I’ve always dreaded blind dates.
Most of mine came from dating sites. This was in the days before we had dating apps, and I was super self-conscious.
“Men are visual, and first impressions are everything,” I’d tell myself. I’d go to great lengths to try to make myself look as good as possible. Physical attraction is important, and I can’t tell you how many dates took one look at me, decided I didn’t measure up, and made up an excuse to bolt.
Nothing was more disheartening than the time a good-looking lawyer told me I didn’t have the body type he preferred, as though I was a car he was wanting to buy or something. That wasn’t a one-off either. Another date had the nerve to tell me I’d be so much prettier if I lost weight.
Body-shaming and rejection can cause lifelong damage to someone’s self-esteem, and I knew how badly it hurt, but what I didn’t realize was that I was doing it too.
Women seem to be obvious victims, which makes us think that guys are immune to body-shaming. We assume that because our bodies are subject to so much scrutiny that we’d never turn around and shame a man based on his appearance, but we do it all the time.
Men’s appearances are harshly judged too, just in different and more subtle ways, and we’re most likely doing it unconsciously.
How many times have you heard someone say they were disappointed when their blind date turned out to be short? Or bald? Or how about when we describe a guy we think is hot, we almost always mention how tall he is first.
I’m one hundred percent guilty. When I was single, I made a list of all the qualities of my perfect man, and close to the top I wrote “over six feet.” I never considered why a man’s height would matter to me. I just knew I wanted him big, and if you asked me, I would’ve said that I couldn’t help what I was attracted to.
But why? If my weight shouldn’t matter—why should a man’s height?
Turns out, this was all about me and my insecurities, and really had nothing to do with how tall a potential suitor happened to be.
Women are constantly told that we are supposed to be small. Tiny equals beauty, privilege, and lovability, but not all of us are pint-sized. I’m certainly not. When we seek big men, we’re looking to feel smaller in comparison. Or, we’ve been so brainwashed to associate diminutiveness with femininity, that we think shorter men are less masculine. They must be wusses who can’t keep us safe.
This is ridiculous on so many levels. Let’s stop.
As soon as I gave up the silly notion that I needed a tall man, I had some rewarding experiences with interesting, exciting, intelligent, and stimulating men, some of whom I practically towered over, especially when I wore my favorite stilettos. The most fascinating, creative man I’ve ever met was five foot four. I’m five foot six and a half.
First of all, no woman in this day and age needs a big, burly mountain man to keep her safe from grizzly bears. We don’t need a Neanderthal to club a wooly mammoth and drag it back to the cave to feed our litter of prehistoric human cubs. We’ve evolved since the Quest for Fire days, so it’s time to stop fixating on how tall men are. It doesn’t matter.
Height doesn’t equal strength, health, endurance, or well, anything—except the ability to reach things on high shelves, but that’s what we have step stools and ladders for.
If someone insists only on dating tall men, think of how many potentially amazing men, or possible soul mates, they are eliminating. Don’t dismiss a guy because he’s short. Short guys are just as sexy as tall guys. Get to know people, and give them a chance. I’m glad I did.
I decided to choose to focus on a man’s intelligence and creativity.
What’s hot to me is wit. I’m turned on by compassion and depth, and conversation. When a man has those traits, his height never factors into my attraction.
My single years included a lot of men well under six feet, and a few under five foot six. When I got over my hang-ups about short men, and more importantly, my own silly need to feel physically small, I saw how unimportant and arbitrary height really was.
I ended up going on exciting dates, had a lot of fun with all kinds of men, and experienced plenty of passion and chemistry with guys of all sizes.
Author: Victoria Fedden
Editor: Lieselle Davidson