My Mom Wanted Me to Marry a Tall Man -- What a Mistake!

tall man short man

Growing up, my mom, at nearly 6 feet tall, made no secret that height was a highly valued attribute when it came to dating or finding a mate. 

I couldn't blame her. She came from a family of veritable giants. Plus, over the years, she'd shared countless stories of attending parties and dances where she and her similarly statuesque friends would be asked to dance while they were seated. Once they stood up, the potential suitors, measuring inches shorter, would quickly turn and flee. 

Even though I topped out at an average 5-feet-6, each time I told her I'd met someone I liked, her first question was always, "How tall is he?" While I wasn't actively looking for someone based on height, the fact that my husband is 6-foot-2 certainly seemed attractive based on what I'd been conditioned to look for.

So imagine my surprise when I read a recent study that suggests short men stay married longer. (Mom, we need to talk!)


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In a new working paper, sociologists at New York University found that short men, those under 5-foot-7, tend to get married later and less frequently but have longer marriages. The preliminary findings also assert that those men marry younger, less educated women who earn less than they do. The tall men, those over 6-foot-2, married earlier and coupled with women who earn more money and received a better education. 

"This further confirms an existence of height-based status exchange in which short men compensate for their lower physical status with higher proportional earnings, while tall men appear more likely to use their status to attract women with higher relative earnings," the researchers conclude.

Huh, was my mom wrong all along? She's not alone, however; many women view height as a dealbreaker. Could this study change their minds? Time will tell, I suppose. 

I remember any time I went out with someone my height or shorter, I felt like a Yeti, slumping down in movie theater seats so I didn't feel like I was "the mom" rather than "the girlfriend." 

Even at the time, I knew I was being close-minded, but something about being taller than my date just didn't ever feel right. 

Still, this study is refreshing news for men who have no doubt read they earn less than their taller counterparts. Though they may find love later, if it lasts, isn't that what matters?

Do you think height is an important factor in the success of a relationship? 

Image @GarySalter/Corbis 

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