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Pout From Under

I'm an attractive guy who's always had trouble getting dates because of my height (I'm 5'5"). Over a year ago, I joined an online dating service, but I can't find a woman I'm attracted to who wants a guy under 5'10". Out of 54 profiles, none believed I was tall enough for their consideration. Forget about having a shot -- I'm not even allowed on the playing field. Pardon the pun, but can you imagine how SMALL that makes me feel? Why is a guy's height such an issue with women, and what can I do besides sit around angry and frustrated that I can't get a date?

--Short On Answers

That chip on your shoulder isn't making you any taller.

Your first step toward getting a date is accepting that the 6'1" women of the world probably won't be falling at your feet unless they trip over them while running after some tall guy. Study after study shows that women generally aren't attracted to men shorter than they are. This is probably an evolutionary holdover, since women typically express a need to feel "protected" -- unlikely as it is nowadays that they'll be chased by mastodons around the mall. In my own mini-study, I asked 20 female friends of varying heights -- from the 3'10" Hollywood bombshell Selene Luna to a 5'10" sociology professor -- whether they'd date a shorter man. Every single one, without hesitation, barked "No!" -- including the woman who responded to my initial "How are you?" by exclaiming, "Desperate for a husband!"

Yes, at 5'5", many women are out of your reach, but hey, everybody comes up a little short on something. Look around. There are a lot of stubby hubbies out there. Just a guess, but they probably didn't land their wives by sitting in front of their computers, insisting they'd only date Scandinavian supermodels. Take Danny DeVito. At 5', he's short, but not on charisma, humor, or charm. In fact, director Barry Sonnenfeld called him "the most self-confident person I've ever met." DeVito's inner tallness is probably what scored him his slightly loftier wife, the 5'1" Rhea Perlman. There are less famous exceptions to the height rule -- including men substantially squatter than the women they're with -- suggesting that a little guy might get lucky from time to time if he feels big enough to ask lots of Amazon women's knees out on dates.

While you seem to prefer whimpering about being short to being actively rejected because of it, risking rejection is the only way you'll date again before you die. If you'd had the guts to hit on every one of those 54 apparent height queens, you might have discovered one or two with a height requirement that was merely a height preference. That said, as a short man, relegating yourself to a dating venue where tall sells is marketing genius on the level of opening a Sizzler next to a vegan commune. Pry your pint-sized behind out of the computer chair and go where you're likely to find women who top off a little lower to the ground. (Hint: Avoid the Dutch and Swedish embassies.)

Should your taste run to the more Uma-esque, heed the research of evolutionary biologists David Sloan Wilson and Kevin Kniffin. They found that people who come up short on first impression can actually become easier on the eyes if they get into a group situation where they can show what faa-a-abulous people they are over time. Just remember, if you can get a girl on the couch, she isn't going to be thinking about how tall you aren't -- unless, of course, you remind her by kicking her in the knee.

Copyright ©2005, Amy Alkon, from her syndicated column, "The Advice Goddess," which appears in over 100 papers across the U.S. and Canada. All rights reserved.