A reader writes:
I am a very short guy. I appreciate anything that brings up the topic of bias against short men because I think it is widespread yet not widely acknowledged. I agree that people should not be expected to refer to non-discrimination rules in their romantic and sex lives. I have my own very superficial preferences. However, I get the impression that a woman's refusal to date short guys sometimes has little to do with actual attraction. Sometimes it is about how other people will perceive her or what she assumes are unrelated traits of short men (for example, small equipment, less masculine, Napoleon Complex). These assumptions are extremely unfair and inaccurate.
The relationship of height to characteristics such as penis size is either nonexistent or so tiny on average with such variation among individuals that it is useless on an individual basis. These are prejudices unrelated to attraction that women should at least recognize and try to overcome.
Thankfully, I've done just fine both professionally and personally, so I'm not complaining. I think the most important thing short guys can do for themselves is refuse to accept or internalize society's biases. Women and employers are still attracted to confidence.
I'm a short bloke. I've been bitter over getting filtered out on online dating sites, but I don't really blame anyone for it. Attraction is attraction, and I'd rather have had (now married, have kid, all done) the smaller dating pool of people who are attracted to me than the larger one which included people who felt that they "should" go out with me despite the lack of attraction. The time it sucks most was, of course, when you could tell you were be rejected for your height by someone you were attracted to, but life goes on.
I rejected signs of interest for weight and attractiveness issues as well – for the same reason: it would be cruel to get involved with someone that you "should" be involved with and then later have them find out that you weren't really attracted to them. So, that women are sometimes not into short men is just one of those "life's not fair" bits that needs to be countered with remembering the dozens of ways I am privileged, fortunate, etc.
I'm a short guy – very short, in fact: 5-5. (I've been referred to as a "Hobbit" by women who wanted to sleep with me as well as those who were poking fun.) You'll never realize people's desires through a straightforward empirical investigation, such as asking women on the street or looking at match.com filters. There's a tension between what people will admit to liking, the mates people choose to fit in socially, and the desires people privately harbor. Based on conversations with friends and the breadth of women I've been attracted to (and yes, the prevalence of Internet pornography), I strongly believe that more men are attracted to body fat than will admit it, or are entirely indifferent to breast size, and that women's preferences are likewise varied.
Even if my theory holds, it doesn't, practically speaking, help me. If a woman is embarrassed to date a man shorter than herself, she will not do so, even if she is aroused by him, just as many men won't date fat women even if they find them attractive.
In my experience I've had the best luck with women I meet in a more close-knit setting – through a friend, at a class, or a job. The allows the woman to interact with me without having to make a split-second decision about whether she would want to date me or hook up. It seems in these more casual situations that the woman simply doesn't notice my height, or notices my other qualities more.