My Dating Bias Against Short Men
Could I overcome my bias against short men?
I admit it. When I was dating in my late fifties, I had a bias against shorter men—I had never been attracted to them. I started looking for taller ones. But wait! I thought. Maybe I’m missing someone wonderful! So I made a concerted effort to overcome my bias.
Dating a few shorter men
My overall dating plan was to go on first dates with 50 men in order to find a committed partner. (For the upbeat, sexy story of this successful search, see my memoir, Fifty First Dates After Fifty.) Early on, I was casting my net wide. For dates number 3 and 25, I went out with men who were shorter to see if I liked them enough to make shortness matter less. However, I didn’t want a second date with them. They were not only shorter, but smaller than me, and I didn’t feel enough energy coming from them. I needed someone to meet me in height, bulk, and vitality.
One short man seemed special
Date number 31 brought me up short. George was kind, interesting, and a hiker like me. He endeared himself to me on our second date by taking me to a Moroccan restaurant to make me feel pampered after a long workweek. Afterwards, we went to a free-form dance place where he danced gracefully and held me firmly. I wanted more.
A magical date
I readily accepted his invitation to his house for dinner for our third date. It was romantic and magical – exciting world music, a cozy fireplace, a delectable feast of African food in a room surrounded by African masks and statues, and a hike up his backyard slope to a hut playing angelic music with candles and pillows. I was enchanted. I wanted to like him so much.
Could I get over the bias?
However, I could not get over how his shorter height affected me – it turned me off. On the couch in front of the fire, I cuddled him, trying to nurture the fondness I felt, but my attraction didn’t change.
Would honesty work?
I finally resorted to the last tool I had – honesty. On our fourth date, I decided to tell him my feelings, in the hopes I could get past them. This had worked for me in other situations. Sitting on the couch, where we were equal heights, I spoke to him softly.
“George,” I said, “I really want to be close to you, and something’s getting in the way.” "What is it?” He squinted at me, like a skittish animal about to bolt. “I’m taller than you. Usually, I’m attracted to men who are taller than me,” I said. “Why are you bringing this up when I can’t do anything about it?” He was now glaring. “I thought discussing it would help me get over it. There are so many things I like about you.” “Well, it’s making me feel terrible,” he said. “I don’t see why you’re talking about it.”
Maybe he was right
Talking about it didn’t work, either for him or me. He was hurt and insulted, and I was now even less attracted given his reaction. He remained angry, so I wrote him a long email about all the things I appreciated about him, and said goodbye.
Maybe he was right – why was I complaining about something he couldn’t change, and something that was not changing for me? It’s a sensitive issue, and not everyone can talk about it.
Accepting my bias against short men
From then on, I accepted my attractions of height as they were. Perhaps a very special short man with more communication skills could have helped me overcome my bias, but I never met that guy. The partner I found is taller than me, and it’s one of the many things I love about him.
Have you tried to overcome a dating bias?
Have you ever tried or succeeded at overcoming a bias about a personal characteristic like height? Let me know in the comments!