Literally one day after we ran an article by one of our writers entitled "How I As A Short Man Kill It In The Online Dating Scene" which was lambasted on social media for its encouragement to lie about height on dating profiles to increase visibility and potential matches (just one of several bits of pertinent advice in the piece to be more successful in online dating), the venerable New York Times published an article about a web executive who recently got hitched after doing just that. Go figure.
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The web executive who is pushing 40 years old and is admittedly data-obsessed, grew frustrated with his online dating experience, particularly with respect to how his buddies were receiving many more hits and matches than he was. After some investigating, he assumed it was because his profile was much like any other male profile in terms of content, so be tweaked it using all of the expert advice he could find. He even opened multiple accounts with each one highlighting different aspects of his character and appealing to different interests. Even with all of the adjustments and approaches, nothing work. This led him to investigate further.
As is typical with many short guys when they enter the online dating arena, the blinders come off once they realize that their height is the main factor at play and not their profile content. This despite the insistence by non-short men that it is their personality or mindset that prevents them from succeeding in the pursuit of happiness and romance. As is also typical with many short men who discover this phenomenon, experimentation by adjusting the height on their profiles to determine whether this truly is the issue ensues. Much to their suspicion, after the number of matches goes up with each inch added, their suspicion ends up being confirmed.
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So what did our little data-obsessed web executive Scott Birnbaum do? He set his profile at 5'9 and left it there. This even though he stands at 5'5. The result was that he met his 4'11 bride, a woman who figured that he was lying about his height and pressed him about it on the third date just to bust his chops. Though he embarrassingly admitted his faux pas, she overlooked it. Why? Because she liked him from the start. Obviously enough that a little more than a year later, they walked down the aisle.
5'5 Birnbaum & 4'11 Podell | Source: New York Times (Photo By Ilana Panich-Linsman)
The bride who the article references as Ms. Podell rose through the ranks and became a Marketing Director for a major digital company after abandoning acting. An NYU graduate with an equally lackluster online dating experience recalled that most of her dates were much taller than herself. She like many women also took advantage of the height filter, a filter that causes guys like Scott to almost never be seen. They bonded over their affinity for podcasts, comedy, music and tech. of course, Ms. Podell also found Mr. Birnbaum very attractive.
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So what is the lesson here? Lying isn't optimal, but we as people have to do what we have to when the odds are stacked up against us. Ms. Podell admitted using similar tactics (lying about age) get certain roles when she was pursuing a career in acting and thus was forgiving about the err on Mr. Birnbaums behalf. We've covered this topic extensively on this site and will continue to, but you can see why some short guys have to do it. For many, it's sink or swim and if you're under 5'6, you might just sink. Think about it, Ms. Podell who is 4'11, had her filter set to 9 inches taller than herself. Outside of dating services, such prerequisites tend to fall to the wayside, as attractive faces and personalities can seal the deal.
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Imagine the firestorm that would ensue if men were able to filter women by precise weight measurements on dating profiles (not just "athletic", "curvy" or "a few extra pounds"). While everyone has a preference, it does pay to consider why your preferences are so important to you. Height is one of those things that should be trivial, but unfortunately isn't. A woman who insists that her man be taller than her should be okay with a guy a few inches taller than herself, but as data consistently shows, it doesn't work out that way in practice.
Congratulations to Mr. Birnbaum and Ms. Podell. Proof that love conquers all, including outdated social norms.
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