Thursday, May 1, 2008

Short Stack

One thing I have discovered is that I have hard time dating short men. My romantic history is not full of extremely tall men. I have seriously dated, married, and had children with men who are all in the 5’10” to 5’11” range. I myself am only of average height, 5’7”. But I recently started seeing a man who is over 6” tall. And I like it. I feel small next to him—protected, safe. I like having to stand on my tiptoes to kiss him. I like being able to wear heels with complete abandon. In contrast, I have also had a couple dates with a man who is 5’5”. One of the first questions he asked me was if that was a problem for me. Honestly, I didn’t know. This was new territory. But I am starting to understand Nicole Kidman’s glee at being able to wear high heels after her split from Tom.

To be fair, the short man is half Japanese—a point I always state whenever mentioning or describing him to anyone. Somehow in my twisted, shallow mind that makes it all better—justifies his crime of being short. And not just short—shorter than me. Forget the heels.

Now short men seem to be an epidemic. I see them everywhere. It’s like how the world fills up with pregnant women when you are pregnant, or how the new car you bought is suddenly the only auto on the road. It’s a little bit Twilight Zone. And it’s starting to freak me out. One man I met speed-dating took me out to dinner. We really seemed to hit it off in our five-minutes of allotted “get to know you” time. In fact, he came back to see me during “intermission.” I was seated the entire time. The men had to move from table to table, so they were the only ones standing. From a seated position (and after a couple glasses of wine) it is very difficult to judge a man’s height. The moment I answered the door when this man arrived to take me to dinner I was completely distracted by my unobstructed view straight over the top of his (balding) head. Admittedly, I was wearing 3-inch heels, but I felt like a giantess. Like an Amazon warrior ready to squash this little bug of a man at the first sideways glance. At the time I felt that my reaction was disproportionate, and in retrospect, I still want to feel that way, but I just don’t. Something in my very core is turned off by short-ness.

I have a couple of close male friends who are short. And their short-ness has never bothered me. Being short is part of what makes them so great—and a major source of entertainment. But I have never been remotely close to being intimate with either of these men. And I think the prospect of bending down to kiss a man goodnight, creating within me a combination of pity and embarrassment, is what has caused this sudden discomfort with men who are vertically challenged. I can’t help but feel that I am bending down to kiss a child goodnight before I tuck them into bed. And I definitely don’t even want to imagine tucking this man-child into bed. Now, I know that my prejudice is unfair. There are plenty of wonderful, witty, smart, attractive short men. I just want them to hook up with short women. It’s too awkward. Of course, it’s not their fault that they are short. But I assert that it is not my fault that I cannot seriously consider pursuing a romantic entanglement with a man who looks up into my eyes. It is not my fault that I love to wear heels (they really show off my legs and make my butt look fantastic). It is not my fault that in so many of my relationships I have been dominant financially, emotionally, psychologically, and in most other ways, and now I must draw the line at being dominant vertically. The insanity must stop somewhere!

So, I haven’t broken the news to Mr. 5’5”. And I don’t quite know how. Over the phone we have a great time. He’s funny. He’s complimentary (I’m a sucker for flattery). I just don’t think it’s fair to drag this out when I know there can only be one outcome. And he’s definitely going to be getting the short end of the stick, so to speak.

I don’t want to be cruel. I have an aggrandized view of my allure and impact on these short men. I know that I am going to break their hearts. It doesn’t occur to me that one or two dates probably doesn’t a lovesick man-child make. However, I have had unusually strong responses from men in the past, and now I expect it every time. It makes it doubly difficult, because in addition to my strong power over these men, I’m sure they already have delicate egos from being short men all their lives.

I remember when my own 6’ tall brother was a teenager and all of his friends had hit their growth spurt, but he was still puny. We all assured him that he just needed to be patient—he’d get his growth spurt and shoot right up. We said this with fair confidence since our father is 6’5”. And, that summer, he grew. But these little men are still waiting for their growth spurt. It never came. Imagine the dashed hopes. The dead dreams. The sports career options no longer available. And now I, love-goddess of the short man, am going to deliver another blow. It’s really quite a responsibility, now that I think of it. Perhaps I should re-think my gut reaction, and look at this as an opportunity. Maybe I can start a short-man dating service, guaranteeing a date with a woman at least one inch shorter than you. After all, wouldn’t it just be putting the universe right? Doesn’t everyone deserve to be in an appropriate height-proportionate
relationship? I think I’ve found my new calling: Vertically challenged man seeks equally challenged woman for long walks on the beach, meandering bike rides, and the security of being able to stand on your tiptoes to kiss me.

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