Dating. It’s the most wonderful, stressful, mysterious, joyous, frustrating process there is. For today’s shorter man, it can be an even more challenging nut to crack then for our taller brethren. That said, it doesn’t have to be a source of misery; with a little planning and thought, it can actually be a great experience. One that makes you think twice about settling down.
Let’s begin with the obvious challenge. Women can be as shortsighted, closed minded and hypocritical as men. Often even worse. Guys are lambasted for judging women on superficial criteria, first among them weight. Yet women use the descriptor “tall” all day long when looking for a great guy and never take any heat for it. It seems like 90% of the women out there are specifically asking for a tall man. Well I have bad news for the ladies, there are more short men out there than tall. So if you want a great guy, you may have to “settle” and discover why men 5’8″ and under may be answer you’ve been seeking all along.
In my own days of dating, time and again I read profiles that called out for tall men. I usually ignored those. On occasion, I would hear back from someone I had written, only to hear how cool they thought I sounded but sorry, they didn’t think it would work out. This led to my unscientific, yet revealing research study.
Whenever someone would take the time to respond with a “hey, you sound great but I don’t think this would work”, I would send them back a nice note thanking them for having the courtesy to write back and ask them for a small favor. In the interest of trying to improve my profile I was curious what it was that gave them the final impression that things wouldn’t work out. I would offer up a list of possible reasons and hide “my height” somewhere in the middle. I would promise not to be mad at them whatever the reason and be genuinely interested in their thoughts. Every single time the answer was height.
While no profile is perfect and going to appeal to everyone, I had received enough compliments and other positive feedback about mine to know that it wasn’t bad and had the potential to attract the interest of a fair number of women. This process happened enough times to convince me that if I had listed my height as 5’10” or higher I would have had a significantly higher response ratio. While there isn’t great data on what response rates are to online messages I have seen numbers that range anywhere from 20-30%. These values seem reasonable for the average person who has a nice profile and can write a half decent first note, though there will always be curve breakers who have the good fortune of attracting just about everyone. For the shorter man the response ratio is going to be something closer to 1-5%. At first glance this sounds discouraging, and some weeks it is. But look at the brighter side, if you are willing to put the time in and work the numbers to your advantage you can do quite well.
Now the question is how to go about racking up those dating numbers. For the lucky few who have no fear about going up to an attractive women and talking to her, the direct approach is fantastic. It gives you an immediate chance to shine and impress her with your wit and conversation skills. It has the added bonus of giving you the opportunity to evaluate her to see if she would be interesting enough to you to actually go on a date or if she is just another pretty face. The challenge to this approach is that you have to be comfortable facing rejection and the reality is the majority of men, as confident and secure as we are, wilt under the fear of being told by a complete stranger that they are not interested in us and want to be left alone. That fear of embarrassment relegates most men to stand on the sidelines. While there are women who will approach a guy, the reality is most women want to be pursued to some extent. Even today’s feminist, professional, hard chargers still appreciate being desired and having a guy make the first move.
So if tossing out your best pick up lines at the local bar isn’t going to do the trick what will? The answer is obvious, especially if you are reading this on-line right now. On-line dating isn’t just an option, its the killer app of your new personal life. On-line dating sites have made the process of meeting that special someone easier than ever with the added benefit of removing the fear and embarrassment associated with in person attempts to pick someone up. The following advice is relevant regardless of which dating site you choose. There are differences between the sites and they will attract different populations of people but the same basic principles can be applied to any of them. The one exception is if you are pursuing the pure sexual hook-up. That is a different sort of profile and one we will save for another discussion.
The first element of your dating profile is the title. It’s the first thing she will read and it doesn’t matter one lick. Don’t spend to much time trying to figure out something that perfectly reflects who you are. It doesn’t matter. Let me say it again, it doesn’t matter. She doesn’t care one bit what you call yourself. Just pick something that doesn’t scream “I’m a douche-bag who will dump you the moment I score with you.” Why doesn’t the title/name you pick matter? Because all she is looking at is your picture.
Element Two: The picture. Arguably the most important piece of the puzzle. An online profile only goes so far in telling who you are. It needs to be interesting and funny enough to make her want to talk to you and learn more about you. But at the end of the day she has to be able to look at you and feel some attraction, or at least not be repelled by your serial killer, lives in your mom’s basement vibe. You need at least three pictures. That is the minimum to show that you really are who you are presenting and that you actually look like the person in the lead photo. Less then three and it leaves too many questions. First among them: why didn’t you care enough about meeting someone great to post more than one or two pics. If you want to go beyond three, fine, but stop at six. You are not trying to show how cool and interesting you are by showing a photo album of everything interesting you have ever done. More then six screams that you are trying too hard.
The most important photo is your main picture. This key photo is the one that shows up on searches or with any emails you send. It should clearly show your face. If you want to show your torso that is fine as well, but if it shows your entire body then it is probably too small to give the viewer a good look at your face. The picture should be no older then 24 months and ideally within the year. If she agrees to go out with you she will instantly see what you look like. If you do not resemble your picture it’s an instant deal breaker for her so be honest about what you look like. That said, choose a picture that is flattering to you. It should go without saying, but time and again people post pictures that do not do a good job of showing off the best versions of themselves. Often you will peruse the rest of someone’s pictures and wonder why they put one up that is really unflattering, especially when they use it as their main picture.
The main pain picture should show only you. No buddies, no best girlfriends, no hot ex-girlfriends. It will not show you to be popular and attractive. You will come across as to caught up with trying to appear popular and cool instead of confident and secure. If the best photos of you have other people in them, crop the other people out. By all means, if it’s a great picture of you use it. Just remember with today’s technology it’s super easy to crop a photo. In pictures 2-6 you can have other people in the photo as long as it is an action shot of you doing something or a very natural celebration of something. No excessively posed photos with other people. And limit the number of pictures that include other people. One is enough. Two max. You don’t want her wishing that she was talking to the other guy in the pic because he is cuter and you won’t come across as better looking by standing next to the ugliest guy you know.
In your second or third picture you should include a full body picture. Just like your main face picture, she will instantly see what you look like on date one and if you were not honest about your weight/body type the date might as well be over instantly. Everyone knows that if every photo you have up is a close up head shot then you are hiding something. This is not the time or place to prove a point about the attractiveness and value of people regardless of their weight and shape. While we should all be judged by who we are, start that process by being honest and comfortable with what you are really like. If you look nice, have a fun profile and have a good email exchange she won’t mind if you don’t look like a fitness model.
Keep your clothes on. Absolutely no mirror shots with your shirt off. If you are doing something active and you have your shirt off that is one thing, assuming you have the body to back it up, but be subtle here. Let her know you are fit if you are but don’t over-advertise it.
Use pictures that show what you look like, not pictures that only show what far off lands you’ve visited and cool adventures you’ve had. So you’ve done a headstand on top of Half Dome and in front of the Pyramids of Giza. So what. A hundred other people on the same site have as well. Really. Save your travel discussions for your second date. Your pictures are there to give her a peak at what you look like. Nothing more. If a great picture that shows how you look happens to be in an interesting location all the better. It gives her something to comment on in those all important early exchanges, but if the picture doesn’t show you off well then it’s a waste.
If you have three or less pictures they all need to be from within the last two years. If you have more, you can include an older picture if it is really special but be sure to label it so she knows that it is not the most current version of you. If you have gained or lost a significant amount of weight be sure that all of your photos reflect how you actually look now. You should be noticing a trend in my advice towards honesty. Even though you are meeting people online it’s no excuse to lie. You don’t have to volunteer all of your bad habits and traits right up front and you can present the best possible version of yourself, this is a sales and marketing job after all, but be honest. All lies come out eventually and you don’t want the girl of your dreams, or even your next weekend hook up to bail on you because you were dishonest. Nothing is worse then showing up expecting one person and finding something significantly different.
Do have a close, trusted friend or two review your pics. Even better, have a few women you know give you feedback. They love doing that. Online dating is nothing to be embarrassed about and other people will genuinely want you to do well and will give you honest feedback. If they think your pictures do not present a flattering image of you there is probably something valid to their advice.
Tune in for Volume 2 of our dating guide for short guys where we will continue to lead you through the process of creating an online dating profile that is sure to help you make an impression with the ladies. Remember, height does not have to be a disadvantage. You can use it as an asset to help you craft the perfect profile and attract the women you’ve been looking for.