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!)

More from The Stir: Are Short Guys Dateable?

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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nonmember avatar mel

It didn't feel right because your mother was brainwashing you for years before that. Crazy.

Laura Johnson

It's kinda sad. You mentioned that short men get married later in life and tend to marry partners that are younger, dumber, and poorer (you put it much more nicely), but it makes a lot of sense. The girls their own age and at their own intelligence levels seem to be snatched up by the tall men so these guys are just settling. Then, after being single for such large part of their lives, they stick it out in the marriage because they're more afraid of dying alone. This article sums it up nicely - http://www.mollybkenny.com/news/new-study-some-don-t-divorce-out-of-fear-of-loneliness.cfm

allie... alliesaurus

I don't think height always makes a difference in relationships, unless one or possibly both of the partners have been brainwashed to think otherwise.

Obviously there are always exceptions to these "studies", but to be honest I'm more concerned that people are actually wasting time and money studying crap like this.

CaptD2 CaptD2

I never understood the fascination with height. I have deeppersonal experience with this. I'm 6'3". My husband is 5'11". I dated men who were very tall, (6'4" to 6'9") and none of them matched up to the kind of man my husband is. Height has little to do with someone's character and who they choose to marry. My mother also never mentioned me needing to date men taller than me; I think she was more interested in the kind of person they were.

nonmember avatar Not Your Mom

sounds like the short guys are the real winners here.

young, dumb and poor are what most men want if given the choice so ultimately the tall guys are the ones who lose out. they settle down earlier because it's easier for them to get girls but later on they find themselves pining away for the young, dumb, poor beauties while they are stuck with overeducated, know-it-all women who are way past their prime. put two and two together and it's no wonder they don't stay married as long.

nonmember avatar Jen

"put two and two together and it's no wonder they don't stay married as long."

Tall men don't stop having more opportunities than short men when they are married. Some will exploit these opportunities, cheat, and then end up among the 2/3rd's of divorced men whose wives were the ones who initiated it because they deserved it.

nonmember avatar Bruce

My lady is 5'6", I'm 6'0", she fits perfectly as we walk or snuggle...how could it be any better?

Cryst... Crystallynn

I am full 12" shorter than my husband. We have been together for 13 years. This is my second husband. My first husband was 5'6", only 3" taller than I am. We made it 4 years. I think height matters only if you make it matter.

nonmember avatar me

height is not important in the success of the relationship but it is a factor in starting one. at least for me. ive never dated a shorter man than i am, im 5'8, why? not my type physically. everyone has a type theyre initially attracted to, for each person its different. im sure shorter men are great and i might have passed up on some good ones but im happy with my 6'2 husband of 13 years. i didnt marry him because of his height, but i did agree to go out on a date with him because i was physically attracted to him.

nonmember avatar Maleka

I'm 5'4 my husband is 6'5. We've been together 12 years...no sign of him leaving lol also to address the information about income and education-I'm working on my master'a and HE alone has supported our two (almost three) children and myself throughout the entire process. This study is stupid.

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