A few weeks ago I got into it with a guy named Justin at Phi’s place. Justin suggested that women like guys with more flab than they have. That runs contrary to my great deal of experience on the issue both as a former tubmeister and a former beanpole. I’ve heard the statement made before, but frankly it comes across to me somewhere slightly less credible than “I just want a nice guy” and somewhat more credible than “I don’t care about looks.” Women that are comparatively heavier than myself are overrepresented among the women that have actively campaigned for my romantic companionship. The attention I got as a beanpole was significantly greater than the attention I got as an even moderately overweight guy. The attention I got as a substantially overweight guy – even from heavy girls – was negligible.

But where Justin’s comments about girls liking a bigger guy because of some feeling of being protected is not completely without merit. The thing is, though, that it doesn’t apply to weight nearly as much as it does height. I have fairly extensive catalog of my strengths and weaknesses in the dating market from back in the day. The more I weighed, the bigger the score in the “weakness” column. My height, though, was always a plus. This was particularly true among comparatively tall women, but somewhat true among moderately tall women and even true, from time to time, among shorter ones.

I was thinking about this as I read the Frisky post about how to date a tall chick. I found the discussion to be much more interesting than the post itself. In my experience, taller women are actually more self-conscious about being abnormally tall than the guys that date tall chicks, provided that the guys themselves are not themselves abnormally short. My experience is, of course, not as a tall girl but as a tall guy that is appreciated by tall girls. My wife (5’10”) is not generally the type of person to care about such things, but even she expressed an appreciation of being shorter than her husband even when she’s wearing 3-inch heels. An old flame of Clint’s (6’0″) actually lined two suitors up to decide which of two guys that asked her she would go to the school dance with (Clint won). And so on. That’s not to say that all tall women are hung up on their height, but in the same way that many of my tormentors in high school were short guys with something to prove, the women I know most hung up on male height are those that are themselves tall. Some guys prefer shorter girls and so tall women with an open mind can be discriminated against, but it doesn’t seem to be quite as common. Maybe that’s just me.

One of the things that some of the taller guys didn’t get is that it’s different when a tall guy is joshed around with because of his height and when a taller girl is. Tall guys, unless they’re freakishly tall, do not generally have reason to be self-conscious about their height. None of the bullies I ever had made fun of me because I was tall. Maybe it’s because my width was a more obvious point of criticism, but I also think because there’s no percentage in going after a guy because he’s tall. Notably, some people made fun of Clint for being short. But he wasn’t short. He was just standing next to me a lot. For girls, though, it’s different. Being tall is considered unfeminine by some. Some guys do discriminate against them. They are likely to have an even more difficult time finding clothes that fit than a tall guy is and the clothes they purchase matter more. So even lighthearted ribbing on a woman’s height that would be perfectly acceptable on a guy can be more problematic with a woman.

The short women also don’t get it. You think it’s hard for you to find clothes? It’s much harder for tall people. Casually, it’s easier to wear something too big than too small. A lot of smaller people can continue to buy kid-sized things but bigger people don’t have that option unless they can buy men’s clothes (which they often do!). And while it’s inconvenient to have to reach for things on the top shelf, it’s also inconvenient not to fit in a plane seat or the back seat (or front seat) of a car. Women generally have longer legs than men so leg-space can become an even bigger issue for women than for men of the same height. Okay, I’m probably selling short the inability to reach things and that may be slightly worse than having to crouch in the car, but it’s closer than short people think.

Plus, for short women, they have the ability to make short guys and moderately-sized guys feel tall and they rarely put off tall guys. When I was younger, I was actively attracted to shorter girls until I realized that it was a market mismatch. Again, while discrimination against taller women is not universal in the dating marketplace, it’s still not unheard of. And if tall women would prefer a taller guy, that’s very much their right. But it’s an inconvenient desire. Tall guys are in a similarly beneficial place, of course, as I described before. Short chubby women in particular seem predisposed to be attracted to taller but not as chubby men. Sort of allows them to feel like the guy is “bigger” in that “protect” sort of way but without having the disadvantage of having to date someone with a comparable BMI. I don’t think it generally works. Certainly didn’t work on me.

Of course, being a tall woman is not without its disadvantages for some of the same reasons that I rejoice in being a tall guy. Not just because you can reach things! Being tall allows you to eat more. Weight loss may be less apparent (despite losing similar poundage, people notice my wife’s weight-loss a lot more quickly than they notice mine), but weight gain is less problematic. I think that this is more true for guys than for girls since we can get away with more extra weight than can girls, but I think it’s also true (to a lesser extent) for girls. At some point you can be described as “big” in a way that’s not meant in an unflattering way. Some of the chubby shorties I was referring to earlier aren’t actually that much overweight from a pure poundage standpoint, but what little extra weight they have seems to clump up in unflattering places. So tall women at least do have that.

Short men, on the other hand, don’t even have that. About all they’ve got is the ability to fit into more places. It’s hard not to be sympathetic.


Category: Coffeehouse

About the Author

Will Truman (trumwill) is a southern transplant in the mountain east with an IT background who bides his time taking care of their daughter while his wife brings home the bacon. You will probably be relieved to know that he does not generally refer to himself in the third-person except when he's writing short bios on his web page.

14 Responses to The Weather Up Here Is Dandy

  1. Peter says:

    Weight is turning out to be one of the main issues in this year’s election for governor of New Jersey. The (super-fit) incumbent, Jon Corzine, has been running ads which not-so-subtly hint at the fact that challenger Chris Christie is very fat.

  2. rob says:

    I’ve always thought that tall women’s dating disadvantage was self-imposed. Fare more a matter of women despising short men than short men disliking tall women.

    Not to mention, tall is huge plus for men, and roughly neutral for women. Tall women only dating taller men, is to paraphrase Agnostic, the equivalent of a man saying “I have C cup man boobs, so I’ll only date women with D cup and larger breasts.”

  3. Linus says:

    Rob, just because women’s height doesn’t matter to men doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter to women. Many of them truly do care, and for the reasons Will lays out in his post.

    That said, I (5′ 9 3/4″) dated a taller woman (6’0″) once, and although it took a little while getting used to the different physics of hugs, dancing, and the like, it was never a big deal.

  4. trumwill says:

    Peter,

    I’ve been following that, actually. It’s pretty shameful, in my opinion. Suggesting that you shouldn’t vote for someone because they’re fat is pretty shameful. I hope it backfires.

    Rob,

    If you read through the comments of the post above, tall women apparently do feel that they suffer disadvantages in the relationship marketplace compared to their normal-heighted (and even shorter) sistren. Guys are intimidated and so don’t ask them out, guys that are with them are insecure, and so on. I still think (agreeing with you) that they are more often the issue with the desire for a man taller, but I do think that there’s more to it than that.

  5. Peter says:

    A model for Ralph Lauren was fired after several years with the company because she was too fat. She is 5’10” and 120 pounds.

  6. Ferdinand Bardamu says:

    “”A few weeks ago I got into it with a guy named Justin at Phi’s place…The attention I got as a substantially overweight guy – even from heavy girls – was negligible.”

    If Justin is seriously arguing that women prefer fat guys over skinny guys, he’s even more clueless then I thought.

    I can corroborate your assertion, Trumwill. I spent an unfortunate percentage of my young life overweight – not grotesquely so, but I had a stomach. This was also the period of my life in which girls ignored me for the most part. While I think that part of the reason fat guys are ignored is because they disproportionately tend to be shy and lacking in self-confidence, there’s really no getting over the fact that few woman want to be with a fat slob.

    In regards to tall girls, the biggest problem is that since most women prefer men who are taller then them, tall women have a smaller pool of men to choose from. I’ve had women outright say to me that they refuse to date men who are shorter then them. Height is one of those inflexible metrics of a man’s desirability.

  7. rob says:

    Men are intimadated, maybe. It’s pretty hard to distinguish people have figured out that a category of the opposite sex isn’t interested, so they stopped trying, from being genuinelly uninterested in that category. But all the whining internet betas, none of them ever say “those really tall wimminzes aren’t into me.”

    But Linus, women caring about how tall women are even though men don’t is evidence of pricing themselves out of the market.

    On the other hand, I’m not super short. 5’9 or 10, but I’m the only guy I’ve known who is shorter than his mom.

  8. Barry says:

    I love being tall. I’ve been about 6’2″ since I was in high school, and one of the best things is the ability to deal with crowds. When you’re one of the tallest if not the tallest in the room, you can see over everyone. You can see what’s coming down the sidewalk or the hallway, and best of all because of that you can move through the crowds with minimal interference. Being relatively thin (or at least being able to suck in the stomach somewhat) makes it a cinch to make my way quickly through even a heavy crowd with very little bumping or toe-stepping-on.

    One disadvantage to being tall and with a shorter girl is stride difference. I have a long stride, and when I’m walking tend to get where I’m going fairly quickly. When I’m walking with my wife, I forget myself and frequently have to stop and wait for her to catch up (she’s 5’8″). It’s frustrating for both of us sometimes, though by now we’re both used to it.

    What’s odd is that I was this height when I was young – high school through college – relatively thin until after I got married, but all that time practically zero interest from women. So while being tall is a plus from a practical standpoint, I think it only really serves to enhance a relationship possibility, not start one.

  9. trumwill says:

    If Justin is seriously arguing that women prefer fat guys over skinny guys, he’s even more clueless then I thought.

    Not quite. His position is that girls like guys that are their size or larger, which since most girls are overweight, means that being overweight is a premium. My position is “NUH-UH!” but that what he says does apply to height.

    While I think that part of the reason fat guys are ignored is because they disproportionately tend to be shy and lacking in self-confidence, there’s really no getting over the fact that few woman want to be with a fat slob.

    Yeah, confidence is a factor, but I would say it’s 60/40 or 70/30 in favor of actual appearance. That’s not to say that weight is an insurmountable drawback. Just that if you take any guy that’s big (and not in a muscular way) and romantically successful and make him thinner, he’ll have more success. Take any fat guy with a self-confidence problem and make him thinner, he’ll have more success. The latter guy thin may still have less success than the former guy fat, which confuses people, but there ya go.

    It’s pretty hard to distinguish people have figured out that a category of the opposite sex isn’t interested, so they stopped trying, from being genuinelly uninterested in that category.

    Never having been a tall woman, I can’t say with any real knowledge. But those that have tried dating short guys say that they don’t work out due to male insecurity. It’s possible that in at least some of the cases it’s projection, but I’m not sure it is in all cases. I’ve known a lot of short guys with Napoleon complexes. About half of the guys that tried to pick on me in junior high were shorter than average.

    True. I hear more complaints from tall women abou

    So while being tall is a plus from a practical standpoint, I think it only really serves to enhance a relationship possibility, not start one.

    Being tall isn’t sufficient. But it’s still quite a boost (no pun intended). Enough to get you noticed by people that otherwise might not notice you and even get a flicker of interest from people that otherwise, well, wouldn’t notice you. But it’s not nearly enough to seal the deal.

  10. rob says:

    I think the confidence thing is mostly bs. Or I think the chain of causation is more that success in dating leading to confidence than the other way. The confident certainly have an advantage in that they persue more people, and look less desperate doing it. I’ll even grant that confidence itself is an independent plus, But how did the confident get that way?

    But how long does confidence last without positive reinforcement for the non-delusional? By and large, confidence is a function of success. Sure, success depends on luck too. Most people can dust themselves off a few times. In the long run, confident people have reasons to be that way. Women especially seem really good at spotting false confidence.

  11. trumwill says:

    Depends on how competent the confidence-faker is! I do agree that women are better at spotting fake confidence than we’re willing to and that “Just act confident” is not particularly helpful advice a good deal of the time.

    That being said, confidence is based not only on what successes one has but also on what successes one has recently. A spot of good luck can become a string of good luck because of confidence. And so, despite being more-or-less the same person you were after than stroke of good fortune, you can have different successes. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that when I was in the dating world, I would typically go about three dry months followed rather suddenly by angling with three girls at once.

    Some of it is luck, but some of it is that when I am feeling good about one prospect, I am feeling good about myself. When I’m feeling good about myself, I’m (a) more likely to put myself out there and (b) far less likely to blow it when I do.

    And if confidence is not the silver bullet (and I don’t think that it is), a lack of confidence (aka insecurity) can be deadly.

  12. rob says:

    Trumwill, we don’t much disagree on confidence. It is necessary, but not sufficient. I tend to think it is a bit less responsive to recent events than you, I could so be wrong on that: being a slow learner on that is prolly not selected for. Faking it is fairly hard. Also, guys who tend to be socially ‘tarded tend to be even worse at faking it than average.

    On tall women thinking they’re disadvantaged in dating: I agree that they feel that way, but I think they feel that way because they have higher(heh) expectations because they’re tall. Women like tall so much, it wouldn’t surprise me if tall girls are more likely to be “Queen bees” in single-sex peer groups. But height and social standing are not as attractive to men as they are to women.

    Both men and women think that the other sex puts more weight on traits that they themselves like in the opposite sex or admire in their own. Men think women like men way more muscular than they actually do, probably because men tend to be cowed by and admire muscular men.

    It is quite possible that women think men like tall, and therefore women, including tall women, think tall women are higher in desirablity than they are.

  13. rob says:

    A little peice of evidence that tall women don’t suffer from height except by choice. We know men discrimanate against both fat and ugly women. There are insults for both groups. Have you heard a tall-specific insult for women? Closest I can come up with is Sarah plain and tall, and plain is the insulting part.

  14. trumwill says:

    It’s a different sort of problem than being fat. Women don’t suffer from height because guys are unattracted to height. They suffer because guys are intimidated and insecure. So they don’t get nicknames like Whale or Fatso, but instead might be referred to as Amazon or something.

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