Sunday, 27 April 2014

Male and female height: the attraction onto the opposite sex

“Some guys naturally develop a comfort with the opposite sex.  They like women, women like them, everything flows naturally.” (“Hitch”, 2005)

I have a close friend who is clearly paranoid about his height.  He’s not a bad looking guy at all, and for men who know a thing or two about interaction strategy and female emotional psychology, they would know his above average facial features and body profile should allow him to punch above his weight in female looks comparison.  This friend, with a pronounced self-consciousness to his height, is actually only 6ft 3 inches tall.  I say “only”, because to me this is not near to a height that should stand out like a sore thumb to the outside world.  Some may even say it’s the ideal height for a man.

A couple of years ago he mentioned a friend of his who was outstanding in approaching and engaging efficiently with women.  I asked him why this might be the case, and he commenced by stating the style, blonde hair and confident demeanour would appeal to women all kinds.  Without knowing or ever seeing the guy, I couldn’t disagree with this.  My friend also added this guy’s “perfect height” would also act as a good draw onto projected female attraction.

Out of curiosity, I decided to take a look for myself in tracking down the referenced man on a social network site.  Whilst he was decent looking, again, I would place him on a similar physical attractiveness grade as my friend.  But to me he didn’t look particularly tall, and certainly not the “perfect height” as stated.  I quizzed my friend about the height, and he said his friend was no taller than 5ft 9 inches.  As someone who shaves the surface of 6ft, I said that in my opinion the ideal height for a man, in respect to attracting women on a wholesale basis, would sit between the two of us at 6ft 1 ½ inches.  I would even be more than happy to split the change and say this idealistic male measurement could even be 6ft 2 inches.  But beyond this, and I do believe, in relativity, it could prove to be counter-productive.

There are various links on the internet for information to domestic heights.  From statistics in 2010, these are the findings for the United Kingdom:

            Gender                                    Age Range                              Average Height

            Male                                        16-25                                       5ft 9 ½ inches
            Male                                        25-34                                       5ft 10 inches

            Female                                    16-25                                       5ft 4 ½ inches
            Female                                    25-34                                       5ft 4 ½ inches

Although not in mind-blowing surprise, I may have expected the male average heights to be a little different for the respective age ranges.  This thought derived from nothing more than general observations and interactions.  I would have estimated the male average to be 1 inch shorter, but the female equivalent would have been there or there about.  As people who observe members from other countries would predict, the UK has an average height below nations of the likes of Croatia and the Netherlands, but with an average height above a country such as China or India.

So how does the height dynamic relate to how men and women are perceived by, and sexually attracted by, the opposite sex?  The first thing to lay down is that in order to evaluate how our height impacts on the view from a member of the opposing gender, the other visual attributes we possess need to be neutralized.  This may be needless to say, but with all else equal – hence visual partner requirements and suitability – a good looking man of 5ft 11 inches will be more striking to the eye than an average looking man of 6ft 2 inches.  This isn’t to say most women would pursue the better looking option, but he would catch their eye in a more dominating and memorable manner.  Similarly, a well defined man of 5ft 10 inches would be more desirable than an obese man of 6ft 1 inch.  Switch the gender roles, and a toned woman of 5ft 10 inches stands out visually to the majority of men than an overweight female of 5ft 5 inches.  For the purpose of this analysis, the facial and body impressiveness is of parity.  To further re-iterate, all non-visual metrics are also the same.

To men, as the gender who rely less on their overall physical attractiveness per se and far more on power and status to attract female eyes, height is a more critical issue.  If the average statistic in the UK for men up to 34 years of age is 5ft 10 inches, there would be very few situations where it would be advantageous to be under this bar.  Women view male height as a form of security, protectiveness and power, and even women of only 5ft would not be less attracted to a man above 6ft.  Within reason, most women would choose to be with a man at least 3 inches taller, therefore once a man starts to creep nearer the female average of 5ft 4 ½ inches, he is facing the prospect of being overlooked by many.  Nevertheless, average height for men will be more than suffice in predominant scenarios.

The reason I suggested earlier in this post that a threshold of 6ft 2 inches may not be beneficial to climb over for men is because although women do view male height as a major attribute, excessive height can be looked upon as a drawback to women of average height.  Again, a 5ft 4 ½ inches tall woman might take preference, by and large, to a man less than a foot taller than her.  When it does become a pulling point for a man to be above 6ft 2 inches is when he holds predilections for tall women (>5ft 10 inches), but women who sit in this category are of low percentage.

Female height, and its consideration in attracting men, almost takes on the opposite effect.  If the average height is scrutinized first, this figure is pretty much ideal.  This is because most men from 5ft to 6ft 5 inches would find these women attractive if she attained a pretty face and body to match.  Short men wouldn’t view them as too tall (as most women would be taller than them), and tall men would find their average height as fine.  Being below this average, but perhaps above 5ft exactly, would only have negligible detriment.  This is only true because men are visual predators to first and foremost the female face and body, therefore their assessments between a 5ft 2 inches woman and a 5ft 5 inches woman would be mainly overlooked.

However, if a 4 inch increase over the average male height is ideal for men, this is not the case for women.  It is important to remember that most women like to wear heels at some time in the week, and with the aid of this platform a 5ft 8 ½ inches tall woman would then be scraping the surface of 6ft territory.  When this is the circumstance, she finds herself looking down on maybe 70% of men.  Bearing in mind that a high number of men above 6ft tall may not be to her requirements in terms of other sexual market metrics, in addition to many men being intimidated in walking alongside a taller woman, the consequence is that she is playing the low percentage game.  With all this in mind, the average height, or slightly above average, appears the most advantageous ruler stick mark for a woman.

When I trace recollections of my historic relationships, and the extremes of female heights, I have been involved with a brunette of only 5ft tall to a couple of blondes standing at 5ft 10 inches and 5ft 11 inches.  One thing I can conclude is that the short brunette certainly had no problem with the height disparity, and I even know for a fact that she had dated a couple of guys taller than me.  But in the case of the tall blondes, and although the unspoken of this issue was always left this way, I couldn’t help but believe in an ideal world both of them would have preferred me to be at least a couple of inches taller.  The taller one of the two made humour to the confession that her prom date was a boy she was repulsed with, but who was the only boy in the school taller than her (granted, it was a small school).  The other claimed men never approached her due to feeling height inferiority when in her presence.  Based on my experiences, the most compatible sexual positions are devised from a partnership where the man is 4 to 5 inches taller than his abiding female subject.  Too short, and her levers aren’t quite long enough to stretch in the bedroom.  Longer, and she passes the finish line before you can award the medal.    

And although I’m only one person in the world, I can’t help but think this is the overriding conclusion to height and how it optimizes or effects men and women wishing to be looked favourably upon by the opposite sex.  If a man is of average height, or just above or below, the times it will help or hurt him will be isolated through this factor alone.  If he is 5% above the average, it will lead him onto greater opportunities with a higher percentage of women.  However, if he is 5% below the average height he is then facing the probability of looking up to the majority of women wearing shoes with heels.  This could often disqualify him, even with women of average female height, and if this is the case he has reduced numbers of female hunters in his portfolio.

Flip the coin, and I believe the opposite applies for women.  Average height is about ideal for a woman, as nearly all men would not condemn her for being too short or too tall.  If she is 5% below this average, it will only have a minimal negative effect on her success with men.  On a similar looks basis, she may lose out to an average height woman if they were both competing for a 6ft 3 inches tall man, but men of this stature are only in a minority bracket.  There would be plenty of other male takers.  But if a woman is 5% above the average – almost 5ft 8 inches tall – she stands taller than more than half the men if she chooses to wear height enhancing footwear.  Further to this, even if she is happy to be with a shorter man, a large proportion of men will feel uncomfortable in approaching her due to intimidation and inferiority complexes.  All this manifests in her collating less, rather than more, opportunities than she would wish for.

Height is a sensitive subject.  Most men wish to be taller, and some women quietly crave to be shorter.  Even some tall men, like my friend, appear anxious with this perceived luxury.

But there are exceptions.  Some men love tall women and some women love short men.  There’s no point kidding anyone though, this is not the normal course of events.  Then again, my mother was slightly taller than my father, and look what they created…

Acknowledgments and further reading

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