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The long and short of picking a partner

WHEN it comes to choosing a mate, both sexes are 'heightist', it appears. Men choose shorter females as partners and women choose taller males. That should cause no surprise: men are, on average, taller than women.

But evidence shows that partnerships like that between jazz pianist Jamie Cullum (5ft 4in), and model Sophie Dahl (5ft 11in), are even less common than statistics would suggest.

In the first study to examine how partner preferences translate into actual choices, Dutch researchers found that in more than nine out of 10 couples (92.5 per cent) the man was taller than the woman.

On average, men were 5ft 10in and women 5ft 4in.

The findings, published in the journal Public Library of Science One, also found that only one in 720 pairings the woman was taller than the man.

Meanwhile, women do not like partners who are too tall. The largest acceptable height difference was seven inches for a 5ft 10in man.

hnews@herald.ie