Saturday, November 19, 2005

Breaking Barriers: Short Men and Their Appeal

Deborah Serani, Psy.D.

In the upcoming December issue of Maxim Magazine, Angus Young, lead guitarist of AC/DC, tops the list of the "25 Greatest Short Dudes of All Time," standing tall at 5 feet 2 inches. Former NBA guard Spud Webb (5 feet 7 inches) is Number 2, followed by Napoleon Bonaparte (5 feet 4 inches), at number 3.
Yoda, at number 6, is the shortest on the list, his height approximated at 2 feet 2 inches tall.

Maxim Magazine claims to be helping women "begin a long overdue fight against their genetically determined shallowness when choosing a partner." Other great short dudes on the list are Martin Scorsese, Jon Stewart, Prince, Kurt Cobain and two of the Hobbits from "The Lord of the Rings" films — Elijah Wood and Sean Astin. The tallest "short dude" is Pro football player Doug Flutie, at 5 feet 10 inches, who is ranked at Number 24.

Psychologically speaking, I like to think these these men show the world that altitude is a matter of attitude!



Fallen Angels said...

My partner is 4'11 1/2" tall...I am 5'8". Height does not matter when the heart gets involved.

Bill Jones, Jr said...

Hmmm... it's kind of telling that of the 25 greatest short men, quite a few are fictional. Doesn't that send a negative meta-message somehow? :)

Easy for me to say, I guess. I'm 6'1".

Jackie said...

Ok....I also think there is something called "Little Man Syndrome" (This is where men who are challanged in the height department act all tuff!!!!!!) My father and brother in law both suffer and they are both under 5'5.

Yet my hubby is 6'7 and he is the the nicest, kindest person you will meet. (Although I know some tall men who are quite "special" too!!!!) FYI I am only 5'1.....but our kids will be nice and tall ;)

Love and Hugs,

Pewzen said...

By the way; do you know if there`s REALLY a context between a mans height and the size of... his genitals?

Many says `yes`, some says `no`. I say: I guess so! (;

Heidi said...

Ok..well I admit I'm too picky..and I am paying the price.

At this point in my life height shouldn't matter or I'll be single for ever :(
Bring him on!

ps..He doesn't have to be jewish.but it couldn't
hoyt ;) Oye..there I go

Nancy said...

I dated a man for a year, who was only 5'3". He was great and I felt like one of those models on his arm. LOL I have a whopping 3' on him. Still, I wore heels and he loved it. Very comfortable in his own skin. I did break up with him to start dating GOM though! We remained friends and still are.

Id it is said...

Height did make a difference a few hundred years ago when we, as a species, were simply surviving, but now...the criteria for selection is far more would imagine..?!

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Fallen Angels,
I am married to a man who is not tall at all. Love is all that matters, you are so right about that!

Dear Sabledawn,
I guess you could say that...on the other hand I guess it could be seen that even in the the fictional world, short can rule too.

Dear Jackie,
Making up for feelings of inadequacy can occur in all forms. I think the article is trying to help women and men learn more so there will be less insecurity all ways around.

Dear Pewzen,
I'll have to ask my physician friends if it is true or a myth. I don't have clinical or personal knowledge!!

Dear Heidi,
I think it pays to be an equal opportunity "crusher".

Dear Nancy,
That is a sweet story and one that has a happy ending all around.

Dear Id It Is,
You are right, in the past,height was valued as a genetic attribute, helping to keep the species going. There are so many things people look for in a mate now...and height seems to be still an issue for many women. Sad, really.


dawn said...

My BF is 5'9, and hates his height. He's always wishing he were taller. I tell him that it doesn't matter to me. He still wants to be taller. Maybe to some guys, height is kinda the way some girls are wanting to look like somebody they're not, models and the like?

Anonymous said...

Very first marriage was to a second to someone taller...both have their issues! LOL As for Pewzen's question (I cannot believe I'm going to offer a comment to this!), the short one was way bigger than the taller one is! Shhhhh...don't tell him! Peace to all.

Fallen Angels said...

Deb... I suppose I should specify that my partner is female...but, and I can't believe I am going to say this because we pride ourselves on not being stereotypical...she is much more masculine then I am. However, in attitude only. Height still does not matter.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Dawn,
You are correct. I do think that height is to men what weight is to women!!

Dear Traci,

Dear Fallen Angels,
Love is love is love. And that's all that matter.


Cathy said...

Completely agree; my husband is about 5'8", and as an added bonus, we are always able to buy pants at Eddie Bauer that are on sale for great prices because he is a 30 length...they are always the last ones left over...

LadyLee said...

I'm not fond of short dudes... My ex-husband was an inch shorter than me. That Napolean Complex is a doozy! But, if I met someone else short, I wouldn't judge him on pass experiences... The leeriness would probably still be there for awhile, though...

Josie said...

i think height is a misconception that only short women have. i've dated men shorter than me and really didn't have a problem with it. Some people are more concerned with how they look in public than how they feel about each other.

sjobs said...

I have to say that I still dream about my boss I had some 10 years ago. He was short and bald but never reminded me of a man with "Little Man snydrome." I miss me interaction with him and although he is stilled married and my dad's age, I still cannot forget him....


elvira black said...

My totally unscientific theory is that men don't mind taller women as much as women mind shorter men, at least in the contemporary world. Supermodels are considered an ideal, and as long as they're thin, there are plenty of men who don't give a hoot if they tower over them and wear heels to boot.

Rose said...

Height really doesn't matter. My husband is 5'8 closer and I am 5'4. I saw a photo pf Kimora of Baby Phat fame standing next to her husband and she looked like a giant in love...height doesn't matter....

Kim said...

Hey, those Hobbits aren't really short, Elija Wood is about 6'.

I have never been turned off by short guys. Probably because I was in love with Davy Jones in my formative years.
LOL! Michael J. Fox...what more can I say?

Short, receeding hairlines or whatever...a guy can still be attractive/sexy but sometimes I think the guys don't believe it.

Phi said...

I've always felt better when held by a tall man.. unless I met a 168 cm (it should be about 5 feet 6) wonderful lover.. Yes, love's all that counts..definitely.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Cathy,
So great that you can share clothes!

Dear Ladylee,
I can understand that!

Dear Zaria,
Yup, I think you're right.

Isn't it funny how love knows no boundaries.

Your theory is very accurate.

I've seen them together too. For some height is no issue.

I love DJ and MJF too!!!

Thanks for the metric conversion. We Americans really have to get with the program and learn this!


bohemVibe said...

I'm laughing out loud @ pewzen comment.

Its all in the heart, something I've accepted and lived-- size is only an outward package of whats really on the inside.

Sher said...

I love short men with power!

Ok.. maybe only a few.

Al Pacino
Dudley Moore

They only come up to my chest- but that's ok it all evens up when you lay down.

Michelle said...

Some of the most dynamic men I know are vertically challenged! It's their confidence and how they feel about themselves on the inside that makes all the difference and is reflected on the outside!

Fallen Angels said... more comment...there IS one short man I absolutely can not stand...Tom Cruise!! Used to merely dislike him; since his recent escapeds all over the media, I really really can not stand him.

Theo said...

indeed, checking in at 5'7", i couldn't agree more!

Sher said...

Changed my link:

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Bohemevibe,
So true, so true.

Dear Sher,
LOL! I updated your info.

Dear Michelle,
Couldn't agree more!

Dear Fallen Angels,
Yup. He's one short dude who isn't on my list for the same reasons.

Dear Theo,
In praise of men of all shapes and sizes, I say!


I n g e r said...

I, for one, am pleased that men suffer at least a SMIDGEN of the appearance bias that women do!

Not that I'm embittered. Um, power to the people.

Heidi said...

I posted a reply on my blog to your question about the contest..Just wanted to let u know.

Phi said...

off topic:
Deb, I can't seem to get to "the inside of me" from your link list. I get to a completely different site (an italian newspaper...!!!)
Just wanted to let you know.. don't know what happened!! :-)

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Got your answer. Thanks.

I fixed it. Thanks for the tech update.


Rue said...

Up here in Canada we had Doug Flutie's brother, Darren as a reciever for that Hamilton TigerCats. We won two Grey cups with him on the team and he is an inch shorter than his brother! I saw him catch the ball with two fingers in about talent! You're's attitude not altitude!I always say (since I am only 5'2" myself!) "Short in stature, tall in character!"

Beth said...

You know, I have a really hard time even considering short men. Maybe because I'm SO tall.

I have to have a guy thats at least as tall as me, preferably taller - I feel protected that way.

Great post though...


lightfeather said...

"Dynamite comes in small packages," I was warned by the One Who Sleeps off the Goldschlager. Vertically challenged, he enhanced his stature with guns, knives, and home made bombs. Was it the size of his body or the size of his heart? I am not sure.

I really enjoy your blog. It makes me think :-)

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Rue,
That must have been so amazing to see. Talent is something that knows no boundaries!

Dear Beth,
I can understand the protection thing. You feel so safe within someone else's body.

Dear Lightfeather,
That excerpt is great. Love your blog too. It is good grist for the mill!


chase said...

I think what irritate me is that society (media, news, ect) is always trying to force short, bald, ugly, overweight, macho, old, ect, men down womens throats, but they refuse to see women unless they are thin and beautiful and young.

Just take a look at commercials, movies and ads....most every movie, commercial or ad has a young, thin, "beautiful" woman in it, but (especially) in commercials, the man is dorky, fat, or sometimes downright ugly....looking like a slob with a model for a wife. In the movies its the old/older man with the 18-24 yrs old wife/girlfriend/lover.

Now I have nothing agaisnt any of those things in men, I've dated men over a foot shorter than me, men, so odd looking my sisters would just shake their heads, dorky guys, older guys, you name it. I just have a pet peeve with the phenomenom I just mentioned.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

You are right. This is like my other post about beauty and women and the stereotypes there. It is an accurate statement that a double standard applies between men and women.


Dirk the Feeble said...

I didn't know the AC/DC guy was that short, but no way is he cooler than Yoda.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Armaedes,
I didn't know that either about Angus. He is so great to watch onstage. I do think Yoda is way cooler too.


DCS said...

I am another one to whom height doesn't matter. One of the cutest couples I know: the husband is 5'2", the wife is 5'8". They laugh all the time, and they are still very much in love after several years of marriage. They are perfectly suited for each other.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear DCS,
Isn't that great? Happiness in all sizes.


A Flowered Purse said...

Im taller than my husband lol
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Dr. Deb!!!

dawn said...

happy thanksgiving

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Dianna,
Too cute! Hope you and yours enjoy the Holiday.

Dear Dawn,
Thanks for the good wishes. Hope you will be blogging soon.


jane said...

Please let me respond to Pewzen. While Tarzan is 6ft.1, he is not either of the men I'm referring to. (just for the record)
The tallest man I had sex with and the shortest man prove the 'genital test' to be false.

ps...the short guy had size 13 shoes!


dawn said...

i will soon, just working some stuff out :)

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Jane,
LOL, love your comment!

Dear Dawn,
Ok. Just checking in on you!


scribble said...

Happy Thanksgiving Dr. Deb.
(No I didn't disappear...
just a blog name change as
well as a name change.)

Hope your day is lovely.


Heidi said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family..Hope your wonderful day.

Vegas said...

I don't think height is such a big issue - surely women still find people like Tom Cruise / Michael J Fox / etc attractive despite their height? I'm just over 6 feet tall so it's aneasy assumption to make I guess. But give any man the choice and he'll always want to be taller than his partner....
By the way Deborah, I am feeling a lot more settled compared to last week. Thank you. Every little helps (see for the proof!)

OhioRuthie said...

Hey Dr. Deb...thanks for the note...I knew what you meant even with the oyLOL Hey I am on a different computer now and no longer have your email addy...could you email me again? I have a question for you.

for_the_lonely said...

I hope that you had a very blessed Thanksgiving Day! You are loved!


east village idiot said...

After living in NYC for years you get to see a lot of famous actors...people we think are REAL tall. The fact is that most of them are REAL SHORT. This is true about 80% of the time.

Nancy said...

Holy Moly Deb! 54 comments....You are getting to be too well know in blogland!

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Have a wonderful weekend too.

Rose said...

Thank you and you have a beautiful Thanksgiving and rest of the week.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Trudy AKA Annie,
Thank you for the lovely wishes. Will update my listings for you.

Dear Heidi,
Many thanks, my Canadian friend!

Dear Vegas,
So glad you are feeling better. I will visit your blog again now!

Dear Ruthie,
Oy vey, so glad you understood my last post. Will write you now too!

Dear Sarah,
Warm wishes and love right back at 'cha!

Dear EVI,
I know what you mean. I seem to always have a celebrity sighting when I am in NYC. Every high profile person I've seen is *so* not tall. Richard Gere, Gabriel Byrne, Meredith Vieria, George Stephanopolous, Bernadette Peters, Billy Joel, and most recently David "Talking Heads" Byrne and Rosie O'Donnell. I like knowing that people are the same all around. Not larger than life, you know?!

Dear Nancy,
Hope you, GOM and the girls have a wonderful holiday weekend too.

Dear Rose,
Thank YOU too :)

blackcaesar said...

i am 66.6 inches and very self conscious of height. i wish i was taller, simply because i hate to be discounted initially based on height. i imagine it is a blessing in disguise though.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Blackcaesar,
So many people are superficial -forming opinions about others based on physical appearance. I have no time for people like that. I think you are right, blessings can be found in these kinds of experiences helping us to know who is a true, real person and who we should avoid!!


Anonymous said...

Mister Bachelor author of The
says: While Mister Bachelor beleives that what is inside is more important than what is outside, I thank the lord I am six foot two.

cheesemeister said...

I've always liked the Young brothers. They have big, warm personalities and that's more important than height any day!
Thanks for the fun thought and the picture of a favorite musician!

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Anonymous,
6'2" - Nice height.

Dear Cheesmeister,
AC DC can rock a song, I agree.


Anonymous said...

I'm a short guy and have thought a lot about the short issue. Here's a couple of things to ponder. Why do you think it might be that some short men have what people call "little man syndrome"? Think about it for awhile instead of just bashing short men who behave this way. I think (and know from personal experience, to a degree) that some short men have adopted this approach because of aggressive, nasty treatment by other boys and men who try to dominate their shorter peers. In other words, the popular culture and society we live in encourages boys and men to dominate one another. As a result, small boys and men learn from an early age that they must defend themselves much more frequently and vigorously than their taller peers. Funny then that they then are blamed for this later on. I can't even begin to count the number of times that I have been mistreated publically and privately by boys and men of all heights, starting at an early age and continuing right on up into adulthood. There are just too many to even begin counting. As a result, I am quick to push back when I perceive that another man is trying to test me to see if he can get over on me.

There's one thing though that is particularly unevolved and hypocritical on the part of many women who are ga-ga for tall men. These women long for men who are loving, caring, will treat them right, care for their children, etc. but right below the surface in their subsoncsious is a desire to be with men who can dominate and step on other men, and in their minds height is the number-one measure of a man that indicates whether he'll be able to dominate. When this type of thinking comes full circle though, it's often the women who suffer at the hands of these cavemen. From a different point of view, the perception of these women is off the mark. When a physical confrontation between two men occurs, it's not always the tallest, biggest guy who comes out on top. In most cases, it's the guy who is the most persistent, is the most athletic, and the one who can simply out-work the other guy. Many tall guys are never challenged physically as boys or as men because of their size/intimidation factor. Many shorter boys and men, on the other hand, are challenged from an early age to defend themselves physically and are capable at doing so. Take a look at men who box or participate in mixed martial arts - a very large proportion of them are shorter than average. Here's an anecdote that might make you think. I once was in a movie theater with a couple friends when a scuffle erupted behind us near the end of the film. When we exited the lobby, we saw the source of the scuffle - two guys, both about 6'3", 6'4", one with a bloody nose. Both were with their wives/girlfriends. Both were apologizing to each other - the one who hit and the one who got hit - "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have hit you", "Yeah, but I shouldn't have complained because you kept putting your feet on the back of my chair", etc. you get the picture. Two big guys with little personal insight but big egos (and no experience in physical confrontation), getting hot under the collar, and then when things got a bit ugly and one wound up with a bloody nose, they reverted to being babies. Both doubting that they were in the right, "I love you man", the one with the bloody nose even CRYING a bit, while both girlfriends/wives looked on. Total morons, but definitely the guys who "get the girl". Give me a break. Folks, if you'd like to educate yourself about women's generally overwhelming preference for tall men, here's a little task: go look at any general internet personals website and determine the proportion of women's ads that explicitly mention a desire for a tall man and then use your discretion to factor in those women who don't explicitly mention height but nonetheless have a strong preference for it. After completing this exercise, consider for a moment how this makes short men feel about dating - knowing that before you're even out of the gate, a majority of all women won't even look at you because of your height. Then consider how that can translate into years of no companionship or sex, and think about how that makes those men feel. Then, as a final exercise, consider how those short men feel after being relentlessly told that their sex is the more superficial sex and that women for the most part value things like integrity, thoughtfulness, ability to communicate, etc. above looks, money, etc. See what I'm talking about here? Perhaps a bit of hypocrisy and double-talk?

P.S. Angus Young and others like him (trot out the obligatory list that includes, drumroll please...Dustin Hoffman, Michael J. Fox, Tom Cruise, blah blah blah) are popular with the ladies because they are CELEBRITIES and have MONEY and FAME. The average short guy fares much worse with the ladies than the average tall buy, anecdotes from family and friends ("Hey, I know this short guy who's always got a lady on his arm") notwithstanding.

Mark said...


Your post is excellent and exactly mirrors my thoughts and experiences as a 5'5" man.

The "short man syndrome" is a perfect example of bigotry in action: when a short man happens to be aggressive or hostile, then his behavior is attributed to his height, but when a tall man displays exactly the same behaviors, no one labels him as having "big man syndrome".

What's interesting is that underlying the very concept of "short man syndrome" is the understanding that short men are discriminated against and are considered inferior--this is what's supposed to be driving their anger. And yet, given that understanding, there's rarely any sympathy given to such men. I suppose short men who spend a lifetime being treated like second-class citizens are just supposed to be happy and content with their lot in life.

It's amazing to me how entrenched in the female mind is the love affair with male height and power. Even Dr. Deborah Serani on this blog seems caught up in it; when one male poster said "I thank the lord I am six foot two", she merely replies "Nice height" instead of taking him to task for contributing to bigoted attitudes toward short men. If he'd said "I thank the lord I'm white", would she have been so complacent?

Kevin said...

I am 5 foot 7 and I want to applaud both anonymous and Mark for summing up my thoughts better than I could myself.

I'd also like to comment on the penis size. Being short is pretty cool in that respect, I'm by no means huge in fact I am quite average. But to a girl who has been with a 6ft. 2 guy who is "pretty average" I look "pretty huge".

All concerns aside, I have defintely come to notice that life is what you make of it. While being tall certainly has its advantages, being the shortest guy in the room has helped me to stand out.

Too often we short guys let that number eat away at our confidence, I know cause I have felt this way myself. And hey maybe thats just it, whatever correllation between attractiveness and height we have all been searching for is determined first and foremost by self-image.

Mezo said...

viva shorties
im short and proud of it :)