He's amazing, I say. He's practically perfect. "And you're just friends?" asks Amy, incredulous. The reason we haven't taken our relationship to the next level feels a little superficial, but when I tell her, she has no problem understanding. The thing is, he's shorter.
The fact that I'm not dating this really wonderful guy because of his diminutive stature, and that my friend deemed that a valid reason, got me thinking about my knee-jerk resistance to dating small men.
Why do girls prefer bigger boyfriends? It's obvious that male domination still plays a role in making a 21st-century woman want to be more petite than her man. Traditionally, men are supposed to be stronger in every sense to protect the meek members of the "weaker sex." So the act of dating a shorter guy could be seen as bucking the status quo, if one wanted to go there.
I've dated short men. For whatever reason, none of the shorties worked out, but I doubt that the demise of any of those relationships had anything to do with my exceptional height.
The size thing only comes up once in a while when dating a wee man. Kissing standing up is good for a laugh. In heels, I clear these guys; for them, staring straight ahead means staring straight at my tits. Even holding hands feels a little weird and a lot like a mother leading her child, which I'm not into with guys I'm sleeping with. Fortunately, most of these problems disappear when you're both horizontal. Good sex is good sex is good sex. Height doesn't matter in bed.
A lesser man (I'm talking moral fibre here, not measurements) can't handle having a tall lady friend. The combination of smaller-than-average stature and lack of self-confidence makes some men feel threatened by tall women. They become brash and are prone to making cracks, continually observing, "Shit, you're really fucking tall!" Never does a man seem shorter than when he can't get over how tall you are.
When the traditional male-female order has been disrupted, it's no longer obvious who's physically stronger. For some guys, that's too much to deal with.
Luckily (hallelujah!), since graduating high school I've witnessed a steady decline in the number of sassy, insecure short boys. As boys grow into men, and as we accept less rigidly defined gender roles, the great height divide loses its significance.
Nine times out of 10, the media depicts a heterosexual couple as a tall man and a pocket-sized woman. We find it appealing when a man can whisk you away or tuck you under his arm. Even though we see statuesque women in the media, they're rarely shown towering over men. I'm always grateful to see an image of a guy tilting his chin upwards to kiss a girl - unless the image is played for laughs, .
I saw photos of Pharrell Williams (5-foot-7 tops) parading around New York with a tall filly. It was so sexy, it made me want a shorter (hot, stylish, music-producing) man tilting his chin up at me. For whatever reasons, seeing a version of yourself out there in the visual culture provides a sense of affirmation. And seeing lil' Pharrell's tall woman made me think about lowering my dating height requirements.
Actually, it made me think of my practically perfect tiny guy friend. From my perspective (up here in the trees with the giraffes), our respective sizes have been the only incompatible aspect of our relationship. Like a fence, it's kept us on just-friends terms. It's not like there isn't something there between us.
Sometimes, when I'm staring down into those big brown eyes, I think we could really be something. Maybe one of these days I'll jump the just-friends fence. I'll embrace all the quirks of being with a tiny man, like bending down to kiss him or having a boyfriend who is constantly at eye-level with my nipples. Mmmm. Doesn't sound too bad