The elevator stops here

Earlier this week, I tossed out this reference to a past experience:

And yes, I’ve been turned down for lack of height — and I was about 6’1″ back then. It would never have occurred to me to take it personally.

If you’re keeping score, this happened in the summer of 2005. The lady in question pushed just about all of my vast array of WANT buttons, but it wasn’t happening: she was quietly insistent about wanting someone she could look up to, and the one-inch height differential between us was insufficient to trip some of her WANT buttons. I thrive on rejection, so I accepted the situation, and then we went off to dinner. (Yes, “we.”) And eventually she met someone who did push those buttons, they were wed, and they lived happily ever after.

Then there’s the exact inverse of accepting the situation:

And there was another thing making the rounds — I am not going to link the video at all, because frankly I found it upsetting to watch and I don’t want to subject y’all to it — but of a man who was apparently upset because someone turned him down because he was short? Or who had said in her dating profile she preferred taller men? I don’t really know because I couldn’t get past the angry tone of voice and the f-bombs he was dropping. And he was doing it in a bagel place, right out in public.

And okay, this is where I admit I’m a bit of a coward (or maybe prudent, hard to tell these days): If I were somewhere like that and someone started screaming and ranting and giving “F-yous” and the like … I’d nope out of there. Even if I’d paid for food already and hadn’t got it yet. Even if it was a grocery store and I was leaving the food I needed to buy and I’d either have to go back later, or go hungry. Because I never know how to interpret anger. When I hear someone using a particular tone of voice and hurling “F yous,” I’m afraid that fists will be the next thing thrown. Or worse. And I remember reading some security expert (this was at a time when people were more fearful of things like terrorist bombings than now; that fear seems to have died down a little) making the comment of “don’t go to places that are stupid.” Meaning, don’t go places with large crowds that could potentially turn fight-y, don’t go places that seem like a “soft target” if you can avoid them. And also the idea of “leave a place if it becomes stupid” and I think my noping out of a restaurant or bookstore or whatever if someone starts raging on a curse-filled rant is the definition of a place becoming stupid.

Somewhere in the weird in-between with Then at one end and Now at the other, I caught a glimpse of that young lady’s dating profile, which listed her as five foot eleven. This, I reasoned, was something of a concession to Dating Reality; she was clearly five foot twelve.

But she never once backed off from her admittedly somewhat idealized preferences, which I consider a Good Thing: one of the worst things you can do to yourself — and, inevitably, to someone else — is to take whatever comes along and hope for the best.

A decade or so later, I had the unsettling experience of watching someone actually say goodbye, though not for height reasons. I’d known for a while, and I’d almost persuaded myself that this was the best of all possible outcomes. Still, with time running out and the door too close at hand, I put up the old Hail Mary: “Did I mention that I love you?”

She, too, eventually found the one she was looking for. Which was, by any reasonable definition, the best of all possible outcomes.

And as for that dwarf in the not-to-be-linked video? He’ll never live down being an asshat.

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