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short and sweet
in defense of dating the shorter man
by adam kraemer (@DryWryBred)

Some of you may be aware that I've been ridiculously adamant over the years that what I write for Intrepid Media (you're reading it right now) is not a blog, but a column. I've made the argument that it publishes on a set schedule. I've made the argument that I wouldn't be able to get away with just posting something like, "I've been thinking about ninjas a lot. Discuss." I've made the argument that in no way have I ever referred to something I wrote here as an "entry." I've made the argument that if you insist on calling it a blog, I will punch you in the arm.

This is why it's maybe slightly ironic that based partly on my Intrepid Media columns, I've been tapped to write a blog for the Weight Watchers Web site. It's true. Through a sort of roundabout route, the editor of the site offered me the job last month. I've got about 10 entries (yes, entries) so far. If you so desire, you can find them here. I've been tasked with writing at least 2 per week, so if you find yourself going through me withdrawal before the following month's Intrepid Media column gets published, you can get your fix early. First taste is free.

Obviously, the consistent overall topic on my Weight Watchers blog is, well, weight loss. I mean, that sort of goes without saying (and yet...). However, within that umbrella, I've discovered that there are plenty of lifestyle topics on which I can riff. This past Friday, for example, I made the observation that at 5'6", my weight goal is less than that of a taller man, and therefore I actually really can't eat as much as a taller man and still expect to lose weight. I also can't eat as much as a shorter, fatter man, but that's not really the point.

This got me thinking about being below average in height, in general, and the positives and negatives of being such. I've often said that I'm not bothered by my height, and generally it's true. One major pet peeve, however, is when I see lists on dating sites - J-Date, Match, OkCupid - in which women have listed what they're looking for and I'm thinking, "Check. Check. Check. Check. Crap."

(And I'm not talking about 5'8"-tall women, either. I'll see a profile for a 5'1" young woman looking for a guy over 6 feet tall. Really? It's that important to you that you come up to his nipples when you dance? Okay.)

And I don't really intend to sound bitter about it - I'm not generally - except that I sometimes get the feeling that I've at times been somehow beyond consideration because I'm not 5'9" or taller. Of course I was also 50 lbs. heavier a year ago, so that might have had something to do with it. But to those women out there who have not considered the benefits of dating the 5'6"-tall man, why not give them some thought? Consider this list a jumping-off point; feel free to add your own:

a) I'll happily split an appetizer with you. Yes, part of this is due to my being on Weight Watchers, but I just think about how many 6'3" guys need their own appetizers. Then their girlfriends are left with the option of either finishing their whole app, wasting half of it, or offering the waitress the dreaded, "I'll just have a salad." Heck, I'll even split an appetizer and a main course with you. Well, the thinner me will do it, anyway. Which in the 1950s would have left us enough money to share an egg cream.

b) I've been told that it's nice kissing someone without straining your neck. Actually, more than told. I can say from experience that it's nice kissing someone without straining your neck. In fact, I can't think of a time I've ever kissed anyone and had to strain my neck. So I guess that one just makes sense. I can also vouch for the fact that it's nice reading a book without someone hitting my hands with a hammer. Neither here nor there, but that sounds just about as obvious. Point is, it's just a more pleasant experience when you're necking with your boyfriend after he takes you home from the drive-in.

c) You can rest your head on my shoulder when we dance. It's happened. I also had a girlfriend once who liked to rest her chin on my shoulder while I made dinner. She learned the hard way not to do it when we went skeet shooting, though. I might be making that up. But again, a shorter girl with a taller guy - she spends the entire sock hop with his boutonniere in her ear.

d) I often notice change on the sidewalk. Some may argue that's instead because I'm Jewish, but I'd counter with so's the height. I can also help you find your contact lens, dropped keys, and the backings of your earrings. And be happy to do it.

e) You look that much taller in heels. I know some women have a hang-up about this - "but if I'm wearing heels, I'll be taller than you." So what? If I'm wearing stilts, I'll be taller than you. Look, we know women often wear high heels; everyone knows women often wear high heels. I'm pretty sure I've never thought, "Wow, that woman in the 3-inch heels is taller than her date. They must be horrible people." That lack of judgement, I must concede, does apply to beautiful women dating ugly men. Then I think, "He must be rich." We all think that. And he probably has his own totally boss fallout shelter.

f) You can wear one of my shirts without needing to turn it into a dress. This is not necessarily just a walk-of-shame thing. I've had women - not necessarily girlfriends - borrow t-shirts or sweatshirts from me and actually been able to wear them again. In public. While they're out with taller guys. Damn. Still, a valid point. Nothing says, "It was either this or the backless dress I wore to the club last night," quite like a 5'2" woman in an XL sweatshirt. Maybe it is mainly a walk-of-shame thing.

g) I'm exactly the same height sitting on a bar stool as I am standing up. I know this doesn't, at first blush, seem like a benefit (or really any sort of point at all), but consider this scenario: you're on your second date with the quarterback of the football team (you're days away from getting jacketed and a week ago you didn't even think he knew who you were). The place is packed, so there's only room for one of you to have a seat at the counter. Of course he's a gentleman, so you get to sit down, but now he's standing next to you, towering over you. You say, "I'll have an Eskimo Pie." He hears, "I had sex with that guy," bursts into tears, runs out of the malt shop and heads straight to his local Army recruiting station to sign up. All because he wasn't the same height standing next to a bar stool.

I bet you it's happened.

h) You can stand next to me without being forced to see up my nose. This really needs no explanation.

i) Very few drunks will want to challenge me to a fight to prove their toughness. "You see that guy over there? Same height as his date on the bar stool? I'll bet I could give that guy a knuckle sandwich." "I'm sorry Principal Weatherbee, but it's time to go home." I've never been in a bar fight. (Well, one, but Jughead was asking for it with that stupid crown.)

I know some women feel as though they need to be protected by their man. I do get that, but to those women I have to say that I could punch a 6'3" man in the balls with much greater ease than someone 5 inches taller could. So you're good. No, we're good.

j) You can't help but engender the respect of your peers. You're a woman who projects self-confidence. You don't care what other people think (though they're thinking, "She projects self-confidence." All of them are thinking that. They told me). You can walk into prom and maybe be an inch taller than your date and it doesn't matter. When you slow-dance you can look into his eyes. Because if you're a short girl dating a tall guy and you're petting under the bleachers after spiking the punch, don't think you're not going to break his nose by looking up too fast when he bends down to give you a hickey. That would be a bad end to prom. You'd be mortally embarrassed and have to join a nunnery. And you're Jewish. All because you were just a bit too insecure. Ain't that a bite?

So there you have it. Ten reasons (if not more) why women shouldn't overlook men of my stature (overlook, get it?) - and if I hadn't been facing a tight deadline, I might have come up with better ones. And used more examples and slang that weren't 60 years old. But I still think you could get with it. You dig? Coolsville.


A native of Elkins Park, PA, Adam Kraemer spends way too much of his time repeating "K-R-A-E..." He moved to New York City in 1998 and earned Master's in Journalism at NYU; don't let his writing fool you. He feels he is best known for saying the things no one is thinking, but afterwards wish they had been. He spends his free time wondering where all his free time goes and why he can never come up with a decent kicker for the ends of his articles.

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reem al-omari
6.4.12 @ 7:58p

You know, most people have no grasp on the concept of height. I'm 5'1", and rarely do I ever feel as short as I am, nor do people realize how short I am, until I stand next to a tall person. And they don't even have to be that tall, the reaction is always the same: "Wow! I never realized how short you are!" I always ask them how tall they thought I was, and the answer is always something insane, like 5'7".

So, yeah, basically, I think these 5'1" women you're looking at just don't realize how short *they* are, and they have no grasp on true dimensions. I say forget your height and just meet these girls in person. I'm willing to bet they won't even notice or care that you're not 6 feet tall.

adam kraemer
6.5.12 @ 12:13p

I don't know. I mean, I know I don't look particularly short, but at the same time, it can't help when I'm out at a bar (or whatever) and 98% of the men in the room are all taller than me. That's the other benefit of the bar stool trick. :-)

kathy carr
6.19.12 @ 11:55p

People go to bars to meet women! I thought that was only in the movies. This would have been a good distraction, but Russ was 5'5". Hey, that makes me the confident one and exception, maybe. Could we say "exceptional"? That's so what Russ would have said. Yep. I can hear it. Some wisecrack right about now.

adam kraemer
6.20.12 @ 9:55a

He probably would have insisted I was still shorter than he was.

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