I woke up this morning at 2:30 AM to get ready for my job and I just happened to see an email that I had gotten last night from someone who had read my blog. I had started talking to this girl on OKC a few weeks back, and she requested a link to my blog, and so I obliged…warning her that there are some intensely personal things on there, as well as me sounding…bitter.
So she visited and she told me on a couple of occasions about where she disagreed and where she found herself laughing, and it was all in good fun. Then she started reading some of my posts about my struggles with being short. So the email I received last night began with,
“You’re such a drama queen! I love your posts, you know I do but you are a drama queen. There’s no way that being a short single guy is that bad. I mean yeah you’re a little short for me but that doesn’t mean we’re not friends! You’re such a good guy, I know there’s someone out there for you…”
Alright, look. I’ll spare you the rest of the message because if I read it too many times, I start to have an internal hemorrhage, and quite truthfully, I don’t feel like dying over this. So let me break this statement down and point out what’s got me in a full-on tizzy. First is the fact that she thinks I’m given to hyperbole. You know what? I don’t argue that. My writing style tends to have a lot of dramatic overtones, and if you don’t know me personally, there a way in which I can be misconstrued as overly dramatic. The stuff in my life is weird, and it has actually happened, but I don’t argue that my narrative style is evocative, and is more a type of story telling than an account of what happened. We can agree on that one. No problem. Second is when she tells me that being “short” isn’t that bad…I’ll address this later, because again…I don’t want to have a rage induced anuerysm. Third…did she just sneak in her own personal height preference AND put me in the Friend Zone at the same time? Damn, girl, you are way too good at this to be doing this online! Shit, if this happened in real life, I would have been devastated, lying in a ditch somewhere on a whiskey bender. And last but not least…that last statement that sounds so kind and so patronizing at the same time. I know ya’ll don’t mean anything by it, but to us it just sounds like you’re trying to placate an infant, especially when in the statement before you put a guy in the Friend Zone. Seriously. We’re not dumb. When you say things like that, what we hear is, “Well…I wouldn’t date you, but I’m sure someone either your height or shorter is bound to like you.” Trust me…if that’s what you mean, just come out and say it. If I’m going to get slapped in the face, I don’t want to have to work for it.
I think it’s safe to assume that people have noticed that I can be a little bit bitter. And over the course of my blog, you see me wax and wane between the loveable curmudgeon style of bitter, to the “maybe you should have a drink or five” type of bitter, and everything in between. I never really get angry about things anymore…at least not really. I’ll skirt that edge between being resigned to reality and being utterly defeated. It’s a very fine line between the two, with the only real difference being that the former requires more fight, while the latter is the same as throwing in the towel.
Alright, my dear girl…you’re right. Being short isn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s not a malady, it’s not a defect, it’s not an imperfection. It’s the result of the genetic slot machine and I already had 2 cherries up there. There are people out there who have it a lot worse off than me. I don’t deny that. But I’m a short GUY, and when it comes to dating, this stigma is something that haunts us every damn day of our lives. I’m not talking in the grand human design, I’m talking about a man and a woman and a biological imperative. I know…you probably never saw this as a huge issue, but that’s because you aren’t a short guy. It doesn’t come with the same stigmas as being a short woman. Lemme explain.
From the day that I started going to school I was a target for bullies, being socially assasinated in every corridor to make sure my love life never took off the ground. A beatdown is a regular occurence. Why? Because it’s important to establish a dominant hierarchy, where the big men are strong and the small men are weak. Again, why does that happen? It’s because in order to break out of any kind of societal norm, requires an enormous will power and the ability to see beyond what we know. And let’s face it, in high school, a societal norm might as well be an ironclad rule of the universe.
It basically breaks down like this…the way a short guy is treated by his male peers usually is based very generally. That is to say that almost all short guys are treated in a similar fashion, not just individually. I’d say that most of the time we’re lumped together into a category rather than treated as our own person. That’s why on average you’ll hear a lot of short men having experienced something very similar to what other short men have faced. I notice that with short women they are equally imbedded into their own hierarchy, but their treatment is really based on the personal. The stories I hear tend to vary in terms of their treatment, meaning that while the female hierarchy does have its own way of establishing physical dominance, it has nothing to do with being short.
IRONICALLY…it seems like in the female social system, it’s those who are TALL that are ostracized and treated as freaks. Suffice to say that within the female social strata, it seems more like a woman is scaled by their femininity, which for some reason seems has something to do with height in the opposite extreme as with men. There’s the notion that women should be small and dainty, cutesy and pretty, delicate and pixie-like. Tall women are treated like Amazons and Giants, and it’s really a shame. This all goes back to gender expectations and establishment…and I ain’t touchin’ that one with a 39 and a half foot pole.
I’ll just say that for me, man or woman or in between, whatever you want to be is fine with me. Whatever decision you want to make is fine with me. Be whatever, do whatever, feel however. Just don’t look to me to validate it! I have enough trouble establishing what I’M about, let alone someone else. I have no more right to determine who you should be than you do towards me based on gender, sexuality, ethnicity, morality, religion, diet…anything. Clear? Great! Moving on.
So from a perspective standpoint, I find that we can establish a lot of commonalities between being a short man and being a tall woman. Truthfully, I think that if anything, short men and tall women should date each other if for no other reason than the fact that they’ll probably find that they understand each other better than they think. I think that given the way that our norms are built, there is going to be a lot of middle ground between us. But…for the most part, that doesn’t really happen. Why?
Well…the problem is two-fold, and it all goes back to those pesky societal norms I was talking about. Personally, I think we should burn the societal norms in a big bonfire instead of books and flags, but hey, that’s just me…but I digress. The first prong of the problem is that, again, women want to feel feminine. The norm has already been ingrained since elementary school. The tall girl in the gym class feels like a freak, treated as such by the other girls, and possibly by other boys (because shit…what the hell do we know at that age?). And that sticks with her until she’s finally in college or beyond, and she’s finally able to see herself for who she truly is…but by that time, is she really able to shake those deeply ingrained scars and insecurities? Probably not. So will she want to date someone shorter than her who reminds her of those old wounds? I doubt it. Regardless of her loving personality, her open demeanor, her gentle heart…it doesn’t change that what she wants now is someone who can make her feel feminine. And for the most part, that goes back to the biological imperative and being protected, feeling dainty.
And men? Well thanks to our social background we crave climbing up that hierarchial chain. We want to be the big men on campus. We want to be the guy standing at the top of the heap for once. So what do some men do? They go for the women who are shorter than them. Because again, their biology and hind brains are screaming for them to be the protector, the dominant, the alpha. And they obey that imperative entirely too readily.
Look…here’s the bottom line. We claim to have evolved beyond these kinds of petty differences. But in the end, even this far “up the ladder” we still listen to our reptillian brain. Our biological urges are spurred on by the societal norms which were only established based on those basic urges, and we’re only perpetuating into a neverending cycle of the same ol’ thing. I’m not trying to establish a right and wrong. I don’t have that kind of capacity, and quite honestly, I’ve been dead wrong about too many things in my life to be any kind of social herald. But at the end of the day, life is too damn short to be confined by things that have already been established. We don’t get anywhere new by walking down the same path everyone else has driven. New maps aren’t created by people who dare not explore.
For me…it’s a daily struggle with myself and my self esteem. To not listen to that voice that tells me I’m not good enough, and to desperately not try to try so hard. Because let’s face it…desperation is not a trait that anyone finds sexy. And if you do…I worry for you, and you should probably speak to your therapist about it. But the reason why I don’t care about these societal norms is because I fight against them every day. So yes…I can be bitter, but that’s because I have fight in me. It’s because I rally against the things that I think are killing the institution. And honestly when I stop being bitter it’ll be because of one of three things: I’ll have become happy, I’ll have found something new to be bitter about, or I’ve been defeated.
And if it’s one thing I know about me…I’m not getting knocked out.
The AB has returned. Missed you all.