Alex and I recently celebrated our ninth anniversary, and my big question of the night was…
Should I wear heels? Alex is 5’8″ and I’m 5’6″, so when I wear heels, I’m slightly taller. As seen in sitcoms and movies and reality TV, there’s generally a societal expectation that women should be shorter than their partners, and it was ingrained in me as I stood at my closet debating footwear. But, then, my second question was: WHO CARES?
My friend Emma, of Books Are Magic fame, is an inch taller than her husband. Sometimes I call Mike my short stack of pancakes,” she told me. “I truly don’t think about it anymore. My last boyfriend was even shorter! I suppose I always think of being tall and voluptuous as being sort of goddessy, and who would mind feeling goddessy? Not me.”
Jana and Colin, who have been married for almost eight years, have a two-inch height difference (she’s 5’10” to his 5’8″). “When we were first dating, he asked, ‘Is it okay that I’m not taller than you are?’ Of course, it didn’t matter. He was a person I wanted to spend time with. He’s so confident and funny and goofy.”
The only time it felt odd was for a moment at their wedding. “We had a great photographer, but she had go-to poses for couples, and I remember some of them felt awkward. She kept wanting me to put my head on his shoulder, and I’m like, my head is bending really far down and it feels really weird.”
Caroline is three inches taller than her girlfriend, Leah. “I don’t really notice the difference,” she says, “but I also posture myself when standing next to her (leaning on one hip, for example) to be more level with her. The only time it comes up is for formal events. Now I consider flats because it makes it easier to dance together.”
Brooke Williams is five inches taller than her husband, Josh. “I never thought I’d marry someone shorter than me, though at 5’11”, I’m not sure why the possibility had never crossed my mind,” she told me. “But then I met Josh, and all relative height considerations flew right out the window. I don’t remember being bothered by it or even thinking about it at all. Though every once in a while when I see us in the mirror I am taken aback by how much I loom over him. Plus, my hair doesn’t help!”
Franny, our trusty editorial assistant, and her girlfriend, Kerry, are exactly the same height. “We’re actually the same size in everything — down to our bra size! This comes in handy when packing for trips, since we can share a suitcase. I do wear heels way more than she does, though. It’s fun to play ‘tall person’ every now and then, and having her rest her head on my shoulder is weirdly romantic.”
Who knows, maybe cultural norms are loosening up? I was recently watching old episodes of The New Girl (because Nick), and the character Cece started dating a shorter guy. And I loved that the show didn’t mention their height difference at all. It was a complete non-issue.
Of course, there are some famous real-life examples, too. The Obamas are neck and neck — Barack is 6’1″ and Michelle is 5’11”. When she’s in high heels, she’s taller. And she’s PERFECT.
Pharrell Williams is two inches shorter than his 5’11” wife Helen Lasichanh.
At 5’5″, Tina Fey and her husband Jeff Richmond are the same height, but she’s taller in heels…
Same with Chrissy Teigen and John Legend…
And Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres!
What about you? Do you care about height when dating? Does it feel complicated? What experiences have you had? I’d love to hear…