Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Must Be At Least This Tall

Between the Web, “the Rules” and Old Fashioned Ideals dating in this modern world is a strange ritual. It is even stranger in Hollywood; a town obsessed with beauty and money where everyone claims to be looking for someone down to earth.

And by down to earth, we mean not in the business. I met a guy at the carwash recently (why wash your car with your own hose when you can pay someone else to do it?) and was thrilled to learn he was a real-estate developer, not a producer or director. “Congratulations!” my girls cheered me when I reported to them. As though people with show-biz jobs have the monopoly on ego-tastic behavior.

I definitely have my ideals of what I like in a guy’s looks but sense of humor, wit and intelligence have been known to break me out of those. Even age-wise I’ve been open, dating guys much older and much younger.

But there is one thing I found I just can’t compromise on. Size does matter.

I recently agreed to a date with a guy who was short but he seemed kind and witty. The date came off like an interview with him making sure I knew all his positive selling points and show biz accomplishments. I guess they were impressive. But I came away feeling I still didn’t really know anything about him. Outside he hugged me and tried to kiss me. His narrow shoulders were well inside my swimmer’s frame… and I had to squat down. My end impression for the evening was: ick.

I’m six feet tall. I need a tall man. I have thought of carrying one of those amusement park ride characters holding his hand out at 6’2” with a cartoon bubble over his head: “Must be at least this tall to ride.” But that kind of blows the whole good girl image thing, doesn’t it?

I tried not to be superficial about it. I tried dating shorter men. I claimed the hang-up was theirs: “They get intimidated that I can reach the high shelves and they can’t.” But no, it’s really me. The thing is we girls like to feel small and protected. Even if you are the Hulk, if I can rest my chin on your head, I’m not gonna feel protected. I think it’s a cave man instinctual thing. It’s not fair to the great short guys out there but it’s ingrained in my being.

It’s gotten to the point where I’ll scope a guy based solely on his height. If I can see him from behind (because I can see him over the crowd) I’ll consider him a prospect, even if he turns around and isn’t so cute.

It’s a point of contention in my family. I’ll meet a new guy and be gushing about him “Oh he’s smart and cute and tall, he’s tall!”

“Why does that matter?!” my brother will shout at me. My brother is shorter than me but he’s also married so he’s not allowed to feel slighted by the opinions of us single girls.

“Because!” I shout back. “I’m six feet tall!”

I see his point. It shouldn’t matter. But it does. I’ll actually get possessive over tall guys I don’t even know. In the same way I’ve seen black women growl at a white girlfriend of mine who dates a black man I’ve felt the urge to yell at short girls with tall guys: “You’re taking one of our few good ones! Date someone your own size, leave him for me, you damn hobbit!”

Add my own sizist hang-up to a town filled with actors. The most common comment upon a celeb sighting is “Oh, he’s shorter than I thought.” Here my sea of fish shrinks to a puddle. I can’t even date George Clooney, he’s only 5’11”.

So is there such a thing in this town as a great, tall guy? Or is he just a character on the big screen who’s really standing on an apple crate? Maybe the quest to meet a HIM here is even more ludicrous than the quest to be a working screenwriter. But pie-in-the-sky seems to be my specialty. Might as well take the dream all the way. Go to the mattresses. Damn, just blew the good girl thing again.

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