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I Know my Place - What's the Obsession With Tall Men?

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TOM CRUISE DANCING
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Back in the days when I was internet dating, nothing dispirited me more than when I'd see the profile of a woman who was invariably around the 5'0" mark stating they would only date men over 5'10".

As a 5'6" shortarse, I almost took this as a personal affront. I mean, it's hardly my fault my genetic code couldn't stretch to another four inches in height, stretching me into that magical 'tall' category.

I simply couldn't understand why someone would rule out the likes of Richard Burton (5'8"), Robert Downey Jr (5'7"), Elijah Wood (5'6") or Tom Cruise (5'7") purely on the basis of their height. Especially when there are plenty of other reasons not to want to date Tom Cruise, such as him being quite spectacularly insane.

There are loads of bonuses to being shorter than the UK's average height of 5'10". In the days when I was more svelte, I could quite easily fit into a pair of child-sized jeans, saving myself from the indignity of paying VAT on clothes. As a student I could often be found wearing a 'Brownies' t-shirt, for ages 7-11, it was all very 'ironic' in the way only students can be but it certainly gave girls something to talk to me about.

In crowds, I can weave around the taller folk around me more easily and when the heavens open and it starts raining I can duck below outstretched hands with their dangerously protruding umbrellas.

Some quick research reveals there are also health benefits of being short - the World Health Organization has regularly produced data showing short people live longer. We're also less likely to get cancer, there's apparently a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and, because we don't have as far to fall, we're less likely to break a hip when we trip up and hit the pavement.

We even have a reduced impact on the environment - we use less water and consume fewer resources.

Yet we're still not generally seen as desirable or as potential husband material.

I'm sure anyone who comments on this article will accuse me of having 'small man syndrome', the accusation that smaller men somehow feel the need to assert themselves more - a phrase that was delightfully redefined for me as 'what in taller men would simply be called confidence'. The inference of 'small man syndrome' is that we'd love to be taller.

In some ways, yes I would. As my waistline slowly increases as I slide inexorably towards my mid-30s, it's harder to find a good pair of trousers that have a 28" inside leg when the waist measurement has to be a 34". Going up to a 30" inside leg would make clothes shopping much more palatable. At gigs it would be nice not to have to have to weave my way towards the front so I can see the stage and sometimes attracting bar staff can be difficult unless there's a handy ledge I can pop myself up on.

Having said that, I think it's time for small men to shout from the rooftops about how it's not a crime to be short, how we're just as funny, loving, sexy and masculine as tall men. The only shame is that we have to go up to the rooftops at all - because otherwise no one will see us.

Around the Web

Do Short Men Stand A Chance? - AskMen

Height discrimination - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Are You Too Short to Date? - Short Guys Rule | Short Man Dating

Ladies - Would you date a short man? [Archive] - JREF Forum