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The Badass Monologues: Short Guy Truths And Falsehoods – Debunking the Myth

Over the last year, I started hearing the term “Short Guy Syndrome” slung around like a bag full of cats, and I have to say that all the screeching and howling is giving me an ear ache.  So as a 5’1″ (give or take an inch) guy, I figure I’m probably the right guy to weigh in on the subject.  So first, let’s get a few things straight…  This syndrome doesn’t refer to “Little People” who are a category unto themselves, and have their own very distinct ideologies and branches of thinking.  What we’re talking about are men who are on the lower end of an arbitrary measure for what we deem as an equally subjective “average” height.  Those “short men” are then qualified as having a certain disposition; a mindset which has the name of a French Emperor named Napoleon Bonaparte associated with it.  Originally we called the Short Guy Syndrome, the Napoleon(ic) Complex.  Some of the fundamental personality traits associated with this is overcompensation, belligerent or angry behavior, social aggression, and the overall need to dominate with presence – in the negative way.  So before I start going through the truths and lies of being short, let’s take care of some of the misconceptions that seem to be associated with our boy Napoleon.

First of all…the guy was approximately 5’6″, which in those days, was fairly average.  And yes folks, that was without his boots.  If he put them on and had some kind of early French lifts in them, at the very most he would have been 5’8″ maybe 5’9″.  So the idea that he was short…well, maybe by modern perception, but is it enough to say that he was overcompensating for his height?  Probably not.  That’s mostly our modern perception of his behavior.  And while we’re on the subject…the man was an Emperor.  There seems to be this belief that Napoleon went to war to spread his ideologies out of his need to compensate for his height, letting many people get killed for the sake of his own ego.  That he dominated and exerted his will over other countries to prove his military might and prowess.  Alright, where the hell were my historians at when some idiot decided to name this the Napoleonic Complex?  Every culture in world history has had a leader, who at some point believed that their civilization was in the right, and others were in the wrong.  Spreading ideologies, exploring and conquering new lands is pretty much how the modern world came to be, so let’s not get this idea that Bonaparte was looking in the mirror one day and said to himself “You know what?  I’m feeling particularly short today…let’s go sack a city and make them adapt my beliefs.”  Yeah, he dominated other countries and people got PISSED.  That’s what happens when you win a battle or a war and say “Hey, here are some new rules and I’m the guy enforcing them.”  But guess what, kids?  EVERY conqueror, every dictator, every general, every winner of any battle is going to have the same damn thing thought of them.

Also, I’d like to point out that if spreading ideologies and conquering lands were indicative of height compensation, then France is a land of fucking giants.  Compared to the Macedonians, the Holy Roman Empire, Nazi Germany, the Mongols, the Ottomans, the Tang dynasty, the Russian Empire…the French aren’t even a fucking drop in the god damn bucket!  You know where Napoleon basically spread his reign?  France, Spain, Italy, and maybe a part of Germany and Poland.  Alexander the Great conquered from the Balkans to India and I’m pretty sure per capita, Genghis Khan conquered more land than anyone.  By short guy logic, this means that these men must have been 1 foot tall.  Yet these men do not have this complex named after them.  And come on…in the Modern Age, the US and the British have fought more wars in a single generation than Napoleon could have in 50 lifetimes, and possess more global real estate than any other CONTINENT in the world.  By this logic, then what the hell are we compensating for?

Much like Custer, Napoleon tends to be remembered historically for his biggest loss, which was in Waterloo, which ended up negating much of his previous accolades (from a historic perspective).  It didn’t matter that he was one of the greatest military strategists the world had ever seen (even to this day).  It didn’t matter that he had a photographic memory and that he was one of the most intelligent human beings of his time (debunking a small person / small intellect myth…but I’ll get to that later…).  Nevermind that he was a charismatic leader who understood people, chose to surround himself with greater or equal minds, and had the ability to lead great (and yes, taller) men.  History tends to overlook these things because as the old adage goes “History is written by the victors.”  A lot of us don’t know that he was an advocate of the sciences, or that he spread both his own Code (the Napoleonic Civil Code) which became the base of many laws used in several western countries including the States.  Most of us don’t know that he helped spread the Metric System, and that he was a believer in religious freedom and equality at a time when Jews, Protestants, and Catholics all being treated the same was akin to witchcraft.  The French treat the man as a hero, and I’m not sure if it’s rightfully deserved or not…but what I can say is that based on what I know of his history, I’m not sure what wannabe pop psychologist decided to coin the term using his name.  All I know is…it stuck.  But my point here is…no general, no emperor, no king, no queen, no prince, no leader of man…has ever held a perfect win record.

So there’s your history lesson, readers.  So now let’s go onward to what we came here to talk about: being a short guy.  Now there’s tons of perceptions and stereotypes out there, and I’ll try to address them as subjectively as I can from my own perspective.  (And for those trolls out there, yes, the SHORT perspective.)  A lot of these ideas and tropes that exist are very “Chicken or the Egg.”  That is to say that it’s very hard to say which came first…the perception, the action, or the reaction based on the perception.  But let’s just take this one by one:

All Short Guys Are Overcompensating: Okay, so here’s the first in the Chicken / Egg series.  I admit that a vast majority of us have the tendency to project ourselves very drastically to our personalities.  Some positively and some negatively.  The negative overcompensation tends to be associated with emotions like anger or fear, and often times leads to aggressive and sometimes belligerent behavior.  The positive ones come off as confident…but OVERLY so tends to read as funny (as in, laugh AT not laugh WITH), annoying, or trying too hard.  But I’m not sure if these traits are in reaction to being perceived as lesser human beings in the social context, or they simply came to be as a result of natural evolution.  Although, you treat any group as a social outcast for too long and personalities will find their own ways to adapt to the situation in a fit of social survival.  So is this statement true?  Yes, but with some caveats.

Short Guys Are Angry: I mean…wouldn’t you be if you were treated as less than a man everywhere you go?  Have you read an online dating profile and read “short men need not apply?”  Read article after article about how short men are less likely to find love and that it’s an evolutionary thing?  Honestly, it’s not as if we don’t have our reasons.  And obviously, my blog tends to wander the gambit of all of my emotions including anger…but honestly who doesn’t?  Saying “All short guys are angry” is like saying that “All humans breathe air.”  All of us get angry from time to time but it isn’t our defining characteristic.  They are called “emotions” and it is our response to interpretations of different stimuli.  If people claim that we’re angry all the time, then you have to kind of ask yourself exactly what it is in the situation that is creating the context for that anger.  You know when I hear this particular phrase the most?  After somebody says (writes, Tweets, posts, etc) something derogatory about a short guy and then the short guy defends themselves in an angry fashion.  You call a tall woman an Amazon, a portly man as tubby, a blonde an idiot, or spit out a racist name…guess what?  Those people are going to get pissed.  We don’t have the exclusive rights to this emotion, folks.  It’s just funnier to the immature if you picture a red faced child swinging his hands in the air and screaming obscenities than to realize the shallow emotions that made you verbally upchuck your superficial leanings.  So is the statement true?  No more so than for every other marginalized group that exists out there…in other words, the entire human race.  And for those who would say that this segment sounds angry, I’d like to point out there’s a thin line between passionate and anger.  Which brings me to:

Short Guys Are Immature: Ah yes…the term that seems to be growing in popularity to disparage us short guys…”manchild.”  I do love a good new derogatory term.  I can actually say that this term is patently untrue.  When you’re short, man or woman, we have the tendency to behave more maturely because, as I mentioned earlier, short people are viewed as “children” or “child-like.”  Ask any short woman who has been picked up when being hugged by someone, or a guy who has had their head patted like they were a “good little boy.”  I’m not sure if this was a perception reaction or if it was just false since the get go, but either way, maturity has a lot to do with how we handle the things that life throws at us.  Short men have the tendency to have been given more opportunity to overcome a more varied set of unexpected curveballs than some of their taller counterparts.  But like all generalizing statements, a lot of the time, it’s exactly that…a blanket statement that has nothing to do with the majority.  Many of us are mature, many of us are not.  Ask me at 20 and ask me at 30, you’ll get different answers, but that’s true for any height and any gender.  So, like the Angry statement…the point is pretty much moot.  We all have the capacity to be one way or another.  Why compartmentalize it into a characteristic of a certain type of person?

Being Short Is a Disadvantage: Let me tread carefully here.  Being short is not a physical disadvantage unless you are relating it to something that necessitates being taller.  It is not a physical handicap, it is not a genetic abnormality.  At the most it may be a recessive gene.  It is not a social disadvantage either unless you treat it as such.  That is when your own personal perception of yourself comes into play.  If you play into the part that the world sometimes thrusts at you, then yes, you may find yourself the wounded gazelle near the pack of hyenas.  But most of the time, if you yourself don’t see it that way, it has no effect in the long run.  Is it a romantic disadvantage?  Yes.

It Is Harder For Short Men To Find Love: I said it before and I said again but being short is a romantic bullet hole in the leg.  It can be overcome with confidence, but attaining that confidence is like trying to tame a wild lion with soft words and a sirloin steak necklace while bleeding from aforementioned bullet hole.  This is mainly due to the fact that the romantic disadvantage comes not only from your own perception of self, but combining that with the preconceived notions that we are trying to debunk here.  Unfortunately, it is an ingrained perception that short is not a desirable trait to have for the male.  It’s difficult to change the way much of the world sees us.  The most common argument is that women are conditioned to want tall men based on evolution.

Tall Men Preference Based On Evolution: Let me argue the point and then you can go ahead and say what you will.  We are a social species and therefore we evolve socially, and have long surpassed the point in which we need to evolve physically.  Why?  We have the ability to alter our surroundings to make it so we can survive.  However, if being small were an undesireable and unsuitable human characteristic, then by Darwinism and Evolutionary standards, the small and short would have already been weeded out leaving us with nothing but giants in our midst.  But we don’t, so it could be that being small is not necessarily an undesirable human characteristic in the grand evolutionary scale. (Neither is being big, just fyi.) Okay, so let’s tackle it from a human to human standpoint.  The argument that I hear most often is that the woman likes the man to be taller because the human hind brain sees them as a better protector, provider, hunter, and warrior.  Mkay.  Well first of all, that’s such a big pile of manure that if I had a garden I could mulch it for a decade.  Look…the hind brain is a SUBCONSCIOUS desire for these things.  Most women and most men who take issue with height are keenly and most definitely CONSCIOUSLY aware of their preference and why.  They may not voice it out of fear of looking like asshole, or because saying it out loud is taboo, but they all know why.  How do I know this?  Because we aren’t lizards and we aren’t primates, kids.  We are human beings which means that while somewhere deep in our DNA may be coded this fantasy gene sequence…that isn’t what rules us.  It is our brains.  And while there are similarities between a monkey’s brain and a human one, a human’s brain is able to reason.  The hind brain theory came from rationalizing this behavior, but really it’s all a bunch of bunk.  To put it simply?  You’re following your privates, Private.  Consciously, at that.  You want to know the real reason?  It’s simple.  Gender roles.  There.  I said it.

It’s such a can of worms, but no matter how far we come in equality, the long established gender roles are what has been tying us back to who has to be the taller in the couple.  Traditional heterosexual couples have traditional heterosexual tendencies in terms of preference, which is influenced by social convention.  As I mentioned before, we are a social species living in a social world.  Therefore, as the environment of the social world changes, our social values change.  Wanting taller men isn’t evolutionary at all, but it’s what we see every day.  We rationalize this behavior, but just as the fashion industry and the film and tv industry has influenced our idea of beauty, our judgment of height is equally influenced by these same things.  Advertisements advocate tall and thin beautiful women which links weight AND height into our measurement of beauty.  The majority of men when compared to those women are taller and more muscular than those women which influence what they are supposed to want.  Even on television, the classic television tropes for families have stayed pretty much the same with the man being taller and bigger, the woman being smaller and shorter.  That has been the norm and establishes what we perceive to be our measure of desire and beauty.  Of course, it may have a small bit to do with evolution, but nowhere near as much as people are claiming it to have.  My point is…if you want to follow your sex organs, then follow it…but let’s not blame our monkey brains for something that we know we control.  Preference means you have control…you just choose not to.  Alright…moving on.

Correlation Between Height and Intelligence: I’ve heard this go both ways.  Short people need to be smarter because they are not as big and strong, OR short people have less intellectual capacity based on their smaller size.  Both horse shit, and anyone who believes that should be shot out of a cannon and into an active volcano.  I’ve met tall doctors, and short idiots.  I’ve met tiny scientists and giant oafs.  There are people with skulls thick enough to crack coconuts who have photographic memories, and people whose heads are as big as a watermelon who couldn’t find a doorknob if they had their hand on it.  I don’t care how big or small you are.  Stephen Hawking is 5’7″ and being in a wheelchair, paralyzed, with a head the size of a peanut is still one of the smartest people on the planet.  There is no such thing as a unified rule that governs the exact state of intelligence in any human being, and if there is, it certainly has nothing to do with height.  At my height, that would make me either a blazing idiot or a certifiable genius and I am neither of those things.

Look folks…I’m not trying to defend myself here or make women want to date me.  I’m pretty comfortable being me, and I know many women in my life who love me for who I am.  I have friends who accept me, and my height hasn’t ever really kept me from doing anything that I ever wanted to do.  All I’m trying to do is de-mystify this whole bullshit stigma that seems to follow around being short.  Tall or short in the grand scheme has the importance of your toenail clippings in your garbage can.  It means nothing except what it simply is.  A method by which something may be measured, but it is our own human nature to assign social value to it.  And that’s what it means to live in a social world.  We decide our self worth by assigning values to these arbitrary characteristics and somehow we rank ourselves in relation to others.  That is our new evolutionary scale…and quite honestly we need new fucking values because in my humble opinion, it is built of cards on a bed of sand.  Hopefully I managed to shine some light on some of the truths and lies that you’ve known about the short guy.

But then again…this is all coming out of my mind so at the end of the day, you’ll have to figure it out for yourselves.  Love to you, my readers.  Happy Valentine’s Day.  And hey…if you get a chance, give the short guy a shot.  Might surprise you. – AB

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Height of the Problem: Advice from the Short Guy

(Getting this right under the wire for 2013…)

So it’s been a while since I did a “short guy” post and talked about height…which is pretty impressive for me.  The thing that prompted this post was actually when I was looking through my Dashboard and seeing some of the searches being done that brought people to my site.  Phrases like “Is 5’1″ too short for a guy?” or  “Dating impossible for short men.”  And I’ve noticed that things like this appear now, more often that not.  It drives a dagger into my heart every time I see something like that because I realize how many guys out there are so bereft of hope in the dating world that they’re forced to turn to the internet for advice.  The web…a place which has given a sounding board to hate mongers, bred trolls, and lit the fire for flame wars…and you want to take advice from it?  Are we so desperate to gain acceptance, and to be viewed as a romantic option that we attempt to feel justified by complete strangers?

…well…yeah.  I’m not condoning the behavior, I’m just saying that the behavior exists.  And I can hardly criticize people for doing something like that when I’m essentially making a daily affirmation every time I write one of my short guy blog entries on here.  If you’re looking for a guy to tell you that “it gets better”, then please proceed to your nearest exit.  What I’m here to tell you is that “it gets better IF you work at it.”  Yeah, you’re right.  Short guys have to work for it.  Hell…not even just short MEN, but short women too.  And I’m guessing that being a tall woman holds just as many problems on occasion based on preconceived gender roles and expectations.  And I apologize if I leave you out when I write about this issue.  Please feel free to comment on your own experiences in this thread.  I just don’t know how things are from your perspective, although I can certainly imagine it.  So here’s just a few words to the wise about being short:

- Anger Solves Nothing –

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t or can’t feel pain.  When a girl tells you that she’ll “always be your friend” when you really like her, and she shuts that door in your face…it’s like getting stabbed with a corkscrew in the heart and having it pulled out.  But that’s true all across the board.  Height doesn’t have anything to do with any of that.  We just think that we have a reason, and we cling to it because our own insecurity is a great way to rationalize behavior.  Somehow in our minds, if we can justify the reason we weren’t chosen, we somehow make it easier to bear.  It doesn’t.  ..but I’ll get into that in a moment.

Here’s the main reason why short people aren’t allowed to get angry…and that is that we carry a stigma to begin with.  Unfortunately, it’s true.  We are forced to live with the idea that being angry is part and parcel of being short.  Because of that, any time we feel emotional, any time we feel angry, there is a societal perception that this anger is normal behavior for a short guy.  Don’t believe me?  Go Google “why are short people so angry” and then go click on the Yahoo Answers link.  (Here’s the link for anyone who wants to go direct: HERE)  Make sure you read the comments to see just how stupid people are.  And people wonder why we get angry.  But that’s the thing…because of idiotic trolls, and bigoted immature children, anything that seems even remotely angry is either marginalized, dismissed, or compartmentalized into the rantings of a short guy getting mad for being short.  So anything that we feel suddenly has to be well thought out, well worded, humorous, somewhat self-depreciating, and just controlled all round.  Our feelings must be justified, and even that doesn’t guarantee that some emotionally stunted 30 year old won’t try to mock your pain.  So what do we do?  We mask it.  Pretend like it doesn’t hurt.  We put ourselves down, poke fun at ourselves, and try to fool everyone into thinking that none of this bothers us.

And if you do this, you are considered a “good sport” or a “cool guy.”  And in reality the only thing you want to do is hit something.  Hard.  Look folks…there’s a reason that for the longest time I had to do physical activity like martial arts to control my rage.  I covered it in my “Wrath” post, but I was wrestling that demon to the ground with good old fashioned brute force.  I had to take it out in action in some way, where I wasn’t looked at as if I was your typical angry short guy…when people saying shit like THIS was fueling my fire to be exactly that.  It wasn’t until I realized how much energy I was wasting focusing on this negativity that I learned to step back from it.  To soften my gaze at these poor deluded individuals and just walk away.  Like any good flame war, it can’t really start if you don’t keep supplying fuel to the fire.  A digital flame can’t exist in a social vacuum…so ignore it and that spark will just end up soaking itself out.  You’re right…it’s not okay for them to say things like “Short men should die” or that “Tall women aren’t women.”  I’m not even saying that we shouldn’t let it bother us.  It’s just that fighting these things head on only feeds the attention seeking, social media whores.  It doesn’t actually change the dynamic and the fundamental issues of dealing with any kind of prejudice.  The ways in which that can be done are usually through the paths of least resistance.

- Cunning Linguist –

As an example…language is an excellent indicator of how society tends to express our morality.  Take the word “belittle.”  I don’t think you need to be working for Oxford or Webster to figure out where the word came from.  Belittle, meaning to “make light of.”  Essentially, it means to treat something as something small and unimportant…to dismiss something based on its lack of merit, and even to mock its significance.  The word “little” in this word, contains a lot of the negative meanings that people associate with being short.  To belittle a person is in many ways, the very thing that short people rally against.  Words like “marginalized” implies inefficacy and unimportance.  It’s essentially meaning that something of significance is forced into a very small space (margin) and in so doing, becomes impotent.

Expressions like “making mountains out of molehills”, is another great example of how we see the small as being unimportant.  Even the word “less” tends to be worse than “more”, with the latter of the two carrying more significance.  A speech writer knows that “more” carries greater weight and importance than the word “less.”  The same goes for the word “small” and the word “big”.  Please don’t misunderstand.  We need these words in order to ascertain physical properties, and I’m by no means dismissing the fact that they are necessary terms.  What I mean to say is that the words themselves have adopted a morality that originally wasn’t there to begin with, because human beings started to apply their own views and projected them onto the vocabulary.  If you call someone “little man” or “giant woman”, the words themselves are really only applying the physical characteristics, but it’s ourselves that engage the meaning to the phrase.  The problem always comes in the context in which the words are used.  Using the word “little” or “giant” to a person is unnecessary because that’s really only pointing out something that’s obvious.  What you’re really trying to do is placing yourself in a higher position than the other person, and applying social context which keeps you on the superior social high ground.

In a lot of ways, this comes from a fundamental lack of ability to communicate.  It used to be that you could make eye contact with a person across a room, make the approach, and speak to them clearly while looking them in the eyes.  Hell, we even managed to not invade their personal space while doing it.  Nowadays, we find it necessary to avoid looking at one another, mumble incoherently into our shirt, and resort to calling out a person’s obvious physical characteristic followed by “dude”, “lady”, “girl”, “guy”, or “person.”  So maybe because of this sudden ineptness we can’t seem to interact properly with other human beings without the stupid remarks.  I mean, it’s very possible that the offending person doesn’t mean any harm with his words.  Maybe we, as the listener apply our own morality to what we’re hearing and become offended too quickly.  Well…I’d honestly like to believe that, but I’ve seen the look of contempt and superiority on too many faces to think that this is all a coincidence.

- Secure Security -

In our case, the best offense is a good defense.  Any bully knows intrinsically how to spot a person with an insecurity.  In some ways, they have an acute understanding of human weakness and prey on it like any good predator tends to do.  To make sure that we don’t chum the waters, we must be ever vigilant to be as secure as possible.  I said this in an earlier post (I forget where), but you need to understand that you can’t pretend to be secure, you actually have to be it.  Bullies and superficials tend to have an uncanny ability to be aware of even the slightest chink in the armor, and we tend to manifest our weaknesses subconsciously.  Sometimes it is our automatic reaction to certain words (such as the language I mentioned earlier), or it could be our natural and reflexive defense mechanism like poking fun at ourselves before someone else can.  Even when we’re not being bullied, it’s still never a bad idea to see if you are really comfortable in your own skin.

Security is really easy to fake to ourselves, but tends to be transparently clear to others.  And as such, we have the tendency to do things like over state our own security to others, only making it painfully obvious that we are actually not.  So then the question becomes…how do you be something that you clearly aren’t?  How do you stay calm and make sure that when they call you “little” or “tiny” that you don’t fly off the handle?  Well…this is what I tend to do.  Make your life about something else.  Like your parents told you since you were little…there ain’t no such thing as a perfect human being.  “No shit”, you say.  So being as that’s true, why focus on the imperfections that you don’t have any control over?  The people who make fun of you, or reject you for some superficial reason all have flaws in the fact that they are superficial.  You just have to say to yourself that you were born this way…what’s their excuse?  And it’s true. You can’t control your genetic make up, but you can change your perspective.  And really…what are you supposed to do?  Apologize for being born?  Are you really so insecure about your height that you actually wish your own non-existence?  That isn’t a lack of self-esteem, my friends, that is a vacuum.  You’re not even at 0, and went straight into the negatives.

Alright…you know what you do?  Next time that someone calls you a “runt” or says something stupid like “out of the way, little man”, allow yourself to get angry.  Let it fill you to your brim.  Let vengeful words fill your brain along with the image of you donkey punching them right in the taint.  Let that rage take you right to the cusp of a Hulk-style rampage…but never let it show on your face or your body.  Let it occur for a full satisfying second.  Then realize that the complete stranger mocking you probably has a social problem.  That their personality is transparent and that their insecurities are even greater than your own because they absolutely HAD to vocalize their own superficial superiority.  Feel content in the knowledge that these people shout at the rain because no one sees them the way they want to be seen, just like you.  Then take a deep breath, turn, look them straight in the eye and give a half smile.  Let your eyes fill with a mix of pity for them and contentment with yourself.  From there, what you decide to say is up to you.  In every situation there is a proper response that will deflect the whole thing and kill the conversation cold.  It’s best to keep a sense of humor about it, but that doesn’t mean you need to demean yourself.

Look…heightism exists.  Fight it head on, change the fundamental nature of the world, kill the source, change yourself, ignore it…whatever you want to do is alright so long as you’re happy with yourself.  The problem is that humans are social creatures and we exist in a social spectrum.  We allow ourselves to have our happiness dictated by arbitrary standards, set forth by other people who we have no connection to.  And this is a shift that has only occurred recently due to social media, where previously unheard voices gain opinions on what should or should not constitute your own happiness.  Hell, on any given day there’s 400 people out there who know what you had for dinner and form opinions about you based on what you had.  There are suddenly hundreds of thousands of people out there who have an opinion on what color ribbon you should have in your hair, how you should reprimand your child, or what beautiful is.  And it is shoved right into our faces, every day, even in the places where we don’t normally expect to find it.  Maybe you read an editorial in the lifetime section of your favorite magazine and find the writing particularly opinionated.  Maybe the news or celebrity gossip shows do a piece that hits close to home.  Maybe you posted up a status on Facebook and you got blindsided by a response that you never expected.  Point is…your happiness and personal satisfaction isn’t any of their business.  It’s yours.  Only you can tell the rest of us what keeps you happy.

As for confidence…that comes with time.  Trust me.  I spent a lot of my time from my teens to my twenties hating myself over things I had no control over.  It wasn’t until I realized my strengths that I managed to muster up my courage.  It wasn’t until I knew who I was that I became comfortable being myself around members of the opposite sex.  The height thing…like I said at the beginning…it sucks.  It makes dating harder and makes staying the confident course that much more difficult.  You have to work at not being bitter when you suspect that the reason why the girl said “No” is because societal constructs and antiquated gender roles tell us that the man should be taller than the woman, or the woman shorter than the man.  You have to work to have mental fortitude when people assume that you’re weaker just because you’re smaller than they are.  And at the end of the day, you let it be about who you are.  The skills that you have.  The things that you can do and the people you have in your life that no one else in this world can duplicate.

Some faceless Twitter dweeb, who believes that they became famous because their favorite star “followed” them, says something offensive.  So what?  Yeah, it hurts that they said it, but honestly, how does that person even pertain to you?  Do you believe that they wield ANY power that you yourself don’t?  Do you think that they set what the truth is and isn’t?  No.  And any person that is in your life who would take their word over the truth that is in front of their eyes doesn’t deserve to see.  Love is hard, folks.  It doesn’t matter if you’re short or tall, fat or skinny, light skinned or dark.  It’s a god damn war zone out there no matter who you are.  The people who make it about these arbitrary standards…it proves only one of two things: Either they’ve never been in love and don’t know what it is, or been foolishly mislead to believe that these things matter in the affairs of the heart.  Pity them at the very least for the fact that one day their fragile ego that hasn’t been tempered by years of emotional conditioning, will shatter like an egg shell.  And the strong ones…we hold out.  We hold out for that love that beats all others that can support a mountain.  Peace and love in the New Year, folks.  The best is yet to come.

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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A Trip Inside My Head: Why Dating Sucks For Me

So it’s now December and the holidays are almost here.  As is customary to this time of the year for me, I take stock of the things that are important, and I start to plan on what I want to change about myself for the coming new year.  The list includes things like getting into better shape or learning another foreign language, etc, etc..  Basically, it’s a list of resolutions and goals I want to achieve.  One thing that I placed on that list for next year was to start dating again, and that’s something that I honestly don’t have too much control over, since once I ask, it’s up to the woman to say an emphatic “Yes!” or hearty “Hell no.”  But I know that if I want to increase my chances at love, then the best thing to do would be to polish my own self until it shines.  (No that wasn’t a double entendre, you gutter dwellers.) I promised myself I would not go onto the digital dating world again until I was at a physical fitness level that I was personally satisfied with.

So of course, in keeping with the grand traditions of resolutions…I broke that rule within a week.  I know.  I’m sorry.  I’m weak willed.  And to tell you the truth, I regretted it even as I gave these so called dating moguls my money.  But, since I figured that I was already wading waist deep into a mistake, there was no point in holding myself back…so I took the plunge.  Also there was no point in doing a site that I had already been to previously, so I took this opportunity to check out one of the other major sites: Match.

Here’s the key to online dating: Never overthink.  Your gut reactions are usually the right ones, what you write when you are being honest with yourself and others is usually the best things to write, and people, reasonings, and motivations aren’t nearly as complicated as we believe it to be.  That being said, almost as soon as I started typing my profile I got into my own head.  I’m talking Dante’s descent into Hell, “Abandon all hope…” kinda head space.  What can I say, I’m terrible at following my own advice.  You can always go back and re-write your profile as many times as you’d like, but getting into your own head usually means that seeds of doubt have been planted, and they sprout into full grown ivy pretty damn quick.

When you meet someone in person and you are face to face with them, it’s a lot easier not to overthink your behavior.  How can you?  You’re too busy with the conversation taking place in that moment (ideally), and thinking on how to keep it going.  When you’re typing a profile from your desk in your apartment, the only thoughts you have are…how do I make myself look good?  And that’s when we start wading into dangerous territory.  You go from anxious romance seeker to used car salesman in the blink of an eye.  “How do I sell this lemon without her asking me for the Carfax?”

Example: What do I always tend to talk about in this blog?  Height.  If I were to be honest with myself, without shoes, flat on the ground, I’m somewhere in the vicinity of 5’1″.  That’s just how the good Lord made me (dammit).  So now I’m facing down the chamber of my own personal gun.  I’ve never lied about how tall I was on a dating site, but I do know that I feign ignorance when I tend to write my unimpressive height towards the upper end of my height range.  I can go anywhere from 5’0″ to 5’6″ (with my lifts).  Now, I know that my lifts would be considered a lie so I never type 5’5″ to 5’6″.  I tend to set my height at 5’4″ because that is usually where most women have their cut off.  And when you barely make that minimum line, you start to look at the competition around you and start to fight your own personal inadequacy demons.  So now I realize I’m lying (or at least stretching the elastic truth), and I come to the realization that instead of being honest with myself, I am trying to put a fresh coat of paint on an old jalopy and passing it off as a “classic.”  I won’t expound any further, but I write enough about height on here that I think we can all extrapolate that when it comes to being short, I’ll get into my own head a lot more than I should.  The reality is, that it shouldn’t matter, and that a person who is so focussed on my height that they see it detracting from all other parts of my personality, is probably not for me.  But, you can’t show them your personality if you can’t wedge your foot in the door.

Then I started to contemplate the potential problems with choosing a “race.”  See…I am a pure blooded Japanese American.  My parents are both from Japan, my family is from Japan, but my brother and I are both first generation born in the States.  We’re kind of what you call…1st and a half generation.  I still have my roots in my own culture, speaking my native tongue, knowledgeable of our culture, our history, our food, and our way of life.  But that being said, I am most decisively American.  I was born here, I was raised here, schooled here, and I fell in love here.  That being said, when you write down your ethnicity, there are certain expectations associated with it.  When someone sees “Asian”, even regardless of the stereotypes, people tend to have certain expectations.  Language, for instance.  “Asian” tends to run the spectrum between people like myself who grew up as an American and has no trouble with the 3 R’s…and then there are the Asians who are fresh off the boat, still clinging onto the same cultural stigmas from their countries of origin (most of which have laughable concepts of gender equality).  So even when we see the word “Asian American” on a profile, people tend to associate race with an epithet, even if it’s one based on their own perspective.

So…as the above illustrates…by now I’m so deep into my own head that I can see out the back of my skull.

But…I moved on after filling out my stats (only briefly considering the ramifications of choosing a “body type”), and moved onto the meat of the profile: self summary.  I don’t know anyone who actually enjoys writing these things.  First of all, I think everyone could use a little self-reflection now and again.  But it’s terribly difficult to write without the right mindset.  As any editor will tell you (and I know one), there is such a thing as “tone” in the written word.  I realize that sounds mind-numbingly obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people forget that when they are writing a profile, they are introducing themselves to the person reading it.  If you aren’t anxious and excited about meeting someone, you certainly aren’t going to read that way on paper.  And if you’re anything like me…if you’re feeling nervous and insecure, a little too eager and willing to please…well then that’s going to come across too.  All these things sets off alarm bells in your potential romantic partner, who was probably looking for any excuse to thin the herd.  But I try to write.  And for all intents and purposes, I think that it came out fine.  Now to take some distance and see what happens.

So after all of this, I need to go looking for my mate.  Because as a man, your job is to SEEK, not be SOUGHT.  And then we come to the dreaded first message.  There is no experience quite so terrifying for a writer than sitting at a desk, presented with very little information, and be at a total loss as to what to write.  Do you write a generic letter saying “Hey, I just stumbled across your profile and thought we could chat…” which is about as eye catching as the porn spam you have in your Inbox.  Then there are the over-eager sounding letters that just screams out “please love me” and “stalker.”  Or you could go with the 10 paragraph, life summary in a box route which is pretty much a guaranteed sunken Battleship.  And then there’s my ever favorite one sentence, poorly spelled, barely intelligible propositioning of sex.  This, dear friends, is a sure fire way to get yourself banned, and screams that you are from the shallow end of the gene pool where children pee in the water.

In the end if I come up with a case of Writer’s Block, then I save the profiles I like and try to come back when my brain has unstuck itself from the mud.  If I do end up writing, then I try to go for something funny, a question or two about them from their profile, and tell them that I’d like to chat some time.  The rest I leave up to fate and the dating Gods…who for the most part have spent their time, pointing and laughing, and placing Kick Me notes on my back.

All kidding aside, it’s no one’s fault but my own.  I get inside my own head entirely too much, and once I’m there, it’s hard to extricate myself from the sand.  I need to stop getting in my own way, and stop following the man with the glowing orange cones, cause he doesn’t know where the hell he’s leading me.  I want to get to Bora Bora and he sends me to Djibouti.  So maybe it was a bad idea to try this now, or maybe I’m just not meant to be meeting someone this way.  All I can do is try and hope for the best, and if it fails, well…at least you all have some really great stories to read.  Success stories are great and romantic…crash and burn, man on fire, being pushed to drink stories keep you coming back.  On that cheery note: Happy Holidays!  Hope to get a few more posts in before the New Year.

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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A Little About Me: Heightism and Me

So before I even begin, the real question that I have to start with is…can I even write an entry about heightism without it becoming too personal?  Will I be able to write about the topic without becoming incensed?  I’m not sure, to tell you the truth.  I’m going to put it all down and we’ll see where I end up at the end of it.  Keep in mind, of course, that how my entry comes out entirely depends on my mood, so I’m going to try to write this only when I am fully energized and at my full mental capacity (which tends to be difficult when your work day starts at 3 AM and doesn’t end until my boss looks away long enough for me to sneak out).  I believe that since it’s a topic that strikes close to home, it deserves my undivided attention.

Over the course of the last couple of months, I’ve gotten a couple of emails, comments, and messages on my posts about heightism (mostly from people who came over to check me out from http://thesocialcomplex.tumblr.com/ to whom I give a huge “Thank you” for their support)  Let me first say this…I accept that heightism exists, and I’m even willing to state that I understand that they have their own rationale behind it.  They are entitled to their opinion and to say what they will.  Having said that…I don’t condone it.  For me I agree with people that it’s probably one of the last few methods of exclusion that is socially acceptable in this modern age.

I think I should make it clear that I don’t care what people say about me, because over the course of 30 some odd years, I’ve become quite comfortable with the man I am.  I also know that whatever direction I’m heading in is the right direction for me at the time.  I don’t care what’s said…but I do care about what is reinforced.  A stereotype is a series of pre-conceived extremely general notions of a group of individuals based on a shared trait: race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, height, skin color…  As is often the case with a stereotype, the basis for these traits were often created during a time of extreme hatred towards the group.  That hatred reinforced these unfounded notions and turned it into reality in the minds of those hating, which is what creates your racists, homophobes, extremists, etc..

Case and point, hatred for Asians, and most of the horrible stereotypes that you hear even today were all probably created around the same time.  War time.  That in turn carried over to subsequent generations through the prejudices of the previous era being taught to their children either by word or example.  And when I’m talking about war, it encompasses everything that that word conveys from actual war to metaphoric wars like that on the American economy, whether it was World War II and Pearl Harbor, Vietnam, Japanese internment camps, Japanese-Korean-Chinese bashing in the 80′s…  If you look at wartime WWII propoganda like posters, you can see how deep the hatred became.

Now…I’m sure there was plenty of hatred between races before that, but in many ways, the invention of mass media became a gateway for these things to thrive.  It was always there…but now people could see it live on tv.  Disagree with me?  That’s perfectly fine.  However, I would just ask you to keep in mind that the Klan has a website.  My point is, on average, you can trace back most roots of stereotypes and hatred back to a source, whether it’s war, religion, slavery…

Having said that, I come to a point where I wonder where and how heightism even became a form of social persecution.  What triggered it?  Where’s the source?  And the answer to that is…I don’t know.  Sorry, but I don’t.  I know this…the usage of the phrase “tall, dark, and handsome” became very popular in the 1940′s after Caesar Romero’s film which is entitled with the same phrase.  That still doesn’t really tell us why heightism originated, and to tell you the truth, I think I’m done asking the question.  Because I’m not sure if it’s really important.  What am I going to do when I find out?  Find the person who first acted on it and make them take it all back?  The why…honestly isn’t all that important.  As I said, I acknowledge that this perception exists.

If you want to know the why, you’ll hear a lot of theories slung about by PhD’s, college sociology departments, supposedly scientific surveys and such, and they’ll all blame it on biology, evolution…the human condition.  I understand that these are large topics, but doesn’t that seem to trivialize the issue by gilding over it?

Look…the natural order theory may work well on paper, but a human being is not the same thing as a gorilla, a dinosaur, a dolphin, or whatever other creature that scientists say that we are descended from.  We share similar traits, yes, but at the end of the day I’m not a simian.  No matter what, we are human beings and we think, act, and behave in a way that is completely unique to our little corner of the genus.  And as evolved, intelligent, capable of reasoning human beings…if you expect us to stand quietly while we are treated in an inferior manner when it goes against all laws of human decency, well then perhaps you aren’t as evolved as you believe yourself to be.  And the truth is…nobody has given an answer that is really satisfactory.

So then where do we start working the problem?  I’ve posted before on this site of the bullying I’ve experienced.  The beatings, the mockery, the insults to injury that’s been done simply because people saw me as lesser for being shorter than them.  You’ve read by now how romantically, being short is the equivalent of running a marathon with a bullet wound in the leg, or how people treat you differently…

Okay.  All of that is true.  And all of it is honestly disheartening and often times incredibly infuriating.  But at some point you have to ask yourself…what’s to be done?  Well, here’s the greatest thing about perception…it’s ability to change and to be changed.  People have asked me, how they can change people’s pre-conceived notions about height?  The answer is actually really simple.  Make them conceive actual notions about you.  Give them something that they can mull over, be conflicted over.  The fact is, an established idea isn’t that easy to change, but only if it’s rooted firmly with logic.  As we’ve already established, stereotypes and stigmas are about as rooted in logic as unicorns.

First of all, be passionate about something.  I don’t care if it’s underwater macrame or playing the piccolo, but do something and throw yourself into it wholeheartedly.  You’re going to find that people will stop seeing you for what you look like but rather for the things you do.  It’s the easiest thing to do in order to shatter someone’s preconception of you…do what you love.  Being passionate about what you do means that you can be passionate everywhere else, and it’s a big check mark for anybody looking for someone to date.  Second, stop reminding yourself of your own height.  There seems to be this idiotic idea that you should make fun of yourself before you’re made fun of.  This idea is incredibly stupid, and shows a complete lack of faith in humanity.  Don’t do that to yourself!  Do not go into a room and punch yourself in the face just on the off chance that you might get hit.  It paints a target on you and screams “I don’t believe in myself”…and if it’s one thing that I learned from a bully, it’s that they smell lack of confidence like sharks smell blood.  Yes, people may think you’re funny.  And if you’re confident enough to laugh off your own jab at yourself, then by all means go ahead…but is it really worth your self respect simply to be known as funny?  Maybe it’s just me, but there has to be another way.  Besides…what’s the worst thing they can say to make fun of you?  Remind you that you’re short / tall?  Gee…thanks, genius.  Glad you put me in my place.

Along the lines of being confident…no one’s asking you to be someone you’re not.  But don’t oversell what you are, either.  Emotional is fine, depressing is not.  Shy is fine, shut in is not.  Big personality is fine, never shutting up is not.  You get the idea.  Everyone says, be yourself, and what that generally means is that you should be what you want to be at any given time without having to take it to extremes.  We know when you try too hard…cause we’re all guilty of it ourselves sometimes.

Honestly…you deal with heightism the way you deal with any exclusionary tactic.  You can choose to ignore it, you can rally against it, you can become a victim of it (which I don’t recommend), or transcend it.  Bullies don’t bother with people who are confident and perfectly fine with who they are because for them it’s not satisfying.  The people who use general characteristics, stereotypes, and stigmas aren’t going to be swayed because hate is not a rational thing.  So avoid them, ignore them…transcend them.  You’re better than to be bogged down by that.

Height has never gotten in the way of making friends, because the people who care about me either never saw me that way, or they changed their perception of me.  They know me for who I am.  Does it make it difficult to date?  Yes, there is no argument there.  But the upshot is, a person who dates you for your height is dating you for your looks, and I don’t know about the rest of you, but superficiality isn’t a turn-on.  Yeah, sometimes we wait longer and that in turn reinforces a lack of self confidence.  It destroys our motivation.  You’re right.  And I can’t teach you self confidence because as the word implies…it must be employed yourself and for yourself.  If you lack the motivation, then stop doing what you’re doing for the wrong reasons.  Do it for yourself and no other person.  Remember, you can only reinforce something that exists.  If you don’t let negativity in, it holds no dominion over you.

I’ve said it before…I don’t think the general perception will ever be that short is sexy, but I will say is that YOU can be sexy.  The first thing to defeating terms like “short” or “tall” is by realizing these are just traits.  It has nothing to do with you as a person.  The people who hate you for how you were since you were born doesn’t hate you…they hate a trait, and they will live sad sad lives for never being able to overcome their own pre-conceived notions.  Just know that height is just an arbitrary number.  Don’t believe me?  When you go to your doctor for your yearly physical, you stand on one of those old archaic scales that weighs you and pulls out a giant metal tape measure to check your height.  For me, it reads 5’1″.  But the floor is uneven, which makes the scale tilt which makes me 5’2″.  And that’s if the thing is properly calibrated.  When I left a 7 Eleven the other day, the tape measure next to the door said I was 5’0″.  I put on my sneakers, I’m 5’4″.  I put on my lifts, I’m 5’6″.  What I just established is my height range.  What does any of that say about me as a person?  Absolutely nothing.  Oh, except…I’m short.  Nice to meet you.

Hmm…I’d say that this post came out pretty optimistic, wouldn’t you say?  Cheers all. – AB

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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