12/18/2006 at 01:00 AM EST
Dating down (sizewise) is becoming less taboo for women, says Stephen S. Hall (see him and wife Mindy, right, and the lovebirds below). But as he explains in Size Matters: How Height Affects the Health, Happiness and Success of Boys—and the Men They Become, anatomy still influences destiny.
• Tall men earn more, but it's their height as adolescents that correlates most with earnings. Researchers think that's because tall teens succeed athletically and socially, building confidence and what economists call "human capital."
• Sperm banks like height: Some won't take donations from men under 5'8".
• In China, where jobs often have height requirements, cosmetic leg-lengthening surgery was increasingly common until the government banned it as dangerous this year.
• Good news for the untall: Recent animal research shows that bigger alpha males are often romantically challenged and struggle with reproductive failure—meaning females look elsewhere. "If you can't dominate physically," points out the 5'5¾" Hall, "you have to develop other skills."