It may not be fair, and has certainly been the subject of much ridicule, but the fact of the matter remains: I have a height requirement. The average American Caucasian 27-year-old male stands 5’10”. However, the average American woman’s height requirement, according to services such as Match.com is 5’11”. Now, it seems unfair to me that American women, with an average height of 5’3.7” can insist on a man being two inches taller than the American average of 5’9.1” and seven inches taller than themselves. Nonetheless, I consider myself an exception.
I stand a solid 5’7”, somewhere between the 80th and 85th percentiles for American Caucasian 27-year-old women. This is to say, I am tall. I am also in the 26th percentile for weight of Caucasian women my height and age, which is to say, I am thin. A Caucasian American 27-year-old man in the 80th percentile for height would stand 6’0.5”. Therefore, a height requirement of 5’11” for me seems quite generous. It is, after all, an entire inch and a half shorter than the man who is as proportionally tall as I am. The original height requirement of 6’3”, ridiculous though it may sound, was only one inch more demanding than the average American woman’s HR, relatively speaking, though admittedly it had the unfortunate drawback of eliminating all but one percent of the population. An HR of 5’11” on the other hand includes at least 35 times as many men. And I have said nothing about their physical well-being having to match my 26th percentile for weight. Therefore, 5’11” is a totally reasonable expectation for me to have.
Were I to be meeting people on Match.com, where inflation of one’s statistics runs rampant, I would have to stipulate a height requirement of at least 6’1” to find someone who is actually 5’11”. In order not to embarrass this person for having lied about his height, I would be expected to describe myself as “athletic” and “toned.” However, Match.com doesn’t have anyone listing themselves as 6’1” and a speaker of Attic Greek, so it would be silly of me to go looking there, and even sillier to try giving the poor guys who list their height as 5’9” a shot, since invariably, they will show up and be vertically comparable to my students.