What height means to women, with Tall Anna (Pt. 2)

by GK on September 12, 2012 · 3 comments

This is the second and final installment of my tag-team effort with Tall Anna about the importance of men’s height to women. Click here for Part 1.

GK: You do know your science, Anna, and I can’t argue with any of that. I know you don’t follow basketball, but sometimes I see height’s emotion-over-logic effect on NBA general managers.

Because 7-foot centers dominated the league for so long, a lot of GMs seem to keep drafting busts like Hasheem Thabeet and Darko Milicic over better, shorter players because it feels right to have a star big man. Even though shorter players have led teams to championships.

For reasons you gave, a taller guy does own the advantage, and at least you gave those shorter guys a chance; other women don’t. However, there is a way to crack this code in some cases — and it exists exactly because it’s so hard for women to explain their attraction to height.

Height is a means to an end: it makes a woman feel protected and safe. This feeling is paramount to women and there is no single trigger for it — I’ve been stunned when my past girlfriends told me they felt safe around me, considering that at 5-10, 147 pounds, I could barely fight off a chihuahua.

A taller guy enjoys the express subway line to Protection Land. A shorter guy must take the commuter train: it’s longer and trickier, but he can still get there by creating that first-impression feeling that you mentioned.

If a shorter can guy express other “alpha” qualities — dominant eye contact, a confident posture, having a compelling life, keeping a woman challenged, touching her and holding her like it’s his birthright — he can still make a woman feel safe.

I think of my good friend Tre Tre, who has been with plenty of taller women, including one girlfriend who was a full 2 inches taller. And a former student of mine who stands 5-4 but is in outstanding shape and has made a habit of dating personal trainers.

ok cupid messages height

Also, you mention that tall women get overlooked more, which is true. There’s an OK Cupid chart (see above) that shows a precipitous dropoff in interest above 5-foot-9. When women have fewer options, they tend to be less picky, which can work to a man’s advantage. A shorter guy may indeed have a better chance with a tall woman than with a 5-foot-5 one, simply because the former gets hit on far less.

My hypothesis is this: a guy under 5-9 has better odds attracting women offline than online, because he can better subvert a woman’s height biases by demonstrating his attractive qualities in person. Unlike with dating sites, a woman at the coffee shop can’t instantly click on 10 other guys.

Your thoughts?

ANNA: I think your hypothesis is spot-on, GK. Online, that taller woman is probably much less likely to give that shorter a guy a chance simply because she can filter him out and focus on the ones within her ideal height range, which, let’s face it, is probably anyone taller than herself.

In person, though, that same guy could immediately show her that a) the height difference isn’t as big of a deal as she may think it is, and b) his awesomeness makes up for what he may lack in height. Plus, if you’re sitting at a cafe or at a bar, height isn’t even an initial factor. You can start up conversation without even knowing how tall the other person is.

But I do want to add this: dating a taller guy isn’t just about wanting to feel protected and safe. I’m a confident 6-1, and in heels, up to 6-5. I realize I’m female, and that automatically puts me at some sort of disadvantage walking home alone at night. But 99% of the time, I feel pretty darn sure that, should I need to, I could kick some ass on my own—or on my date’s—behalf. Being really tall, confident, and aware inherently keeps me rather safe.

Sure, when I’m with B., that safe feeling doubles. But it also doubles when I’m with another person, regardless of their height. Bottom line: I don’t need a tall guy to make me feel safe in this crazy world.

All that said, making a gal feel protected is to your advantage, because who doesn’t like to feel taken care of just a little? (Just don’t take away her independent-woman feeling in the process.) And like you mentioned, GK, by showing her your “alpha” qualities, you’ll not only make her feel safe, but also pretty into you.

The key, however, is to work your magic in person—not for weeks over email or OKCupid messages.

GK: You’ve touched on one of the biggest ways my game has improved over the last five years: I’m way better at guessing a woman’s body shape when she’s sitting at a bar or cafe table. I’m a regular Sherlock Holmes at gathering the evidence, and I won’t give the whole secret away, but I will say this: the ankles usually don’t lie.

Thanks for clarifying my point on feeling protected — I have no doubt you can kick some serious behind if need be. By “safe,” I don’t think it’s always a literal protection from danger that women seek. But even as gender roles change, women are conditioned to want a man who’s dominant to them (one recent, regrettable example being “50 Shades of Grey”), and height is the most literal manifestation of that. So, height often wins out — especially online.

(I should add that if we go rock-climbing as we’ve discussed, I will absolutely feel safer with B. around.)

Still, perhaps the greatest reward of my coaching days was seeing conventional wisdom shattered. The underdog rarely wins in nature and the bigger or manlier guy usually gets the girl. But it’s inspiring to have witnessed guys of many sizes, personalities and backgrounds succeed by finding their manlier side — not with a laptop, but with some good old-fashioned brass balls. It’s sort of like wearing lifts, but way cooler.

You know what, Tall Anna? It just inherently feels better having you on my blog. Will you promise to join us again?

ANNA: Absolutely, Greg. But now you really have me curious about these secret conversations you’ve been having with women’s ankles. Perhaps we can save that for another time, though.


1 B in Philly September 19, 2012 at 2:59 pm

That OKC graph is amazing. Not just because of the trends, but because of the difference in unsolicited messages between men and women. The worst of the women still do better than the best of the guys!

2 Jeremy Boggess October 15, 2012 at 1:47 am

Is there a dating website for taller women who like shorter men. If please email me jboggess@bossig.com

3 Mike December 10, 2013 at 3:32 pm

There’s something else I think is worth noting about those graphs. The portion of the men’s bell curve which gets about 90% or more of the average number of messages runs from 5′ 10″ to 6 ‘7″, which is about half of all men on the site. But the portion of the women’s bell curve which gets about 90% or more of the average number of messages is basically 5′ 11″ and shorter, which is practically ALL the women on the site! If this analysis turns any women on out there, write me. It’s the tip of the iceberg of a brain in this (legitimate) 5’ 9.5″ single Catholic guy in his late 30s…haha. js_963@live.com

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