Last year, Ann Friedman called on women everywhere to overthrow “the last acceptable dating prejudice” and give short men a chance.At 6’2”, she can’t restrict her dating pool to taller men, and she’s discovered that short men aren’t— kindly offers that women don’t “quite” see short men as “lepers,” Friedman is more accepting than most.But a preliminary new study suggests that shorter men might actually make better partners: They do a greater share of housework, earn a greater proportion of household income, and are less likely than their taller peers to get divorced.In a working paper (it has not yet been peer reviewed), Dalton Conley, a sociologist at NYU, and Abigail Weitzman, a Ph. candidate, used data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics—a University of Michigan project that’s been collecting demographic data on 5,000 families for almost 50 years—to look at how a man’s height impacts different areas of his relationship after the initial dating period.21 percent of the short men in the sample coupled with women who had not completed high school, compared with 16 percent of average men and just 12 percent of tall men: Overall, short men are 75 percent more likely to couple with someone who hasn’t graduated from high school.Across the whole sample, only 9 percent of men partnered with a woman who was more than three years older, but these men were likely to come from the short cohort.If that sounds dramatic, just consider that on the rare occasions I do wear stilettos, I tower over my usually shorter female friends.It's awkward trying to hold a conversation while bending down to listen. A mate of mine who is 6ft tall admitted that while she'd prefer to be a few inches shorter (my height, at 5ft 10in), she actually likes being tall and wants to remain so – even though she's often felt "awkward and self-conscious" because of her height.
When it comes to dating, that makes the chances of finding a potential boyfriend slimmer than most – if, like me, you care about finding a man who's taller than you.(Men were less picky: Just 13.5 percent wouldn’t consider a taller woman.) Out of all 925 people, only three left the “desired height” category blank.When the same team took a survey of 181 college students, 29 percent of women said they would feel “awkward” or “weird” dating a shorter guy, and both men and women in this sample were even more exacting about height: More than half of the women—55 percent—said they only wanted to date men who were taller, and 37 percent of men said they would only go out with women who were shorter.They categorized the men into three groups: “Short” men were defined as 5’6” or less in 1986, 5’7” or below in 2009; “tall” men were at least 6’1” in 1986 and 6’2” in 2009.Short men turned out to be somewhat less likely to get married: At every age before 45, they marry at a rate 18 percent lower than men of average height.Weitzman explains this by saying that women who are “resistant” to marrying short men are more likely to “opt out” before it gets to the point of marriage: “There’s something distinct about the women who marry short men.”Or maybe it’s just that short men make better partners.