The last time I checked, my height was 5’8 and some fraction of an additional inch. By American standards, this is slightly below average for a male. But I like my height. I’m tall enough that I can see over my office cube walls, I’m taller than most women, (except maybe here in the Twin Cities), I can fit in any car, feel comfortable on any plane seat, and I never hit my head on a door frame. To clarify, I have nothing against my taller friends, coworkers, and acquaintances. I’m not "heightist". But we live in a world that judges people on height. Society in general doesn’t share my affinity for not being tall. I and many others pay the price every day. Research shows that taller people make more money, and get elected more often than shorter candidates. They’re often seen as better leaders just because of their physical stature. But, everybody knows that some short people, like Napoleon and Gandhi were great leaders while some tall people like George W. Bush were clearly not.
Heightism is especially apparent on the dating scene. I can understand that a woman would want a guy at least a couple of inches taller for that whole protector masculine male / feminine female effect, even though a lot of short guys can kick taller guys’ butts. And many of them want to wear heels without appearing taller than the guy, but I’ve come across women that are scarcely above 5 feet tall who only want to be with guys that are 6’0” and taller. That’s like being prejudiced against your own kind. Perhaps they’re just trying to compensate. Regardless, wanting a guy over a certain height constitutes filtering a potential mate over one purely physical trait. I thought women wanted nice guys that could make them laugh. I’ve been mistaken all along. Sociological research shows that height is the number one factor women use to judge a man’s suitability as a mate. I could ask for a minimum measurements of a certain female physical feature, (if you know what I mean), and that would totally not be OK. (For the record, I wouldn’t do that.) I’m not sure where this double standard came from. I know that not all is roses for tall people though. In my research, I've found that shorter women are preferred by men. Tall women have to compete with the short women who only want tall guys. (They must really hate that). And to be fair, tall men can be discriminated against too. Certain jobs don’t have the space for too much height.
In the athletics arena, height is an asset in almost every sport. Us shorter people resort to playing soccer which still holds advantages for tall players when it comes to headers. One can make up for being short by running fast, or having good jumping ability or long arms, but it’s not the same. I always used to joke that if I was as tall as Shaq, I could be a great basketball player too, (and I would have a much higher free throw percentage). There’s also interesting research that shows that taller people are slower to react to their surroundings, so maybe we have one slight advantage. I tend to root for the underdog, so I’m often cheering for short people like Spud Webb and Muggsy Bogues who played professional basketball in the NBA and were 5’7” and 5’3” respectively. We need to develop a new sport where being shorter is an asset, one besides horse racing.
In a way, I’d like to congratulate tall people for having won a kind of genetic lottery. I envy tall people without wanting to have their height. Maybe guys should be the ones who wear shoes with taller heels. Contrary to what one might think, I don’t have a complex about my height. But height is obviously an issue with others, so I have to be aware of what factors might be working against me. I’m lucky I’m not shorter. Perhaps I’m just jealous of the free pass tall people get in so many avenues of life.