We, the Short People

I am one thousand six hundred fifty millimeters


We, the Short People
by varjavand

Christmas is the only time I fee really good about myself, thanks to the non-union workers in Santa’s toy shop, the Elves. They make me feel taller. We, the short people, have resorted to every possible excuse unapologetically to declare our superiority. We claim that we are smarter, healthier, live longer, and not to mention have a better sense of humor. But, the truth is that even if our claims are, it is not because we are highly educated, or we are extraordinary beings, it is because God is fair, God is righteous and he certainly knows how to compensate!

Once I told my female students wittingly if you want to get married, make sure to find a short man. A short man makes an ideal husband. He is not only more economical to maintain, but also you have the upper hand in case you get involved in physical altercations with him. You can hit him on the head with your shoes very easily! Furthermore, you don’t suffer much emotionally if he leaves you! You see, the best way to avoid costly lawsuit is to let others laugh at your expense!

For years, we thought that socioeconomic status and opportunities are awarded by the society based on established criteria such as, education, skills, productivity, experience, lineage, wealth, name recognition, etc. Therefore your career success should normally depend on how well-endowed you are with regards to these resources. Wouldn’t you be surprised if someone tells you that your physical traits are also the determining factors when it comes to how you are treated by society? We, the late immigrants especially, have been always reminded of the importance of good education as the best way to obtain high-quality well-paid jobs. However, you may wonder how many other nonconventional factors may play a role in favor or against you when it comes to employment, livelihood, and earning potential.

If you think that race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, etc, are the only sources of biasness, you may want to think again. Your appearance, your weight, and your height especially have been proven to be the other cause of discrimination albeit in disguise.

We discriminate against ugly, overweigh, and yes the short people. Looking good is rewarded generously by the job market. Even though, there is absolutely no grounds to argue that ugly people are dumber or less efficient, good-looking people get all the lucrative jobs leaving all the do-you-want-fries-with-that jobs for me and you! The findings of some recent surveys may surprise you. We learn from these findings that the ugly women are paid 5% lower wages compared to the wage rate paid to the average- looking women. The ugly men are punished even more severely. The wage differential is even greater, a whopping 10%. I feel so sorry for you, the not-so-good-looking guys out there! Another researcher tells us that unattractive people earn 9% less and the beauty is rewarded as much as 5 percent after removing the effects of other factors such as education, experience, etc.

No doubt you would like to associate with the attractive folks. Beautiful people are not the only ones who reap all the benefits of their beauty; they also provide external pleasures for the rest of us. In other words, society’s overall level of pleasure will be simply enhanced by having beautiful people around. It is like some of my neighbors growing beautiful gardens of flowers in their yard every year. The whole neighborhood benefits from them. As a matter of fact, I have been able to give flowers to my wife for every occasion lately, thanks to my neighbors. All I need to do is to wait until they leave their house!

The situation is not any better for fat women; the society punishes them for extra weight pond by pond. A woman who is 65 ponds overweight loses 7% of her earning. That is more than one percent for every 10 ponds. Luckily, the situation is much better for fat men who are not punished noticeably for being overweight, what a welcoming relief for those lazy coach potatoes. As a matter of fact, when it comes to mating, they say, some women want their man to be fat because they feel good about their own body when they live with a fat man, nice trick!

Even though, we can say so much more about the inverse correlation between economic success, obesity, and ugliness. My focus in this article is on the height and its impact on economic success. You probably don’t think that your height really matters when it comes to your monetary success. But, empirical evidence shows that you earn more income if you are taller? While the positive correlation between height and earning has been broadly observed, the rationale behind it was a mystery until recently.

I, of course, have known all along since I was a kid that height really matters. Anytime I went to a movie or attended a street performance I missed about half of the show simply because I could hardly see over the head of the rest of the crowed almost all of whom were taller and bigger than me. Compulsory serving in the army was not much fun either for me. Even though, I was the tallest of the last raw which was reserved for the shortest trainees, I was the last person to get food, military respect, a chance to be sent home on weekends, and almost anything else.

Do you think most of the top corporate executive or elected government officials are tall by accident? They say all the US presidents have been a few inches taller than average with the exception of only five of them. Do you think that voters are likely to vote in favor of taller political candidates and discriminate against the short ones like Michael Dukakis and Dennis Kucinich? Do you think tall people enjoy greater success because they simply receive preferential treatments during different stages of their life? If your answers to all these questions are yes, you are unquestionably right.

Empirical evidences show that taller people earn higher salaries by having the prestigious jobs. According to a recent study, “the average CEO is approximately 3 inches taller than the average, American man, who stands 5-foot-9. Further, 30 percent of the CEOs are at least 6-foot-2; the corresponding percentage for American adult men overall is only 3.9 percent” According to a research conducted by two economic professor from Princeton University four inches in height results in 10% additional earning, that is 2.5% for every inch!

For years, we hypothesized that tall people are more successful and paid more simply because they are treated favorably especially when they are young. Why do you think taller people receive favorable treatment when it comes to employment? Is it because they are more qualified, more productive, better educated, better capable of handling the dilemmatic situations, or intuitively better leaders? While all these speculations may have some merit, some researchers have been daring, or imprudent, enough to suggest that tall people are more successful simply because they are more intelligent! This was first asserted by the same two economists from Princeton University, both of whom happened to be female and noticeably taller than average. While this assertion is heart breaking for those of us who might be vertically disadvantaged, it may not be as intuitive and as straightforward as it sound?

While there are no scientific explanations, or genetic cause, for direct tie between height and the level of intelligence I hope! Some researchers argue that taller children experience less mental deprivation at school and are provided with more challenges and cognitive stimuli that help them to develop higher intellectual capability. Observations confirm that if you are tall when in school, chances are that you grow up to become more successful adult later on in your life. That might be because the teachers automatically pay more attention to taller students who are more dominant and more audacious to express them. Taller students are also involved intensely in extra curricular programs and sport activities. Accordingly, they gain leadership ability and self confidence earlier in their in life that will be sustained and even strengthened throughout their adult life.

Obviously, prettier and more handsome individuals are considered automatically more qualified for certain high paying jobs such as acting, modeling, hospitality, and more importantly waiting tables at the Hooters Look at all these so called TV and movie stars; they are all tall with the exception of Danny DeVito who happens to be my favorite not because he is a good actor but because I usually save a bundle of money by purchasing most of my cloths from his garage sale! Taller people may receive pay premium, especially for the service related jobs that require frequent contacts with clients because employers believe that such individuals are more favored by their customers hence they can improve their bottom lines.

If you are displeased with your height as much as I am, do what I do. Use metric system when you disclose your height to others. I was calling around to find proper dress suite to attend a graduation ceremony the other day, the lady who answered the phone asked me how tall I was I said one thousand six hundred fifty millimeters. She said wow; you must be enormously tall. I don’t think we have any piece of garment that huge to fit you. Cheer up and be grateful for whoever you are. There is only one person in the whole world that looks exactly like you, as Mr. Fred Rogers used to say, and that person is you.


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ebi amirhosseini

Are you serious?

by ebi amirhosseini on

Yes dear varjavand!

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Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez

I totally agree in that.........

by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez on

confidence is the most important quality in a person.

Solh va Doosti



5'-3" but very intimidating

by sinool (not verified) on

i have a work out buddy who is a fire fighter/body builder, 6'4", around 240lbs very muscular & fit. he was telling me that i can not believe how god damn intimidating you were before we got to know each other. How do you do it? I told him it is all in your head & how secure you are about yourself.

I am 5'3", 142lb, but chahar shooneh. as we say felfel nabin che rizeh beshkan bebin che tizeh.

Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez

What is too short?

by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez on

I was reading some of the comments on this thread. What is actually  short for a man? Is it 5'6", 5'7", 5'8".........

I always assumed that 5'5" was being short for a man.

Solh va Doosti



AL Pacino the Actor is about

by Anonymouss (not verified) on

AL Pacino the Actor is about 5.6 feet and he is the Mother of all Godfathers. Tom Cruise is 5.8' and George Coloony, Silvester Stalone, and John travolta are all 5.9' And This is not a new finding. Well of course nice looking people get more attention and fat people get left out. Who said life was fair. it's all about probability and out come. In poker the players are all dealt a different hand but, it's what you make out of it that counts.


it's in the attitude

by IRANdokht on

dast be delam nazar... har chi mikeshim az dasteh in khoshtip hayeh ghad bolandeh  ;-) 

but seriously, I don't think it's got much to do with the height, but with the attitude. Some tall people feel a little awkward, nice and sweet. Most shorter ones are too zebro zerang and some even treat you in a way they might deserve that stiletto blow to the head!

thanks for the fun read




by varjavand on

Are you serious?

ebi amirhosseini

Dear Varjavand

by ebi amirhosseini on

Well written article!

I'm 2feet,3inches tall,never understood how short poeple feel,until one the day I had to look up and talk to my son!!

He is 2feet,5inches tall.



Dear Ari

by varjavand on

Dear Ari

As a matter of fact the list of the highly talented famous, short people is very very long. Given that the absolute number of these people is small relative to total population, the percentage of intelligent short people must be much larger that the same percentage for the rest of the population. So, to the two Princeton University professors: take your research and put it on the top of a jug and drink water out of it, bezar dar kooze ab bokhor!  Here are some other famous short people:

Dmitry Medvedev (new president of Russia)ModonnaPuala AbdulMicky RoonrySally FieldPaul SimonRober Reich (former labor secretary) Michael J. Fox  Cheer Varjavand  


Ari Siletz

Varjavand, you are taller than:

by Ari Siletz on

Ari Onassis 5' 5''

Prince 5' 2 1/2''

Pablo Picasso 5' 4''

Mahatma Ghandi 5' 3''

Nikita Krushchev 5' 3''

James Madison 5' 4''

Yuri Gagarin 5' 2''

Inside you there's a fabulously wealthy heart throb of a painter, who can peacefully lead two superpowers while orbiting the planet. And make us laugh, of course. Beautiful essay!

Azarin Sadegh

Dear Varjavand

by Azarin Sadegh on

Dear varjavand,

Sometimes (most of the times) reading Iranian.com feels like being in the middle of a war zone and it makes me feel like choking and then I have to fight back with the devil in me who feels like responding! The site is overflowing with frustrated and angry people shouting and insulting and cursing each other about nothing and everything (and JJ seems to be the favorite target of all :-)! Ah, if Jerry Springer knew…

It is so rare to read a peaceful, funny and smart piece, which is not trying to provoke and to offend a particular group of people.

Thank you Varjavand! It was all I needed on this Friday afternoon. Excellent work! I loved your article and its bitter/sweet aftertaste...Impossible not to smile and at the same time so true and sad! Please write more!


PS: Actually, there are famous counter examples like Napoleon, Gandhi and of course my favorite detective Hercule Poirot!

Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez


by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez on

It was very funny and well written. It also had some good points.

Solh va Doosti


Dear Commenters

by varjavand on

To Shorty and Hooman: Thanks for your kind remarks, they are really encouraging.

To Ms. T: You are absolutely right. In addition to what you said, many employers, I believe, may hesitate to hire beautiful women simply because they think their presence may be too distractive to male workers. The men are actually the culprit who may contemplate having inappropriate relationships with their female coworkers often triggering costly lawsuits. 

The employers may also think that beautiful women may have earned their way up through their charm and not their qualifications as you rightfully pointed out.

I think, discrimination against beautiful women may be more visible in public sector based on my own observations.  Beautiful women may also stay on a job for a shorter period of time leaving employer with high costs of recruiting.




Beautiful Women Are Discrimintated Against As Well !

by T (not verified) on

Loved your article, as I think it is very true. Just wanted to add that beautiful women (like me!) are also discriminated against when competing for managerial and executive positions.
When I go to an interview for such positions, I don't wear any make-up and try not to look my best.
For some reason people think that beautiful women can't be all too smart and they probably slept their way up.
The worst are other women who do not like to hire a woman better looking than themselves.

Oh well, we're all discriminated against one way or another!


Nice article

by Hooman H (not verified) on

There are a lot of doom and gloom articles on this site, but this one was a good one. Thanks for sharing it.

It's interesting, however, that our parents are much shorter than we are. My family was relatively well to do in Iran, so I can't attribute my parent's (and extended family's) lack of height to poor nutrition. Yet my brothers and I are well over 6 feet. Is there any research out there on how/why this happens? I have noticed this with my Italian and Greek friends also.



by Shorty (not verified) on

I loved your article! Your sense of humor is priceless! I am the same height as you. I have loved tall men and I have loved short men. I don't know why, but now that I think about it, I loved shorter men more! To be sure, they were better in bed and it was also easier to "spoon" with them and fall asleep in the same bed later. I think the short men in my life were also a lot smarter, kinder, and funnier. Thanks for bringing back good memories.