Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Coming Up Short In The Romance Department

What is it that a woman wants in a man? I wonder. I wonder a lot, actually, since I'm now in my mid-30s and am still single.

I've tried online dating. Match, OKCupid, eHarmony...I used all three. And I've quit them all, because ultimately I found them to be frustrating. I didn't feel any closer to finding my perfect match because of them. If anything, I was feeling farther away from finding my perfect match.

I've written about my experiences with online dating before. I will say, though, that there was one particular aspect that bothered me so much that I was compelled to cancel my accounts on all of the aforementioned sites in short order: 

Women and their prejudice against short men.

Of course, not all women are prejudiced against short men. But the majority of those I encountered on Match et al. were. They specifically stated that they were only interested in men who are 5'10" or taller. In many cases, 6' or taller.

In the interest of full disclosure: I'm not 5'10" or taller. I'm 5'6", or three and a half inches shorter than the average American male. So obviously, I had reason to be disappointed with any woman who was unwilling to give me a shot because of my stature. 

If nothing else, it really limited the pool of women I could choose from on the dating sites. If I'm paying a website $19.99/month for its dating services, it should come with the expectation that if I wink at a woman who's 5'9", she'll at least consider winking back.

It's puzzling to me that so many women can be so short-sighted when it comes to romance. Ladies, indulge me as I make a case for myself and all of the other single and small men out there:

* You're selling yourself short by not dating short men. I'm not saying you can't have a height preference. But to assume that there's not one short man in the world with whom you could possibly have a deep, emotional and lasting connection? That's a tough sell.

Three years ago, I disliked Lana Del Rey's music. I listened to "Video Games" and saw her on SNL, and was not impressed. I completely wrote her off.

And then I found myself on a flight that offered several musical selections on its entertainment system, including her first album. Keeping an open mind, and with our arrival not scheduled for another two hours, I listened to it, and was pleasantly surprised. I really, really enjoyed it. I've been a fan ever since. I just saw Lana Del Rey in concert last week. She's completely changed the way I think about summertime sadness this time of year.

* It's hypocritical of you to not date short men. This mostly applies to women who are petite but choose not to be involved with men who are equally as petite. Remember those women I mentioned earlier, who would only date someone who is 5'10" or taller? A healthy number of them were 5'4" or shorter. 

Let's discuss this rationally, shall we? If, for some reason, short men were to take the same approach and ignore short women, then no one who is below-average height would ever date again. And then what? All short people would be lonely for the rest of their lives. A depressing thought, no? Actually, it sounds like a great premise for a reality show on some cable network.

A female friend once told me she doesn't want to date a man who's shorter than her because, "I don't want to look down on him." I quickly pointed out, "With that mentality you are looking down on him." Figuratively as well as literally, you see.

* "Short" talk is relative. You may think I'm short because I'm 5'6", but 600 years ago I would have been a giant at my height. 

Even now, my height is considered average in countries including China, the Phillippines and Uruguay. I'm pretty much a stud over there, by your standards.

* Short men can do certain things better than tall men. For example, if you drop something on a bus and it rolls underneath your seat, who would you trust to retrieve it for you as quickly as possible? The guy who's 6'? I don't think so.

I'm going to revisit my childhood for another example. When I performed the V-sit reach in high school gym class as part of the Physical Fitness Test, I absolutely crushed it. I was able to extend my entire hand past my toes, with room to spare, thanks to my short legs. The taller male students couldn't even reach their toes. Chew on that for a second.

* There are many short men, past and present, who have achieved greatness. Tom Cruise, Seth Green, Gary Coleman. Not only did Napoleon rule France with an iron fist, he also inspired a dessert, a complex and a character in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. How many tall men can you say that about?

My favorite basketball player as a kid was Muggsy Bogues. He was 5'3" but tallied more than 6,800 points and 6,700 assists -- more in either category than 7'6" Shawn Bradley, a top NBA draft pick while Muggsy was in the league. Muggsy had more rebounds and blocks, too. (I don't have time to verify that, but I'm fairly certain it's accurate.) Whose career would you rather have?

Ladies, next time you come across the profile of a short man on OKCupid or Match, ask yourself: Do I really want to pass up the chance to date someone who could be the next Napoleon or Muggsy Bogues?