Two Asian couples posing together.

Forget tall, dark, and handsome — last year’s short king phenomenon gave rise to the pros of dating shorter men. Cue Zendaya and Tom Holland and their noticeable height difference, not to mention the vertically gifted Sophie Turner and her significantly shorter hubby, Joe Jonas.

But while dating shorter men has become à la mode, not all women are happy to stand more than toe to toe with their . With more than a few centimeters over their beaus, these three Filipinas: Corinna Pettyjohn, Eileen Marcelo-Sinha and Trish de Castro-Tang, are examples of why one shouldn’t be afraid to don and walk tall and proud beside the men they love. Here are their stories...

They Love Being Tall Girls

In a country where a is 4’11”, any Filipina who stands beyond 5’3” is considered tall. Corinna, standing at 5’7”, admits she is the shortest in a long line of tall women in her family. While she may already stick out in a crowd, Corinna’s ramrod-straight boosts her height an inch further.

It’s attention that she’s comfortable with, just like Eileen, who wears chunky shoes with . “I think I’m still growing, ”she shares. “My husband and I used to be the same height, but now I’m taller than him, even in flats.” Not to be left out of the chunky shoe trend, Mayank, Eileen’s husband, isn’t afraid to wear his own pair of height-boosting kicks. But it’s not a matter of self-consciousness, it’s more to bring himself closer in height to his statuesque wife.

It’s a refreshing change from women trying to shrink themselves, in the fear that they may be looked at funny if they are any kind of bigger — whether it’s vertically or horizontally — than their partners. It's the typical small-minded triviality that may have prevented relationships from flourishing or even starting: just ask Corinna, Eileen, and Trish.

They’ve Heard All the Jokes 

While being likened to Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman might be an insult to some, to Trish and her husband Jaguar, it’s become an endearing inside joke. “We had a friend who’d tease us and call us Tom and Nicole so we decided to make it an official hashtag on social media for every formal wear photo we’d post,” Trish reveals.

Corinna has experienced her fair share of teasing but never lets it get to her. Both she and her partner are unbothered by silly remarks about height. She adds, “It really shouldn’t bother him. I don’t think people look down on shorter men as much as wonder what they must have got to end up with tall, beautiful women.”

It’s More Than Just Height

For these three women, finding someone to be in a happy marriage or relationship with goes beyond height. The biggest deal breakers? A good sense of humor as well as social, emotional, sexual, and intellectual compatibility.

Trish, who is slightly taller than her husband at 5’7”, admits that she’s always believed that one’s heart and values trump everything else. “When I met my husband, I was attracted mainly to his sense of humor and how warm he seemed when we would talk and share stories,” she explains. Eileen feels the same way: “What carries weight is that we laugh at the silliest things. Even if my jokes are in English, the thought is in Filipino but they’re still funny to him.”

For Corinna, height never mattered, just like any arbitrary standard of beauty like or breast size. She adds, “I think a lot of the time, being with someone taller is really a desire for a strong, confident, larger-than-life presence. In reality, that has very little to do with height.”

Neutralizing insecurities may be easier said than done, especially when there are so many biases left unchecked and so much judgment in the world. But women who are comfortable being in a relationship with a major height difference are likely to be very with themselves. They are confident enough to take the jokes, the stares, and the comments, and aren’t afraid to break . These three women are (literally) above society’s stereotypes and patriarchy-standardized relationship tips on who you should and shouldn’t be with.

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