Everyone likes talking about tall people — even short people. Now, apparently the Brittish do too. The BBC Future column recently wrote a long (tall?) article sizing up the pros and cons of being tall or short. It was a height-off: Tall vs. Short. And Tall won. Or did it?
Money and Power
Tall wins in this category every time, says the BBC. Tall people win more votes, earn more money, and are generally seen as more commanding. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. Sure, Donald Trump (6’2”) beat Hillary Clinton (5’5”); but Barack Obama (6’1”) beat Mitt Romney (6’2”) and George Bush (5’11”) beat John Kerry (6’4”). So who are the tall people that are winning all of these votes?
Another apparent win here. Tall men and tall women are more attractive. Sure Nicole Kidman (5’11”) and Gregory Peck (6’3”) are classic examples. But what about Tom Cruise (5’7”) and Kim Kardashian (5’3”)? Outliers or something else? Moreover, everyone knows short women are more datable and have more reproductive success.
Sports and Athletics
BBC calls this one a tie, and it’s hard to disagree. Any tall man who chose to abstain from the basketball court knows the paradox here. Every short guy wishes he were taller, but every tall man knows the price that needs to be paid: bad back, bad knees, and huge food budget. Sure, tall guys can lumber around on a court and get rebounds, but the little guys can spin, sprint, and slide with a higher level of nimbleness. Height for agility — usually, it’s a trade-off.
BBC hands this one to the shorts. Consider motion of the body in mechanical terms. A tall person is an 18-wheeler. A short person is a Mazda Miata. When there is an accident on a highway, the Miata will be able to dart in and around it to safety on the other side. The 18-wheeler on the other, well, that’s an accident waiting to happen.
Lifespan and health
Health is sadly given to the shorts. The BBC cites the example of Villagrande Strisaili in Sardinia. There dwells the highest proportion of centenarians in all of Europe. They live good lives but they are also super short: the average male of the older generation is only 5ft 3in. It’s suggested many places that short people live longer lives, but also, it is disputed just as many places.
Tall wins! And we don’t dispute. Various studies have shown the greater the height, the greater the happiness. BBC suggests this may be attributed to the higher salary and larger dominion, but we think we owe our extra happiness to a little something else: something special.