Gosh, I Feel Bad For Short Men

tom cruise

I end up feeling pretty bad for short guys. I mean, not Napoleon. I do not feel particularly bad for Napoleon. I think, ultimately, like Jay Gatsby, Napoleon was alright in the end. Nor do I feel particularly bad for Hugh Dancy, who is a very short man, but seems to have a lovely relationship with Claire Danes. I also do not feel bad for Tom Cruise because I think he is utterly insane.

But, you know, all the other ones.

Sometimes, when I hear women bemoaning men’s judgments upon their physiques (men who will only date women of a certain size, men who will only dates blondes, or brunettes, or whatever their physical preferences happen to be) I think about how we talk about men’s height.

Almost as soon as I try to set friends up with my male friends they ask whether or not he’s tall. Sure, men are superficial, too. Still, I’ve never heard them ask for specifics regarding a woman’s height. They’ll ask, much more vaguely if she is “cute.”

And even if they are jerks who want you to look a very specific way – you can diet. You can dye your hair. But you can’t do shit to make yourself taller.

I mean, you could wear lifts, but, then, we sort of roll our eyes at people who wear lifts. The last time I’ve heard mention of them was when some tabloid deprecatingly mentioned that Tom Cruise wore lifts. And, of course, we all remember when, after their divorce, Nicole Kidman said that she could finally wear heels again. And at 5’7, Tom Cruise isn’t really even that short.

The only real option if you’re a man who is not born with giant genes is to get that Gattaca ”make you taller” surgery, and that sounds terrible. Before you think, “Seriously, Jennifer, nobody outside of Gattacca ever got that surgery,” it exists. It costs around $40,000 and can go up to $100,000. It’s also incredibly painful – according to Details Magazine (print) “Beyond the agony of having your bones cut in two and stretched, [the surgery] carries risks like pinhole infections, nerve damage, and severe deformity.”

In spite of that, the surgery remains very popular for men in a great deal of countries – particularly China. Not just because it might up guy’s dating options – it also ups their odds of bringing home a higher paycheck. That does not change the fact that the patient will not be expected to walk normally for about five months after the surgery.

Still, one doctor claims “height is not a problem for all short people, but some suffer low self esteem for the rest of their life.” And two thirds of the patients are men.

Look, I’m not trying to be wildly overly dramatic about this. Women certainly have it rough int terms of being judged by their appearance. But it’s sort of ridiculous that anyone feels insecure enough about their height that they’re willing to attempt anything that means they can’t walk for five or six months (and could leave them severely deformed). Obviously, the next time you tell a guy he’s too short he’s probably not immediately going to rush out to attempt to have himself leg lengthened. But, like anything, those are comments that build up over time, and eventually, sure, insecurities do naturally set in.

I pretty strongly feel that men should stop critiquing women for any number of physical traits. But I also feel that, maybe in turn, the next time someone asks you how tall someone is, you not immediately dismiss him for being too short. Because otherwise he will spend $100,000 to grow three inches. No, just because it’s nice to try to see people for having qualities that are not only physical. It’s something we always wish men would do more of for us, so, hell, on the off chance you are one of those ladies who insist on guys being tall, maybe give a short guy a second look. They’re insecure about their appearance, just like us.

Picture via Getty

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    • http://twitter.com/SamiDan19 Sami Jankins

      Hugh Dancy isn’t short. He’s 5’11, which is rather average, isn’t it? I could honestly care less about height. I’ve dated tall people, I’ve dated short people. I’ve heard other females say that a taller man makes them feel protected, and that a shorter man makes them feel less small and less dainty/feminine. My bf is 5’5 and has extraordinarily dashing good looks along with a multitude of other wonderful qualities. I don’t need him to be taller to feel more feminine. I’m just fine with that. It seems to me the things that affect men the most are height, baldness, and maybe back hair/body hair. All ridiculous in the end. If you like the person, you’re going to like the person regardless.

      • Trish

        I’m always suspicious of women on the internet who refer to other women as “females” when it’s not a qualifier, such as “female postal worker.”

      • http://twitter.com/SamiDan19 Sami Jankins

        Woah, I’m not suspicious I promise. Total feminist here. I would use the word “males” with as much frequency. The individuals who I was having a discussion with were female, and they all agreed to feeling more feminine with a taller guy. I’m not saying this an across-the-board factor for all women (obviously it’s not to me). Not certain the more accepted/proper term I should have used.

    • http://twitter.com/atlantictiger Amanda Hutchison

      My current guy that I’m ~involved with~ is barely an inch taller than me, but I like it because I like being the big spoon in bed. Soooooo much more comfortable. Couldn’t be the big spoon with a 6-footer!

      • Trish

        I’m the same way! Definitely a big spoon kinda gal! My dude is only 3 inches taller than me, and it’s the best. I once dated a guy who was almost a full foot taller than me and it was terrible, both for spooning and the health of neck having to crane up to look at him, (also, he was a huge asshole, but that was probably unrelated to his height).

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=33704114 Jazmin Lee

        Oh yes you can! I’m 5’2″ and my hubby is 6’3″ and I big spoon him like nobody’s business. :)

    • http://twitter.com/PortraitOfMmeX Madame X

      This is how patriarchy hurts men, too. If gender roles did not dictate that women were small and frail and men were large so they can be the protector, I wonder if women would still feel like they should only date tall dudes.

      • http://www.facebook.com/freedom.fromtyranny.9 Freedom Fromtyranny

        you totally ignoring instincts and only going for the superficiality of “gender roles” indicates lack of knowledge on your part or so biased that you get no respect except from others who are willing to except “little lies”

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=699618735 Cara Crowes

        I wouldn’t! I’m short so I wouldn’t mind a short man!
        If only the patriarchy teaches everybody to like people for who they were and not what they’re taught to like..

      • Charles Zogby

        No one teaches people to be attracted to different things. That’s a completely ridiculous concept. I would be all for trying to “stop teaching girls to prefer tall guys”, but unfortunately that’s not how reality works. It’s an instinct. Sure, it might be reinforced when people talk about it (girls saying things like “tall, dark, and handsome”), but that’s just icing on the cake, not the root cause.

      • kofybean

        It’s patriarchy ‘ s fault that women are basic and swallow? Bravo. You win the “Women are not accountable for anything” award. BRAVO!

      • Charles Zogby

        “If gender roles did not dictate that women were small and frail and men were large” Uh… I’m pretty sure biology dictates that; on average, men turn out larger and stronger. No amount of social conditioning will change that.

      • Aaron

        Not “patriarchy”, societal norms. Many feminists seem to think that men are the sole proprietors and creators of gender roles when this is patently false.

        On a separate note, Charles is a perfect example of someone who cannot move past his instincts. He is, judging from his comment, a purely emotional being with no respect for rational thought.

      • Charles Zogby

        What? Explain what you meant by that insult, it seems to have come out of nowhere. All I said in my comment was that biology determines overall physical form, which is a fact.

      • Aaron

        WHOA. I either totally read your comment wrong or responded to you by accident – my bad, sorry about that.

      • Charles Zogby

        Haha, that’s okay, don’t worry about it.

      • Charles Zogby

        Haha, that’s okay, don’t worry about it.

      • Charles Zogby

        I don’t think anyone expects women to be “small and frail”; I’ve never noticed tall and non-rail-thin girls having any trouble attracting guys. I routinely meet girls like that that I find attractive. It’s just fatness that’s a particular turn-off on a girl for guys. You don’t have to be “small and frail” to not be fat.

    • anna

      I feel bad because I’m 5’2 and almost exclusively date men over 6’2. It’s not a pre-requisite it just works out that way, and I feel like I should leave the amazons for the tall girls out there, as I can easily be with someone who’s 5’5.

      • geoffreyarnold

        The tall girls can just as “easily” be with someone who is 5’5″ too. This idea that “those people are for you” and “these people are for me” is part of the problem.

      • sab

        if you’ve been with someone who’s a foot or more taller you know she means easily as in physically. like, sex is harder. you have to stand on something or crouch to kiss them. hell, i can’t even hear my boyfriend sometimes he’s so far below me! it is much easier to date someone your own height, but life doesn’t always work out that way

      • geoffreyarnold

        I’d be very surprised if she meant that. When most people say that, they mean “socially easy” not “physically easy”.

      • anna

        I was just trying to make a humorous comment, I was talking more about physically easily though. I’ve never much thought about the social aspects, to be honest. I didn’t mean much by it except that I’m too short for the men I date! It would make my life easier if I found a shorter man.

      • gemma_sanji

        if she meant socially easy wouldn’t that only apply if she was tall? she’s short so she can date short or tall men,soceity would accept both. i defintley got the impression she meant physically

      • gemma_sanji

        oh, now i see she’s responded below!

      • julianne

        I’d be very surprised if she meant socially easy, i didn’t get that

      • kyle

        whoaaaa someone hit a nerve lol!

    • http://poorgoop.com/ Samantha

      I have almost always dated shorter guys, not necessarily on purpose, but just because that’s how it’s happened. My current boyfriend is about three inches shorter than me, and I love it. If I wear heels when we’re out, I look super tall and can pretend I’m willowy standing next to him. But it never ceases to amaze me that people feel it necessary to comment. I also find it weird that women will rule out interesting guys from their dating pool because of height. It really doesn’t affect anything that you can’t alter by letting go of insecurities, like not wanting to wear heels or slouching.

      • anna

        I just seem to find tall men more attractive. I have a very specific type of men I like, tall and very thin with long brunette hair. I find other men attractive, but that’s really my ultimate. It’s nothing to do with insecurity, it’s just personal preference

    • Person

      If ugly women are told to work harder, be smarter, and seem nicer to make up for their lack of appearance, and never complain about the short hand life dealt them, shouldn’t short men just be held to the same standards? Why feel sorry for them?

      • Ca

        Ugliness is subjective but height is pretty much standardised. Even if someone is ugly people would not dare say that or mock them to their face. there are people on Twitter who think that short men should be killed off the planet. I don’t think people have ever created a mob where they say ugly people should die because people sympathise with you. People can voice their opinion however they want to and I don’t think being ugly, short, fat or whatever should stop you from doing so.

      • array528

        1) This article isn’t about women of any kind or their problems – just their hang-ups.
        2) No one ever said ugly/fat/stupid women should stop complaining. The only men who say that are tall jock douche-bags. Coincidentally these are the same men nearly every type of woman wants. Ergo, the fault is still with women and not men in this case.

    • Nadia

      I have only ever been attracted to taller men for some reason. My current boyfriend is about 6’3″ and I’m 5’7″. It’s not that I want to feel “protected” by a taller guy, or more feminine next to him, or whatever, it’s just the only type I’ve ever been physically attracted to.

      • zhirzzh

        That’s because they are the type that is generally considered attractive. This comment is like me saying that for some reason I mostly want to date skinny women with large breasts.

      • http://www.facebook.com/megan.kennedy.395 Megan Kennedy

        It is possible to be genuinely attracted to something which also happens to be a societal standard!

      • zhirzzh

        It isn’t the fact that she is attracted to it that I objected to, it was her tone and timing.

        It would also be fine if I was only attracted to conventionally attractive women, but I wouldn’t go to an article about the difficulties larger women have dating, and post a comment that said: “For some reason I only like skinny women.”

      • array528

        Agreed. Nadia is (and Megan is for defending her) a b$@ch…

      • Lisa

        You are tall and that makes sense other people shouldn’t judge you for it

    • Porkchop

      Tall men have a highly visible trait that’s universally admired. The fact that they’re getting extra points, socially, for no good reason, makes them a little less attractive to me. I’ve dated taller, but married shorter. There’s a brand of sharp-wittedness that’s unique to short men, which I like. Not that tall men can’t be clever, but it’s a different kind of clever.

      Obviously, you can’t up and decide to be into a type, but I think there are women out there who would be into shorter guys if it weren’t for tiresome gender roles.

      • Ollie_Cat

        I quite like that, this idea that short men have a unique brand of cleverness about them. Hey, that’s possible. My boyfriend and my favorite teacher ever are both short men, I should go tell them about that and see what they think, haha

      • TravisWalken

        I think it’s that tall men are usually boring with bland personalities..but why is that?

      • Charles Zogby

        Because they’ve never felt the need to try to be interesting; the girls come to them no matter how they act.

      • Tiny Tim

        “Because they’ve never felt the need to try to be interesting; the girls come to them no matter how they act.”

        So true. Tall men have realised that they don’t even really have to try. Women like them regardless.

    • Ollie_Cat

      My boyfriend is maybe half an inch shorter than me, hardly anything, and I’m pretty tall to begin with, so it’s really not so bad.
      However, it pretty much gave me a complex *before* we were dating, and kept saying that I’d date him if he were taller.
      I think I learned an important life lesson, though: that height *isn’t* important. So I don’t wear heels and I let him pretend he’s a liiiitttle bit taller, it’s really no big deal. One of my best friends has a boyfriend that’s just the littlest bit shorter than her as well, but as much as we joke about it, I don’t think it bothers either of us much.

      • zhirzzh

        I’m a little surprised by all of these stories. As a guy who is 5’3″ I pretty much always unintentionally date taller because most girls I know are taller than me, but, while I’ve been turned down for being short a LOT, I don’t recall any negative comments when I was dating a girl who was 5’8″.

      • Ollie_Cat

        Not to say that people are speaking badly about you, because I’m sure no one *actually* cares, but as far as anyone making annoying comments about your height difference, they would more than likely be directed at her.

      • array528

        No one REALLY comments-on/ridicules short man/tall women couples (other than sleazy celebrity tabloids). It’s all a myth women have concocted/agreed upon to justify their shallow tendencies. At least men have the balls (or selfish egos) to admit the things they’re shallow about. Which is why women are 1000x worse than men with regards to superficiality/hypocrisy/etc. I’m sure there is an evolutionary explanation for this but to be pragmatic a man (regardless of his height) must realize: when arguing with a woman you have lost the moment you open your mouth…

      • http://bitesizedbeastmode.tumblr.com/ Brent Jowers

        By not wearing heels, you’re not allowing him to pretend he’s a little bit taller…you’ve just given up the practice of pretending you’re taller.

    • Amanda

      This topic hits home for me. I am 5’5″ & my boyfriend is 5’1″. I have never made height a deciding factor for dating anyone; I think it’s shallow. My boyfriend and I have been together for 5 years and he treats me AMAZING; I’d rather have a short guy that treats me like a queen than a tall prick, or even a tall average guy.

      People are always so quick to point out to both him and I that he is short. Uh, I have 2 eyes & I’m not blind, I can see that. I’ve actually had people tell me they feel bad for me because of it. Why would you feel bad for me? I feel bad for them that they’re so vain and shallow that they would turn down an amazing person because of height.

      It really takes a hit on his pride and confidence when people make short jokes, too. When people point out or make a joke about the fact that he is short, I quickly make a joke about their weight or their saggy breasts or their large nose to show them that it os is NOT okay to just say shit like that. They usually get the point.

    • http://www.facebook.com/hvchronic Hudson Valley Chronic

      It doesn’t matter how tall you are. Just how tall (or, on occasion, “big”) you think you are. Sometimes all you need to build some self-esteem is to hum a little tune in your head before putting your ego or other important body part on the line. Here’s one that works for me:


    • shortguy54

      I’m (just) 5’5, and the author makes a lot of good points. As a man, you can work around being short, but it’s still just a workaround. But in justice, it’s no worse to be a short man than it is to be an overly tall woman. Same problem, different end of the telescope.

      • http://www.facebook.com/czogby2 Charles Zogby

        No, not true. Men don’t find tall women unattractive. Height plays no role in how attractive a man sees a woman. Unless, of course, he’s a short guy who realizes his predicament and wants to make sure he doesn’t pass the problem on to any male kids he has; then he’d find taller women MORE attractive.

    • Torontochick

      I don’t know. I tried giving a short man (5’6, like me), a shot, and he was a bully. Somehow it was worse being bullied by someone my size in height and smaller in overall stature.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jessie-Winitzky/533709461 Jessie Winitzky

      I’ve dated tall and I’ve dated short. My husband is 6’2″ and I hate myself, but I love how tall he is. Bad feminist!

    • Eileen

      My sister is 5’4″ and refuses to date anyone shorter than our mother, who is 5’10″. I judge the hell out of her for this given that we wouldn’t exist at all if our mother hadn’t married a man who is 5’3″. I’m 5’6″ and have so far only dated men in the 5’10 – 6’3″ range, but it hasn’t been for lack of trying (my two agonizing high school crushes were both in the 5’5″ range).

      But yes, it does suck. Because even the things about me that I don’t like, or that aren’t conventionally attractive, there are dudes who are into it. Shortness in men? Pretty universally judged. Although I agree with Sami – Hugh Dancy is not short. The average American man is 5’9″ or so.

    • Gyensik

      I have an idea. Why don’t tall women date short men so that it can solve both their problems? Who cares about jibber jabber people have to say. If someone is being rude you should tell them so. You have the right to be treated with respect like any other human being, just because someone thinks its so hilarious to go against the male taller norm. I believe that the gender norms play no useful role to the modern society since we no longer need males to protect females due to the fact that we have various ways to protect ourselves one of them being the law.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=33704114 Jazmin Lee

      Some short men have a major complex about their height and chalk up their dating woes to how tall they are, rather than to any other personal issues they may have. There are plenty of people in the world ready, willing and able to date a guy of any height, so while I can feel sorry for good men who might get passed over at first glance because of how tall they are, I believe that a wonderful guy will stand out to a wonderful guy or gal, even if he’s not super tall.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=571053749 Joe Black

        You are wrong

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=571053749 Joe Black

      I’m having this surgery in May 2014 at the Betz institute in Germany. Dr. Betz is the world’s leading specialist for this surgery so I have no worries about nerve damage. I’m 5’5″ and will add 3 inches to my tibia, then two years later I will add 2 inches to my femurs. I made a facebook page called “Get Tall or Go Gay” where I give my reasons for taking such drastic steps.


        how much will it cost you

    • J

      Something I read on line. Give it a look.


      i will listen to you

      i will respond to you as i would anyone else

      but i will not take you seriously as a person

      i will never take you seriously

      for real. sorry boyz.

      wow this is fucking disgusting.

      change this with any other oppressed group of people and see how it sounds:

      “if you are a woman i literally cannot take you seriously. i
      will listen to you. i will respond to you as i would anyone else. but i
      will not take you seriously as a person i will never take you

      “if you are a black i literally cannot take you seriously. i
      will listen to you. i will respond to you as i would anyone else. but i
      will not take you seriously as a person i will never take you

      “if you are gay i literally cannot take you seriously. i
      will listen to you. i will respond to you as i would anyone else. but i
      will not take you seriously as a person i will never take you

      “if you are jewish i literally cannot take you seriously. i
      will listen to you. i will respond to you as i would anyone else. but i
      will not take you seriously as a person i will never take you

      (Source: bloggingisstressful)

    • dios

      I have no problem with women admitting that they don’t like short men. What i do not appreciate, however, is when people claim that a man’s height, or lack thereof, has nothing to do with his success or lack of success with women, because it does. I am just under 5’6″–i also have a receding hairline–and while i haven’t been completely dateless, it isn’t easy, and the women that take interest in me tend to be at a noticeably lower level of facial attractiveness than myself; and this something that has mostly been pointed out by others btw, so it’s not just me being conceited.

      Women in the Anglosphere tend to be more hung up on a man’s height i’ve noticed. When i was living in Southern Europe i had no problem dating, and the women were generally a lot prettier than the ones i date here(Australia).

      If women were more honest about their preferences, and their superficiality, it would be much less of a problem. I just can’t stand the hypocrisy.

    • notfunny

      You have no idea what it’s like trying to date as a short man. This may give you some idea… https://twitter.com/expsnghghtsm
      Google “short men should” and see what the auto complete gives you.

    • Jerry Lee

      Short guy cannot even donate sperm because the doctor/society labels us as incapacitated, yet we still need to work like normal ppl… and many jobs simply say no when a short guy shows up by the door. It’s pretty common to see 6 foot tall guys dating a 4 foot 5~4 foot 10 girl, and most short girls don’t want to date guys who are under 5’6 unless they’re super rich. Life sucks as a short man…

    • Zan Zibar

      Maybe it’s better to call a woman’s attention to the fact, whenever they make a comment about a man’s height, that she just made it OK for guys to comment on a woman’s weight, hair, face, or any other physical characteristic. “You just made it OK…” might be the way to go. It is ok to not be attracted to a short guy; You can’t control what you find attractive. But realize that the comments you make “make it OK” for other people to make the same sort of comments about different physical features. Or, “you have no right to complain, if you are going to do the same sort of thing yourself.”

    • anonymous

      fucking bitches guys should hit woman because of that HEIGHT CRAP SO THEY CAN RESPECT THE DIFFERENCE

    • anonymous


    • anonymous


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    • Ronnie

      I’m a short man – 5’5 on a good day. I’ve been turned down by women on countless occasions because they have issues with my lack of height and have at times been left feeling very bitter towards the opposite sex.

      However, what I will say is this: small men are all too aware of this disadvantage and therefore, if given a chance by a woman, would treat them like royalty. Tall men on the other hand (I’m talking men who are 6 foot and above) have learnt to expect female attention pretty much wherever they go and therefore take it for granted. To them it’s no big deal. To us, that sort of attention means EVERYTHING.

      I managed to get a girl who’s 5’7, extremely pretty and, by her own admission, usually dates tall guys. How? By being charming, caring, funny and showering her with gifts.

      What I’m trying to say is: “women, give small men a chance!: Small men work at relationships harder than a tall man ever would, because they appreciate the chance they’ve been given, whereas a tall man knows he’s sought after and has a much larger selection of women to choose from.

    • Haris Slovic

      I would give ANYTHING to be a tall, lean man. Like 6’2 or something. Those guys really do get their pick of the girls, they don’t even have to be that handsome.

      Small guys like me have to rely on facial attractiveness, and even then you’ll get comments like “if only you weren’t short.”
      To all tall men out there, I say make the most of what you’ve got. You have no idea how much someone like me would give to have your height.

    • kofybean

      “I pretty strongly feel that men should stop critiquing women for any number of physical traits.”
      Name one physical trait the majority of men reject women for? There is no comparison. White, black, fat, small chest, red hair, freckles…. there is a significant group of men everywhere that prefers every characteristic of woman. You make feel that only the top 1% of men may critique women, but not all, not majority, not even most.

      There doesn’t exist any sizable group of woman that prefer short men for you to make that comparision.

    • Thomas Davie

      Alpha females will not date a short man. Lots sleep with them, but few to none mate with them.

      Being tall it more attractive than being short. Being fit is more attractive than being fat. Being smart is WAY more attractive than being stupid.

    • SuperiorTallMen

      Short GUYs (because they aren’t really men – REAL MEN are at least SIX FEET TALL) – short GUYs should be rounded up and put into labor camps. Once we get a few years of work out of them we can take care of them with some bullets or nerve gas or a few furnesses.

      Such WORTHLESS little creeps short guys are.