The short man’s guide to hacking natural selection.
Guys, I’m calling it out: Natural Selection is inherently heightist.
Darwin’s discovery is widely credited for driving evolution across all living creatures since life began. It’s less well-known for being a biased natural process that ultimately punishes shorter fellas in the modern dating scene.
As a 5’6” guy with decades of dating experience, I’ve experienced this first-hand.
Women prefer taller guys. Fact.
But I’m not here to serve up a soapbox rant about the unfairness of the ‘fairer’ sex. Nor am I here to bore you with my woes and worries.
Rather, I came to share some insight and unconventional wisdom that can rectify the hardships for my fellow Modest Men. Why am I doing this? Because we’re a community and y’all are my people.
Also, because I’ve learned that once you understand the natural bonding process of attraction, you can make it work for you, instead of against you. Halle-freaking-lujah!
Imagine that… knowing a way to counteract the natural bias that women have towards taller guys, from your very first glance and your very first words.
If that’s what you’re looking for, my friend, then read on.
The problem with short men
Throughout my life, I’ve always been shorter than all of my friends.
While my taller and more athletic buddies at high school and college were getting their freak on with gorgeous women, I was mostly getting dumped on, from varying heights.
My typical interactions with women looked like this:
- I’d meet a girl and try to strike up a conversation with her. Inside I’d feel nervous and wouldn’t know what to say or do to win her over, so I’d just wing it.
- She’d pick up on my awkward body language and think, “He’s out of his depth and I feel nothing (except maybe embarrassment) for him.”
- Now, she might have entertained the rest of the conversation to be polite, but she’d clearly be sexually uninterested in me and she’d start showing it through her body language and short answers to my questions.
- I’d pick up on her disinterest and start feeling even more nervous and less confident; which would become increasingly obvious through my desperate conversation and anxious gestures.
And the awkward exchange wound drag on until eventually one of three things happened:
- The conversation would end and we’d never speak again;
- I’d ask her out or she’d give her number, but then she’d always be busy and makes excuses, so we’d never actually go on a date; OR
- She’d enjoy my company, but secretly wouldn’t think of me in ‘that way’ – so we’d stay friends indefinitely until I eventually realized that we’d never be more than friends. I’d never be her boyfriend nor her friend with benefits.
Does this sound like a familiar to you, by any chance?
I’m not surprised if it does. Most guys have been through this cycle at some point in their lives.
It took years before I figured out that being short is an immediate disadvantage when making a first impression with women. It’s like starting every new conversation on the back-foot.
To make matters worse, with each unsuccessful interaction I had with women, my confidence and sexual self-esteem took another beating. And I carried that insecurity and fear forward into the next exchange.
Over time, I grew increasingly determined to break this vicious cycle. So I spent years figuring out how to make women want to get to know me and date me.
Along the way, I discovered four eye-opening insights about how attraction works, which had a profound effect on my life, so I’ll gladly share these with you.
The 4 Lessons I Learned About Attraction
Let's go over four key lessons I've learned over the years.
1) Attraction is the necessary starting point for all sexual relationships
Attraction is a natural bonding process that’s been hard-coded into our genes and brains through evolution.
It’s the first step in our natural reproductive process.
Attraction can provide a link to another human so irresistible that it feels like an enchantment, one that renders all other needs and duties oddly meaningless, tiresome and irrelevant.
– Deborah Orr, the Independent
Attraction feels fundamentally different from the deep, platonic love that you feel for your family and best friends. It’s a spontaneous kind of love (or lust) at first sight that powerfully urges you to get closer to the object of your attraction.
2) Our instincts decide who we feel attracted to
Attraction isn’t something you consciously control or decide upon. It happens to you.
It’s a natural process and a visceral feeling that’s driven by the same primal part of your brain that regulates your appetite and reminds your heart to keep beating.
You don’t consciously decide who you feel attracted to. Rather, your instincts and emotions decide for you, and then notify you, after the fact. When it comes to attraction, you get the memo, rather than the deciding vote.
3) Women are naturally attracted to “alpha” males
At a very primal level, women are hardwired to notice certain aspects of a man’s appearance, personality, social value and sexual potential, immediately and instinctively.
These alpha male qualities give a woman clues about a man’s ability to protect her, provide for her, seduce her, and perhaps even raise her children too.
At a basic human level, sex is costlier for women than it is for men. For a woman, sex can lead to months of pregnancy followed by years of child-rearing.
Understandably then, women have evolved to become masterfully efficient at distinguishing potential suitable partners from everyone else.
It’s like women’s instincts are measuring guys up against a checklist of alpha male qualities, which then trigger feelings of attraction, if and when enough boxes are ticked.
4) Attraction is built (almost) instantly
It doesn’t take months or years to steadily build attraction with women, or even hours of time spent on dates. It really only takes a few minutes to spark attraction; actually, four minutes or less, to be exact.
When I look back at how I discovered this, the clues were staring me in the face all along:
- Hiring managers typically decide on whether the candidate is successful within the first few minutes of the job interview. They then spend the remainder of the interview looking for evidence to support and confirm that decision.
- Malcolm Gladwell calls this process thin-slicing. It’s a natural human tendency to see a glimpse of something (or a ‘thin-slice’) and then infer conclusions from it. Just like when someone cuts you off when you’re driving, you automatically think that the other driver is an inconsiderate person in all other aspects of their life too.
- And of course, Hollywood figured this mental shortcut out decades ago. Why do you think movie trailers are only 2-3 minutes long? Because billions of movie marketing dollars have been spent figuring out that it only takes a few minutes of clips to convince you to spend a couple of hours of your time and your hard-earned cash on a trip to the movies.
So I researched this phenomenon and sure enough, there’s now a growing body of scientific evidence showing that women report feeling attracted to a guy, within just a few minutes of meeting him.
It certainly explains the success of online dating and apps like Tinder too. A woman only needs to look at your picture and your profile, and exchange a few messages, before she feels sufficiently attracted to go out on a date with you.
“It only takes a few minutes to build attraction. And a minimal amount of personal information.” –Rick, DateSchool
The Natural Attraction Formula
Over decades of dating and coaching clients extensively, I refined my ideas about attraction into a simple and practical formula:
Your most attractive qualities (i.e. how you present yourself, what you say and do and how you talk about yourself and your life) x 4 minutes = Enough information for her to feel attracted to you. Or not.
Once I figured this out and started applying it, the results blew me away:
- I no longer spent hours trying to win women over on dates; I just focused on winning the first ten minutes.
- When I met women through mutual friends, we’d have this immediate magnetic chemistry. It’s like we couldn’t take our eyes off each other and we’d talk for hours, as if we were the only two people left in the room.
- I abandoned my desperate strongholds in the friend zone with the women I knew. Instead, I redirected my efforts towards starting sexy new relationships based on irresistible first impressions.
- Not only did my love life change completely; but I began changing the lives of other guys too, by coaching them in building the confidence and skillset that attracts women naturally.
Let me show you how this approach to building attraction completely changes your outcomes with women, particularly as a shorter gent.
The Short Guy Solution: Nail Your First Impression
When you meet a woman, and convey your most attractive qualities upfront, something quite magical happens.
Effectively, you trigger her attraction instincts, and spark immediate feelings of attraction towards you. It feels like love at first sight and now, she feels naturally interested in you and wants to get to know you better.
Let me show you what this looks like, step-by-step:
- To begin, show her your alpha male qualities through your words and body language in the first few minutes of your conversation.
- Then, as she instinctively picks up on these attractive traits, she’ll start to feel naturally attracted to you.
- Soon she’ll start showing her interest through her words and gestures.
- Finally, you’ll pick up on her interest, and start feeling more confident and you’ll start enjoying the conversation even more. Now you can relax and really start to have a lot more fun. She’ll start enjoying herself more too and step up her flirting, because she genuinely likes you. And so on…
Approaching your conversations with an emphasis on making an attractive first impression fundamentally changes the dynamic of your interaction from the outset, in a very good way.
You’ll see this in all the ways that you’d expect: she’ll laugh at your jokes, turn her body towards you and she’ll start asking you more questions. Later on, she’ll tell her friends things like, “We totally hit it off!” or “We just seemed to click straight away.”
Yes, being short is still a disadvantage when making your first impression; but guys, it’s not a deal-breaker. In fact, with this approach, you can use the natural attraction processes to work for you instead of against you.
When you can show her your attractive qualities quickly and powerfully, you convey a presence, charisma and sexual potential that’s larger than life.
And that’s all that matters. That’s all she’ll notice, feel and remember.
They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel.
-Carl W. Buehner
At this point, you’re probably wondering, “How exactly do I convey my most naturally attractive qualities upfront when making my first impression with women?”
Well, I’m glad you asked.
How to Make an Attractive First Impression
There’s both a science and an art-form to making your most attractive first impression. And it involves the 8 Attractive Traits that I introduced in another article for the Modest Man. These eight traits are the defining characteristics of alpha males that women naturally prefer and notice in men.
The “science” behind making your best first impression is to convey these 8 Attractive Traits quickly and powerfully, within just a few minutes.
The “art” is doing this in a way that perfectly blends in with your personal style and interpersonal manner. That’s where you bring the science to life, in your own unique way through your words and gestures.
Conveying attractiveness through your presence and presentation
The first things that she’ll notice about you, before you’ve even said a word are, your appearance and your body language.
Confident, self-respecting guys, that other fellas look up to, have a certain way of moving and acting around other people. They’ve strong eye contact, they take up space and they look completely comfortable in their surroundings.
Think about the swagger and steely eye contact that a guy like Mad Men’s Don Draper has. He oozes self-assurance and commands the attention and respect of everyone around him.
In the other attraction article, I shared a few tried and tested attraction hacks for enhancing your presence and confident body language, and conveying your alpha male qualities non-verbally.
But, body language alone can only get you so far.
You can’t just walk up to her with Draper-swagger, not say a word, and still expect her to swoon out of her dress into your arms. You need to say something.
But what are you supposed to say, exactly?
Conveying attractiveness through your words
Guys often ask me:
“What could I possibly say within 5 minutes that would make her feel attracted to me? Like, is that even possible??”
And the truth is that when you’re talking face-to-face, there’s actually a HUGE amount of personal data that you reveal about yourself (deliberately or inadvertently) which speaks volumes about who you are and what you stand for. You probably don’t realize just how much this happens.
What’s more, I teach my clients to incorporate this kind of info seamlessly into their typical responses to the small-talk questions that they’re almost always asked at the start of any conversation.
Let me share some real-life examples with you, to show you how this works.
“What did you do last weekend?”
This is a standard small talk-type question that you’ll hear at least once a week. It’s also the perfect chance to shine and practice this technique:
Her: “So what did you do last weekend?”
Typical guy: “Not much. You?
This doesn’t say a lot that’s positive or negative, and it misses the opportunity to say so much more! Let’s consider the alternatives…
Interesting alternative #1: “I hung out with an old friend on Saturday night. His girlfriend broke-up with him recently so I took him out for beer and listened non-judgmentally to all the reasons why his ex is a horrible person.”
This suggests that you look after your friends and that you’ve the social intelligence and sense of humor to summarize the main theme of your conversation in a fun way.
Interesting alternative # 2: “I’m training for a half marathon next month, so I ran 8 miles on Saturday morning and then binged watched Netflix to recover.”
This suggests that you’re ambitious, driven and physically fit, but in moderation; i.e. you’re not over the top with it.
Interesting alternative #3: “My older sister and my nieces came to stay with me so I took them sightseeing and shopping. Up until this weekend I’d grossly underestimated how much teenage girls love a) buying clothes and b) horrendous pop music and c) Snapchat.”
This suggests that you have your own place, look after your family and have the social intelligence and empathy to pick up on the cultural experience of being a teenage girl.
Answering this kind of question with personal details in this way conveys important information about you, your lifestyle and your relationships in a short amount of time. It also helps keep the conversation going because it gives her a lot more topics to ask you about.
“What do you do for work?”
When you first meet someone, you’re ALWAYS going to be asked what you do for a living; or what you’re studying, if you’re at college.
It’s a standard go-to question; and it’s as certain as death and taxes.
But beware – this question is a trap! It’s a setup that compels you to give a plain, factual answer. For example:
Her: “What do you do for a living?”
Typical guy: “I’m an accountant.”
Her: [Thinking: “Well, that’s a conversation stopper”] “Eh… so… do you have any hobbies…?”
See what I mean? Plainly stating your job title is the most boring and typical way to answer that question; and most ordinary guys do that without thinking. It also narrows the range of possible responses or follow-up questions that she can ask you to keep the conversation going.
Here’s what to do instead. For a start, don’t take the question so damn seriously! You know the question is coming, so do yourself a favor and have a fun response or two in your back pocket. For example:
“I build dreams out of spreadsheets” instead of “I’m an accountant.”
“I make greedy people rich. And possibly greedier” Instead of “I’m an investment banker”
“I work for a cute little family run business. Have you ever heard of a store called Wal Mart?” instead of “I stack shelves at Walmart.”
Describing your job in a fun way, instead of labelling it factually, is a great way to show your creative and playful side. And it sets her up perfectly for jumping on board with your playful vibe and running with it in a flirty way too, for example:
Her: “What do you do for work?”
You: (e.g. if you work in medicine or any emergency services) “I save lives.”
Her: “Oh, so you serve coffee, right?”
When you answer a mundane question with a fun and unique response, it shows your individuality, charisma and social intelligence. And you stand out head and shoulders above other guys who simply aren’t doing this.
Why did you get into that line of work?
This question is another chance to shine and is perhaps one of my favorites for conveying your motivation and passion. For example; she might ask you about your job and then ask you:
“Why did you get into banking in the first place?”
The obvious (but factual and boring) answer is to say that, “I chose banking because it pays well.” Saying this will tell her, ‘Here’s a guy who cares about money.’ But it won’t necessarily tell her that much else about you.
Now imagine for a moment that you answered her question slightly differently; so when she asks you why you got into banking, you might say something like:
“Well, in addition to paying off my hideously over-priced downtown apartment, I’ve expensive wining, dining and live music habits.”
Here, you’re still telling her that you work in banking for the money, but you’re also describing your achievements (you own a downtown apartment), your lifestyle and passions too. On top of that, you’re packaging this information in a fun and charming way.
Another near-perfect response from one of my clients (that’s genuinely true) is that he’s so hard-working because he looks forward to repaying all of his mom’s debts in the near future.
And when he first told me this, I was like… DAMN!!
Doesn’t that one statement tell you a HUGE amount about this guy and his sense of responsibility and gratitude towards the woman that brought him into this world?!!
Seriously guys take note, this is a highly attractive answer to a simple question. In terms of the 8 Attractive Traits, it shows ambition, leadership, responsibility, and providing for family, all in one short super-punchy statement.
With this framework and through these examples, you’ll see that even the briefest disclosures can reveal a massive amount of data about who you are, your passions and principles, and what drives you, in both a positive and negative way.
The trick is in recognizing this opportunity and preparing for it accordingly.
Key Takeaways: Building Attraction Through Your Words
Most guys don’t see typical ‘getting to know you’ questions as a chance to shine.
But now you do, so here are a few pointers to get you in the swing of using this technique effectively:
Look at questions differently – There are a few questions which you can be pretty sure you’ll get asked within the first 15 mins of any conversation. There are other questions that come up all the time in conversation “How are you?”, “How was your day?”, etc.
Start seeing and using these as conversational springboards to show your funny side, principles, social value, and leadership in relation to your friends and family. When formulating your answers to questions, think about how you can convey information like:
- What it’s like to hang out with you
- What passions you live for
- What principles and standards you stand by
- How you treat other people and how they treat you
- Your track record as a partner and lover
- What a woman can expect if you were to spend a lifetime together
Add detail – Guys don’t often think about repackaging and re-telling their mundane, daily life experiences. But when you can elaborate on your everyday events with inherently attractive and entertaining detail, it better distinguishes you from other guys, in terms of the attractive qualities that set you apart.
It also gives her more conversation topics to ask you about to keep the conversation going.
Rehearse on your friends first – Don’t wait for your next date to try these techniques out. To get comfortable with these conversational skills quickly, you can (and should) practice them on men in your everyday conversations with friends, family and colleagues, so that they soon become part of how you naturally talk about yourself.
When you’re back at work on Monday, you know that you co-workers are going to ask what you did over the weekend, so use that opportunity to practice your fun anecdotes.
Conclusion: What does your preview say about you?
Us shorter fellas are at an inherent disadvantage when it comes to making our first impressions with women.
But thankfully, when you understand attraction and use these verbal and non-verbal hacks for conveying your most attractive qualities quickly, you’re perfectly equipped to turn this natural bonding process to your advantage.
And I’m not saying that you need to use every single strategy and tactic that I’ve described. (Although if you did, you’d be pretty freaking unstoppable!)
Even doing just a few things in combination will instantly set you apart from other guys, because very few other guys out there are deliberately making their first impression on people in this way.
As a parting thought, I’d like to challenge you to think about the first impression that you typically make:
What would the first 4 minutes of meeting you, say about you?
What would the movie trailer of your life look like?
Remember attraction isn’t a rational or conscious process. You can’t convince a woman to feel attracted to you.
But the good news is: You don’t have to.
Once you convey your most attractive qualities within those first few minutes, you can sit back comfortably and let nature take its course.
Bonus: Enjoyed the post?
To help you nail your first impression with women, I’ve prepared a special bonus gift, just for Modest Man readers. It’s called The Modest Man’s Guide to Making an Irresistible First Impression.
This guide covers 10 simple interpersonal skills and hacks that you can do in the first 10 minutes of conversation to quickly and powerfully demonstrate your most attractive qualities.
This bonus also serves as a handy recap of the 8 Attractive Traits framework and you can keep it in your phone to access anytime you need it.
Rick is the founder of DateSchool, where he helps guys build the confidence and skillset to attract women naturally.
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