I always find it fascinating when status hierarchies contract themselves.  Take a billionaire prostitute like our very own Marsha for example.  When it comes to wealth she’s at the top of the hierarchy, but when it comes to occupational prestige, she’s rock bottom.

When it comes to men, physical status is determined by both height and body mass.  Both tall men and muscular men act like they superior to short and scrawny men, patting them on the back like their kids and addressing them with condescending terms like “buddy,””chief” and “tiger”.  

But what happens when these hierarchies conflict:  A tall skinny man vs a short muscular man.  Which one has more status?  Who condescends to who?

I once read an anecdote about some huge bodybuilder of mediocre height who was yelling at his girlfriend from so far away it was impossible to tell who he was yelling at.  Meanwhile some tall scrawny nerd walked by and said “I know you’re not talking to me in that tone.”  The bodybuilder was furious that despite being built like a tank and devoting hos whole life to working out, some scrawny nerd was acting like he was tougher, simply because of height.

Among white American males, one standard deviation of height is 2.9 inches, meaning men typically differ by 2.9 inches in height.  The comparable standard deviation for fat-free body weight is 27 lbs.  If you could permanently increase your height, but only by a comparable and permanent decrease in lean weight, would you do it?  If you could permanently increase your lean weight, but only by permanently decreasing your height, would you do that instead?

Lee Priest is an example of a guy who’s about 2 standard deviations below average in height, yet about 2 standard deviations above average in lean weight, making him both the biggest and shortest guy in almost every room he walks into.  How does that affect his place in the male status hierarchy?

Teejay Briton is at the opposite end of the spectrum:

 

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