Today’s post is for the gents. In this first entry into my new series on limiting beliefs, I’m going to be talking about the number one limiting belief that is affecting single men who I know and talk to, as well as male clients who I work with.
How many times have you heard or read the following:
“You’re a really great guy, but you’re just not tall enough for me.”
“If ur a short dude, swipe left, don’t waste ur time or mine!”
“I need my man to be 5-6″ taller than me while I’m wearing heels.”
“What do you call a guy who’s under 5’10?…. A friend!”
Of course, this is not just something that is happening to you. Female preference for taller men is a well studied and understood phenomenon. If you pay attention to the research that’s out there, you’ll be overwhelmed with findings and statistics telling you how advantageous and righteous it is to be tall in our modern society, and how it basically sucks ass to be short. Scientific results abound online, ranging from the claim that taller men earn on average $1,000 more per year for every additional inch over 5’9″, to the idea that taller people experience more life satisfaction and are happier on average. And of course, taller men are seen as more attractive and are more likely to get married, have children, and have access to more sexual partners throughout their lives than shorter men. What exactly counts as short, you ask? That of course, partially depends on the individual woman in question. I have heard stories of men as tall as 6’2 getting rejected for being “too short” (despite the fact that a man who is 6’2 is taller than 95% of the male population, according to CDC statistics). However, for the purposes of this article, we will define “short” as being “shorter than average” or in the lower 50% of the general male population. In the United States and most other English-speaking nations, this bar currently hovers somewhere around 5’9″- 5’10”.
If you are below this height, there is a good chance that you have experienced some of the comments that I quoted above (and possibly more confidence-busting ones as well). When you are constantly bombarded by messages from the media and society that tall=good and short=bad, and when you see all the online dating profiles from women telling short guys to stay away, and when you meet women offline who tell you that they think you’d be a great catch you were only a few inches taller, it is easy to get deflated and feel like you want to swear off women and dating forever. Nobody likes having to put limits on something that they can or cannot do. That’s bad enough. However, when it feels like society is forcing arbitrary limits on who you can or can’t date or find attractive, then that is a much, much worse feeling.
Look, you know you’re a great guy. You know that you have a lot of good qualities to offer a woman, and that you’ve got a lot of upside. But it just seems as though being short is a curse, your one fatal flaw, your proverbial Achilles heel. Despite all your efforts, it’s your height, the one quality that you have absolutely no control over, that seems to be dominating your dating destiny. How can you hope to get around this? As a short guy, are you simply SOL, doomed to loneliness and a lack of romance for the rest of your days? With all the smack that’s being talked about short guys, it may certainly appear so. In actuality though, there’s plenty you can do as a short guy to attract quality women into your life, women who many of the tall guys will envy you for. How is this possible? I’m going to give you several key mindset shifts and practical strategies that will help you push past this most extreme limiting belief, and additionally, I’m also going to go over some key points that you should not do while searching for quality women to date. For the sake of balance, I will alternate between the “shoulds” and “should nots” for short guys on their quest for finding great women. Let’s Dive In!
You Should: Display Confidence and Good Posture/Body Language
With all of the aforementioned statistics and negative findings about short men in our society, it can be extremely difficult to remain confident and cool in a world that seems to shame you at every turn. However, successful short men have learned to silence the inner and outer chatter that is going on around them, and they have learned to focus solely on their goals and what it is they want. They are not going to let some old belief, no matter how popular and entrenched it is, dominate and control their destiny. Of course, this goes far beyond just telling someone to “be confident.” That simply doesn’t work, especially if you have been on the receiving end of jokes, comments and rejection lines your whole life. So what exactly can we do? The first thing you need to remember is to never, EVER, whine or complain about your height around women. Don’t accuse them of heightism or being “elitist,” and never give them any reason to believe that you are uncomfortable with your height. This will only serve to make you look weak and insecure. If you need to complain about your height, do it with your guy friends, or a therapist or a coach.
What you should do is learn to develop non-verbal habits and behaviors that demonstrate your confident powerful self. How do we do this? A good place to start is with your body language. Make sure that you are walking straight, with your head up, shoulders back, and chest out. When you speak, make sure that you are looking people in the eye. When you’re sitting down, relax yourself and take up more space. When you speak, make sure that you are speaking assuredly, with conviction, and using less filler language (like, ummm, uhhh, etc.) Use a steady voice that minimizes rising intonation. These body language behaviors indicate a man who is confident, self-assured and powerful. All good things, indeed.
You Shouldn’t: Bring up Your Height in Conversation or be Self-Deprecating About your Height
This was mentioned briefly before, but if you are out with a woman, or even if you’re meeting a woman for the first time, focus on having a good time with her and finding out more about this potentially really awesome person beside you. Don’t think about your height, whether or not she approves of it, or how you think you’re too short for her. This line of thinking can end up messing with your confident body language and voice tone that we mentioned in the last section, and that may end up throwing you off. If your height does get brought up in the conversation, address it with confidence and conviction, even with a bit of witty banter. Don’t succumb to being apologetic or trying to convince her that you are “good enough” for her despite your height. Again, this shows that you and your confidence are totally dependent on her opinion of you and what she thinks of your traits. You want to be able to remain calm and cool because in reality, you don’t care what she thinks about your physical traits, you know that you’re awesome!
I’ll give you a personal story. I’m 6’1″, so I don’t get a lot of objections about my height from women, but one time, I went out with a girl who was slightly shorter than me at 6’0.” After having about 30 minutes of good, solid conversation over drinks, she starts telling me how she normally only dates guys who are 6’3″ and above, and she likes to wear heels on her dates. She tells me that I’m a bit shorter than what she usually likes. Now, a lot of short guys would most likely fold after that, their body language would wilt away as they would commence by trying to qualify themselves to her, and to convince her to give them a chance, etc. In this situation, I looked at her in the eye confidently, and without wavering in my voice, and gave her a simple, honest, yet effective response. “That’s cool. I think you’re the perfect height for me.” I never heard any other objection from her regarding height that night, or any other night in the subsequent 3 months that we dated. Remember to always remain confident and have a strong self belief, even (especially) if your height is brought up.
You Should: Maximize Your Style
When you meet a woman for the first time, you want her to think about and remember you in a positive light. You don’t want her to walk away only thinking, “He’s too short.” One way to effectively do this is to focus on your fashion and looking your best. In particular, you want to wear clothes that make you look taller and de-emphasize your lack of height. Avoid clothing that has lots of horizontal stripes, as well as clothes with too many contrasting colors. You want to make sure you look more “streamlined” with a more consistent color scheme. Darker colors tend to work better here as well. Make sure your clothes are well fitted, as looser clothes exaggerate your shorter frame. If you find your size difficult to find in stores, you may need to fork over a few extra dollars to go to a tailor get them altered. It’s worth the money.
You Shouldn’t: Tell your Date Not to Wear Heels
This next one comes as a complaint from many women whom I’ve spoken to over the years, either as dates, friends, or clients. These women, some of whom have a strong preference for tall guys, but have since decided to broaden their horizons by dating shorter, have complained that the biggest thing that really turned them off about short guys is when they would express their discomfort with the height difference. This discomfort can manifest in many ways, but the most common was by making a visible fuss over the fact that their date decided to wear heels that evening. Guys, keep in mind, short dudes are not the only ones who feel insecure about their bodies. Women (particularly taller women) often also have their own height related issues that cause them insecurity as well. Many women feel that in order to feel beautiful, they need to be “petite” and small, and taller women often feel insecure as they feel that society may see them as less “feminine.” You might not realize it, but by telling your date to not wear certain clothing items, you are in effect, pointing out that potential insecurity and dragging it front and center into the conversation. Not to mention: Who are you to dictate to your date what not to wear? If an altered height difference due to footwear is going to bother you that much, then it might be in your best interest to no longer date this girl. If it doesn’t bother you, then you have no reason to bring it up in the first place. Either way, avoid telling your date what to wear!
You Should: Maximize your Physique
In a perfect world, working out to maintain and improve our physique should be a normal part of every man’s life. However, the importance of doing this for shorter men is critical, due in no small part to the social stigmas of being short. Having a great body is a real difference maker when it comes to attracting women. Make sure that you are doing something physical for your body at least 30 minutes every day. If you can’t get to the gym for a full-blown session, then at least be sure to try to do some bodyweight exercises at your home to keep your body working. Eating right is also essential. For some quick body fat loss, try cutting down your sugar by 1/2 and your fat intake by 1/3. Understand your body’s metabolic rate. That will determine your ideal calorie intake. make sure that you don’t go over that amount of calories if you are trying to lose weight. ‘Calories in, calories out” isn’t just a saying. It also happens to be true. If you are skinny and trying to gain muscle, you can go over that intake, but make sure you are accompanying those extra calories with consistent exercise and gym work. Otherwise, you’ll gain size, but not the type of size you might be hoping for!
You Shouldn’t: Rely only on Online Dating for your Success
Personally, I’m a big proponent of the idea that all guys, regardless of height, should not rely so heavily on online dating as the medium for meeting women. There are certain character and social skill building elements that only come from meeting women face-to-face, away from the 2-D screens of our smartphones. Plus, offline meetings give the women you are seeing a much better look into your character, your overall vibe, your confidence, and your charisma/charm, all of which are far more difficult to quantify online.
However, short guys have two additional problems with online dating. Firstly, the fact that on many sites and apps, women can screen guys for certain traits, height being one of them. That means that if a woman is only searching for men 6’0 and above, and you happen to be 5’11, well then, it really doesn’t matter how much of a compatible match you would be for her, she’s never going to even see you in her search, yet alone get a chance to reject you because you’re an inch too short. Secondly, let’s say that, through your own search parameters, you find her anyway, and send her a message. When she sees your profile and that big note on the side of the screen that reads, ‘Height: 5’11″‘ in words and numbers so big and bold that they might as well be flashing neon signs at a nightclub, there’s a very strong chance that she won’t bother reading the rest, especially if she’s a woman who has many other guys who do meet her aesthetic preferences filling up her inbox with messages inviting her out.
The underlying issue with this is that when women are online, they are engaged in “shopping mode.” This is not just a girl thing, either. Guys do this as well. This is because the whole online dating setup as it currently stands is designed to treat the whole process like a window shopping experience, or a “meat market.” People look through many options, and they throw out a whole bunch of potentials before choosing the one they like best. There is very little emotional reasoning taking place here, as the experience has been reduced to an almost binary, all or nothing, bare bones selection process.
Selecting potential mates in real life works similarly to this, but it’s not precisely the same. Offline, when a woman isn’t necessarily engaged in “shopping mode,” there is a much higher probability that she will be open to seeing what you have to offer in terms of your other, non-aesthetic, but still essential qualities. This works to the short man’s advantage, as you are in an environment that doesn’t have to place you physical traits front and center in a woman’s mind. When you’re a short guy, it is best to put yourself in environments that will maximize your chances for success and play to your strengths. Think of it as almost like the 80/20 rule applied to dating. You want to be meeting women in ways which will maximize your success while minimizing your work rate (and potential loss of sanity).
One last quick thing to note here is that if you are dating online, never lie about your height. How many dates have you gone on where the woman was expecting someone 5’9, and you showed up 5’6, and the girl didn’t take notice? Probably not too many, I reckon. Don’t start the relationship off on the wrong foot by blatantly being dishonest. If she can’t accept your actual height online, then she’s not the right girl for you.
You Should, Above All Else: Display Strength
With all that’s been said in countless studies and anecdotes about height over the years, it’s easy to think that possessing superior height is the direct cause of people enjoying success and prosperity in life. In actuality, though, height is only correlated with these things. As you might remember from any science based class you took in high school, correlation does not equal causation. When it comes down to it, in a vast majority of cases, height itself is not what turns people on or off. It’s what that height is associated with that is the real turn on. It’s an ancestral, primal instinct, but back in our ancient past, having greater height was seen as an indicator of many things, including: better hunting results, better ability to provide, and an increased level of physical, mental and emotional security among the tribe and family unit. It’s this feeling of security, the ability to acquire resources and provide that is really prized here, not the fact that your head is slightly higher off the ground than most other people’s.
Although our societal structure has changed significantly over the millennia, our biology has not. This has resulted in many of our ancestral preferences being retained in an age where many of them no longer actually matter. Thankfully though, there are countless other ways in which we can display strength, ability, authority and dominance, which do not directly involve our height. We can show strength through our brains by being world-class scientists, engineers, businessmen, and entrepreneurs. We can display power through our social skills by being able to influence people with incredible charisma. We can invoke that feeling of security in people by being an authority on a subject that matters to people. We can provide physical security, regardless of height, by studying things like mixed martial arts, firearm defense, and other close-quarter combat tactics. Being skilled and proficient at any of these things is sexy, and the ability to show genuine strength is the sexiest attribute of all, no matter if you’re 5’3″ or 6’5″. Strive to maximize your potential in all of the physical, social, and psychological attributes that you have control over, and you will find the issue of height becoming less and less of a thing in your personal experience.