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6 Ways Life Is Different If You're Short and Male

I'm 5 feet 6 inches tall. I know, I know. It's shocking; I write like a man who's at least 5-foot-10, but there it is. I'm 5 feet 6 inches.

I've been 5 feet 6 inches since I was 18, which came as a bit of a shock, because I was hoping to keep growing. I even put 5 feet 7 inches on my license thinking I'd grow into it. But I didn't. I guess I could have gone back to the DMV when I was 22 and said "Please change this," but I didn't. So yeah, don't believe everything you read. I'm 5 feet 6 inches. Well, you can believe that, because, as I said, I'm 5 feet 6 inches. Even when I was 18 I said 5 feet 6 inches and then explained about how licenses last for four years so I was estimating. I was a cool kid. Five feet 6 inches.

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
"Wait. How tall?"

Anyway, having been this height for quite some time, I've learned a few things I'd like to share with you, and here they are: 6 Things No One Tells You About Being a Short Guy.

#6. People Will Accuse You of Lying About Your Height

Yes, some short guys lie about their height. It's true. But y'know what? That's not just a short guy thing. Guys lie about their height. Back me up here, ladies. Isn't every dude on eHarmony who is shorter than 6 feet magically 5 feet 10 inches? Also how many of those 6-foot guys are actually 5 feet 11 inches? Lots.

And yeah, Prince, Michael J. Fox, and Tom Cruise are all actually 4 feet 11 inches despite what it says in their online bios, but that's not the point. Not all short guys lie about their height, and not all height lying is confined to short guys.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Actual size.

So yeah, I'm 5 feet 6 inches. I just told you. All of you. And it's the truth. Don't believe me? Well, I guess I can't do anything about that. Never mind. I don't get paid to disprove you anyway. I have nothing more to add. This was really more of a bonus point for the article. Moving on.

#5. You Go From Boy to Little Old Man

I have no idea why people equate height with age, since most of us stop growing by 18, but they do. When I was 30, people thought I was 22. Yes, I had washboard abs; yes, my skin was smooth and beautiful, like a perfectly crafted Michelangelo sculpture; yes, my hair flowed smoothly with Adonis-like grace, but I don't think that was it. I think it was because I'm short. For some reason, people always think short guys are younger, as if you're still developing.

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Even in his 30s, Dustin Hoffman was often carded while attempting to buy beer.

But here's the thing. One day, overnight, you're suddenly no longer mistaken for a teen. You've instantly become a little old man. Right now, I'm existing in that tiny grace moment between the two, clutching desperately to the former while slipping into the abyss, knowing one morning I will wake up and be this:


This photo of Dustin Hoffman was taken only one week after the one above.

#4. You Can't Stand Too Close to Tall People

So you're walking around being short and it's no big deal. I mean, you've got a great center of gravity, and when you're 16 and somewhat broad, all the high school wrestling coaches bug you to try out because you'll kick ass in your weight class. You forget about it. But then you come in contact with the freakishly tall. That's fine, right? I mean, it would be just as weird and wrong to ostracize giants as it would be to mock short dudes.

But here's the thing: You just cannot stand next to them. It's the worst. Here's me and DOB with Michael Swaim many years ago. See?


Swaim is not standing on anything.

When a short guy stands next to a freakishly tall guy, he is no longer a short guy. Hell, he's not even a guy anymore. He becomes some sort of halfling. A mythical creature devoid of testosterone or the right to be loved. We have no choice. We just have to avoid it. Watch The Daily Show when my hero, Jon Stewart, has a tall guest. He actually takes a step back to create distance and lets his guest sit before he does. I don't blame him. I do the same thing in real life. (By the way, he's my hero for being smart, funny, and eloquent, not because we're next to each other on a Judaic comedic height/weight chart.)


Don't be alarmed. The Daily Show also takes place in real life.

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