Why Tall Men Have Prettier Girlfriends, The Correlation Of Height And Attraction

I wrote in a previous post about how brutal and tough the battlefield of love really is (HERE). I admit it, this article post has nothing to do with how to increase our height or grow taller. However, I stated in a previous post that the theme and direction of this website/blog is changing. I plan to also look into the psychological effects of having this most unique of desires. As an heterosexual adult male who has suffering through some height insecurity in my past, I can tell anyone who is reading that my height insecurity was directly linked to my own self image of how attractive I thought I was.

At one point, I have felt short, ugly, lonely, and even depressed. Who would be willing like me, much less love me? Will any reasonably attractive girl ever give me a chance or will I have to “settle” for someone who I am not completely interested in because the girls I am interested in refuse to “settle” for me? Am I not good enough or attractive in the eyes of the “hot”girls?

I once hated this game we call life since it seemed so unfair. I really hated the process we might call the “mating rituals” like dating, sex, relationships since I was so lose and confused. Then I just let everything go, accepted everything, and surrendered instead of fought. I learned how to play the game, the best strategies, and the correct mindsets. For the rest of the guys who might have been in my shoes or are in the them right now, I promise things will get better

I do wanted to point out that if one is a male and below average in stature, that does not mean that one’ life is over or that one will never be able to find a mate. It is just that one has to try harder, maybe A LOT HARDER. Women are brutal in terms of choosing mates and for any guy who is reading this who ever tried to gain the attraction and interest in the opposite sex, they understand what I mean. Biology and evolution are absolutely ruthless against us because we are programmed to act in certain ways. If we try to resist against out most basic instincts and evolutionary traits,  we risk a life of pain and suffering. For men, that means many lonely nights. For women, that means many lonely nights too. The world will never just give us what we want if we just stand around hoping for it. If you want something, go after it.

I found this rather disheartening article written by the people at BodyLanguageProject.Com. It was an interesting read and makes me feel a little paranoid afterwards but it is important to remember that a person’s height does have a rather big impact on one’s well being, especially one’s love life. The fact that the article is written and has over 15 scientific articles as citations shows how clear the facts of life are. The author is Christopher Philip. You can get to the link to the article HERE.

Why Tall Men Have Prettier Girlfriends:  What science tells us about height and attraction, the ceiling effect, why 6 feet tall is the benchmark and why you should date women shorter than you. – 

It’s a fact of life. Height is just one of those things we can do very little, if anything, about, and yet it is so very important in dating and attraction. I will go through a variety of points to show you exactly how important it is and what researchers have found about the preferences women have when it comes to this quality. The end result might bring tears, but there is no sense ignoring good hard science. By acknowledging the reality of the situation, you can use your approaches on women more selectively and sparingly, you can employ lifts in your shoes or you can use one of those stretching machines! Really, there isn’t a whole lot that can be done to fix inherent height issues, but by knowing about their existence, you can modify your “game” and end up more successful in dating. Acting according to what the science says is the best way to work most efficiently. Without wasting any more time, let’s get straight into the research.

According to Hartfeil and Sprechler (1986) height is one of the most important characteristics determining overall physical attractiveness as determined by women. I doubt that any reasonable person would refute this statement. However, at the same time, one may not understand the extent of its importance. The male taller norm is the cardinal rule of dating. Gillis and Avis (1980) took information collected from bank account applications and found that only 2 couples out of 720 consisted of a pair in which the woman was taller than the man. This is an outstandingly large number. This means that you have less than a one percent chance of courting and marrying a woman who is taller than you. Having a small chance does not mean no chance at all though. Being shorter simply means that you are going to have to work harder to get a woman who is taller. Tall women are looking for the same qualities as short women after all. However, if she is taller than you, she will expect more in terms of resources and power to make up for the height difference.

In a study by Hensley (1994) women preferred a man who was 72 inches (183 cm) tall as a benchmark. The preference for the six foot tall man is overwhelming, says Hensley. In his study, consisting of 145 females, 32 percent reported this as their preferred height. Thirty-two percent is not everyone, and most certainly not the majority, so this statistic might give you hope! The 68 percent of women who don’t prefer the 6 foot tall man are also potential suitors, and must be considered. However, fundamentally there are even fewer that are suitable for you because some of these women might prefer men who are taller or even shorter than you regardless of what height you happen to be, further shrinking your pool of eligible women. Here comes the better news. In a study by Cameron (1978) it was found that 100 percent of the women advertised the desire to date a man who was 4 inches taller than themselves. Hensley’s (1994) study, mentioned above, showed that on average, women and men both prefer the man to be 2 to 3 inches taller than the woman in a relationship. Why is this news better? It’s better for the simple fact that it destroys the 6 foot tall benchmark rule. That is, men aren’t at a huge disadvantage just because they aren’t all 6 feet tall. Men simply must be taller then the women they seek. It is much easier to change your target date than it is to change your height! Furthermore, a study by Shepperd and Strathman (1989) revealed that 95 percent of the female participants preferred a taller man, 3 percent the same height and 2 percent preferred males shorter than themselves. Therefore it suggests that it is not the absolute height but rather the relative height that matters the most. Finally, we have something to work from! If we accept this information, and we should, than we also accept that you and I, and everyone else, will have a far better chance of getting what we want from a woman who is shorter than ourselves.

As you might expect, height has been shown to be more important to men than to women’s attractiveness. So why is it that women find height to be so important? Beigel’s (1954) study showed that people attribute everything from dominance, superiority, fearlessness, protectiveness, ambitiousness, leadership qualities, athleticism and sheer physical strength to tall people over shorter people. Tall men also tended to command attention from others, which women found appealing.

If all this wasn’t enough, tall men also get other societal fringe benefits. Not only is height important in dating, it has also been shown that taller men (about 6 feet 2 inches and over) have higher starting salaries. They are also more likely to be hired in the first place, particularly by sales recruiters. They are more often selected as leaders and chosen for corporate training programs.

So if you are short what can you do about it? Not a hell of a lot, that’s for sure! You must at least accept that these rules apply. All the bitching in the world will never change this. Just accept it, and then deal with it. If you are short, get rich and powerful, then nothing else matters! If you are tall, enjoy the perks – at least until you get to the next paragraph where I will discuss the ceiling effect. There is one other bit of information that may be of assistance. It is taken from Wilson (1968) in Lerner and Moore (1974) who showed that height estimates were related to academic status. That is, as the man’s academic status increased, he was also judged to be taller. This means that if you make yourself out to be smarter or as having a more prestigious occupation, then you are more likely to be thought of as taller. Therefore, it is possible to boost your status to boost your perceived height, be it only temporarily. At the end of the night when you are standing face to face (or face to breast!) she will surely note your exact height regardless of your occupation.

Interestingly, there seems to be a “ceiling effect” where tall males (over 6 feet) suffer a decrease in fitness. That is, women tend to find extremely tall men less attractive. This has been noted by several researchers. Women tend to prefer men of a medium stature over really tall men or really short men. In a study by Graziano et. al. (1978) similar results showed that men of medium height (5’9″- 5’11”) were rated as more attractive over shorter (5’5″- 5’7″) or taller men (6’2″- 6’4″), regardless of the height of the women (4’10”- 6’1″). This means that if you aren’t average, or slightly above average, then you are going to have to work hard to attract mates.

No question, as the research shows, height is important in the dating marketplace. Men are dated more frequently when they are taller, have a social advantage over shorter men, and even have been shown to have prettier girlfriends. Therefore, searching for a mate is more difficult if you are short. However, if you are shorter, look on the bright side – women report dating men more frequently who are taller than themselves but do not necessarily rate them as better looking. I’m sure that really matters, right?


Beigel H.G. 1954. Body height in mate selection. Journal of Social Psychology 39: 257-268.

Bercheid E. and E. Walster. 1974. Physical attractiveness. L. Berkowitz, ed. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology. Academic Press, New York.

Cameron C., S. Oskamp and W. Sparks. 1978. Courtship American style: newspaper advertisements. Family Coordinator 26: 27-30.

Feingold A. 1982. Do taller men have prettier girlfriends? Psychological Reports 50: 810.

Gillis J.S. and W.E. Avis. 1980. The male-taller norm in mate selection. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 6: 396-401.

Graziano W., T. Brothen and E. Berscheid. 1978. Height and attraction: Do men and women see eye-to-eye? Journal of Personality 46: 128-145.

Hartfeil E. and S. Sprechler. 1986. Mirror, Mirror…The Importance of Looks in Everyday Life. State University of New York Press, Albany.

Hensley W.E. 1994. Height as a basis for interpersonal attraction. Adolescence 29: 469-474.

Kurtz, D.L. 1969. Physical appearance and stature: important variables in sales recruiting Personnel Journal December: 981-983.

Pawlowski B., R.I.M. Dunbar, and A. Lipowicz. 2000. Tall men have more reproductive success. Nature 403: 184.

Pierce C.A. 1996. Body height and romantic attraction: a meta-analytic test of the male-taller norm. Social Behavior and Personality 24: 143-150.

Shepperd J.A. and A.J. Strathman. 1989. Attractiveness and height: the role of stature in dating preference, frequency of dating, and perceptions of attractiveness.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 15: 617-627.

Stogdill R. 1948. Personal factors associated with leadership. Journal of Psychology 25:35-71.

Wilson P.R. 1968. Perceptual distortion of height as a function of ascribed academic status. Journal of Social Psychology 74: 97-107.

Woll S. 1986. So many to choose from: decision strategies in videodating. Journal of Social and Personality Relationships 3: 43-52.

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