The internet has been abuzz since a new study revealed that New York women on online dating sites respond to only 1.2 percent of men shorter than five feet, nine inches tall. This surprising statistic has many up in arms — especially considering the average American woman is an appreciably more petite 5’4″ — including Glamour.com, which nobly set out yesterday to “debunk the reasoning” behind our apparent collective bias against dating short men.
Here, dear reader, is where you might stop liking me. When I joined OKCupid, my top (and, really, only) priority was filtering my potential matches by height. I don’t date men who are shorter than me.
To be clear: It’s my loss. I’m shallow. It’s not them, it’s me. I’m 5’9″, which isn’t outrageously tall, but I have been 5’9″ since the sixth grade, when it was outrageously tall. My self-consciousness about my size as a gawky preteen may have insidiously embedded itself into my neurobiology. Today, I recognize that love is a numbers game. I would love to date short men if only because it’d vastly expand my dating pool. In fact, I’ve tried it. I’ve known short men I considered both wonderful human beings and objectively quite cute — stamped with the official red seal of Boyfriend Material — but who never managed to flip whatever switch in my reptilian brain operates my vagina.
I wholeheartedly agree that dating requires open-mindedness. I have more than once met someone whom I wrote off as a total moron and/or asshole, then shortly thereafter proceeded to fall in love with. (To be fair, I am arguably both a moron and an asshole.) Refusing to date short men out of fear you’ll “look funny together” or that you won’t feel comfortable wearing heels — two of the common reasons Glamour.com preaches against — is rull, rull dumb, ladies. If you want to date somebody, date the shit out of them. But I bristle at the implication that there’s something inherently morally wrong about who I choose to date. Guilting yourself into pursuing someone who you know, empirically, doesn’t do anything for you is a waste of time for everyone involved.
Here’s another fact about me: I hate goat cheese. Most adults love goat cheese. I acknowledge that my palate is flawed and that I’m missing out on any number of delicious, well-crafted dishes that everyone else can enjoy. Yes, maybe every once in a while I should take a bite of goat cheese and see if I like it — in case it is, as they say, an acquired taste. But after years of this, I’m pretty sure I’ll always feel the same way about goat cheese. You know what definitely won’t change my mind? Force-feeding me ten pounds of it. That is a waste of excellent goat cheese someone else would’ve loved to have eaten, not to mention that I will probably vomit all over you. Personal preferences exist, and to deny that is willful ignorance. My aversion to goat cheese doesn’t make me a bad person — neither does my attraction to tall men.
Necessary postscript: If mid-1980s Michael J. Fox (who is 5’4″) time-traveled to the present to ask me out, I would be in the DeLorean’s passenger seat before you can say, “Wow, you’re clearly a giant hypocrite.”