Why Tall Men Have Prettier Girlfriends: What science tells us

about height and attraction, the ceiling effect, why 6 feet tall

is the benchmark and why you should date

women shorter than


Christopher Philip

It’s a fact of life. Height is just one of those things we can do very little, if anything, about, and yet it is so very important in dating and attraction. I will go through a variety of points to show you exactly how important it is and what researchers have found about the preferences women have when it comes to this quality. The end result might bring tears, but there is no sense ignoring good hard science. By acknowledging the reality of the situation, you can use your approaches on women more selectively and sparingly, you can employ lifts in your shoes or you can use one of those stretching machines! Really, there isn’t a whole lot that can be done to fix inherent height issues, but by knowing about their existence, you can modify your “game” and end up more successful in dating. Acting according to what the science says is the best way to work most efficiently. Without wasting any more time, let’s get straight into the research.

According to Hartfeil and Sprechler (1986) height is one of the most important characteristics determining overall physical attractiveness as determined by women. I doubt that any reasonable person would refute this statement. However, at the same time, one may not understand the extent of its importance. The male taller norm is the cardinal rule of dating. Gillis and Avis (1980) took information collected from bank account applications and found that only 2 couples out of 720 consisted of a pair in which the woman was taller than the man. This is an outstandingly large number. This means that you have less than a one percent chance of courting and marrying a woman who is taller than you. Having a small chance does not mean no chance at all though. Being shorter simply means that you are going to have to work harder to get a woman who is taller. Tall women are looking for the same qualities as short women after all. However, if she is taller than you, she will expect more in terms of resources and power to make up for the height difference.

In a study by Hensley (1994) women preferred a man who was 72 inches (183 cm) tall as a benchmark. The preference for the six foot tall man is overwhelming, says Hensley. In his study, consisting of 145 females, 32 percent reported this as their preferred height. Thirty-two percent is not everyone, and most certainly not the majority, so this statistic might give you hope! The 68 percent of women who don’t prefer the 6 foot tall man are also potential suitors, and must be considered. However, fundamentally there are even fewer that are suitable for you because some of these women might prefer men who are taller or even shorter than you regardless of what height you happen to be, further shrinking your pool of eligible women. Here comes the better news. In a study by Cameron (1978) it was found that 100 percent of the women advertised the desire to date a man who was 4 inches taller than themselves. Hensley’s (1994) study, mentioned above, showed that on average, women and men both prefer the man to be 2 to 3 inches taller than the woman in a relationship. Why is this news better? It’s better for the simple fact that it destroys the 6 foot tall benchmark rule. That is, men aren’t at a huge disadvantage just because they aren’t all 6 feet tall. Men simply must be taller then the women they seek. It is much easier to change your target date than it is to change your height! Furthermore, a study by Shepperd and Strathman (1989) revealed that 95 percent of the female participants preferred a taller man, 3 percent the same height and 2 percent preferred males shorter than themselves. Therefore it suggests that it is not the absolute height but rather the relative height that matters the most. Finally, we have something to work from! If we accept this information, and we should, than we also accept that you and I, and everyone else, will have a far better chance of getting what we want from a woman who is shorter than ourselves.

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