Such Great Heights
I’ve been called square, dumpy, round, puckish-looking. If you said that to an ordinary person, somebody would smack you in the mouth. In my mind’s eye I’m 6 feet tall…
Daniel Craig is an intriguing and complex Bond for a number of reasons, but two that are most charming to me relate to his physicality: his height (5’10) and his hair color (dirty blondish? I don’t know blond shades well). Both characteristics deviate from previous Bonds.
Look, the prototypical Bond is a six footer, dark haired and ruggedly handsome, possessing a cheeky smile.
In perusing female profiles on dating sites, one finds something curious. Now, I’m not a statistician, but I did note with some shocking frequency how many women listed specific height requirements – regardless of their own listed height – and it usually went something like, “I only want messages from men 6’0 and over please.” Leaving aside the absurdity of such a requirement as A) the average height of American men is roughly 5’9ish and B) according to Malcolm Gladwell only 14.5% of the American male population meets such strict requirements!
Numbers do not interest me. They don’t make me feel better, but I realize their importance. Stats are only sexy to me if they help me answer my questions or tell me a fascinating story.
The tallest Academy Award nominated actor is James “That’ll do, pig.” Cromwell at 6’7
The shortest Academy Award nominated actor is Bob “I’m sexy as all get out cause Snarky said so” Hoskins at 5’6.
The tallest Oscar winning actor: Tim Robbins at 6’5
The shortest Oscar winning actor: Joe Pesci at 5’4
Tallest US President: Abe Lincoln at 6’4
Shortest US President: James Madison at 5’4
There’s a lot of cluster fuckage at 6’2 with Obama, Clinton, Bush (41), Washington, Arthur and FDR. And then the 6’0 club: Harding, Kennedy, Reagan, Bush (43), Garfield, Monroe, Buchanan, Ford.
Three of our last FOUR presidents have been 6’2.
Height of Fakey Female President Allen: 6’0 (G. Davis)
Height of Fakey Female VP Hanson: 5’10 (J. Allen)
Height of Fakey Female VP Bennett: 5’6 (G. Close)
Height of Hillary Clinton: 5’7.5 (unverified, but my impression based on judging pics of her and Bill, accounting for the footwear of both)
Heights of my last four boyfriends: 6’6, 6’5, 6’5 and 6’3
Height of my current partner: 6’0
My height: 5’1ish
Height of my doctor: 6’5.5
Height of my best friend (local) 6’5
Height of my (step)Dad: 6’5
Height of my Mom: 5’3
Height of my brother: 6’3
Height of my sister: 4’11
Heights of my celebrity boyfriends:
Morgan Freeman: 6’2
Jeff Goldblum: 6’4
Don Cheadle: 5’9
Kyle Secor: 6’5
Height of my favorite Bond: 6’1 (Moore)
Height of my favorite Bond Villain: 6’1 (Drax)
Height of the last author I read: 6’10 (Crichton)
Height of my favorite director: 6’0 (Pollack)
Actor whose height surprised me: 6’2 (Beatty)
Height of the last TV actor to grace my screen: 6’1 (Gandolfini)
Height of the current villain on my screen: 6’3.5 (D’Onofrio as Edgar)
Height of the heroes in that movie: 6’2 (Smith), 6’1.5 (Jones)
Heights of the last celebrities I snarked on: 5’10 (Clooney), 5’11 (Pitt) and 5’8 (Damon) – It was an Ocean’s 11 thang and oddly enough the heights of the actors I opted to “save” were: 5’9 (Cheadle), 6’2 (Gould) and 6’2 (Reiner)
Heights of favorite characters on my favorite TV show Homicide: Life on the Street:
Leo: (couldn’t find a listing)
Height of my favorite Baldwin: 6’2
Heights of my current favorite actors: 6’2 (Hackman), 6’2 (Jackman), 6’3 (D. Glover), 5’9 (Cheadle), 6’2 (W. Smith), 6’2 (Goodman), 6’1 (Bridges), 5’10 (J. Cho), 6’3 (Smits), 6’2 (Julia)
Heights of my current favorite actresses: 5’1 (Dench), 5’7 (J. Scott), 5’6.5 (Pounder), 5’10 (Arthur), 5’5 (Oh), 5’0 (C. Wilson)
The story I tell myself about my past partners and their heights:
It has been my experience that the closer a male is to the ideal (in US society), oddly enough the more generous they tend to be (I believe) in accepting the “flaws” of others. The less a male feels he meets the “ideal” the more strictly he is apt to enforce the ideal on his potential partners.
Which, if we follow my “logical” explains why I am surrounded by the 14.5% club.
In my defense, I have to say I eat what’s on the menu and don’t insult the cook. Meaning, I date the people I find attractive who find ME attractive enough to pursue. I am a short, black chunkerbutt in a society who doesn’t appear to have a lot of use for any of those qualities.
Still I’m uncomfortable with my examination. I’m uncomfortable because I subscribe to the belief that we aren’t as much in control of the thing we call desires as we think we are. More over, pop culture, media and what not actively shapes and reshapes what we find attractive. This is not new shit coming to light. We seem to live in a culture where women on dating sites call men of average height “short”, despite not being able to distinguish 5’9 and 5’11 in person (cause they don’t look THAT much different).
I know height. I can eyeball it within a quarter of an inch, even accounting for environmental factors and footwear (dodgy or otherwise). Yet, I was also stunned and humbled at what my height actually looks like in REAL life. And this is where we get back to Dench and Craig. The accompanying photo – despite not being able to see the floor or their footwear – approximates the height variance between my partner and myself. And like Dench, I don’t see myself that way at all. But there it is. It stares at me every time I catch a glimpse of myself and my partner in a reflective surface.
So why care?
I care and am interested because I want to know what my culture instructing me to believe, desire and think. I mean I know all about heightism, particularly as it relates to men in Western society and how it shapes masculinity and notions of desirability. But it’s one thing to read all the papers, analysis and studies, but it’s an entirely DIFFERENT thing to see the results of those papers and studies playing out in your OWN life, particularly when you tout yourself as critically conscious. Actively resisting culturally dictated desires – and I’m not just referring to physical desires – is something I rabidly pursue. I want to like what I like because I like it and not because I’ve been trained to. I want to love Barney Miller because it’s a great fucking show and not because Hal Linden is 6’0 and I live in a society, which actively instructs its citizens to obsessively pursue and desire what is rare and enables those who acquire it to benefit from a status bump simply for their deft acquisition skills.
And fuck yeah on Craig as Bond. Why? Because if we can get a 5’10 blond fucking Bond, we could have a Bond of color, a female Bond and possibly Bonds representing every -ism and that would be made of awesome.
Editor’s Note: Most of the listed heights I know from memory, but if you wish to do your own research a good place to start is Celebrity Heights, which basically is a bunch of people far more committed than me debating height in a generally informative and productive way. As with all off site links, it is not a “safe space” though I haven’t encountered too much -ism tomfoolery, which isn’t to suggest it does not exist there.