Ok so during Thanksgiving cocktail hour this year, my family took some time to run through the list of family friends we have with young single men and interrogate me about why I refuse to date them. I tried to explain why there was no future with a door-to-door insurance salesman who lives with his parents in the Valley and is shorter than me, but what caught everyone off guard was my mentioning the height factor. My dad literally called me superficial and was shocked that I could list something so trivial as a negative.
I suppose I’m tall for a girl but it doesn’t really feel like it. I’m 5’8” which apparently is three inches taller than the average woman in America. Actually I wish I was taller, but if I’m wearing my four inch heels (which I love), I do notice that a number of men suddenly seem less dateable. Despite my feminist instincts, I am more attracted to someone who is taller than me. I think on some primordial level, as a woman, I want to know that if there’s a fire or an earthquake, the guy I’m with can lift me up, throw me over one shoulder and run out the door.
I guess if he was an inch or two shorter but I still got the sense that he was strong enough to sling me over his shoulder in one fell swoop, I’m probably less likely to notice the height thing. And I would never say that it’s a deal breaker because as I tried to assure my father, I am completely willing to give up any pair of shoes for love. But I can’t shake this feeling that I want a man to not just be taller but actually be physically stronger than me. I know I’m supposed to want everyone to be equal and in most things in life I really do. But there is some primitive desire inside of me to be with a man who is physically stronger than me – not just equally as strong. I hate the idea of having to bend down to whisper in his ear, or be the one to reach things on the top shelf or have my arm be the one on top of his when we’re walking down the street. Should I really be shunned by the feminist community if I admit that I don’t believe in physical equality for men and women? Men are generally physically stronger than women and I like it that way. I believe women should have every opportunity a man does in life’s pursuits, but I also believe that I have a right to admit that I want him to be more physically powerful than me.
I know there are plenty of men who may be a few inches shorter than me and still plenty stronger and therefore I’m not willing to completely disqualify everyone shorter. But size does affect strength and it’s just in my DNA to associate one with the other. The fact is, if an earthquake comes and he thinks he’s hopping into my arms, I’m telling you right here and now, I’m making a run for the door. Alone.