Many years ago, my best friend Clint was angling to take this girl Cho to the dance. He was genuinely interested in Cho, though she was always a little indifferent to him. And any boy, for that matter. But as the day of the dance rolled closer and Cho didn’t have a date, she got Clint and another suitor to stand back to back. Clint was 1/2″ taller and so Clint was her date. Cho was 6′0″ tall and refused to date any guys shorter than she was. But she’d go to the prom with someone an inch shorter, so long as he was taller than the competition.
My wife Clancy and her mother were at a wedding between a very tall guy and a very short woman. “All that height,” Clancy’s mother lamented, “wasted!”
The other day I wrote about the perils of using a woman’s vulnerabilities to try to get the upper hand. Last night I watched Bloggingheads.tv and was thinking about it today. Megan McArdle, aka Jane Galt, is something like 6′2″. This actually reminded me of something and I found an issue where I do something like that: height.
I am over 6′3″, which isn’t that tall I guess but it’s definitely tall enough to be useful. I discovered sometime after Clint’s brush with Cho that a lot of taller girls can be varying degrees of self-conscious about their height. I don’t know that my height was particularly useful with the ladies most of the time, but it clearly made a difference with tall women.
And I used it to my advantage.
I would never say anything to them about it, of course. If a 6′0″ woman wasn’t interested, I didn’t lecture her about how tough it’s going to be to find another guy as tall as me to ask her out and how without me she would have to make do with a shorter man. It wasn’t anything like that. If they weren’t interested, they weren’t interested. But what I did do is gravitate towards taller women under the assumption that they would be slightly more likely to be interested. I’m not sure that being taller ever helped me date a woman “out of my league”, but it did help.
Clancy is 5′10″ and she was (as far as what’s coming to mind right now) the fourth tallest woman that I’d ever dated. Clancy didn’t have a problem dating shorter men, but she has told me on more than one occasion how glad she was to be able to wear heels at her wedding.
So the question that is coming to my mind is that is there any moral difference between what I did (considered women’s insecurities about height when deciding who to talk to at parties and who to flirt with) and what Howard did in In The Company of Men? I’d say that there is one major difference because I never acted or believed that they were lucky to have the interest in someone like me whereas Howard (in a fit of rage, perhaps) did. But looking at it in this light still makes it feel a bit unsavory.
On a sidenote, two of my more serious exes, Julie and Evangeline, were 5′7″ and 5′8″ respectively, so my height was probably not much a factor with either of them. What’s interesting though is that Julie’s next boyfriend and Evangeline’s boyfriend after the boyfriend after me were both 6′6″. The taller girls I dated, Libby, Cecilia, and Brook, followed me up with someone significantly shorter than me and shorter than them.