Confessions of a Heightoholic

Posted on April 12, 2012


I just can't.

I’m Raz, and I’m a heightoholic. Well, a recovering heightoholic.

Also known as heightism, heightoholism is a common side effect of a very tall ex-boyfriend. Though I’m short (5′ 3″), it’s difficult for me to give any guy under 6′ a second glance.

Online dating sites are probably among the most dangerous places for a heightist to be—discrimination is unavoidable. It’s all too easy to skip over a perfectly good profile because a guy lists his height as 5′ 6″. Realistically though, no guy lists his height as 5′ 6″. I’ve found that no matter their actual height, all men are 5′ 9″ and above on online dating profiles. I made this discovery because of Greg. And that’s not the only thing Greg exaggerated about on his profile.

In all of his profile pics, Greg looks large. Broad shoulders, noticeable pecs, and a height listed as 5′ 9″. I’ve been at this for a while now, so while I originally wouldn’t touch anyone under 5′ 11″, I’d made 5′ 9″ my new minimum. (As I said, I’m in recovery.) Greg and I decided to meet at Vero, a wine bar in midtown. He texted when I was a couple blocks away to say that he was waiting outside, and I’d recognize him because he was wearing a purple shirt. The fact that he didn’t think I’d recognize him based on the five pictures he posted online should’ve been an obvious red flag. As I approached, I saw a man in a purple shirt, but I definitely didn’t see the Greg from his online profile. This nervous-looking man was 5′ 5″ tops (I was taller than him in 2-inch heels) and was scrawny, not the athletic football player pictured online. I guess when you’re 25 and still posting images from your college football days, one has to assume that something’s wrong. (Ah, the power of hindsight.)

This was an important moment in my history as a heightoholic. After all, he hadn’t seen me yet. I could easily have turned around, texted him an apology with some fake emergency, and he would be none the wiser. Instead, I swallowed my pride and said hello. And for the first hour or so of the date, I was glad I did. We sipped delicious wine and had good conversation. I was about to pat myself on the back for successfully getting over my heightism when he said, “I have a confession. I lied on my online profile.”

‘Well, no shit,’ I wanted to say, but the look on his face made me think he wasn’t talking about his height, his build, or even the pictures clearly taken several years ago.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

Then he said, “I lied about my age.”

Before we go on, know that I am not only a heightist, but I’m also an ageist. No matter how awesome someone may seem, I will not date anyone younger than me. Ok, a couple months younger maybe, but if you would have been a grade behind me in school, I’ll set you up with my little sister before dating you myself.

I haven’t yet gotten to the recovery stage with my ageism.

“How old are you?” I asked, not really wanting to know.

“Well, I told you I was 25, but I’m actually 24.”

“Why would you lie about that?”

“I like dating older women, because I’m so mature for my age,” said the tiny man.

“You know what’s immature? Lying about your age.”  I said it before I could stop myself.

“Well, think of it this way,” he said, looking genuinely hurt. “In three months, I’ll be 25, and then we’ll be the same age.”

“Not really,” I was having trouble staying calm. “In three months, you’ll be 25, and I will still be equally older than you and almost 26. And you will still have lied about your age on our first date.”

To say the least, things got a little awkward after that, and my first date with Greg was also my last. But the more I think about it the more I wonder: If he went through all that trouble to hide his true age online, why did he give it up after only an hour? And why would he lie about his height if I would clearly be on to him immediately after meeting him in person? Then, I realized, he was absolutely right. If he’d posted that he was 24 years old and 5′ 5″ with a skinny build, I would have passed over his profile without a second thought. In fact, I have built-in restrictions on the dating site so profiles like that never find their way onto my homepage. But isn’t the whole point of online dating that we can weed out all the guys who aren’t perfect on paper?

Greg was definitely not perfect, but he did teach me a valuable lesson that night. My minimum height has now gone up to 5′ 10″.

—Raz, 25, NYC

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