Deal Breakers: Height

When I was in the third grade we had weekly “show and tell” in my class. It must have been a slow week because (unlike the time that Mary Verdades brought in her uncles glass eye) there was more “tell” going on and not a whole lot of “show”. After hearing random stories about weekends at grandma’s house, etc. Sandra Cartel marched to the front of the class and declared: “I think that we should all start drinking lots and lots of milk so that we can grow up to be as tall as Celeste!” then she skipped back to her seat. I looked up, confused and horrified; what did my height have to do with show and tell?

For the duration of elementary school, my body went through a growth spurt that wouldn’t quit. I was gaining inches in all directions and by the time I reached junior high I was a 5’10 preteen who was forced to shop at Lane Bryant. Costume fittings for school performances were torture and school dances were awkward because all the boys who I danced with were eye level with my boobs. These were the same boys who would hug all the girls goodbye on a daily basis, taking an brief moment when hugging me to lay their head on “the twins” before letting go.

You can imagine my relief when I got to high school and saw dozens of 18 year old men (aka Seniors) who roamed the halls at 6 feet and above. Once I realized that boys my age came in sizes that were more compatible with me, I never looked back (or down).

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve received a lot of criticism about my height requirement from girlfriends, my sisters, even my Mother. The general argument being that by not giving shorter guys a chance, I may be missing out on someone amazing. I totally understand what they’re saying but I don’t think they understand that its not just about being a tall woman (I could rock the whole Christie Brinkley/Billy Joel look with no problem…) but its about being a tall, overweight woman.

How many times have we seen a big woman with a teeny tiny man and thought to ourselves She would break him in half!?

I can remember doing a production of The Music Man one summer. During a big number the director choreographed a dance break where I dragged my “husband”, a 5 foot 5 inch actor named P.J. out on stage, forcing him to dance a two-step with me. Our dance ended with him twirling me around and then jumping into my arms. I would catch him and we would hold our pose with me cradling him in my arms like a baby. The audience thought it was hilarious.

The idea of being a walking punchline makes me extremely uncomfortable.

I can hear some of you now saying “CeCe, you shouldn’t be so concerned with what other people think” and you’re right I shouldn’t. But even if I got over that, I’d still be stuck with how I feel.

I’m going to be totally honest here: As much as I own my life as an independent woman, when it comes to traditional gender roles, I play the part of a female with gusto. Having a man stand tall above me, being engulfed in his arms when he leans down to hug me, all of that makes me feel good. I’m notorious for extended victory dances after beating boys at bowling, pool or cards. But when it comes to wrestling matches, I have much more fun losing. As I mentioned in an earlier post, there’s a 99.5% chance that I will be wider than any man I date, so there’s a physical dominance that I will grudgingly accept. When I’m with a guy that’s taller than I am, a lot of the awkwardness I feel about my size fades away.

So height is a Deal Breaker for me. As many times as I’ve tried, I just can’t get serious about a guy who is shorter than me. Of course when people try to convince me to go against what I’m attracted to I can read between the lines okay, big girl… beggars can’t be choosers, you better take what you can get! but I don’t see myself budging on this one.

I have a hyper-awareness of my size as it is and I really don’t see myself getting into a relationship that brings even more attention to how big I am.

What about you… Could you date a shorter man?

45 thoughts on “Deal Breakers: Height”

  1. You've done an excellent job summing up the side of the argument your critics haven't considered. It's not about your opinions of short men, it's about your desire–and equal right–to feel feminine.

    I didn't spring up quite as quickly as you did, though I watched a friend of mine hit 5'10" in fourth grade and be mistaken for our mother while we were hanging out. Still, in the end, I reached the same height, and most of my female friends were around 5'3". And I knew it didn't feel right, and didn't feel good, to tower over them, like I didn't belong.

    I turned down one of the sweetest boys who was ever interested in me because I had about four inches advantage. He was fun, he was cute, but I felt like so awkward looming over him. And that was barefoot. Heels didn't even enter the equation until I got to college, because I was so afraid of making myself even taller.

    The only men I've dated have all been 6'1" or taller. I took your requirements a little further and also found men who were significantly stronger than I am. I felt the most little and cute, and therefore most feminine, with one who clocked in at 6'4" and 300 lbs.

    I guess it's the ingrained perception that we have that to be feminine is to be cute and (I use this word carefully) protectable. I'm tired of always looking like the protector.

    (Oops… I wrote a whole blog-length reply!)

  2. i COMPLETELY agree. i'm 5'11" and i had a 6'3" or above requirement (gotta be able to wear heels! LOL) and it's HARD to find men that tall!!! it made dating really difficult but i am happy to say that i'm married to a man who is 6'4" so it's possible! don't let anyone tell you what you should expect from a partner! if you like romantic guys, funny guys or tall guys. it's the same thing. you like what you like! 😀 😀

  3. I have a hard time dating guys who are only 1 or 2 inches taller than me…I like my heels as well. While I'm only 5'7, it's kind of difficult to find guys who can accommodate my height, and my full figure. I feel the same way about feeling feminine and it's definitely harder to do when you're towering over a guy-no matter how cute, funny, sweet, etc he is…I'm not one to slouch, but the one time I went out with a guy a tad shorter than me, I felt ALL kinds of self-conscious. Height is a definitely a deal breaker in my book!

  4. I could have written your entry, word for word. I'm 5'8" and I realize I don't suffer nearly the pain even taller girls have, but I'm generally taller than my girlfriends, and when I look at online dating sites, it seems like most of the guys clock in at 5'6"/5'7". So close, and yet so far. I totally echo that being w/ a taller guy gives me the chance to feel feminine, that I don't often have otherwise due to my weight. Plus, some shorter guys try too hard to make up for their height, and that is such a turn off.

  5. I totally agree! I refuse to be a walking punchline. Also, I think as women we naturally want to feel protected and feminine – and with a smaller man you just can't have that same feeling. I cannot see myself with a man under 6ft.


  6. Im 5'7 and while its not crazy tall I can relate because I've pretty much been that tall since 5th grade… but I ended up with someone who is the same height as me … so when I put on heels I automatically know I am going to be taller than him …but he has a way of carrying himself even if I were 10 feet tall I would feel like his woman small and compact and just right for him … so while I understand where you are coming from … I also got tired of the tall handsome being the ones to do me the worst as well… in the end we all just wanna be loved and well if I have to sacrifice a few inches … and wear more flats… I dont mind!

  7. CeCe you make some really good points, but here is what I have come to realize. It's all preference. Height is your deal breaker, because that is what you prefer, and in my opinion you should make NO apologies for what you prefer. I am so sick of the mentality that bigger girl cannot be picky. Like hell we can't.

    I too prefer taller men, mostly because I have an insane love for 4 inch heels that puts me at 5'10 when I wear them. However, if a guy is not exactly tall, then I just adjust, and save my knees for awhile.

    I don't know that I have an deal breakers in the looks department. I have my preferences, and lean toward my preferences. As does anyone!

  8. i have never had any interest in looking "little and cute", and all this "ingrained", gender roles, littleness as the essence of feminity stuff squicks me out.

    but i'm "cute and little" though. :-/

  9. GREAT POST! I've actually dated men who were both shorter and smaller than me, but I realize that it's not just about wanting to feel "protected" and whatnot, it's probably more about the hyperawareness of my own size. I never think I'm that big…until I'm next to someone tiny. I would date someone smaller but they would have to be AMAZING. Actually I think that some "friends" have made me feel worse about my size than any man. CONSTANT piggyback rides, asking me to be the "man" for any costumes, being everyone's pillow, and even moving heavy crap around! I AM NOT A MULE – is what I wanted to say, but instead I just cut those friends off for some REAL friends who aren't users/abusers. I still LOVE to walk into a club and be the tallest girl there lol. And watching the fear that comes into the eyes of girls who bump into me LOL i'm not a bully i swear!!!

  10. I was just saying this exact thing to my girlfriends. I had a cute shorter guy hit on my on halloween. I promised that I would go on a date with him to all my friends. Honestly, though I just can't feel that attractive no matter how hot he keeps telling me I am when he comes just to my shoulders.

  11. oh gosh this is so meaningful to me. In high school I liked short boys bc there weren't that many tall boys. Since then no one under 6 feet! My husband is 6 food 3 inches and even though he weighs almost 100 pounds less than me I still feel smaller.

  12. I don't know that I would date anyone shorter than me, but that's because I'm 5'2…and we'd look like super dwarfs.

    But my best friend since we were 10 is 6'1 and has put some serious limitations on height, mainly because, up until this year, shes been very insecure about being SO tall. But now that she's starting to see the benefits of being a tall Beautiful woman, and how blessed she is to have great height she doesn't mind dating someone who might be an inch shorter than her.

    But I must say it is amazing to see a tall woman with an even taller man. Talk about power couple!!!

  13. They say men are shallow!!!!!
    Having a height "requirement" is the shallowest thing you can be because that is something nobody can help.

    What if you totally fell in love with someone and want to devote yourself to them and do anything for them but they answer: "Sorry, the minimum requirement is xyz and you're below that. Bye!"
    All of your feelings and your entire being have been reduced to a number and deemed unsuitable.

    Yes, of course you can have what requirements you like but don't ever criticize men for being shallow or visual – you all win first prize at that.

  14. @ Rebekah
    You're mistaking preference with requirement.
    Of course I have preferences but that doesn't mean I would turn down anyone who doesn't tick all my boxes.

    The people here are talking about a REQUIREMENT – and leave no room for exceptions at all. That is reducing human beings to objects or products.
    It is a sad way to think about people.

  15. So height is a Deal Breaker for me. As many times as I've tried, I just can't get serious about a guy who is shorter than me.

    @CeCe let me ask you a question if I may. Are you instantly turned off by any man that is shorter than you or would you, like you have stated above, give him a try?

    It sounds to me that you have tried dating shorter men and it just does not work for you, so therefore it is now a "deal breaker".

    I understand the difference between preference and requirement. We require many things in our lives, outside of our relationships.

    For instance: There are requirements to your job. If you don't meet those, your boss has the right to fire you, correct? Is he being discriminatory? Is he being petty or shallow, because you did not meet the requirement? No. It is what is needed to get the job done.

    So tall men get it done for CeCe and some of these other readers. It's not about being shallow, it is about finding what gets it done for you.

    And I highly doubt that if a man that was shorter came up to any of these readers and blew them off their feet, I daresay that the majority of them would at least give him a chance! We're not heartless bitches!! unwakari

  16. @Rebekah

    Its like me and mushrooms… I know they have nutritional value and they might do me good in many ways. But no matter the variety, how big, small, diced, sauteed etc. When I eat mushrooms I want to gag! This has happened since I was six… at some point I just have to accept it.

    As someone who is a very specific physical type I understand how it feels not to be considered by men because of how I look.

    But as a human being, I recognize that it takes a rare/special kind of person male OR female to just date "the person inside" and not take outside appearances into consideration.

    There are men who wont date me because I'm fat. There are men I wont date because they are short.

    Are we missing out? Duh!

    But I dont want to sacrafice physical attraction and the passion that comes with it just so I can say I'm not shallow.


    P.S. I'm loving this dialoge… I think its great! There are some more "Deal Breakers" on the way in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

  17. @ Rebekah
    You're making my point for me by using a terrible analogy. What could possibly be more unromantic than a job interview? Dates have become more and more like job interviews these days and its very sad.

    Here's an analogy of mine:
    One of the best classical singers today failed his entrance audition to a conservatoire because he couldn't play a short piano piece that was mandatory but not essential. The man has no hands!!! They didn't say "sorry but you have to be able to play the piano". They said "You failed your piano test and are therefore not good enough for us".

    Making requirements is OK if the person has a chance to meet them. Otherwise its not OK.

    I've dated some blue-eyes and it didn't work out so I never will again. Nobody can say I didn't try.

    I knew someone would play the weight card and compare it with height. Weight can be changed. Height cannot. I never understood the weight obsession anyway as I'm quite flexible in that one too but I guess thats my nature. I like people for their QUALITIES – whatever they may be.

    OK I'm beginning to ramble on now so I'll give it a rest.

  18. To anonymous: I take it that you personally then have no preferences. You don't care how tall/short, fat/skinny, eye color, hair color, whatever toward the opposite sex? I call BS!!

    We all have preferences. Things we are instantly attracted, and for some of these ladies a short man is just not something they are attracted to. I'm not attracted to guys with red hair. Does that make me a judgemental bitch? I'm super attracted to guys with well groomed facial hair! Does that mean I am discriminating on ever clean shaven guy out there? NO!!

    One persons deal breaker, is not everyones deal breaker.

  19. I agree and understand 100%! I am a big girl and tend to like bigger/taller guys. In fact, I have a rule: If I can't fit into his t-shirt, I wont go out with him.

  20. Get it Celeste! I just started reading your blog and it is both hilarious and insightful. I think it hard for people to relate to this unless they've experienced it. I'm 5'10 also and the idea of carrying my husband over the threshold makes me cringe…lol. There's just something about wanted to feel small and safe in his arms.

  21. I am a short man, but fully respect your point of view. My wife is few inches taller than me, and she always says that she would have never thought she would date or marry a shorter man. But we met, I was persistent and she finally went on a date with me, and we have been together for 18 years. So you never know.

  22. I know what you mean about being big and tall except I’m 6’3 so finding someone taller has been pretty hard so the few guys i have dated have been shorter and it always seems to make me feel more selfcontious

  23. I know what you mean about being big and tall except I’m 6’3 so finding someone taller has been pretty hard so the few guys i have dated have been shorter and it always seems to make me feel more selfcontious

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