didn’t get many matches – on average, about one a week. I sent a message to all of these matches but only 20% replied. Then I changed my height to 6ft 1in and I got three times more matches – and I got replies 50% of the time. Unfortunately, many women in London won’t date anyone under 6ft.

‘My ex had a bit of “a thing” for shorter men’

Adrian, 5ft 4in (163cm)

When I went to Reading University I was told that I was exactly the right size to be a cox – 5ft 4in and under eight stone – and would be very welcome at the rowing club. Eventually I ran out of excuses, and to my great surprise I found myself hooked within about 10 minutes.

I was lucky in many ways. The boat club’s chief coach was also the chairman of the British Amateur Rowing Association, and he got me to participate in routine National Squad training on the Thames at Hammersmith.

A few years later, I started coxing the UK’s heavyweight men’s coxed pair, and we won a bronze medal at the 1981 World Championships. Then, three years later, I joined the coxed four team, which set a new world record before winning the gold medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. (The first of Steve Redgrave’s five consecutive Olympic golds.)

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Adrian Ellison (right) winning gold and holding the wrist (nearly) of Steve Redgrave (6ft 5in)

I have never ever experienced any bullying in rowing because of my height – in fact quite the reverse! Romantically I have not had a major problem either.

My 6ft tall ex had a bit of “a thing” for shorter men (she probably felt safer with them, having had a difficult relationship with her very tall father) and I think she was amused by other people’s reaction. It took me a while to get used to it, but I came to regard all the sideways glances and whispered asides as rather complimentary, as everyone obviously thought there must have been something specially good about me!

My first wife was about the same height as me. My second long-term partner was the six-footer, and my third (my second wife) was a 5ft 8in rower I met at Molesey Boat Club. I’m now single again and hoping to meet a new partner – and her height won’t be the most important consideration, as long as mine isn’t the most important for her. I’ve had many, many blunt rejections because of my height – especially with modern internet dating. But my view is that if my height is a problem, it’s her problem, not mine!

When I was a schoolboy, I definitely did wish to be taller. I was always the shortest in my year (and often the last to be picked for sports teams) and my parents got so worried about it that they arranged for me to have human growth hormone injections. Luckily, I managed to avoid the scandal of the CJD (“mad cow disease”) infections, which were accidentally caused by human growth hormone drugs at exactly the same time – just as I had almost miraculously avoided developing Thalidomide problems before being born (my mother was offered the drug during her pregnancy with me, having suffered continuous morning sickness).

But all that was a long time ago. I’m now perfectly happy with my height. It has got me where I am over the last 40 years!

‘I’ve had friendships with smaller men but it’s almost as though I’m their trophy’

Carol 5ft 9in (175cm)

I have found that smaller men have assumed, for whatever reason, that I’m a threat and try to belittle me by making out that I’m not very bright! Which is not the case. It obviously makes them feel “big”. This is a generalisation of course.

In my teens, small men would laugh and call me “lurch”, ask if the air up there is too thin etc. I was even told I would have problems finding a partner. I was very slim which made me look taller. I found small men to be arrogant, with something to prove. Nowadays there are far more tall girls. It knocked my confidence as I was shy anyway.

I have had friendships with smaller men but it’s almost as though I’m their trophy, and something to conquer… like a mountain! I have been asked to wear flat shoes and to sit down rather than stand at a bar.

My best girlfriend is 4ft 11in so I have no problem with small people – she’s actually married to a man who is 6ft 3in!

I’m happily married to a man who’s 6ft. I still wear my heels and am proud of my height now but over the years small men have made me feel less of a woman for being tall. I now know it was all about their own insecurities.

You may also be interested in:

An interesting and lengthy paper by a pair of sociologists from New York University concludes that short men make stable marriages, writes Adam Gopnik. They do this in circumstances of difficulty and against the odds, and they do it with the shorter women they often marry, but also with the taller women they sometimes land. Short men marry late but, once they do get married, tend to stay married longer, and they stay happily married, too.

Why short men make better husbands (2014)

And also in this:

Image copyright Thinkstock

The Dutch drink a lot of milk, eat a lot of cheese, and are now the tallest people in the world. Could there be a connection? The author of a book on the Netherlands, Ben Coates, explains how the Dutch became not only voracious but also very discerning cheese eaters.

A nation of tall cheese-eaters (2015)

Read the full article here: <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-50242981"

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