There was a time where the view from six foot two was all that mattered. A time where actual academic studies had concluded that to thrive like a tall man on the dating scene, you had to be packing serious cash. As recently as 2018, according to Insider, the word that got men the most matches via dating apps was “6ft”, which isn’t really even a word.
But things are changing. The narrative around short kings is building. It’s gone from pleading tweets and niche Reddit threads to the online masses. The short king lineage is rich. Yeah, there’s Tom Cruise, Jeff Bezos and Kanye West; but there’s also Tom Holland, Zac Efron, Bruno Mars, Danny DeVito, and Jamie Cullen (arguably the original modern short king, though the literal OG is probably Pepin the Short, a sixth century king from Europe).
It’s taken time for short king appreciation to spread, but less-than-tall men have been persistent. We have continued walking through history, and now, Tom Holland (five foot eight, dating Zendaya, five foot ten), has ushered in the advent of short king spring. He has let the short kings run.
As a five foot eight king myself, I recognise the value of going out there and helping to propel the movement forward. So I’ve been chatting to a load of short kings to get a sense of how they feel about their season in the spotlight. Here’s what they had to say.
Conteh, 25, 5’8”
VICE: How does it feel to be living in a short king spring?
Conteh: It’s great. You definitely get teased for being short growing up, and it’s genetics, you know? I can’t help being five foot eight, that toxicity has to stop. Seeing people have success in the world that aren’t tall, like Tom Holland, is encouraging. It confirms to me that what I can offer as a person is the most important thing. I hope it helps other short kings to also know not to focus on the things you can’t control. I start a new job this month, hopefully I’ll have an extra stride in my step when making introductions.
Josh, 25, 5’7”
What does short king spring mean to you?
Josh: Well I'm pretty comfortable with my height, so more than anything it’s fun, a sort of positive meme that I’m for. It’s not going to be world-changing or anything, but seeing short king spring as a “thing” is good. There's still a stigma around short men. For example, I saw in i-D that a study said a 5’6” ma has to earn $175,000 per year to be as desirable as a man who is 6’ tall. And it’s actually fucked. So hopefully that changes, even if it’s gradual. Also I guess I'm on the taller side of short kings, most people aren't towering above me. I might be less confident if I was shorter, though. This spring has been good though, my art’s going really well.
Tom, 22, 5’6”
It’s short king spring. What are you hoping to achieve?
Tom: Is that a thing? I like that, Short King Spring. We don’t normally get that. Generally women want to be shorter than you, if you’re a man dating women, so it narrows the pool a little. Maybe this’ll open things up a bit. I don’t want to be fetishised as it were, but at the same time, if people are now looking for a short king, I am here. I’d love that, you want a short king this spring? I’ll put my hand up, I’ll own it. I’ve never been able to just walk into a room and look six foot two. Honestly, if I see a woman who is much taller than me I usually assume they won’t be interested, but maybe I’ll say hello now. Short king spring. World’s getting a little better innit.
James, 30, 5’6”
What’s your most short king moment this spring?
James: I recently started a new job, I recently moved into a nice house, and I started taking antidepressants, so I feel like I'm firing on all cylinders. Short king spring, Solar Power era. It’s happening. All within the Aries season, just after the Spring Equinox. Coincidence? I think not! I hope my power and delusional confidence continue to rise. Also men always assume I’m a bottom because I’m short, which is true but it’s also rude. So let’s end the short stigma and let’s end tall people too.
Shivani, 26, 5’3”
It’s short king spring – are you on board?
I’ve been using “short king spring” since the day I heard it. It was a sunny day, I was rocking shorts and a t-shirt and feeling gender euphoric. The phrase is a little like a hot girl summer moment for me, but it’s a phrase I’m much more in tune with. The kings in my circles are drag kings as opposed to monarchs, and they’re always playing with gender, and I’m short – so it works. It makes me feel good, it’s fun. Hopefully there’ll be a spring king summer, and autumn and winter!
Sam, 22, 5’5”
How does short king spring feel?
Sam: It's always good to feel appreciated. I've never really been too bothered about my height but equally it’s reassuring to be told you’re desirable, you know? Short king spring is all about confidence really. I think confidence comes from within, but equally it’s nice to be able to look at TikTok and get a little boost from what people are saying. Also hopefully less confident short kings can see these things and begin to feel better about themselves.
Harry, 26, 5’7”
Have you had any short king moments this spring?
I’ve had a few big changes to my life this spring. I’m recently single, I’ve moved home, and I’m looking to try new things. While that’s happening, my equivalent of hot girl summer has come into play. Of course there’s a deeper element, where height bias can be linked to ableism and likely racism, given that some ethnicities tend to be shorter than others. So actually there’s probably also a pretty important positive movement that can be achieved here. But as it affects me personally, short king spring is a laugh. It makes me feel good, and if my short king spring adventures morph into a goblin mode summer, then let it be.
Lucas, 26, 5’6”
Is a short king just for spring?
Lucas: Short king summer's going to happen, surely? Hopefully it’ll mean I can be at a festival and not get lifted onto someone's shoulders. Tall men autumn sounds like it could be a thing too. If that happens, I'll just hibernate. I'll go into hiding and just come out every time the sun's out. Seasonal men. Maybe it'll be a tall women autumn, though? Maybe they should have their due.
Alex, 28, 5’8”
What will Short King Spring give to the world?
Alex: I think short kings have a lot to give. Like, yes I believe ‘short man syndrome’ exists, but for most of us we’ve just had to work harder on developing a personality, consciously becoming a bit more charismatic, and more interested in things. If you’re six foot three there’s a lot of work you don’t really have to put in when it comes to getting others to initially like you, be that platonically or in dating – at least from my experience as a straight man. Either way, maybe this will help short kings put themselves out there, and to be honest, allow other people to take notice of us a little more.