Anonymous Chinese Guy asks:
I have, in the past, been interested in getting to know and dating some western women, but I understand that quite a few may view my height as a glaring weakness. Can you give any insight on how important western women (or even foreign women in general) view height?
You might say I have first-hand experience with this — after all, I hesitated when I first discovered that John, in fact, was shorter than me:
Years ago, I couldn’t imagine the separation of one inch — let alone three inches — between me and my love. As John and I flirted for weeks like teenagers, the fact that we always met each other sitting down made me believe in my own version of a tall tale — that he was as tall as I was. But then I invited him to lunch one Saturday, and the moment John stood up from his chair, I traded in one cliche for another — a tall tale for a short Chinese guy.
I’d already vanquished many stereotypes to fall in love with Chinese men before: not sexy enough, not handsome, too effeminate. With every soul-stirring kiss and embrace with one of the sons of Han, I discovered that the stereotypes were no match for the beauty, strength and passion of Chinese men. But now I faced the final dragon, and I didn’t know how to cross this river without faltering. After all, I’d never given my dream man a race or ethnicity, but somehow I’d always promised myself he’d be as tall, if not taller, than me.
Clearly, I wasn’t alone on this, as fellow relationship blogger and writer Christine Tan reminded me:
I never thought I would be interested in a shorter man. Growing up feeling awkwardly tall, I always assumed my future partner would save me from my self-consciousness by dwarfing me; with this man, I would finally feel like a petite and feminine Asian girl. It was only natural, I thought, to have a taller figure by my side, the strong, masculine partner who stands protectively, or reassuringly, over me.
But unlike Christine and I (note: Christine just tied the knot with her shorter sweetheart), some women just won’t let go of that tall man fantasy. Consider this column from a guy who ran a dating service called LunchDates:
During my years at LunchDates I interviewed women who were very flexible about a man’s religion, his hobbies, and even whether he was divorced. But the one criterion they would not budge on was his height!
I am not just talking about tall women…. What really perplexed me was the number of short women who insisted that they only would date men considerably taller than themselves. It was very common for women 5 feet 4 inches or under to state that they “absolutely” only wanted to meet a man at least 5 feet 10 inches, and they really preferred 6 feet….
When pushed to the wall and asked their reasons, they replied with some of the following excuses:
“I usually wear shoes with at least three to four-inch heels,” some women responded very naturally. They also frequently pointed out that many boots have even higher heels. So these women would add at least three to four inches to their own height just to pull even, then another few inches to make sure that the man on their arm was still taller.
“My father, my brother, and all the men in my family are over 6 feet, so that is what I am used to,” one women stated, insisting that she KNEW that the average height of men was around 6 feet. When I tried to tell her that the median height of men was between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 9 inches, she got up and angrily marched out of the interview room!
“I am short, and I am looking for a man to father my children, and I don’t want to have short children,” a number of women told me, with a straight face, I might add.
“I just feel safer when I walk down the street with a man who is much taller than me,” was also a common response.
“I am only attracted to tall men, I just can’t help it!”
But here’s the thing: it’s so much easier for a woman to, say, cross shorter men off their list when — as in the case of these LunchDates clients — she’s imagining a hypothetical man. That woman might just change her mind in real life, just as I changed my mind about my husband, which I mentioned in my interview with J.T. Tran:
Jocelyn: That makes me think about my husband. He’s 5’4”. I was kind of interested in him, and then I saw him stand up and thought to myself, I don’t know about this guy. But then when I got to know him and found out he was interested in psychology. And he told me this story about how, in his hometown, there are these stone factories building up in residential areas, disturbing the peace. He actually confronted the owner of one of these factories and he was going to try to sue them. And I thought, Whoa! This guy has some character. He’s 5’4”, but he’s a fighter.
JT: That’s a really good point and I’m really glad you brought that up. That’s what I call, in attraction parlance, DHV or demonstration of high value. I use the example of how every time you see a person, you form a pie chart, and based on first impressions, you fill that pie chart in. For Asian guys, “educated” is typically one of the slices in the pie chart. “Educated,” “has a good job,” those kinds of things are filled in. But then, as you pointed out, he’s 5’4”, and the vast majority of women want a guy to be at least as tall as they are. So that right there, that huge chunk, is not filled in. So, you think in the back of your mind, he’s 5’4”, this is never going to filled in, and he’s not going to change that.
So the concept, in pickup, is that we are going to fill in that pie chart for you. We’re going to display our personality. And, in this particular case, when Asian guys are short, one of the biggest slices of that pie that is missing is “Protector of Loved Ones.” I hear this all the time from my girlfriends. I kept on hearing it until I looked into the statistics and found that, for one out of four girls, someone tried to sexually molest them. And probably, for a beautiful girl, that’s even higher. It’s an incredibly tragic thing. But I bring this up because every girl has the right to expect a man who can take care of her. So with someone that’s short, subconsciously you think he would have a more difficult time, that the “Protector of Loved Ones” slice isn’t going to be there. But in the case of your husband, or as I tell others, we’ll fill in that slice. Maybe it’s not the case of me beating up someone else, but telling a story where I take care of my friends. Or, in your husband’s case, he takes care of his people. He’s someone who stands up for himself. Because you unconsciously know that if you were to get in trouble, he would stand up for you.
Now, maybe you don’t have a “I stood up to the stone factories” story like my husband. But maybe you can show that “protector of loved ones” side of yourself in other ways, as J.T. suggests — that you would stand up for her and take care of her. That’s why you really need to get out there and talk to women in person — show them your character and your courage, and charm them into changing their minds about who they should love.
Of course, some women out there will never change, no matter how handsome, charming and courageous you are. You’re better off without them.
But then again, you might find some encouragement from the words of this woman:
I’ve heard women say that they like dating taller guys because it makes them feel smaller or petite or protected. I hate feeling smaller or petite and I don’t need to feel protected. I feel sexier having a guy stand on a curb to kiss me. It makes me feel like a goddess. I’m statuesque. I love my height, so why would I want to hide that?
Maybe your goddess is out there waiting for you, too.
What advice or thoughts do you have?
Do you have a question about life, dating, marriage and family in China/Chinese culture (or Western culture)? Send me yours today.