‘Because tall men cheat,’ said a client, concluding why she would no longer be dating men of height. This certainly wasn’t the first sweeping statement I’d heard, but I was surprised to hear it from a statistic loving investment banker. According to her, anyone including and above 6ft was a perennial adulterer. Her certainty on this point had not gleaned from an extensive randomised study, excluding all other variables and a calculation within two standard deviation points, but from a personal experience of three out of her total sum of ten partners.
The first, 6ft2, had done the deed with her best friend in the toilets of their student union. The second, 6ft3 had been operating from the understanding that they were in an open relationship and the third, a mere 6ft and the worst offender of all, had slept with his P.A., his cousin and an undisclosed number of prostitutes. The remaining seven, to her knowledge had all been perfectly faithful and below 5ft11.
Upon tentatively suggesting that perhaps her sample pool hadn’t been sufficient to form a conclusion to cast in iron, and that perhaps there might be other variables to consider, she became outraged. Then retorted with an exhaustive list of men, since the history of time, who had allegedly cheated, quickly followed by their height and delivered with a glaring look of disdain which informed me I was an idiot to question her. Was Henry VIII really 6ft3?
When a relationship ends, most of us prefer to blame the other party rather than looking inwardly for the reasons it failed, and for this, generalisations can be a useful tool. ‘Men are bastards’ or ‘Women are mental’ are popular choices but the problem with such broad declarations is that afterwards, our options are limited and we may be forced to awkwardly add a quick disclaimer such as ‘this one is different,’ next time we profess undying love. To avoid this, when selecting a generalisation, I would recommend more specific criteria, perhaps with reference to nationality or profession and preferably including a subdivision of the main category, for example, ‘Italian men wear tight trousers’ or, as another client observed, ‘Norwegians have high foreheads’ which, for her, she was quick to add, was not a desirable trait.
‘If you want a manly man, then go for an antipodeans; Kiwi’s especially. They’re so masculine- great bodies- all that farming,’ I have heard myself saying on many an occasion, and with great conviction. The fact that I have never visited New Zealand, only met a handful of those who have resided there, and have zero knowledge of the population of farmers or farming techniques, hasn’t deterred me. When describing my fantasy farmers, I visualise Hugh Jackman, sweating neat testosterone whilst droving cattle one handed, on a sinewy stallion. The fact that the scene I’m conjuring, was fiction set in the 1930s and set in Australia with an actor of English parentage and Australian nationality still has not deterred me from believing this is how all Kiwi men live.
It’s obvious that ignorance fuels our beliefs in stereotypes, but if we can’t categorise in dating, then where do we start? Generalisations are there to save us time in the selection process, but perhaps we should resolve to challenge a few from now on, just to make sure we’re not missing the point.
But then, what would I know, I’m blonde.
Read more matchmaking antics in Haley Hill’s bestselling novel ‘It’s Got to Be Perfect: the memoirs of a modern-day matchmaker’