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Read Letter

He’s Shorter Than I

My dear Jil, as I read your mail, memories of a novel I read in secondary school came flooding in. I seriously doubt you’d have known a writer named James Hadley Chase – one of several pseudonyms. He wrote under five names. His birth name was actually Rene Lodge Brabazon Raymond. He was a crime writer, quite brilliant. Wrote 90 novels as Hadley Chase. Possibly read all ninety in secondary school! He had fantastic openings in his books. They’re the stuff of legend.

One of his most memorable openings was in Paw In The Bottle. This is the opening paragraph: “Have you ever heard how they catch monkeys in Brazil, Julie? Let me tell you. They put a nut in a bottle, and tie the bottle to a tree. The monkey grasps the nut, but the neck of the bottle is too narrow for the monkey to withdraw its paw and the nut. You would think the monkey will let go of the nut and escape, wouldn’t you? But it never does. It is so greedy it never releases the nut and is always captured.”

You mail kind of reminds me of that story, though by no means am I suggesting you’re greedy. No. In your own words, this guy you’re considering is a fabulous guy. The only problem you have is his height. He’s vertically challenged. Like the proverbial monkey, you want all those wonderful qualities…don’t want to let go. But then, what to do with his height? And therein lies your challenge. You don’t want a shorter partner. The impression conveyed is Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones. Of course the guy is not that short. He’s not a dwarf. He’s actually about your height. Okay, slightly shorter.

It’s either you forego those wonderful attributes in search of a “tall handsome fellow,” or you accept his height and get all those attributes. You can’t have it both ways apparently. Life has not given you that privilege. To be sure, physical attractiveness matters. If anybody says otherwise, they’re not being real. Or they’re dishonest. But what constitutes physical attractiveness is another thing entirely. It’s somehow beyond just physical attributes. For some women that attractiveness is based on a man’s assertiveness, the ability to command respect. They’ll get frustrated with a non-assertive personality, a man who can’t hold his own. There’d be no respect. Human nature is deeper than we imagine. Our 3D model is not totally representative of reality. There are intangible dimensions. What makes us attractive is a combination of so many factors – cultural, environmental, experiential, even spiritual. It’s why the fine guy on campus who can’t hold his own in the real world quickly suffers devaluation.

Attractiveness is beyond the physical. There’s aura, there’s our cultural conditioning. No one can fault you for wanting a tall handsome guy. It’s a legitimate desire. It’s what you want. It’s your choice. But sometimes in life, the packages omit certain features, like height. And sometimes, physical attributes don’t align with virtue. Then we’re forced to choose between character and physical qualities. Dating a short guy has its challenges no doubt. You may have to worry about high heels if you want to maintain height parity. It’s the problem Nicole Kidman had with Tom Cruise. Though she then went on to marry Keith Urban. Same issue. The mirror irony is that Tom Cruise is shorter than all his three ex-wives. And there are many male stars in that situation: Mick Jagger and L’Wren Scott, Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster, Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan, Mark Wahlberg and Rhea Durham… The list goes on and on. Nature doesn’t always match people based on height. Love is an amazing thing. And so you won’t be the first to date a shorter guy. Others have gone boldly before you. But some people have larger than height personalities. Think Kevin Hart. Eniko Parish is significantly taller. The more successful the guy is of course the more tolerable his height seems to be in either direction.

If the height is such a huge problem for you, it won’t work. You’ll always be ashamed to introduce him. You’ll always be embarrassed, though it’s doubtful many will see it as you do. He’s your husband and that’s it. And anyway everyone will get used to the idea. In reality though, it’s nobody’s business. If both of you are happy and love each other, that should do for everyone and compensate for the height. If he’s tall and handsome but lacks husbandly attributes, what value is he to you in marriage? The more responsible a man is the taller he’ll be in his wife’s estimation. Nobody wants to marry a man short on responsibility. Of course you have to accept the fact your children will likely be short. That’s biology. But the genes can jump and by some stroke of luck, you can have those tall children you want. Barring genes doing high jump however, chances are short parents will produce short children. But he’s not really that short based on your description. The gravitational impulse is just exaggerated in your psyche. What I suspect is that you want to compensate for your own height in your children through your man.

Now, I really can’t tell you go this way or go that way. You know what you can or can’t abide psychologically. If you can live with his height, it’s up to you. If you can’t, it’s okay. You’re not carnal or vain. It’s personal preference. Though the thing is, we hardly know ourselves, hardly know what we want. Many times we have a wrong picture. There are men who didn’t think beauty mattered to them only to get into marriage and discover it matters. You can tell by all that picture profile on Twitter or the pictures they post on Facebook. If the physical mattered little to them they won’t show off their wives. They do because they think they married fine women. Women do that too, it’s not just a male thing. Though the parameters for women is slightly different. My point is, be honest with yourself about your desires. Be honest about what matters to you. Otherwise, you’ll fool yourself into marriage, and then the troubles start. You’ll start blaming the other party. In fact the other party won’t know what the issue is. There will be the issue, and then the real issue. You’ll start reacting dramatically, start co-joining conversations that have no bearing on each other just to make a point. If you can’t accept this man’s height but marry him for his success, you’ll barely tolerate him in marriage. That’s not good. But it’s really up to you. Who to marry is one of the most important decisions in life. Be honest with yourself.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

If you can’t accept this man’s height but marry him for his success, you’ll barely tolerate him in marriage. Click To Tweet
Tags : Physical attraction, Responsibility, Virtue, choosing a spouse, good man, Integrity, Height, He's short

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