“You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little fucked up maybe, but I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?”
-Joe Pesci/Tommy DeVito, “Goodfellas”
“Be not afraid of any man;
No matter what his size;
When danger threatens, call on me—
And I will equalize!”
-Samuel Colt Fireams Co., 1873
Last week, an incident that took place in New York City instantly went viral on social media. Chris Morgan, standing at 5′ even, had a mini-Incredible Hulking out tirade at the Bagel Boss establishment on Long Island. Feeling that he was being maligned and mocked for his lack of height by the female staff, Morgan unleashed a torrent of butthurt and grievances against women, citing his extreme difficulties securing dates using online dating services like Tinder, OKCupid and the like. The incident culminates in Morgan challenging a much taller man to “step outside”, at which point the larger man tackles Morgan to the ground – much to the joy and laughter of onlookers and Bagel Boss staff.
Without question, Morgan’s actions were uncalled for and behavior unbecoming anyone even trying to be a gentleman. That didn’t mean that the source of his lament wasn’t understandable.
BY THE NUMBERS
That’s because what has become known as heightism – discrimination against shorter statured people – is well documented across the globe. Another fellow New Yorker, the famed writer and thought leader Malcolm Gladwell has documented this very well in his excellent work, “Blink” in a chapter called “The Warren Harding Error”, so named after our 29th President. Harding, an otherwise mediocre political talent, had one major “qualification” – his height. At 6′ even, he struck an impressive pose and a dedicated behind the scenes lobbyist did the rest to assure Harding’s name would go down in American history. Gladwell points out that in the modern era – as in the 20th century – no man has been elected POTUS of shorter stature (defined, in tailoring terms, as 5’7″ and shorter for males). This has especially been the case since the famed Kennedy era, when television and mass media as we now know it became a staple of presidential politics. The last time we had a POTUS that was 5’7″ or shorter was William McKinley – well over a century ago! And, our current POTUS, Mr. Donald Trump, is among the tallest we’ve ever had, at 6’3″ – only Lincoln was taller at 6’4″.
Going further, writing in Taki’s Mag earlier this spring, Mr. Steve Sailer – himself no slouch in the height department – wrote a piece called “Short Shaming”, where he made the case that that heightism against shorter men in particular was the one safe “ism” our “woke” society could safely engage in, BECAUSE it’s about MEN. Everyone who is aware of the Bagel Boss incident above knows that were it a fat Black woman, or a lesbian or a member of some other “protected minority group” said tirade would not have been viewed so negatively. Again, Morgan didn’t acquit himself very well with his behavior and actions; but we’ve seen much worse behavior on the part of, for example, Black women – Black Lives Matter protestors and recent events at Disneyworld instantly come to mind.
Then, there’s the untiring work of heightism activist Mr. Joe Mangano, also a New Yorker and founder of the highly informative website, “Support for the Short”. Mr. Mangano documents the very kinds of “short guy hate” that Mr. Morgan railed against last week on the part of women, especially on dating sites such as Tinder, Plenty of Fish and OKCupid. Have a look:
The Real Reason Women Don’t Date Short Men
Reasons Why Kenyan Women Prefer Tall, Dark & Slim Men
Mizzou Officials: Tall Men Asking Out Short Women Is Sexual Misconduct
And that’s just for starters – take a bit of time out to peruse the site for yourself. Wow!
Not to be outdone, even famed and noted dating coach for “smart, successful women” Evan Marc Katz, freely admits that women’s virulent bigotry against shorter men is an extraordinarily tough nut to crack in a post on his website titled, “If You Are Short, Fat, Older or An Asian Man, You Must Read This. But Especially If You’re Short.”. That post garnered some FIFTEEN HUNDRED comments and counting – nearly all of them from the very “smart, successful women” Katz caters to, who doubled down on their right to slight the slight of height. Might that be a reason why he got out of the datiing coaching business for men in the first place?
By now, you get the point – taller men are not only preferred by society overall, but by women in particular – but nowhere is this more in evidence, than in Black America.
That’s because it’s a simple but often harsh truism that Black women, by and large, prefer not only height in men, but by a considerably wider margin when compared to women of other races and cultures. Black women tend to prefer men well over 6′ – in fact, Black women pretty much consider a man “short” if he’s under 6′ – in fact, another dating coach of considerable repute recently recounted an incident with a Black woman who, disbelieving his stated height of nearly 6′, actually broke out a construction worker’s style folding yardstick and measured him – much to his displeasure and chagrin! This sort of thing is so well known in Black American cultural life, that even cultural powerhouses like Essence magazine acknowledge it, in a piece titled, “Why Is It So Hard For Black Women to Find The Love They Deserve?”. That piece, which was actually an interview with two Black lady matchmakers, notes their observations in working with American women across the country and how Black women were very particular about a man’s outsized height when compared to American women of other races – often to the Sistahood’s detriment. And if shorter guys of other races think that what they endure from women of their own backgrounds is bad, it pales in comparison to the outright cruelty and meanspiritedness many Black women can dole out to shorter Black men for merely existing, let alone having the temerity to ask them out!
IT AIN’T ABOUT THE SIZE OF THE DOG IN THE FIGHT, BUT THE SIZE OF THE FIGHT IN THE DOG!
Alright, we’ve got all the laments out of the way – the empirical evidence is undeniable. Being a shorter guy, all other things being equal, sucks. Fair enough.
Well, the first thing we as short guys have to do – and I say this at 5’7″ myself – is that there’s little point in worrying about things you absolutely cannot change. Moreover, being bummed out about women – and let’s be honest here, this IS about women, as Chris Morgan rightly pointed out in his outburst – who won’t give you any play because of your lack of vertical cred does you no good either. Instead, it’s time to focus on the things you DO have absolute control over: your mindset; your presentation; and your realworld accomplishments.
So, with all that said, let’s begin!
1. Mindset: as noted above, it is VERY important to focus on the things you CAN change and CAN do, than to focus on the things you CAN’T change and CAN’T do. You may not be able to change your height, but you CAN change your weight. Chris Morgan is notably overweight – something he can absolutely do something about, especially since he has disclosed that he has diabetes(!). He has a very good reason to lose the excess weight. Simply put, if you’re a shorter guy, extra weight WILL show up on you quicker than a “big and tall” guy – and even women who are on the fence about you when it comes to your height, WILL hold it against you if you’re both short AND seriously FAT. So, the first thing you can do, is change your diet, then move your ass. I’m not a dietitian or a fitness coach here, so feel free to hit up some pros in your area to see what’s available – just know that if you’re carrying something extra, it’s NOT gonna help you in the ladies department. You don’t have to be ripped like Tom Cruise, just DON’T look like Chris Morgan. Capice?
Another thing that shorter guys gotta use to their advantage is the power of HUMOR – because humor can both be a shield and a sword. It can defend you from the harshness of others and you can “give as good as you get” in return on others, too. Humor has also been documented in being a proxy for high intelligence, a major consideration for women when looking for a mate. Trust me, many a woman have regretted getting with a dumb oaf of a man.
2. Presentation: yea, it’s an old chestnut, but still true – “clothes make the man” – and this is especially the case if you’re a shorter guy. You REALLY need to look sharp. But before you do, you gotta know your proper suit measurements. Yes, that’s right, I said, “suit”. Get used to wearing them, that’s what gentlemen do – and while all men can’t be towering figures right out of central casting, ALL men can be a gentleman. And that includes us shorter guys.
One of the biggest mistakes I see shorter guys make when it comes to their clothing is that they are TOO BIG and makes them look even MORE BOYISH than they actually are. I mean, look at Morgan – he dresses like a kid! No wonder no one takes him seriously – who takes a grown assed man of any height seriously, who dresses like that? Trump may be 6’3″, but you NEVER see him without his trademark dark colored suit, extra long red tie, etc. He ALWAYS dresses for success and shorter guys can, too.
So, PROPER FIT is very important. And, you DON’T want to get a “R” (or “Regular”) suit – that’s for guys who range in height from 5’8″ to about 6’1″ or so. You want to focus on the “S” (or “Short”) suit sizes, which are made for men at my height, 5’7″, on down. Because you’re a shorter guy, you have less “margin for error” in your presentation – the “little things” will be huge, for better or for worse! So, things like tailoring, grooming, what accessories you wear (belts, hats, jewelry like watches, bracelets and rings, ties and/or ascots, etc.), all make a huge difference. Oh, and when it comes to the suit pants – you want them NOT to have a “break” – this is because that will make you look shorter than you are. You want as tidy a look as possible and a proper fitting and tailored suit always does the trick. There’s more that I could say here, but let me hand it off to my friend Kevin “Saint Kevin” Samuels, who is a pro at this stuff – his website is bykevinsamuels.com. Be sure to hit him up and tell him that the O-Man sent ya!
3. Accomplishments: this is perhaps the one area of life that is 100% within your control, because you’re free to work as hard or as little as you want; to make as much of name for yourself as you want or not; and to make as much money as you want or not. And trust me when I tell you, if there is a “great equalizer” among men when it comes to the ladies, it’s MONEY. I’ve lost count as to the number of ladies in my life who forgot all about my lack of height when they took at look at the size of my wallet, LOL! It’s a miracle! But seriously fellas, RESOURCES matter (and please don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!) – and that is within the reach of any man, regardless of height. All things being equal – and the science backs me up on this – men with resources fare better on the mating market than men without. I mean seriously, do you think Tom Cruise is going wanting for female company on Saturday night if he wants it?
A FINAL WORD
Going back to Black women above for a moment: while it is true that Black women generally prefer outsized height in a man, it is not absolute; there are Black women for whom height just isn’t that big a deal, pardon the pun. Still, it has been acknowledged that for many shorter brothas, considering women from cultures like Asia or South America, where men are naturally shorter of stature to begin with, is a surer shot. I would agree; my personal dealings with women from these societies isn’t extensive; but from the relatively little bit of contact I have had has borne this truism out to me, to say nothing of my shorter guy buds. One of them has been married to his Latina wife for more than two decades – and he’s shorter than yours truly, at 5’4″ or so. He ALWAYS had trouble getting fever from the sistas. Having some cash on hand to travel, should it come to that, is definitely a nice option to have for a shorter guy, especially a Black one. Yea, being a shorter guy of any race is a challenge. But it’s NOT a death sentence.
More next week. Now go get ’em, tiger!
-Mumia Obsidian Ali is a citizen journalist, podcaster and talk radio show host focused on Black men’s issues and can be heard daily on YouTube and Black Avenger TV. He’s also a semi-professional pest.