Thursday, February 21, 2013

#337 Dating Down

I recently saw an interesting segment on CBS Sunday Morning that discussed the topic of tall women and their limited dating pool, with most of them having to date down (aka, date shorter men). Mo Rocca (LOVE him) talked to several tall women (6’ to 6’3”) to get their thoughts on this phenomenon. (Ok, why is it when people talk to “tall” women, they are always 6’1” or 6’2”. They never talk to the seriously tall). Most admitted that they prefer dating men their height or taller. However, he did talk to one couple where the woman is 6’1” and her husband is 5’7” and they are very happy together. I did love his quote…something like, “I never thought I would end up with a woman who could physically pick me up.”

In high school I refused to date down. I actually had a couple guys ask me out who were under 6’. Nada. No way. No how.

When I got to college I thought I would be in guy heaven. Surely there would be at least one guy out of the approximately 20,000 students who would be of a suitable height. As luck would have it, there was one. Oh there were plenty others who were tall enough, and even some on the basketball team who were way tall enough. I went on a few dates but no one really caught my attention. Except for the one who happened to be 6’4”. (See Post #329 to see how that turned out.)

Post-college I’ve dated sporadically and I would estimate that the height of the guys has ranged from 5’9” to 6’10”. I’ve met a few guys (and dated a couple) throughout my life who were a lot shorter than me that I was really interested in (most recently, “Carl”. I’ll save that for another post). Ironically, I’ve found that shorter guys are more likely to be interested in me than guys closer to my height. I was on a first (and last) date with a 6’4” guy who said he always wished he was taller. He then commented that I probably wished I was shorter. I said no. (Crickets)

The 6’10” guy (referenced above) told me that if I was taller than him he wouldn’t want to date me. I can agree with that to a point. 6’11” is tall even by my standards, but I know a couple attractive women in that height range.

I have had my height “rules” - my Jim Harbaugh Rule (Post #2) and my Costaki Rule (Post #249). (Alas, both of them are taken.) In all seriousness though, at the end of the day, it’s not only about height. It’s about a connection and how that person makes me feel. I want them to be in the height ballpark, but I would choose 6’4” and a great connection over a 6’10” dud. (For the record, the 6’10” guy was not a dud. We just wanted different things, i.e., marriage and kids).

Why the rules? Why don’t I like to date shorter men? The bottom line is that I just feel more feminine when I’m around a tall man. I could care less what others think of how I look with a shorter man. I actually think it looks kinda cool when I see celebrity couples where the woman is a little taller. But if the difference is too great, I start to feel like a dude. One woman Mo talked to said she feels like their mother if she’s significantly taller.

Which brings up one of my biggest pet peeves - seeing a really tall man with a really short woman. Really?! Save some for the rest of us!! If they’re holding hands it looks like he’s taking her for a walk. But I digress…

So what’s a tall girl to do? Especially when approximately four percent of the male U.S. population is 6’2” or taller. (Holy $#!% that is a scary statistic.) I will continue to date people I’m attracted to who are close to my height.

But where are all the tall guys? I think Mo needs to do another segment on that topic.


  1. I decided that height wasn't the first requirement so I could date some guys who met other requirements that are more important to me. I'm 6'3, shorter than you, but the number of taller guys is pretty low and finding unattached ones who don't mind tall woman is hard. I do find the taller guys seem to like much shorter women - at least that's what it seems like.

    My family is average height and I somehow ended up taller. I'm about five inches taller than my dad and older brother, so shorter guys doesn't seem unnatural to me I guess. I'm pretty thin and if the guy has a bit of muscle, that makes me feel feminine around him.

    For what its worth the guys I've done best with have all been a bit shorter. The two who were much taller weren't good matches, although people would come up and tell us what a cute couple we made. That never happens with a shorter guy.

    The statistics are a little worse than the 4%. The most current large American study has adult males from 20 to 50 at 69.5" mean height and a standard deviation of 2.5". That means about 3.6% who are 6'2 or taller and 0.5% taller than 6'4. Not great numbers for those who are picky.

    I think the reason why tall women who get interviewed are 6' or so is that anyone who is much taller is *really* rare.

  2. Interesting points made here..

    I must add that I prefer taller woman as a guy with 'average' height for a guy (6-1); with that said, I would not feel funny/inferior/unmanly/insecure over anyone and wouldn't mind dating someone as tall as 7-0. Its all about how you carry yourself as a man and what makes you feel happy from within.

    Two months ago, I hung out with one who I seen off and on at my job who is 6-2 and loved every minute I was with her; no big deal right? Though there are some guys who wouldn't even consider hanging out with someone an inch taller...

    A year ago after a women's basketball game I met UConn legend Kara Wolters (6-7) and took a picture with her--gosh was I nervous, though again, not insecure or anything like that; obviously she's married though I would not mind dating someone like that, who is not only taller though bigger as well.

    A lot of guys I know for a fact wouldn't date anyone slightly taller than them (especally those who are 5-8, 5-9) and consider them as a turnoff.

    I guess I would be picky on the reverse end, since I do not see myself with any woman who is shorter than 5-10, though keep in mind its not like I'm not attracted to those shorter (there are two women I work with I like who can't be any taller than 5-0!)

    And about the taller man/shorter woman--I don't think many would do a double take in public with that as vice versa (alluding to Jheri's point!); although I wouldn't care what someone would say to me, I know most would look twice if I was with someone even 6-3. Again, its how you carry yourself and how you feel (guess that makes me the small percentage of an unattached guy who doesn't mind tall women!); a guy has to be confident from within and not listen to what friends and those on the outside are going to say.

  3. I'm a 6'11" guy. Believe me, I would love to date a woman closer to my height. Have never even met one though.

  4. 6'8" guy here. I stumbled upon your blog after researching bicycle fitting... I'm glad that internet surfing brought me here, you have interesting insights! I'm married, and hopelessly in love with a 5'3" woman who I "take for a walk" everyday. My opinion is that you love who you love, and it doesn't follow any logic or reason. That being said, I do wonder if some sort of biologic imperative told us "hey friend, you've reached the end of the Bell Curve, let's figure out a way to balance things out in the next generation." Keep up the good work!