I adore Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkorsigan universe novels that revolve around Miles Naismith Vorkorsigan and his daring and possibly fool-hearty escapades. One of the reasons Miles is so very endearing is due to his physical oddities. The results of an assassination attempt on his parents while he was still in the womb turned his bones to jelly and eliminated his parents’ ability to have more children. The end result after lots of medical intervention on a mutant-fearful planet, was that Miles didn’t have enough height for his ambition and imagination.
Still, he managed to catch the interest of taller women. Sometimes much taller women. Rumors circulated that he liked mountain climbing.
Whenever I think about height difference in relationships, I think about Miles, but I also remember learning to ballroom dance. My first partner topped me by 6 inches or more. I felt awkward and didn’t know how to follow his lead. A more experienced dancer then showed me how easier it is to dance with someone of my own height.
Why does height matter? Sure, I married a man who’s six feet tall to my five-seven, but he doesn’t dance. Other than getting a crick in my neck from impact kissing, it doesn’t matter. But it makes me feel dainty and protected. I am not dainty, and can probably take care of myself if need be. I didn’t take all that tai chi for nothing.
Mary Balogh wrote a great short Regency romance about a man of small stature and an equally short woman. The man really didn’t want to be part of a “cute couple” but the woman was a remarkable person and love conquered all.
It’s a romance trope that the hero will be 6 foot 6, broad shouldered, lean, fit, and drop-dead gorgeous. If you write historicals, he better have some Viking blood in him since the average height was closer to five feet in Europe.
Would it be interesting to read a story about a shape shifter who stood five-five, but could shift into a Viking warrior? To make it more interesting, perhaps he could only shift as the sun rose or set. Would you want the warrior by day and the real man by night? I always loved the legend of Ragnelle and expect a true hero would make the same choice.
Lots of this goes for other physical dimensions. Weight, number of limbs, color of eyes, lots of hair, great teeth. In the long run, none of that matters. Soul to soul, mind to mind, that’s the place where true love happens.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.