There is a certain woe is me attitude which can sometimes be held by members of society who do not fit society's ideals. We all know who they are - The flat chested broad who relentlessly whines how her breasts aren't big enough or the fat woman who laments at how men are superficial and should appreciate "all body types". Then you have the men who clamor on about how they would be this awesome stunner if their penis was just a few inches longer of if their hair wasn't running away from their dome. We get it. Not everyone can be the über definition of hot in the eyes of the general populace.
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This also applies to us short men. Just about all of us went through a phase where we started becoming aware of the differences in how society treats us compared to our lankier comrades. Fatties have a way out. They have an indeterminate number of support groups, weight loss programs, low-risk surgeries and personal trainer access. Us short folk have no such pathway. Some of us will fight through life disappointed at our supposed "fate", while others will take another approach.
Pick Your Battles. Your Height Shouldn't Be One Of Them | Source: Three O'Clock High
Let's talk about the other approach. I was never down about height (but very aware) because of a myriad of positive experiences. While there were occasional frustrating annoyances from people who would rib me (usually to boost their own piss-poor self-esteem), I did well in school, with women and employment. A healthy dose of ambition (which others would describe as a "Napoleon Complex") kept me on the road to success with little turbulence. If I encountered setbacks, I got up and tried even harder. Then again, I am on the top end of short (near average), so perhaps, my experiences mean little to those who are truly short, let's say the under 5'5 crowd.
Under The Mark
Speaking of those under 5'5. All men experience dry spells when it comes to dating and we all have that annoying moment (some less than others) where some ass hat calls our masculinity into question because of our height, but I really can't say I've had it that bad, considering that everyone in any of my social circles had something about them that which would be the subject of teasing. However, being that I am a couple of inches over that magical 65 inch mark that I just mentioned, I always wondered how men below it would deal (assuming that for every inch below it the frequency of douchebaggery a man experiences from society goes up). A quick story:
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I went to what used to be one of my favorite clothing stores a few years ago - Express. In there was a guy who stood at about 5'3 who I asked for assistance. One of his nearby colleagues who was maybe a few inches taller (still short) came over and constantly interrupted my conversation with the guy repeatedly inserting some overdone height related comment. This was over the course of just 5 minutes! Imagine what one of his entire days were like? Our short guy looked beyond it every time he was interrupted. I didn't know the guy personally, but if a guy experienced that all of the time, could he live a fulfilling life? After all, Short Men don't receive the same kind of empathy and social support that other groups "enjoy". We're just expected to eat all of the BS and "Man-Up".
Years ago I joined this local gym. My witty personality allowed me to befriend a lot of people there. After figuring out who the main players were, I noticed that the most popular guys there happened to be some of the shortest ones. For whatever reason, on any given day, these were the men that most people wanted to hang around, workout with and interestingly enough received the most flirting from the female members. You could come up with every excuse in the book to explain this. "Oh, they're the exception to the rule", "Those guys probably have money", "They're probably 10/10 in the face". Yeah, okay.
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So why were these guys so successful and at the "top of the social food chain"? And considering they were, why do so many guys my own height and a few inches taller lament so much (many times rightfully so might I add) about how they're doomed for life with regards to getting respect, attention and women? As I watched how people interacted with them over time and got to know them, it dawned on me - these guys knew who they were and owned every flipping bit of it. They "owned their shortness".
How Do You Own It?
All of these guys seemed to play up their height like it was a plus. This could mean anything (I'll explain). One guy who happened to be Asian used to walk in with a backwards snapback, always had on what appeared to be new clean color coordinated gym clothes, was a bit swollen in the arms and had and urban swagger about him. He was no more than 5'3 (the main pic for this article was inspired by him). The women in the gym would hug him and call him adorable constantly, sometimes even flirting with tap kisses. I'd often see him leave with some of the women with his arm around their waists.
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Now you're probably thinking they were just joshing him and if they were it didn't matter. One day he bought his girlfriend to the gym. She was slightly taller, admittedly on the petite side, but curvy and smoking hot. Man did they make an amazing couple. I probed by asking how they met and she said they met on the line at a department store. She flirted with him, he flirted back and the rest was history.
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Another guy at the gym was Puerto Rican. No more than 5'5. He had tattoos (not surprisingly) of the Puerto Rican flag all over his arms. Like the Asian guy mentioned, he was swollen in the arms. He had the physique that most guys would die to have. The guy was in the gym five days a week. I'd often ask him questions about his diet and routine as though I'd hit the gym as often as he did, I never made the gains he enjoys. He went on and on about his Pre-Workout routines, strict diets and what he did on his off time.
Also like our Asian friend, he would always receive random flirts from the lady members, but was arguably more popular. Other members would always go out of their way to say hello to him and strike up a conversation. He was boastful and confident, always loud and hyper, and likewise always had something interesting to say to just about anyone due to having lots of hobbies and passions. He consistently showed a command of social etiquette. Where I saw other guys in the gym as more reserved in comparison, even the tallest ones, this guy had seemed to have everyone wrapped around his finger. Some of the taller gym members would refer to him as "Mighty Mouse" or some other playful reference to his diminutive frame. As long as what was said wasn't actually insulting, he'd smile and respond with "Damn Right" or some other variation on that theme. He was comfortable with who he was and who he wasn't.
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Let's not talk too much about his girlfriend - Gorgeous in every sense of the word. Greek and Dominican, athletic frame, beautiful eyes and an almost flawless skin tone. When I asked how they met, he said in Game Stop. He's a Video Game geek as was she. What's the lesson here? The same lesson that all pick-up and relationship advice sites give - Dress well, have passions, have a sense of humor and be self-assured. This guy was always well groomed, had fresh looking gym outfits in every color imaginable and didn't seem to care what anyone thought about him.
So How Can "You" Own It?
I'm not really sure how to explain this. I accepted a long time ago that society can be real shitty. There are all of these expectations about how everyone is supposed be, act, what they're supposed accomplish in life and what they're supposed to have access to. We live in an era where stereotyping is as strong as it’s ever been. As a shorter guy, there is no escape, nor should there really be. We are not the one with the problem. Thus, we need not "compensate" or change because some nondescript entity suggests we should.
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I live each day in the pursuit of my own happiness and seek to accomplish whatever I put my mind to. Anyone who wants to join me along for the ride who I approve of is more than welcome to. Self-improvement is a prerequisite to making any significant progress in life. It is through this betterment that other doors can and will open.
These short guys who were rockstars in my gym weren't "naturals" or "exceptions to the rule", but passionate, cultured, well-read, fit and well-versed in the art of conversation. It all took practice, patience and determination. That said, it is imperative to be aware of how society perceives us and challenge the status quo when appropriate. Part of that charge however is living life to the fullest each and every day and being whoever it is you want to be, not who others think or say you should be.
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