Dating is hard enough without all the expectations we set for our partners, yet we're all guilty of having them. While we normally think of men having an unattainable "body ideal" for women, the truth is women also have an "ideal" body type for the men they pursue. Most guys are more likely to consider shape and weight when it comes to a female significant other, but women tend to focus on height as a dealbreaker.
According to many ladies, dating a short dude is a big no-no. What's even more concerning is the fact that only a small percentage of men actually meet women's height "requirements."
According to some very telling statistics, only 14% of men in the US are 6 feet tall or over, which means 86% of US men don't meet most women's ideal.
Plenty of women describe their dream man as being tall — six feet or more. But judging by the statistics, that's pretty tough to find.
"I am definitely attracted to taller guys," one Reddit user explained. "I dated someone recently who was a little less than a foot taller than me and I really liked it. I do prefer it.”
For some, it's about the security the height difference makes them feel.
“I do tend to feel awkward dating people who are shorter than me, and I'm not entirely sure why," another Reddit user commented. "It's like it's a mental thing I have where I need my partner to be bigger than me to make me feel secure or something. I like feeling small when I'm with a guy.”
For other women, it's 100% about the man's insecurities rather than their own.
"I have never met a short guy who was completely comfortable with his own height. Most are extremely self-conscious to the point of making mean comments about my height," a woman wrote on her blog. She also added that she's found that most shorter guys have a Napoleon complex and feel the need to overcompensate.
"I also deal with so many ignorant men who make a huge deal about my height, probably to bury their own insecurity or intimidation," a woman told BuzzFeed. "They make endless unwarranted comments, trying to reassure me that I don't seem 'too tall' or 'too big.' They'll say, 'You carry it well,' or 'Just don't wear heels and you're fine.'"
In fact, some are so used to the whole "the man needs to be taller" norm that they're critical of other people's relationships, too
Recently, a photo of Joe Jonas and fiancée Sophie Turner sparked a conversation about their height difference. “She is sooooo much taller than him," one Instagram user commented. “And why does she wear such high heels?” another wrote. “I mean, there’s nothing wrong with being taller than your partner, but it just seems uncomfortable to accentuate it like that.”
Unfortunately, it seems like women are more to blame for the height stigma than men are.
photo: Heather Hazzan and Lily Cummings (All Woman Project)
Studies show that men are much more open to dating someone outside of their height requirements than women are. "Twenty-three percent of men but only four percent of women said they were open to a relationship in which the woman was taller," a Huffington Post article explained.
Of course, not all women consider height to be a major factor.
"It's all about the sense of humor for me, have dated plenty of guys who are shorter than me if they are loaded with witty retorts," a Reddit user said.
Lucky for them — they have a much bigger pool of men to choose from.
“Somehow I’ve always dated shorter guys. In general the guys that have been attracted to me have been shorter. It used to frustrate me when I was younger, but then I just decided to embrace it. I like that a guy has to be confident and secure in himself to date me. I’m 5’11” and my boyfriend is 5’7” - we’ve been together for 3 years and are always told by friends and family that we are the best couple. I like breaking stereotypes, but at the end of the day it’s more about the fact that we love and ‘get’ each other," another wrote.
Truth is, height is just a number and seeking a "tall guy" is just a distraction from seeking someone for all the right reasons.
Plus, there's no harm in exploring someone outside your ideal, especially if they look anything like these sexy, short dudes.