"Will you let the little one down?" Asks my aunt as I climb the stairs to her apartment to quickly pick something up.

By “the little one” she doesn't mean my son, but my partner.

Because - you can already guess - he's smaller than me.

I could write now that size doesn't matter.

The fact is, however, that I, too, was irritated by our size difference at the beginning.

I never had a particular type that I fell for, I didn't really care about hair color and beard growth.

Only one thing was important to me about my potential partner: He should be bigger than me.

So my current boyfriend ended up in the dreaded “friend zone” when we met at work.

Colleagues became friends because it quickly became clear that we got along well.

To this day I can't explain how the relationship came about.

I had imagined my partner to be different, i.e. bigger!

I'm definitely not the only one. Recently, a friend met for the first time on a Tinder date that she only knew from photos. She didn't worry that they wouldn't find a topic to talk about or that he might not have a sense of humor. Nor was she afraid that he might not be as beautiful as in the pictures (which wouldn't be uncommon on Tinder). No. "I'm scared the guy is short," she said to me before leaving.

Surveys confirm this scheme.

In 2020, psychologist Guido Gebauer asked 500 male and 500 female members for the online partner exchange Gleichklang about their attitudes towards their partner's height.

70 percent of women said the partner should be taller.

Exactly zero percent were looking for a smaller friend.

More than a third of women wouldn't even ignore the size if everything else fits.

I'm not that extreme after all.

Everything else fits, and lo and behold: suddenly the size doesn't matter either.

A question of size

Incidentally, I ended up in his “friend zone”.

Not only, but also because of the twisted size difference.

Because he, too, of course, has an idea of ​​what heterosexual couples should look like.

As a 1.64 meter man, women over 1.60 meters were actually taboo for him.

Not because that's his personal preference.

But because he did not think it possible to be considered as partners for larger women.

He told me about former chat partners on Tinder who stopped responding after answering the question about his size.

This is also reflected in the survey of the dating site: Of the men, only around a third stated that their partner should be shorter - but almost half of them only want this because they fear being rejected by larger women.

Why is it still so important to women that men are taller than them?

The image of a petite woman in the strong arms of a tall man seems to persist.

I was confronted with it quite early on.

When I still wanted to be a princess full-time, all my role models were smaller than their prince.

Only Snow White was taller than her seven male companions.

In the end she decided in favor of the great prince who saved her life. 

I don't need a protector

So my image of men was evidently the following: a big guy who protects me. Even if I don't really want to believe it. Because I saw and see myself as emancipated. I always wanted a relationship on an equal footing - but only metaphorically. The times should be long gone when men protect their wives. I don't need someone to protect me from a bear attack in the office or on the way to the supermarket. Gone should also be the days when women looked up to men. If your partner is 21 centimeters taller, you'll only get neck pain from looking up at some point anyway.

21 centimeters - that's how much bigger the partner should be on average, you ask women. A research team from the University of Groningen led by Gert Stulp came to the conclusion. By the way, men are not that extreme: They think it is best if women are on average eight centimeters shorter than them. With us it's exactly the other way around: I'm eight centimeters taller than my boyfriend.

In the meantime I see that this actually has advantages. I can't slip into my oversized boyfriend shirt in the morning when I've forgotten to pack a fresh one. Instead, in a T-shirt that fits me. And best of all: him too. We can also share the shoes, by the way, and I don't have to stand on tiptoe or stretch while kissing. It is really nice when not only I can feel secure when his arms tightly embrace me. Rather, I give him the same feeling - and can be the big spoon in bed in the evenings.

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