When you're looking for a woman to date, the list of qualities to consider can seem infinite.
There's hair color. Skin tone. Style.
Every guy has his own preferences, and these influence whom he dates. But it's particularly hard to ignore one asset — a woman's height.
Height is often the first thing you notice about someone when you first meet. You'll estimate a woman's height as soon as you approach her.
You’ll notice it when you first make eye contact, you’ll be aware of it the first time you hold her hand, and you’ll certainly pay attention to it the first time you're in bed together.
Whether you’re into tall women or petite ones, no type is universally superior. That said, it would be wrong to deny that individual guys have their own preferences.
While some dudes might not even include height when considering the qualities they desire in a woman, others put a great deal of emphasis on how their potential partners measure up (pun intended).
If a guy is short and insecure, he may compensate for his height by seeking out a shorter woman.
But if a guy is short and resourceful, he might pursue a taller woman. He might help a woman find her car in a crowded parking lot.
Maybe he'll offer to reach for the top shelf at Whole Foods. OK, I was kidding there — but, point being, there are pros and cons to a man's own height in seeking a partner.
If you were wondering why you’ve been singularly attracted to tall or short women in particular, science may reveal the deeper meaning behind your “type.” Here's what the research has to say.
Choice A: Tall Women
There’s a reason why the world’s finest designers model tall women.
The fashion world sets up tall, slender women as the "ideal" type. In response, women around the world buy high-heeled shoes (and ignore the discomfort) in order to gain a few inches.
Tall women attract attention. When a group of women walk into a bar, most eyes turn immediately to the tallest one in the group — simply because she might be the first face they see.
And when men interact with tall women, as Roger Dobson explains for The Independent, the outcome is generally positive.
According to Dobson, “both men and women judge a tall female on first sight as more intelligent, assertive, independent and ambitious.”
Dobson further explains that men view tall women as being wealthier and more successful.
These initial impressions don't guarantee a lasting relationship. But they do give tall women a leg up (no pun intended). Although these judgements may seem superficial, I understand where they come from.
Whenever I think of a tall woman, I almost always picture Uma Thurman or Maria Sharapova — tall, blonde, alpha females.
Both happen to be very assertive. And while I wouldn’t expect every tall woman to be as strong-willed as the two I just mentioned, stature can indicate personality.
Dobson explains that men make many conclusions about a woman based on her height.
Psychologists from the Universities of Liverpool and Central Lancashire set out to gain a better understanding of height discrimination, a tendency that has influenced male-male competition since the beginning of human history.
But heightism is not confined to ego battles between men. It also plays a large role in a man's choice of mate.
In one study, men were asked to judge the characters of women whose pictures had been digitally shortened or lengthened.
These findings served as "the first direct evidence that female height influences perception of their character,” Dr. Simon Chu, who was involved in the study, explained.
Choice B: Short Women
The evidence found in studies of heightism is not entirely in favor of tall women. In fact, it often suggests that men may view shorter women in an equally positive light.
While men might see taller women as more conventionally attractive — and even more intelligent — than shorter women, men find the latter to be “more nurturing and likely to be better mothers.”
According to Dobson, “men believed that shorter women were more considerate, nurturing and homely.”
This conclusion could come an initial belief that short women are not intimidating.
Many shorter men have to conquer the fear of dating women who are taller than they are. Many men might find taller women more imposing — and smaller women more inviting.
In a Daily Mail report, researchers suggest “small women with long legs” are empirically the most attractive "type."
According to the man behind the claim, Dr. William Brown of Brunel University, “shorter, slimmer females with long slender limbs and larger breasts are more attractive.”
Dr. Brown explains his logic through the concept of body symmetry. Though tall, slim, women may appear thinnest on a runway, it's the shorter, curvier women who are most symmetrically pleasing.
Ultimately, height is just a number. But your choice of a tall or a short woman could reveal which other qualities attract you.
If you're a lad who fancies taller women, you might prefer a more independent and assertive companion. If you are a shorter man, you could be seeking out someone more nurturing.