A couple of inches can make all the difference. Yes, I’m afraid, whatever we may say, size does matter when it comes to dating.
I’m talking, of course, about height and the problems that inevitably surface when it comes to a girl dating a guy who is shorter than her.
I’m taller than the average Irish girl, but I’m not prejudiced against short men; I’ve dated guys who were the same height as me, and shorter. But I understood Nicole Kidman (5’11”) when she famously said that the end of her marriage to Tom Cruise (5’7”) meant that she could start wearing heels again.
According to the OECD, the average Irish man is 5’8” and I once dated a guy who was…fairly below average on that scale. He didn’t mind me towering over him, and I didn’t mind doing the towering. But I was surprised by the reactions of some of our friends to the height difference. One of my (tall) friends in particular teased me mercilessly about it, even going so far as to refer to me as Snow White, while my ‘dwarf’ was out of earshot.
The only slightly irksome thing about dating someone shorter is that they can’t comfortably put their arm around your shoulders when you’re strolling around town on a chilly winter’s day. But as with everything, it’s all about attitude. Just look at Rod Steward (5’10”). Stewart’s first wife Alana Hamilton was 5’9”, his second, Rachel Hunter, was 5’11 and his current wife Penny Lancaster is 6’1”.
My short date didn’t care about our height difference, but another boy I dated, who was the same height as me, certainly did. In retrospect I see that he was suffering from the dreaded Small Man Syndrome (also known as the Napoleon Complex), but at the time I started feeling self-conscious whenever I wore heels on nights out, as he continually implied that my height somehow made him seem less…what I’m not entirely sure.
I didn’t fancy spending the rest of my life in kitten heels and didn’t stick around to explore his tangled ideas about masculinity. But of course there are other girls who do, and Tom Cruise’s former wife Katie Holmes (5’9”) certainly knows how it feels to have to embrace flats in a bid to make her man look taller.
Perhaps Katie, or other tall girls who run into short boys with attitude problems, should take a trip to the Netherlands or Denmark, where the tallest men can be found. The Netherlands is also home to the tallest women and anyone on the lookout for a short guy or gal should take note; Mexico produces the shortest men and women.