The ideal male body hardly has as interesting a history as the evolution of the “perfect” woman’s body. In American culture, men have always admired other men who are tall and muscular. Simply put, the ideal male body exudes strength. In this day and age, his physique is perhaps a bit more sculpted than in previous decades, but the general image is the same.
Like the female form, the perfect male body is not the average man’s body. The middle-of-the-road American male is 59—but most men measuring in at this height would describe themselves as short. That’s because they’re comparing themselves to the idea of male perfection, which in this culture includes standing at least six feet tall.
So what advantages does the above-average man have over the others? People take notice of him because of his height. After all, you can’t help but notice when a 63 person walks into a room. And if he happens to be well-groomed and fit … well, he stands out among the masses all the more.
Let’s say you are this man. How might your appearance help your body language? Tall men are already considered powerful, so you’re way ahead of the game compared to your average peers, whether you’re in a dating or a business situation. People will expect confident body language from you—a firm handshake, a killer smile, lots of eye contact—so give it to them. Just be careful not to cross into arrogant territory (don’t offer your hand for a palm-down shake, which is a domineering move; don’t smirk; and don’t overdo the eye contact).
If you’re actually a tall shy guy and exhibit meek nonverbal cues—slouching, avoiding eye contact, lots of self-touches—you’ll come off as either humble … or conceited. Remember: when all’s said and done, confidence matters way more than your physical appearance. So even though your height may give you an initial leg up on your competition, your nonverbal cues have to be ready to step in and close the deal.
Studies have shown that tall people earn more and are more respected in the workplace than their shorter peers. This could be a cause-and-effect issue, though: The respect that a tall man is given, for example, could result in his being very confident and willing to take risks that earn him big bucks.