When it comes to dating, I have a lot of preferences. I’d prefer to end up with someone who shares my religion, my political views and my musical interests. I’d prefer to find a man who has a college education, a job he enjoys and tight-knit family. But those are preferences— not dealbreakers. If I happen to find someone who’s a perfect match for me, but he’s not Catholic and he hates country music, so be it. I would be with him despite our differences. But when it comes to physical “preferences,” I’ve always been a bit pickier.
While I never considered them “dealbreakers,” my hesitation (and usually refusal) go out with someone who’s under 5’10, overweight or has a receding hairline, is, despite my denial, dealbreaker status. So this weekend, I checked those dealbreakers at the door and went on a date with my OKCupid run-in, Andrew, who I can now confirm stands barely two inches taller than me at 5’9″.
Andrew took me to a quaint brick oven pizzeria, where we sat outside in the spring sun (finally!) and shared the most amazing zucchini chips and penne vodka pie. Aside from the food, the date itself went well. Refreshingly well, actually. Andrew has a great personality and had me laughing so hard that I even choked on my water at one point until it came pouring out of my mouth like an overflowing fountain. It was very attractive. He told me about growing up in a large Peruvian family, having to keep his cool in a customer service position where people constantly call in pissed off, and his terrible luck with OKCupid dates— something we were able to bond over. Instead of spending the entire date harping on his height in the back of my mind as I imagined I would, Andrew’s outgoing, silly personality distracted me from the one thing I was worried about all along. By the time the date was over nearly three hours later, I’d completely forgotten about the 3-inch heeled booties I (totally intentionally) wore.
You see, when I was getting ready for the date, I didn’t want my height qualms to sway me from dressing differently than I would for any other date. I think a part of me also knew that wearing a heel would force me to reflect upon just how uncomfortable I was in my “natural habitat,” ultimately deterring me from dating Andrew or helping me to realize that my “dealbreaker” really wasn’t a big deal at all. It was time for me to stand up and face the music.
We got up from our table and I exited the restaurant in front of him, partially to avoid the possible discomfort I’d have standing beside him, and also so he could admire how great my butt looked in the jeans I was wearing. Don’t judge me. When we finally got out to the parking lot, we walked side-by-side to our cars and finally met shoulder to shoulder. I was perhaps a smidge taller than him, but it didn’t really bother me. While we awkwardly lingered by my car and I jingled my keys in my hand (as they do in pretty much every rom-com ever made), I thanked him for a great afternoon and waited to see what kind of move he would make, if any.
“It was my pleasure,” he said, smiling. He rested the container holding our leftover pizza on the back of my car and opened both arms wide for a hug. He squeezed tightly and said “I had a lot of fun with you.” In that moment, I was taller than him and felt myself assessing the height difference. But before I could dwell, he pulled his face away from the side of mine and gave me a sweet kiss without letting his arms unwrap from my body. In that moment, I stopped caring about the height. I found myself attracted to him regardless of the fact that I was slightly taller. He didn’t seem to mind the height difference either, which was also a relief.
To be honest, I’m not sure where things will go with Andrew, but I’m glad I was willing and able to see if one of my dating “dealbreakers” really was a dealbreaker after all. From now on, I’m going to pay less attention to little physical details in order to learn more about the important ones. To some, this revelation may seem silly or even a little pathetic. It might seem superficial or self-centered, and that’s fine. It’s not about the fact that I’m generally uncomfortable dating someone of a certain size or stature, because lots of people have physical preferences when it comes to their significant others. Going out with Andrew taught me that not everybody will fit into the mold I have in mind, and unless I’m willing to be open-minded about the kind of guy I’m looking for, I may miss out on some great opportunities. I’m happily single and looking at the dating world with a fresh, new perspective. In order to see the big picture, maybe I needed to be a few inches higher all along.