… as told to his partner, Denise Li.
“Honestly when Denise asked if I wanted to be interviewed for this story (not that I had much of a choice, really), my first reaction was ‘I don’t have anything to tell you’, mainly because it’s something I hardly think about, nor have an issue with.
Although, yes, it’s true that at 1.72m, I am about 6cm shorter than the average height of Belgian males. On the plus side, I’ll be considered of average height when I move to Singapore. I can see why my height would be interesting topic of discussion though. Women have to deal with societal pressures to be thin, while for men, being tall is definitely what society deems to be the physical ‘ideal’ of being a man. The difference is, that’s really not that much a short dude can do about his height.
Growing up, I was already conscious of the fact that I was, shall we say, vertically challenged? One of the few times I feel it’s annoying is when I have to hang up the boxing bag at the gym – I usually need the help of a taller guy to do it.
Sometimes, other guys would tease me about my height, but I usually go along with the joke, telling them that I would headbutt them in the testicles, or something. It’s all about not taking yourself seriously.
I’ll tell you one thing though – your dating pool is a lot smaller than that of taller dudes. Obviously it stings a little when I hear girls say they prefer taller men. Then again, I wouldn’t go out with a girl who’s a lot taller than I am. A difference of 10cm would be a dealbreaker for me. I guess you can call me a victim of societal norms … Some short guys might not have an issue going out with a much taller woman, but I think they are in the minority. Once, a girl who was a lot taller than me fancied me. She was nice and funny but I just couldn’t get over the fact that she was taller than me. When she hugged me, I felt like she was protecting me, when it should be the other way around. All the women I’ve been in long-term relationships with are slightly shorter than I am.
Other than that, my height isn’t really a big deal in day-to-day living. In a way, training in martial arts has made me more appreciative of the fact that there are so many different body types in in this world, and each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. After awhile, you learn to play to your strengths, and this can be a huge confidence-booster.
That being said, “short man syndrome” is a real thing, and it can be used as a force for good … or become terribly annoying. At best, it motivates a short guy to excel in one way or another: Be it athletically, intellectually, or in his career. At worse, it causes the guy to be an over-confident, smarmy asshole who likes to big himself up – all signs that he’s compensating for something, of course. It’s not in your best interests to date a guy like that cos it’ll eventually be tiring having to deal with his insecurities and fragile ego.
For me, it’s really not such a big deal. I’ve learnt to live with it, and it’s not something I consciously think about. And that’s the long and short of it.”
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