Unfair to Short Guys

Q: I am in the process of divorce, and I have started to find and date women. I am 5'4", 140 lbs., Caucasian, brown eyes/brown hair, and not bad looking. Semi-retired. Also, I am muscular/play tournament tennis/guitar/dance West coast swing and country two step. Where are all the single short girls who want short guys? In my city, it seems everywhere I go the girls are married/tall or really picky? What bugs me the most is that all the girls that I meet want a guy who is at least 2- 10 inches taller than them? Why? And what can I do about it ? Maybe I should start wearing elevator shoes or start dating Asian women? What's a short guy to do? -- Don, 48

Dr. Susan: I sympathize with your plight, exactly the way I sympathize with women who feel shut out of the dating market by some "imperfection." Why do women like taller men? It's most likely hard-wired into their systems, the way your own preferences are. Why do so many men insist on dating only women who are young, slim, with small waists, hefty bosoms, good skin, and, often, compliant personalities? Because that's the way we choose "good" mates. Darwin, evolution, and all that.

So what can you do if you're a man who's too short to fit into the chosen category? Two things: be less picky yourself, and develop other aspects of yourself that will make you a good deal. Be sure you are not eliminating from your own dating pool women who might be a little overweight or have some other "flaw" that makes it hard for them to get together with worthy men. A woman's short stature is not, in itself, an imperfection. That's why most short women can still call the shots and opt for much taller men. (Too bad for everyone, since height is so unimportant when you consider what really matters to long-term happiness with someone.) Then, rather than focus for now on your looks and spare-time activities, focus on what you bring to a relationship. Have you figured out why your marriage fell apart? Can you offer a woman great conversation, generosity (not necessarily financially, but in other ways), unusual consideration, and interest in her as a person? Are you particularly easy to be with, agreeable and positive, and FUN to be around?

When I was dating after my first marriage ended, I ended up with someone less than two inches taller than me, but height wasn't a factor for me. He was genuine, honest, easy-going, passionate, and accepting of imperfect me. Another guy who I might have dated just before that turned out to be way too abrasive and self-absorbed. The fact that he was only an inch taller than me was an extremely minor part of my decision to turn him down. Meanwhile, I suggest you widen your dating pool, go online, join some new groups where women gather. You're only seeking one good woman, not a batch of them.

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