If you grew up in the States or in the West within the last two generations, there's a huge chance you've been indoctrinated into this fallacious ideology that being the good guy and staying the course will always net you a win in the end. You know, "He who laughs last, laughs best..". Whether you're talking about making it in your career or being a social rockstar, this belief system was rammed down your esophagus as soon as you were old enough to consume media.
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If you grew up in the 80s and 90s like I did, you saw this play out all over the movies and television. The father of Michael J. Fox's character from the movie "Back To The Future" comes to mind. George McFly, the quintessential nerd endured all kinds of ridicule and bodily harm during his prime just to wait for his cute damsel in distress to "come to her senses" and leave her beastly abusive douchebag of a boyfriend so they could live happily ever after. "Put others first", they say. "Always be the bigger person", they say (physically impossible for a short person). Yeah, we can let that stories like those stay in Hollywood.
Fairy Tales Are Just That - Fairy Tales | Source: Back To The Future
Here in the real world, fairy tales like what was just described rarely if ever come true. It's survival of the fittest, and not just physically. Studies show that shorter men are sometimes perceived as less capable, emphasizing the reality that people pass judgement via first impressions. It's this which sets the tone for the "short men have to prove themselves" stereotype, because some people may have low expectations from the very beginning. This leads some toward compensatory tap-dancing like behavior all with the hopes of seeking validation from others in mind. Those that recognize this will use that to their advantage and play you like a fiddle. Don't be that guy.
In this writing, I will muse over some situations I've seen other guys in and expose how they were taken advantage of. While the audience this piece targets is short men, it applies to men of all heights.
I remember once an older guy warning me about a crush I had, "she doesn't want you, she just wants your attention". I was a teenager then and still very impressionable. I learned that lesson quickly, however many men don't. We've all seen it. Some woman is dating a douchebag and you think that by listening to her problems, she might leave the "loser" for you. In many instances, this is brag-plaining. If someone wants to be with you, they will. End of story.
Being Wanted vs. Being Wanted For Attention | Source: Fresh Prince Of Bel Air
A friend of mine once took a class with this beautiful woman from the Dominican Republic. She would casually flirt with him and sit next to him in class. He was interested. They'd talk on the phone, but never hung out. Come exam time, she'd chat online with him to study. She would share her problems about the guy she was seeing and tell him that she was unhappy and wanted to leave him. Our short friend would spend a lot of his time solacing her and listening to her problems. Secretly, he hoped she'd leave her beast for him, her supposed knight in shining armor, except she never did. When the class was over, she went MIA. Of course, she aced her exam.
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The guy was unbelievably distraught over a woman he never had. Let's be clear. The only douchebag here is our short friend. He helped her in her time of need expecting something in return and wasn't clear about his intentions from the beginning. He was used and left to dry, and trust me when I say it was intentional. She had absolutely no interest in the man and used his infatuation with her to her advantage. Don't be that guy. All relationships involve some type of interpersonal transaction. If you're not getting what you want, walk.
Compromising Your Core Tenets
I knew a guy who who was divorced. His wife left him because she was unhappy. It was a clean divorce. There were no kids and the wife sought no financial compensation. Being childless, when he leapt back into the dating world, he looked to marry a similarly situated woman to start a family with from scratch. As is the case with the dating in your late 20s and early 30s, the landscape is littered with many single parents, bitter divorcees and narcissists, which is fine but wasn't what he was looking for. He ended up falling for a woman with two kids, recently divorced, horrible credit, a stubborn personality, but with a pretty face. He pursued this woman relentlessly and begged for her hand in marriage. Fifteen years later, she said yes... after she purchased a new home and now had a mortgage.
Never Compromise Your Core Tenets | Source: A Christmas Story
After nearly a decade of marriage which consisted of very little intimacy he grew tired of her and finally left at 57 years of age. While this too was a clean split, he had very little to show for the decade he spent with her - no kids, and a bank account which was almost depleted. Her on the other hand, built equity in her home and enjoyed a two income household for the duration of their marriage which allowed her to better finance her own lifestyle. As sorry as I felt for the guy, it again was his fault.
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Why? He compromised his core dating tenets. Stick to your guns. If you're looking for something, search for it until you're happy. Anything less and you may end up like him - wasting time you can never get back. In his case, it was almost 30 years! Don't be that guy. Remember, just as many women have that "No men under 5'10 rule" or "No man who makes less than me rule", you're allowed to be picky too. Never settle. If you do, you may grow to resent it. The guy in question was 6' by the way, but it can also happen to you and I've seen it happen to short men who struggle with dating. Again, don't be that guy.
In Latino culture you have "Pochos". Among Blacks, you have "Coons". These derogatory terms are used against those who "sell-out" in order to gain "acceptance" among Whites and distance themselves from their own kind. Amongst short people, mainly men, you have "Garmins". Named after an overly jolly character who does everything he can to please his taller peers including putting himself last, engaging in constant self-deprecation and even enduring humiliation all to let his taller peers know that he is "one of the good ones" (i.e. a "Non-Napoleon").
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I once had this co-worker at my old job that I worked during my college days who would do everything he could to please and fit in with his colleagues. He would laugh hysterically at seemingly corny jokes and even at vitriolic insults thrown in his direction. Whenever a manager requested a favor from his subordinates, he'd run to him like a puppy who was offered a Scooby-snack.
Don't Take Yourself Seriously? Neither Will Others | Source: The Court Jester
Whenever we'd have lunch in the break room, he would talk when it was least appropriate just fill in conversation voids. Pretty soon, he became the "guy you could depend on"; a gopher if you will. In other words, his existence was of little substance. He was just the person everyone dumped things on. He would also get made fun of behind his back to no end.
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The lesson learned here is two-fold. The old cliche "Jack Of All Trades, Master Of None" served him well here. He continued worked there well after I graduated college and left the job, never getting a promotion because management was happy to keep him where he was. The second was, he was a "try-hard". While I make it a point not speak ill of someone who is legitimately trying to work their way up the ladder, having some measure of self-respect and dignity is a must. Oddly enough, he was the same height as myself, but treated with far less respect. This was less of a function of his height and more his attitude. Again, don't be that guy.
The Indecisive One
I'll never forget this date I had when I was about 22 or so. I went to one of the hottest clubs here in New York City, danced my ass off all night and scored the digits of a dime piece, literally. She was Puerto Rican, blue eyes, blond hair, golden skin and had an amazing body. She was about my height, taller than me in heels. Clearly, the woman had a lot of options, but she let me choose her. Cool. We exchanged numbers and spoke for a few days. There was mutual escalation and low and behold, in the middle of the following week we went on a date.
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I took her to a restaurant/lounge (bad choice) and could barely keep the conversation going. I was visibly nervous, had no idea what to order, no idea what to do after the date and kept fishing for words. Annoyed, the woman abruptly ended the date and asked me to take her home. She took out her cell phone and talked to her friend the whole way back to avoid conversing with me. I always laugh when I look back because it was totally my fault. Everything could've went in my favor if my disposition was rock solid. It wasn't. Remember, she was interested enough to go on the date in the first place, so the ball was certainly in my court.
Indecisiveness Is Never A Good Trait To Have | Source: Spongebob Squarepants
I was young and inexperienced (though a lot of it had to do with bad planning). I knew what I wanted, but couldn't communicate that. Women appreciate men who know how to lead when it's appropriate. As much as I hate the word, confidence does makes a difference. I didn't display that during the date, so I blew it. People generally do not like to be in the presence of someone who isn't sure of themselves, and if they do, it's usually because they can be easily manipulated. Indecisive people are more of a liability than an asset. Remember this. Don't be that guy.
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When I started applying the same assertive, healthy risk-taking attitude I enjoyed in my work, academic and platonic social life to dating, my success in that arena took off rather quickly.
So Who Should You Be?
I can't answer that question directly, but in this writing I did identify a few traits and habits you should avoid or rid yourself of if you have. We've all heard the old adage, "Be yourself". For men, it should read, "Be the best version of yourself". There is always room for self-improvement and it is imperative that we have the utmost respect for ourselves. After all, if we don't, who will?
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