My boyfriend and I went to Hollywood for his 18th birthday last year. When we stepped out of the movie theater, it was raining hard, so we shared an umbrella. Abee (short for Abraham) had to hold the umbrella high above his head to make sure my neck wasn’t cramped. Some guy on the crowded sidewalk started laughing. I saw his finger pointed right at us. He wasn’t used to seeing a 5-foot-3 guy holding an umbrella for his 5-foot-8 girlfriend. Abee pretended not to notice him. I tried to do the same, but it completely killed the great mood I was in.
It’s like that every time we go out in public. It used to bother me a lot, but now I don’t pay much attention to the comments (“she’s too tall for him”) or stares because I know I’m not going to change their minds.
I met Abee at my best friend Pedro’s birthday party at the end of sixth grade. He was wearing Converse, ripped jeans and a half-open flannel shirt. It was as if Julian Casablancas (the frontman of my favorite band, The Strokes) had a hot, Mexican younger brother. At the time, he was an inch taller than me.
A week after the party, I found out that Abee really liked me. I added him as a friend on MySpace and when I got a cell phone a few months later, we would call each other every night. We started opening up to each other, about fights with siblings, the pressure we felt to get good grades, anything. He even played the guitar and sang to me a couple nights to help me sleep.
We realized that we didn’t want to be just friends. Two years had passed since our last meeting; I was going to be a freshman and he was going to be a sophomore. We decided to meet up even though our parents didn’t allow us to date.
He said ‘I feel so short’
The next time we saw each other, we had a big surprise. I’d had a growth spurt and grew from 5 feet 2 to 5 feet 6. When we saw that his head reached my nose, all he could say was, “I feel so short.” I watched his face to see if he felt awkward, or worse, had lost interest in me. But nope. He smiled back at me.
I was too shy to ask him in person, so I asked him online whether he was uncomfortable with my being taller. He said no and couldn’t stop saying how pretty I looked. That was enough for me to like him.
That winter, we became boyfriend and girlfriend. We’d sneak out and meet each other at the mall, the movies and parties. I can’t remember feeling happier. But one thing was ruining that happy feeling: people kept staring. Some people were rude enough to point and giggle. I would look at the floor to avoid making eye contact. I felt like we had a spotlight on us just because of our height difference. I hated it.
Even some of my friends were jerks about it. After one of my friends met him, she pulled me aside and said, “HE IS SO TINY! How do you guys kiss?!” Others would say, “You can do better.”
The key for a girl to dating someone shorter than you is to laugh about it and move on. When Abee gets frustrated that he has to stand on his tiptoes to kiss me, he tries to make it funny. Sometimes, he’ll hop up and down until he finally plants one on my lips. When I’m frustrated that my stride is much longer than Abee’s and he’s slowing me down, I walk even faster to make him rush to catch up. Laughing about our height difference is way easier than trying to hide it.
I proudly wore heels to his prom
For Abee’s senior prom, I wanted everyone to know that I didn’t care that my boyfriend was shorter than me, so I wore 3-inch heels instead of flats (my usual dance shoes). My mom drove me to his house to take pictures before the event. She kept snapping pictures until it got time for us to leave. She said, “Wait, I want just one last picture. But Audrey, can you squat down for this one? Just so you guys look even in the picture.” Abee’s parents and siblings looked offended. Abee glared at my mom and looked at me to try to stop her. I hissed, “Mom! Stop!” But she didn’t notice. I wanted her out of that house as fast as possible, so I squatted. I felt kind of stupid.
To find our seats, we had to squeeze our way through the other tables in the dance hall. Of course, people stared. I reminded myself that Abee was proud to have me as his date. I walked with my chin up and said hello to Abee’s friends.
We had a great time. I even dragged Abee out to the dance floor. I was having so much fun that I completely forgot that people were staring at us. We didn’t slow dance though. That’s where I draw the line because it’s awkward, no matter your height.
Abee and I aren’t any different from other couples. Yeah, Abee’s shorter than me, but it’s not that big of a deal. He’s a talented musician, smart and sweet, and I wouldn’t change a thing about him.