What’s the ideal height for men? Okay, sure, we know that looks don’t define what makes a guy the perfect boyfriend. But we aren’t talking about reality here. We’re talking in our dreams … the guy we imagine in our head when we are reading the latest romance novel. So when it comes to a woman’s fantasy, just how tall is the perfect man?
To find the answer to that question, we need to look no further than Amazon. No, you can’t buy a boyfriend at Amazon (just yet), but you can find the kind of guy women are into based on their reading habits.
15 out of 20 books on the Amazon best-selling fiction list this week are romance novels. The genre is one of the hottest selling markets and brings in more than a billion dollars in sales each year.
Women don’t read romance novels to find true love, so remember that this is all about the fictional world we live in, which makes romance novels perfect for helping us figure out how tall the ideal fantasy man is.
Romance books are a form of escapism in that they let you take your mind off of everyday stresses and get lost in a fictional world with an imaginary dreamboat of a guy. Does that mean the men in these romance novels are the ideal fantasy man? I’m no expert, but there is most definitely a pattern.
We went through more than a thousand romance books from Amazon to find the answer to our question …
How tall is the perfect man?
The average height of a man in romance novels is 6 feet 3 inches tall. We found that 95% of book boyfriends are 6 feet or taller. Not every book listed a man’s specific characteristics, but for those books that did, we found that the answer is clear, women prefer a tall man with dark hair and dark eyes. But how tall are we talking? Well, first, we had to figure out just how tall actual men were.
Does Height Matter?
Study after study has shown us that physical characteristics, such as height, play an important role in human mate preferences.
So, how tall is the average man? That’s a great question. According to the CDC, the average adult human male is 5 feet 9 inches tall. Well, at least that’s the case for men in the United States. As you can imagine, the range of average heights across the world is quite broad.
So now that we know how tall men actually are, how do we figure out what women find most alluring? Books. I mean, these are the guys we are lusting after, so why not let them lead us to the answer, right?
According to our research, 95% of men in romance novels are at least six feet tall. And by research, that meant going through a thousand romance novels to find out what these women were fantasizing about. The dream guy … the perfect “book boyfriend.”
The different types of romance novels
To be fair, I wanted to make sure we covered a range of romance sub-genres. The most common are:
- Contemporary Romance
- Historical Romance
- Paranormal Romance
- New Adult Romance (College Romance)
But within those four main genres, there are a vast number of sub-genres such as:
- Alpha Male Romance
- Billionaire Romance
- BBW Romance
- Mafia Romance
- Motorcycle Club Romance (MC Romance)
- Time Traveler Romance
- Sci-Fi Alien Romance
- Rock Star Romance
- Sports Romance
- Office Romance
- Medical Romance (Doctors, Nurses)
- Legal Romance (Lawyers, FBI, etc.)
- Military Romance
- Small Town Romance
- Dark Romance
- Shifter Romance (Werewolves & Bears)
- Vampire Romance
A single romance can also fall into more than one category. For example, Crescent Moon is a contemporary romance, an alpha male romance, a billionaire romance, and sort of an office romance since it takes place in a workplace, and since it all happens in the small town of Big Oak, Texas, it’s also a small town romance.
While there are all kinds of romance novels with different strokes for different folks, as the saying goes … the one thing that remains consistent is the height of the main male character. Women apparently really do like their men, tall, dark and handsome.
For our research, we started with historical romance, and after going through more than 200 of those, we realized that only three listed the man’s height. Sure they almost all listed them as “tall,” but just calling a guy tall didn’t help us, so we had to pass on that genre altogether. So the rest of our research covered contemporary and paranormal romance with a few sci-fi alien romances thrown in for good measure. About 25% (1 in 4) of all the books we went through listed the man’s specific height. Far less listed the female’s height. In fact, I would say less than 10% of all the books we went through said how tall the main female character was.
It makes sense that 95% of men in romance novels are over six feet tall, despite the fact that most men are quite a bit shorter in real life.
Scientific research suggests that even though women say they prefer taller male partners, the actual height difference isn’t as wide as what women say they prefer. That means we ladies want to read about and fantasize about men taller than most of the men we know.
The average American woman is a bit over 5 feet 3 inches tall, making the average difference in height around 5.5 inches. Interestingly, that height difference is the same in most places around the world. The average Croatian man is 5 feet 11 inches tall, while the average women stand at 5 feet 5.5 inches.
That makes a 5.5-inch difference. The average man in Hong Kong is 5 feet 7.5 inches tall, while women are, on average, 5 feet 3 inches, leaving a 5.5-inch difference. The average Austrian man is 5 feet 10.5 inches tall, leaving a 5-inch difference from the average Austrian woman standing at 5 feet 5.5 inches tall. The average Moroccan man is 5 feet 7.5 inches tall, while the average women stand at 5 feet 2.5 inches. That makes a 5-inch difference. Even Kate Middleton and Prince William have a 5-inch difference in height.
A Member Survey
Clearly, size really does matter! Now, why is our fantasy man so much taller than our real-life lovers? A few years ago, we surveyed our members and asked them what they thought. Out of the 1,800 who responded, 76% agreed that they feel most comfortable in a relationship where the man is taller, while the remaining 24% said that height didn’t matter to them when looking for love. But how tall is too tall? 25% said four to six inches is the ideal height difference, and 11% said a six-to-eight-inch gap would be perfect.
Evolutionary psychologists say that we fantasize about taller men because being tall is a sign that a man can dominate a predator and protect his family.
In theory, women seek a mate that can provide the best chance of survival. And since mating with a tall, strong, dominating man most likely means you’ll have children with the same characteristics. Our most primitive instinct is to desire the tallest, strongest, and most dominating man with the best genetics. It’s all about the secret encoded desire to survive and breed that most superior offspring, which will ensure their survival.
Think about how lionesses live in prides where there’s only one dominant male lion. He mates with all the females because his genes are superior; therefore, he will have the strongest cubs to protect the pride in the future.
This may seem sexist, but it’s a Darwinian instinct, and, as we can appreciate in the studies mentioned, this unconscious instinct doesn’t translate to real life when we choose a partner. Add to that protector fantasy that plenty of studies show that taller-than-average men make more money and are more likely to be promoted. Even most Fortune 500 CEOs are taller than average.
Researchers investigated stereotypes about height in a paper published in The Journal of Social Psychology called Height Stereotypes of Women and Men: The Liabilities of Shortness for Both Sexes.
Researchers asked a group of participants to imagine a man who was either “short” (5 feet 4 inches), “average” (5 feet 10 inches), or “tall” (6 feet 4 inches). Next, participants rated various characteristics.
Participants viewed short men as less socially attractive, less successful, less physically attractive, less well-adjusted, and less masculine than both average and tall men. Participants viewed tall men as more athletic than average and short men.
Did our romance novel study match what science has already told us? What did romance novels tell us when it comes to the perfect man?
Let’s take a look at the numbers. From the nearly 1,000 romance books we read, we were able to pull the exact height from 257 of them for the main male character, and these are how the numbers played out …. 95% of main male characters in romance novels are 6 feet or more, and the average is 6 foot 3 inches.
So what do you think? Does size matter to you? Does the results of our research surprise you? I read a lot of romance novels, and I get that they always say the guy is tall, with a six-pack, but even I was surprised when it came down to actually calculating the numbers. I’m five feet tall, so to me, every guy is “tall,” but seeing how the numbers stacked up, I have to say that’s a lot of 6 feet 6 fantasy guys.
Comment down below and tell us what you think!
Our Research Methodology
Some of you may be interested in how we came up with the numbers, so I thought I would take a few minutes to go over that. A lot of time and energy went into research for this project. Since I needed help to get through so many books, I established a few rules.
All books must be available on Amazon.
This was just so that our fact checkers could easily cross-reference. If the book wasn’t available online, it might make it a little complicated to check on data or verify information when needed.
All books must be in the romance genre.
As you know, there are a lot of types of romance novels, so we originally set out to include as many as possible, but we found rather quickly that despite our best effort, historical romance novels just didn’t include male heights in most cases. In fact, we went through over 150 historical romance books, three books that actually gave a numerical value to the main male characters. So the rest of our books came from contemporary romance, mafia romance, new adult romance, and a few sci-fi alien romances just for good measure.
No books pre-dating the year 2,000
All books must have been written at least since 2000, and the newer, the better. Since times change, we wanted to make sure that all of the books on our list are current. Yes, I realize that romance has been a popular genre for decades, but we had to set some hard limits to keep things uniform, so this was just one of our criteria.
Main Male Characters Only
Not every book listed the specific heights of the characters, and sometimes it listed the heights of all kinds of people. But for our purpose, we only wanted to know how tall the main male character was.
If the male character appears in multiple books, we then remove all other books in the series. If one guy appears in six books, his height isn’t going to change per book, but we wanted our count to be unique, so we only included one book in the series. To help keep track of this, we not only list the name and author of every book but the male and female character names. This helped us keep track of who we were charting to ensure there were, in fact, no accidental duplications.
0.39% 5 Feet 9 Inches 0.78% 5 Feet 10 Inches 3.50% 5 Feet 11 Inches 10.51% 6 Feet Tall 11.28% 6 Feet 1 Inches 15.18% 6 Feet 2 Inches 11.28% 6 Feet 3 Inches 12.84% 6 Feet 4 Inches 9.73% 6 Feet 5 Inches 8.17% 6 Feet 6 Inches 3.50% 6 Feet 7 Inches 5.06% 6 Feet 8 Inches 0.39% 6 Feet 9 Inches 0.00% 6 Feet 10 Inches 1.95% 6 Feet 11 Inches 4.67% 7 Feet Tall 0.39% 7 Feet 1 Inches 0.39% 7 Feet 2 Inches