Back in high school and college, it was commonplace to see tall men surrounded by the opposite sex. It seems people clamor to be around tall people as if it helps them elevate their own social standing. I stand at just about six feet tall – not super tall, but a smidge over average. Ironically, I’ve always been the shortest in my group – my homies average 6’3″. This article refers to the truly tall — those who are at least 6’2″.
Over the years, various surveys have recorded women’s preferences in certain traits found in men. Studies routinely find that a high income, a deep voice, and great shoes are important to certain women when choosing a mate. But the biological jackpot is purely physical. It seems some women love very tall men over anything else. Why? The Journal of Family Issues finds a woman thinks a taller man makes her feel safe, and/or more femine.
Here’s the thing. Today’s average American male is about 5’10” tall while the average female is 5’4″. The average heel is roughly 3″ high, meaning that even the average guy still stands two inches taller than her in heels, even without his shoes. Nearly half of all women surveyed indicated women prefer a man who is taller than she. Fortunately, the other half doesn’t seem to have the same preference, or would not admit that they do. Ironically, regardless of her height and the difference between her height and a prospective suitor’s height, a man of average height or less may not seem to be attractive enough for many women.
Apparently, the perfect height has been cited in various studies and fictional accounts at about 6’2″. This presents a fundamental problem of supply and demand. Although half of the population of adult men are taller than the average height, the remainder are shorter. And with each inch of additional height above average, the slice of the statistical pie of taller suiters becomes logarithmically smaller. Since taller men are in such high demand, the share of the population of taller men who are available for courting is disproportionately small.
Basically, if the “perfect height” is what you’re after, then unless you look like a pre-pregnant Scarlett Johanssen, you might have better luck getting struck by lightning.
There are several advantages for a woman who manages to capture the heart of a taller man. Throughout history, height has been proven to show a high correlation with success in business. There is some truth to a taller man providing some additional level of security from a deterrence standpoint. Subjectively, a taller man may also provide a social edge for an insecure or narcissistic woman.
Let’s also look at the downsides of courting a taller man. Firstly, since taller men are in such high demand, competition will be fierce for his attention, in the unlikely event that he is still available. If you didn’t catch him in school, you may have come to the party a bit too late. Secondly, since he is probably well aware of his varied options, he may not have the incentive to work as hard in a relationship, knowing he has a waiting list if you falter. Thirdly, there are the physical aspects of dating someone who is disproportionately taller. Besides the neck strains, bending over for a peck on the cheek, and several potentially awkward if not impossible Kama Sutra positions, taller men have been shown to have a shorter life span than their vertically challenged brethren. And some extremely tall men suffer hormonal imbalances which may make certain facial or bodily features appear abnormal.
Considering thousands of years of human evolution, a larger male would be desirable in order to protect his flock from animals or invaders. However, in a civilized society, an over-average sized mate is no longer relevant. Perhaps some of these tall-hungry women may require a minor mental recalibration.