Q. I’m 5-foot-5 and I’m still a virgin, have never had a girlfriend, never even been on a date before.
I feel like my height has destroyed my dating life. No girl I like has ever liked me back; my parents and others tell me I’m handsome and height doesn’t matter, but I don’t believe them. It doesn’t help that almost every video on YouTube and TikTok is of women being asked if they are OK with short men, and 99 percent of the time they overwhelmingly reject that possibility.
I have the desire to go out and meet women at bars, but I feel I can’t do it because women my age are simply too shallow and superficial to ever accept me. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even like going outside my home anymore because every time I see a young couple where the woman is attractive and the guy is tall, I immediately feel horrible about myself.
I was also called ugly by women in high school. Honestly, I believe I’m completely and utterly repulsive to every woman I meet, and this has led me to develop severe depression along with no confidence. I don’t want to be with a woman I’m not attracted to at all. I don’t think that is a foundation for a good relationship. I’m not saying I only want to date supermodel women. I don’t think my standards are too high.
A. I’ll start by suggesting therapy. Please get some professional counseling for help with depression and self-esteem. If you need more information about mental health services, you can ask your doctor.
Now for some other thoughts. First, I’m sorry about TikTok. There’s a lot of great stuff on there, but some of the dating content I’ve seen is straight-up mean and not even true.
Also, high school can be awful. You’re not there anymore.
I won’t lie to you and tell you that height doesn’t matter in 2024. We’re living in a Jacob Elordi world at the moment, which is confusing because I grew up in Tom Cruise and Michael J. Fox times. I’m 5-foot-3, and I look at Bruno Mars (who I believe is 5-foot-5) and think, “Sing directly to me!” I saw Daniel Radcliffe in a play a few years ago, and the entire audience was smitten. I think he’s also your height. But yeah, the Elordis of the world … people love them.
The thing I said about those men I mentioned — they have a thing. Well, let’s take Tom Cruise out of the equation because he’s a confusing example, but Bruno Mars sings and Daniel Radcliffe acts. I know these people exist because they’re in the arts in some way.
I feel best about myself when I have things. Sometimes it’s my work. More recently, my thing is learning songs on a keyboard (I’m taking requests, Love Letters friends … maybe I’ll put that on TikTok). When I’m not in the mood for anything else, my thing is reading — digging into a book series I care about.
Your thing doesn’t have to be fame or a Bruno Mars kind of talent. It can be a hobby — some kind of great love for an activity.
Leaning into that will help with confidence, happiness, and friendships.
I saw a guy juggling the other night and I was like … this … is very cool. I can’t remember how tall he was, but that’s sort of the point. He was talented, having fun, and people noticed.
Seek counseling and find some things. Even one. Let it distract you.
I would love for you to keep us posted. Maybe we can share some of our things here.
I was called ugly in high school, too, so I get it. I thought it was hopeless. I didn’t have a boyfriend until I was 22. But when I look back at photos, I didn’t look any weirder than anyone else. Kids are just mean to make themselves feel better. I’m in my 60s now, and over my life I’ve had plenty of dates, a couple of good long-term relationships, and a happy 25-year marriage (widowed). My boyfriend now is your height and a bit shorter than me.
I once met a semi-famous person who happens to be very short. I knew he was a smart guy, but was surprised at how much power and sexiness he projected. I have met many tall men who did not. You’ve got to find strength within yourself. Height has nothing to do with inner qualities. Lose the anger and cultivate your best self.
One of the sexiest guys I was with in my dating years was on the short side. I’m 5-foot-5 and he was the same height or close. But he was fit and he was smart and had an amazing sense of humor. While we dated, we started going skiing together and he decided to switch to snowboarding and he mastered it. I guess Meredith would say that was one of the “things” he was exceptional at. I would watch him curve down those hills and was like, “Oh yeah, that’s my guy,” and if I saw other women looking at him, which they did, I was like “Stay away, he’s mine.” So yeah, you can be short and super hot if you are confident.
Lotta good advice today, re: the problem is self-confidence, not height. But I just want to add that meeting women at bars is not the scene for you. Don’t torture yourself. In a bar, women (and men) are more likely to make a quick judgment based on physical appearance because that’s all that they can see. Online, women who care about height can pass right by your profile, and you never have to know. Women who are more open-minded will read on and see the other great things that you bring to the table. Of course, you do need to bring something to the table.
5-foot-5 is not that short.
Send your own relationship and dating questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this form. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.