Any woman who has been on a date will recognize the scene. You enter the bar or restaurant; you are excited and excited, and you see him across the room. He sees you, you both smile. Then he stands up and you immediately realize that he lied about his height. He is 5ft 7in but he said he was 6ft 10in.
Among my girlfriends, this has happened time and time again. I actually suspect that men lie more about their height on dating apps than about their age. But who are they trying to fool? It seems like such a silly lie – once you see them, it’s game over.
I think it says a lot about the power we have for self-deception. These men have really convinced themselves that they are the height they say they are.
The irony is that I don’t think women are put off by a man a few inches shorter than six feet, but by men who lie. Inevitably, they wonder what it says about their date’s character, that they would literally glorify themselves in this way.
Well, according to a new study last week, there could be a very real reason to be wary. It shows that those who worry about being short are more likely to have “dark personality traits,” including narcissism and psychopathy.
Dr. Max Pemberton, pictured, warns men against lying about their height on social media and dating apps
The researchers from the University of Padua in Italy suggested that when people can’t be “physically formidable” — tall, in other words — they try to be “psychologically formidable” instead, and that can lead to manipulative, cynical behavior and a lack of to empathy for others.
But hold on. We all have a tendency to exaggerate our height, convincing ourselves and others that we are taller than we actually are and that we are not all psychopaths!
I see this concern about height all the time. When I do a physical exam at my clinic, nobody seems to care what their blood pressure or heart rate is, but they are always extremely interested in their height measurement. And they are almost always disappointed. “Oh, I thought I was taller,” they often say.
It’s not uncommon for patients to be so convinced I’ve made a mistake that they ask me to measure them again to double check them, and each time they’re convinced they’re longer than they actually are . I’ve never had anyone think they were shorter.
At 6 ft 1 in – for real! — I’m relatively tall, so maybe it’s easy for me to dismiss this obsession.
In fact, I’ve had several otherwise smart, rational, and sensible friends (who are a few inches shorter than me) who have tried to convince me that they’re six feet tall and therefore I must be six feet tall. .
The fact is that as a society we tend to value height. Research shows that taller people generally have higher self-esteem and confidence. A study of Swedish men showed that shorter people are more at risk of bad mood and suicide.
Height also seems to confer certain social benefits. For example, taller people are more likely to go to higher education. This is true even when short and tall people have matching IQs, suggesting that there must be an unconscious bias at work when applying to college or university.
The researchers from the University of Padua in Italy suggested that when people can’t be “physically formidable,” it can lead to manipulative, cynical behavior and a lack of empathy for others. Stock image used
It’s a prejudice that goes on throughout life: people over 1.80 earn an average of £100,000 more over a 30-year career compared to shorter people. No doubt these benefits stem in part from the ubiquitous tendency to associate height with strength.
This tendency is anchored in our language: for example, we look up to people we consider superior, or look down on people who are inferior.
Not that it’s all plain sailing if you’re taller than average. I’ve had several tall patients who hated their height. For example, if you’re not a particularly confident person, it’s hard to stand out. There is literally nowhere to hide.
The truth is that our height doesn’t have to dictate how we feel about ourselves. Of course, there is nothing inherently strong or weak about being tall or short. And as for being a psychopath, well, I’d take that association with a big grain of salt.
But blatantly lying about your height on a dating app is something else. On the one hand, I feel sorry for men who think they should. But on the other hand, it rings alarm bells loudly.
Be careful when you are dating. Self-deception is not an attractive quality in anyone. Much better to fall for a man whose head is not in the clouds.
Following my piece two weeks ago about the dangers of irregular sleep, another study from last week found that getting less than six hours of sleep per night increases the risk of infection by more than a quarter. I sleep much more regularly thanks to developing a bedtime routine. It’s surprisingly effective.
The lifelong toll of abuse
The singer, 47, has spoken out about abuse she claims she suffered at the hands of her ex-husband, Stephen Belafonte
Mel B (pictured) was always my favorite Spice Girl and I am very saddened to hear about all her difficulties since those fun, heady days of Spice World and Girl Power.
The singer, 47, has spoken out about abuse she claims she suffered at the hands of her ex-husband, Stephen Belafonte, claiming what he denies, calling it something she will live with ‘for the rest of her life’.
She claims he emotionally and physically abused her during their 10-year marriage – they split in 2017 – and confessed that she had become “really good at hiding things.” She described how he would even try to control what she was wearing.
Abusers are experts at destroying their victims’ sense of self. But with the right support, it can be something you leave behind. It takes extraordinary strength and courage, but it is possible to rebuild your life, regain your confidence, and throw off the shackles of your abuser. I can only hope that one day Mel B gets there too.
It’s not just the cost of living that people are concerned about, there is also a cost to the death crisis. While the average cost of a funeral fell slightly in 2022, from £4,056 in 2021 to £3,953, people are increasingly concerned about how their loved ones can afford it and are starting to opt for ‘straight cremations’ instead. There is no memorial service here and the ashes are returned to relatives. A haircut costing around £1,500.
In fact, more and more people say they’d rather their family members spend the money they’ve saved on a vacation. I think this is a good idea.
Yet funerals also have a valuable psychological function. When we have an event to focus our attention and thoughts on, our minds can start processing what happened.
You just don’t get the same as lounging on a beach.
DR MAX WRITES…
In addition, a new study last week showed that taking vitamin D daily reduces the chance of developing dementia. Stock image used
This is one of the few supplements that I routinely recommend to people. It is estimated that 60 percent of the UK’s population has insufficient levels. There is some evidence that supplements may reduce the risk of premature death and reduce the risk of developing breast cancer in premenopausal women. In addition, a new study last week showed that taking vitamin D daily reduces the chance of developing dementia.