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

#3. The Shoe Jokes End When People Start Having Sex

So there are certain rumors about penises. One of them is that you can tell the size of a man's junk by his shoe size. Kids really dig that rumor, and that's too bad for the short guy, because most short guys don't have disproportionally huge feet. But here's some good news for the short guy: This rumor totally dies by the time people start having sex, and, y'know, seeing penises.

And that makes sense, because once the sexual experience kicks in, folks find plenty of tall guys not packing and lots of small guys who are fully equipped. People worship Kurt Vonnegut for his prose and philosophy, but for me, this passage from Slaughterhouse Five always held the most truth and beauty:

"Montana was naked, and so was Billy, of course. He had a tremendous wang, incidentally. You never know who'll get one."

Truly beautiful. Now, I'm in no way implying that simply because the shoe rumor is a fallacy that the opposite is true. There is no implication here that I'm walking around with a circus penis. I'm just saying that by the time people get some sexual experience, they realize that the rumor equating shoe and penis size is a lie.

The rumor about noses, however, is totally accurate.

#2. You're Invisible to Certain Women

So here's a bit of a downer: If you're a short dude, you will sort of disappear -- at least to certain women. Now, I want to be clear about what I mean here. Everyone, male or female, has types and preferences. That's only normal. I'm not saying that some women find being short an unattractive quality. I'm saying that, for certain women, if you're under, say, 5 feet 9 inches, you might as well be under 1 feet 9 inches, because they simply won't see you.

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Here's me in the bar from the perspective of such a woman.

We've all strutted by someone with the hope of catching their eye, and we've all failed upon occasion, but what I'm talking about is failing to even register. You are a ghost. And not the sexy Patrick Swayze kind that makes out with Demi Moore while throwing clay. More like Seth Green if he were dead.

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty 
Pretend I have the Photoshop skills to make Seth transparent.

#1. If You're Assertive, You'll Be Accused of Having a Napoleon Complex

This is the one that really pisses me off. My oldest brother is 5 feet 10 inches, my middle brother is 5 feet 8 inches, and, as I said, I'm 5 feet 6 inches. We were all raised with certain things drilled into us. Stand up straight; don't put your head down; and if someone hits you, hit them back. Those were the big lessons of our youth. They were true for all of us regardless of our respective heights.

When there was a problem at school, my parents insisted that we address things with our teachers ourselves before they became involved. While other parents would send off their kids to sleep-away camps in pairs with their best friend or write letters to principals to make sure certain children were in their kid's class, my parents didn't do any of that. They trusted that we would deal with whatever experiences came. We were also told we could say anything to an adult that we'd say to our friends (as long as we weren't rude or "fresh").

When I think of all the lessons of our youth, it's pretty clear that we were raised to be assertive, self-reliant men, and I think we've all done our best to live up to that standard. And that's true for my oldest brother who's pushing 6 feet and me, who could share a wardrobe with Al Pacino.

Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Ooh, I'll take that black velvet scarf, please!

But even though I'm just being the kind of man I was raised to be, suddenly all of my motivations are questioned. Suddenly I'm compensating, or I have that dreaded Napoleon complex. Are there short men who are angry, who go around barking to command respect? Sure there are, but my parents raised me to be an assertive man when I was still a little boy of unknown potential height. Saying that every opinionated short guy has a Napoleon complex is like saying that every Cracked columnist has a small penis. Sure, it's true most of the time, but look at Kristi Harrison!

It's just a drag to think that you have to suppress your opinions for fear of having them attributed to something beyond your control. It's no different from a Jew feeling that he has to tip extra well to avoid the stigma of being cheap or a black guy refraining from eating fried chicken to avoid that stereotype. I'm not sure if heightism is a thing, but that certainly feels like it. So when I tell you you're wrong and I have a better idea, just understand that it's because I'm smarter than you and I'm an asshole. Not because I'm short.


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