Abida Mian's Blog

An outlier that's living, learning and being myself…

“The ugly truth about beauty – Does height matter?”

The phrase ‘tall, dark and handsome’ has often been used to describe a woman’s ideal man. Most women I know put ‘tall’ as their greatest preference, which also included me until I ended up liking someone who wasn’t the ‘ideal’ 6ft. In fact, I recall reading a study years ago, that revealed taller men get more girls and have more children than shorter guys. Are we operating with the same selection as prehistoric times, and does it really matter?

Psychologists have argued that the female preference for taller men harkens back to prehistoric times, when women chose mates that could offer them the best protection and provide for their needs. Basically height is a variable that women find desirable – men who can protect them, and aren’t easily dominated by other men.

Scientists argue that tall men and petite women are favoured in evolutionary terms, which means that the two sexes are unlikely to ever end up the same height over the course of evolution. According to the study, a man of 6ft was more likely to have children than an average man of 5ft10. Conversely, women were most likely to be married and have children if they were below the average height of 5ft3 – that rules me out then 🙂

Apparently, a leading scientist says that shorter women have greater reproductive success partly because of there being delayed fertility among tall women. Also, taller women have a disadvantage in that there is a smaller pool to choose from, if they want a man to tower over them.

Strangely enough, I watched a documentary years ago on very tall women (6ft+) and their struggles with finding a mate. When I was younger, I’d always thought it would be amazing to be that tall. Watching the women was a real eye-opener, some were actually rather stunning, but finding a man of their own height or taller was a great difficulty for them. Though, some tall women don’t seem bothered by a man’s height, famous examples include; Claudia Schiffer, Penny Lancaster.

If you browse through women’s dating profiles, you’ll find that the majority have quite specific criteria with regards to a potential partner’s height. In fact, I was out with a female colleague the other night in the Builders Arms, and she pointed out a guy who she said was gorgeous but he was just too short for her. Conversely, most men seem not to regard it with such importance. On the rare occasion, where I’d see a couple who were both very tall, I’d think to myself that they looked rather striking.

Of the three men I’ve had relationships with, two were of average height (~5ft10), and so there wasn’t much of a difference. The third was taller (6ft2) and it was quite nice to cuddle up and feel protected. The only thing was that he was used to dating much shorter women, I was infact the tallest. So, his natural preference was for petite. Two of my female friends have contrasting opinions. One is 5ft2in, and wouldn’t date anyone below 6ft; the difference would be on the other extreme for me. Then my Chinese friend who’s only 5ft and sensibly says that most men would be taller than her, so it’s not a problem!

I’ve never really consciously thought about height before. However, years ago, my friend tried to play cupid and set me up with a friend of his. Apparently, he had all the qualities I was after, down-to-earth, geeky and attractive. We talked on the phone a couple of times, and he seemed genuinely nice. So, my friend arranged for him to come down to the pub for a couple of drinks one Friday night. I turned up; they were both there together with his bunch of friends and people I knew. I was slightly shy, saw him and instinctively thought he wasn’t for me without even spending time with him. One of my friends then wanted to go to a club so I joined them and left. The boys & girls made a comment that he wasn’t my type, he was a bit short, which was a little unfair but admit I thought that too.

Months later, my friend invited me to his summer barbeque. Embarrassingly, the guy he tried to pair me up with turned up. I felt soo rude about the whole situation that I tried to avoid him. However, at the end of the night, and having been persuaded to drink some alcohol (I’m not much of a drinker), I felt more relaxed. We started chatting and I was a lot more playful than usual, my mum was trying to call me, and he wanted to answer. So, I put his hand on my knee and instantly there was an attraction. It was nice to go out with someone that everyone else knows, instead of random strangers off the internet.

Initially, his height was a barrier but when I got to know him, I actually enjoyed spending time with him. Ok, so wearing heels was a bit of a problem, and the girls would ask isn’t he a little short. Honestly, he must be an exception, because, I was quite surprised how much I liked him.

Shame it didn’t last, but was height the barrier, not at all. Sometimes, we’re guilty of having an idea of what we’re looking for, whether that’s height, intelligence, attractiveness. When people say that they’d never thought they’d end up with someone, it’s true that sometimes if a person has everything else, what does it matter? Sophie Dahl & Jamie Cullum haven’t let their significant height difference or media ridicule come in the way of their relationship.

Remember that whilst height may make people more or less attractive, it may be the influence of our culture and not female choice that is responsible.



  garry wrote @

My goodness how interesting and well written. My take on this would be to worry about missing opportunities while spending too much time theory dating. Use one’s instinct I say. Garry

  Rosie wrote @

Being a tall woman has been very lonely & dehabilitating

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