From my dating history, one could gather that I'm pretty open minded when it comes to who I date. I have not been one of those, he has to be this race, or he had to go to this college, or has to to have this color hair as automatic disqualifies because I always felt that if we have a connection or some spark or whatever people like to call it, that that should be what leads to a date or relationship, not some arbitrary list of skin color, hair color, eye color, or in this case, height and so I've dated just about every race, I've dated the chubby guy, the skinny guy, the disabled guy, the rich guy, the poor guy, what have you. I hate to compare guys to a plate of food, but you can't really know if you like or dislike someone or something until you actually give it a chance...and so as a tall woman, I took the opportunity to date a short guy because there was that spark there.
I was introduced to *Alton, at a work function. When I stood up from my table to shake his hand, his head was a few inches below my shoulder level. He was well dressed and had a brilliant smile and it was soon quite apparent he could control a room with his humor because our table spent half the event laughing and hearing some great stories from him. I just thought this guy was pretty cool, but I mean, it was a work thing, and I wasn't really going there with my dating hat on, so if anything any interactions between us were strictly professional and platonic.
About a month later, we happened to meet up again via a company charity event. His company was there alongside mine, and as before, he was the same person cracking everyone up, except this time, we had one on one time because everyone left to go on the charity walk and we were left manning the tables together. I felt a flicker of something, but again, the situation being work related, there are just lines you don't want to cross just in case feelings aren't mutual.
Well, that professionalism lasted until after the event was over and Alton offered to take me to lunch. I was starving and accepted happily especially knowing we could keep a good conversation going, and the lunch proved that. Over the next few months we kept working together and growing closer, but I got the sense we were thinking the same thing...like we get along and all, and there is attraction there, but what about this physical difference. I'd never dated a short guy, or at least one with such a pronounced height difference, and from what I learned later, he'd never even thought to approach or ask out a tall girl for fear of automatic rejection which he'd experienced a lot of in his younger days on account of his height. I got bored with the what ifs, and me being me, I just flat out asked him after so many run-ins, and work things, if he was interested in me and soon after, our dating life began in earnest.
I learned pretty quickly that everyone is apparently cool with you when they think you're just friends or co-workers. Alton is a good guy they said, Alton is funny they said, Alton is great with his family, they said, blah, blah, blah, but date Alton when you're taller than him and it's apparently something that friends, family, people that worked with us, and perfectly rude strangers, just could not wrap their heads around. You want to taste what it's like to be a celebrity for a few minutes, walk down a sidewalk as a tall woman holding hands with your much shorter boyfriend or go in for a kiss. The jaw dropping stares, the comments we could both hear that weren't so whispered, and then the people who outright would make rude jokes to us as if neither of us had feelings whether they knew us or not became relentless.
I think we were both used to the usual jokes and bullying we got about our own heights respectively, but to get it doubly and more routinely and seemingly every single day we encountered someone new when we were together was a lot because I don't care what anyone says about that whole sticks and stones thing, words do hurt sometimes. They really do. You ignore a lot. You let a lot of stuff go, you fight back on occasion, but it sucks to see your partner is experiencing it or them seeing you going through it.
Alton was trying hard and so was I to just focus on ourselves and our own happiness and we were trying to ignore everything around us, but I think for me I was feeling like something was left out almost. It was so ingrained in me to date this variety of people...and yet, there was this qualifier that I didn't consciously realize that I did have that I had pretended didn't exist, that the guys I dated, be tall. It had been a large portion of the bullying I'd experienced in my younger days where so many people made it seem like the only hope I had of every being in any type of relationship was if that other person was taller than me and society re-enforces this over and over and over again.
Things just weren't working out between us. As a short man, Alton felt almost like he had enough problems in the world without the added headache of people calling him my child, or asking how exactly we "did it," or saying they wanted him to stand on a chair so we could be in the same frame for pictures. He just wanted to be 'a man' again, and not be treated more so like a boy by everyone on account of his height. Both of our egos were there and we both allowed them to be crushed, and so we sort of just faded out.
I've since gone back to dating taller men and, Alton, shorter women. We remain good friends, but we just couldn't make it work as a couple with our differences. You don't think superficial things should get in the way, but it happens to a lot of couples. People will judge you for whatever reason and for a lot of so called "mismatched" couples, you have to be so much stronger than all the noise. I think society is so much more accepting now of so many different types of matches, but the height thing still really bothers people and I guess the two of us were really no different.
I don't know if I'll ever date another guy that short again or if Alton would a tall girl. The door on that for me I'd say is only half-way shut because every person is different and you just never know in life, what may come your way, but the whole relationship was definitely an eye opening one.