I am what you would consider short. I'm 5'5 barefoot, 5'6 in shoes, and roughly 5'6.5~5'7 in boots. So, while I am not extraordinarily tiny, I am no giant either. Height seems to be a dilemma for a lot of men, and I thought that I would share my advice and perspective as a below-average individual. Let me just say that there is a very good chance you might not agree with everything I have to say, which is fine, these are my own perspectives and nuggets of information and you are free to do with them as you see fit. The purpose of this is, however, to give you the most honest input that I can about the realities of being short and what you can hope to expect.
• I figured I would start out with the most polarizing of statements, but also one which I also feel needs to be said: Being a short man is hard. It is not easy. The deck of life is stacked against you. There are real, tangible benefits to being tall. If you were to ask a short person why they want to be taller, it isn't "just because" or "I want to see from a slightly higher perspective" -- it's because going from short to tall is an objective improvement socially. I do not care if you disagree with this, because if you do, you are wrong. You are wrong like someone who believes that the Earth is flat is wrong. There is a very good reason why certain subreddits dedicated to those of taller stature are considered a whimsical, jovial place to be and those of less than average height are a cesspit of depression and self-hatred. We live in a society where tall is good and short is bad. It is not going to be easy. It is going to hurt. You are going to have to try harder. That's just the way it is.
• Height issues, predominantly, affect men. Women always find themselves butting into the conversations of male height-related matters, and it will always perplex me as to why. "Short women have it bad too!" No. A short woman is valued far more in the sexual marketplace than a short man, and that is the stone cold truth. The issues women face with regards to their height might as well be a drop in a swimming pool compared to what men face. Don't believe me? If it affected women to nearly the magnitude which men are affected, height discrimination/short shaming/whatever you want to call it would be ostracized like fat shaming is. Which brings me to:
• Do not expect women to understand or empathize with your predicaments as a short man. Society, at worst, actively encourages height shaming, and at best, placates it and allows it to continually fester. And that's because, as stated above, it does not affect women. If someone can make you the butt of a joke to get a cheap laugh in, and they suspect that you're a chump who will take it, they will do it, especially if they are with their friends. Never take this personally. Many people do not know what they want. For a lot of them, their lives are wrought with insecurity and frustration, which is why so many of them are miserable, and sometimes this anger/impoliteness spills out onto you. Which means...
• The worst thing you can do is to get aggressive about your height. Being labeled for your height is literally no different than being labeled for your skin color. Someone implying that a short man is aggressive because of his height is just as rotten as someone who implies that a black person is aggressive because "it's just how they are." Society, once again, actively condemns one but makes light of the other (The Napoleon Complex). There is no reason to become upset over small-minded people making small-minded comments. It will only come back to bite you in the ass. I cannot stress this enough, be unreactive when someone makes negative comments about your height. I have been with and dated women who, upon first interaction, had made comments about my height, and because I didn't lose my cool, I was able to take them to bed and prove to them that it didn't bother me. That isn't to say you don't stand up for yourself -- having a spine is very important. But one of the difficulties you will face as a short man is needing to control your temper. You will have a target on your back, and spazzing out will only reinforce the notion that short men are aggressive and angry.
• Wearing shoe lifts is no different than wearing makeup. If you feel comfortable wearing lifts in your shoes then fucking do it. Especially if you're going out to a club. Do whatever makes you feel more confident and happy. There is nothing wrong with boosting your height, especially when the fashion and cosmetics industry makes money hand over fist because women are so desperate to hide their imperfections. Just be aware of what this implies: if you think there's nothing wrong with being short, and you are wearing shoe lifts, you are lying to yourself. I am not in the position to tell anyone what they must do, but it is something to consider. Likewise, shoe lifts are not very pragmatic, and will often be uncomfortable after a couple of hours. If you do want to try them, I suggest wearing them for a limited amount of time to gauge how they fit and if it's something you wish to invest in. Frankly, this is 100% a personal decision on your part, and I feel as though it's unfair for men to have to be "boxed in" height-wise where their attempts to be taller are met with scorn while women can literally paint a new face onto themselves.
• Women do not fawn after tall men because they are better protectors, they fawn over them because of the sexual implication. 'Tall man' is a coded phrase for 'big dick.' As stated in my opening paragraph, short men are just as capable of having large packages, but it is a stigma perpetrated by society and people continue to buy into it. The idea is that, if he's a big guy, surely he'll be proportional elsewhere. Furthermore, women, especially short women, want to be dominated sexually. A tall man can pick up and throw women around in the bedroom in a way that short men, simply put, cannot. If a woman were that adamant about being protected, she would carry around a gun. Hell, the average height for a Navy SEAL is 5'9-5'10. Tall men are a sexual thrill and women are too coy to say otherwise. And if they do try to refute this, feel free to remind them of how 50 Shades of Grey, the story of how a young woman is dominated by an attractive, tall, alluring businessman, is one of the most profitable books of the last 50 years.
• Being fit/attractive/well-dressed helps tremendously, but it is not a cure-all. A woman who is steadfast about not dating short men is not going to suddenly reconsider you because you have big arms and visible abs or piercing blue eyes. Some will, certainly, but becoming fit and taking care of yourself doesn't tear down walls, rather, it allows you to throw out a slightly larger net. In any case, I would consider weightlifting and being fit as a goal for you and you alone. If you do it, do it because it feels good and it makes you feel more confident, not because it increases your chances of getting laid.
• Women are entitled to their preferences. Let me say that again: women are allowed to have preferences. Women are also allowed to have requirements. You should not feel bad about having requirements, nor should you feel bad about not meeting someone else's. One of my requirements is that my partner isn't hooked on a heavy narcotic. Whether their requirements/preferences are extraordinarily strict or not is entirely dependent upon their own personal beliefs, values, and goals. Do not be upset if you do not fit these. It has nothing to do with you. If you see a tall girl while you're cruising Tinder who has a bio that says "no shorties," do not be offended by it. Many women have height preferences, and about half of those are actually height requirements (i.e must be no shorter than x'y). Unfortunately, because of social conditioning, they are pretty much allowed to say whatever they like about short men and they will most likely get away with it. This is one area in which men need to harden up. You will not be everyone's cup of tea and that is completely okay.
• I wanted to save this one for last, because I think it's probably the most important. You have to accept reality and learn love yourself. You are a human being and you have value. Nobody has the right to make you feel as though you are less of a person just because you don't tower over someone else. Find your hobbies, find your passions, set goals, make connections, experience heartbreak, improve yourself, and live a rich, fulfilling life. As soon as you're born you start dying, and nothing in the world can stop that clock. Life is what you make of it, and you have to find your own meaning. Do not let anything hold you back. You deserve the best. Much love, guys. Shortandspicy out.