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How can short men be successful at dating?

How can short men be successful at dating?

Relationships

Anouszka Tate answers another reader question about sex and relationships. This time about the anxieties of short men on the dating scene...

Reader question: I’m shorter than average and I only like dating women smaller than me which diminishes the dating pool, but even within that pool I do feel like I’m unfairly or quickly judged just for my height. How can I stop this happening? How can short men be successful at dating?

Ok, normally I can offer a relatively quick and concise answer to reader questions – advice that can remedy a situation almost immediately. I’m afraid this is much bigger than you (pun genuinely not intended).

Would you like to know the source of your upset and frustration?

The patriarchy.

This is toxic masculinity roaring at the top of its lungs and beating its chest. This is why feminism benefits everyone of every gender, and why you – as a man – should have a huge vested interest.

Western patriarchy puts masculinity and femininity on pedestals. Granted, the former gets a higher and more decorated stool than the latter, but both symbolise certain ideals that must be upheld. They both strictly prescribe certain characteristics.

Patriarchy teaches men that they are strong, both physically and mentally. To be anything less is to be less of a man. They are to be protectors, and this often means asserting that physical strength. Men are told that their presence must be felt, and that they must therefore take up space. Indeed, that it’s their right to do so.

To be a protector, a man must have someone to protect. Enter woman, taught to be man’s opposite. Soft, petite, dainty. Feminine. In order to be socially acceptable, un-intimidating, palatable to men, she shrinks herself – both her voice and her physical body.

Women of all heights seek taller men because the patriarchy has told them that they should be the smaller one in the relationship. They should be shorter and lighter than their partner. Societal messaging makes us want to feel like a ‘proper’, feminine girl.

Meanwhile, men of all heights feel much more comfortable with shorter women because it’s an outward expression that they’re fulfilling their role of ‘Man: The Protector’.

So to come back to your question more directly, what I want you to hold on to is that when a woman dismisses you for your height, it says more about her own internalised misogyny, body image, and self-esteem than it does about you. I appreciate that’s not hugely helpful for you because you can’t immediately affect what’s been going on in the brain of Woman You Want To Date for the last couple of decades.

However, you can be part of the conversation that changes societal norms…

…because men also continue to enforce this social construct by insisting on women being smaller than them in order to boost their own ego. (Note, you too are buying into this, so check yourself as well as questioning women’s reactions to you).

A lot of men put their height in their dating profile which doesn’t help the situation. I do often wonder if this is the 21st century equivalent of screeching round urban streets in a sports car – ie. let’s lead with this big show of dominance because honestly it’s all I’ve got going for me. Talk to your male friends, question their preferences and probe their insecurities because they’re part of your solution.

There’s also a self-esteem piece on your part here. Yes, I appreciate we live in a visuals-centric world that forces us to make snap decisions based on appearances, but if you are able to get past this initial barrier, do not then spend the date being shy or self-conscious or dwelling on this one perceived weakness. 1) It’s not a weakness, and 2) your confidence and calm energy is ultimately what will draw Date Woman to you.

It’s easier said than done, but the less you care about this, the more you’ll attract the women who also don’t care about this. Once you let go of the idea of appearing ‘masculine’ or ‘dominant’ you’ll be able to trust that the women who are interested are genuinely there for you. You’ll be able to see your positive traits too, rather than getting wrapped up in your own negative image.

It’s incredibly difficult to untangle which of our preferences are truly our preferences, and which are socially constructed, because literally all of our likes and dislikes – in and out of the bedroom – are informed by the world we’ve experienced around us. So to some extent we all need to cut ourselves a bit of slack.

Intellectually we can understand and accept that this is nonsense, but emotionally it can still hold power. That’s ok, but from here we need to work towards unlearning a lot of shite we’ve taken as gospel.

Basically we’d have less of a problem if we stopped aspiring towards masculinity and femininity like they themselves are physical and character traits. It’s incredibly heteronormative and unhelpful for everyone involved to feel that within a relationship it has to be clear who is the ‘man’ and who is the ‘woman’.

So a note for everyone: dismantle the patriarchy, constantly question your own judgements, and ultimately let yourself fall for a person – whoever they are – without fear.

 

What are you confused, curious, or concerned about? Ask me a question in the comments below or on my Instagram page, and I’ll do my best to answer in my next column! 

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