Feb 27, 2010  •  In Korean, Personal, Relationships, Sports

Genetically Gifted

I once dated a guy who informed me on our third date that while he found me very attractive, thought that I was intelligent, funny, and met many of his criteria, he could never see the relationship progressing to a serious level because he could never marry someone like me.

“Um…why not?”

“Because you’re so petite.”

“What does being short have to do with anything?”

“I always wanted to marry someone tall and lean, with long, graceful limbs so that our kids will have the same traits.”

I took a cold hard look at him. He stood tall at 6’1″ with the lean build and long limbs that he so desired in his partner. He was fairly attractive and had the physical attributes of what our modern world considers genetically gifted.

I then considered myself. I do not think I’m too attractive, but I wouldn’t label myself an uggo either. However, I am flat-out short at 5’1″. I have short arms and legs. And while I’m short, I’m also curvy. I am by no means “lean.”

This guy and I got along well, made each other laugh, and the physical attraction was definitely there. I really thought I could see a future with him…until we had this conversation, that is.

Needless to day, the relationship did not progress much after this date. Who was I to deny this man [what he considers] genetic gifts he would like passed down to his children?

Soon, the guy faded into memory, stored in the deep corner of my brain labeled “assholes I’ve dated prior to meeting J.” However, I was forced to revisit the file when yesterday, I read an article entitled “Kim Yu-na’s Body Shape Sets Her Apart” in The Chosun Ilbo (one of Korea’s most prominent newspapers).

The Korean media is known for tediously analyzing celebrities’ physical attributes, even going as far as to whipping out measuring tapes mid-interview. This article is no exception; the Olympic gold medalist’s body is placed on a pedestal for observation and admiration.

Kim’s body proportion is often said to be the perfect golden ratio. The Chosun Ilbo has obtained her measurements from uniform maker INS 102, which measured Kim at a hotel in Seoul in December.

Standing 164 cm tall and weighing 47 kg [104 lbs], Kim’s lower body from waist to the ankle bone measures 96 cm [38 in], almost double the length of her torso, which is 50 cm [20 in]. Fashion stylist Kim Seong-il said, “With normal people, if the ratio of the upper and the lower body is 4.5:5.5, we consider them long-legged. Because of her long legs, Kim’s jumps look bigger and more elegant.”

Her long and slender arms, which measure 68 cm [27 in], also help boost her expression grade. Dr Chung Jae-young at Jelim Plastic Surgery Clinic said, “Normally, the length of your arms stretched out matches your height. But for Kim, the length of both arms plus her shoulder width, which is 46cm [18 in], is almost 180 cm [71 in]. Her arms are very long.” That makes small arm movements look softer and more fluid.

So essentially, Kim Yu-Na’s body shape is ideal for being a figure skater. Her long legs give the illusion of higher and more elegant jumps. Her long arms help her movements look more graceful.

It goes by no surprise that the large majority of successful athletes were dealt the lucky hand in the gene pool — what is the percentage of NBA players who stand under 6’4″ tall? Or NFL linebackers who weigh under 230 lbs? Genetics definitely go on to play significant roles in many athlete’s lives, and Kim Yu-Na is no exception.

Upon further examination of the article, the line “overdevelopment of muscles in certain parts of the body such as upper arms or thighs can make movements look stiff” caught my eye. I have thick arms and legs, mostly due to the fact that when I work out, I tend to easily build muscle mass in my upper arms and thighs. Is this why I have never been considered graceful?

I am obviously not a professional athlete. But after pondering the conversation I had with the man above, as well as what the Chosun Ilbo article implies, I couldn’t help but wonder what if. What if I had been tall (both my parents are short)? What if I had been given a leaner, longer body type? Would I have become more successful in my professional, athletic, and romantic life?

I can honestly say that I did not consciously choose to marry J based on his genes. However, the fact that he’s attractive, fairly tall, and musically as well as athletically gifted did not hurt. I am certain that the same holds true for J. Whenever I get worried that our kids will have my short genes, he says, “Don’t worry — just look at Ray Rice or Nate Robinson!”

How many of you are/were on the lookout for
good genes when choosing a partner?

Would you ever reject a potential partner due to that fact that he/she does not posess the genetic traits you would like passed down to your kids?

13 Responses to “Genetically Gifted”

  1. I feel like measuring my legs and torso now.

    I was told that i had pretty long legs for my height (5’4").. I had a friend who was the same height as me, but she was a good 4" longer in the waist.

  2. Jessica:

    I considered it briefly, but not seriously. I have red hair and would love to have a red-headed daughter, but my husband’s dark hair and dark eyes might win the genetic war over my recessive traits. We’ll see what happens.

    My question to you is why this guy made it to a third date. If he’s got superficial requirements, why even have one date with someone who clearly doesn’t fit?

  3. Geek in Heels:

    Jessica — Good question! I think he was just looking to date around and it was nothing too serious. After all, we met at a bar! But like I said, we had a good time together (albeit brief) and although he couldn’t get around the fact that I’m short, I had met all of his other "requirements." Maybe he was trying to see if the tall thing could be made an exception in my case, then realized no?

  4. I didn’t base my relationship on genetic traits. I’m short and so is my husband. It’s probable that if we had kids, they’d also be short… but I don’t see that as much of an issue, I guess. I suppose I’d put more weight on intelligence and personality traits than physical appearance, anyway.

    Interesting topic though – just watched a movie last night, "The Invention of Lying", that touches on this topic of choosing a partner based on genetic traits. It was a cute movie, and got into that question of "well he’s a great guy but I don’t like his short genes" – I thought it was quite an exaggeration of how people view each other, but it’s funny that you experienced a guy who really was like that…that’s a little scary!

  5. Zoe:

    If I had to choose based on physicality alone, my ex had the better genes – he was 6’1” with a thick head of hair. My current boyfriend, however, is only 3 inches taller than me with a not so thick head of hair. It’d be nice if he had been more genetically gifted, but I love him too much to care. :P I’ll just have to cross my fingers that my family’s genes will dominate. (but I hope our kids get his brains, hehe)

    In both cases though, I was not consciously aware of their physical attributes when deciding to date them. We were friends first, and when we did start dating, their physical attributes just came along for the ride.

  6. Not me, and I married a very short man! But I have noticed how Kim Yu-Na’s body just looks so gorgeous compared to the other skaters.

  7. Funny that you post this! My husband always (fake) complains that my past boyfriends were fair haired & that I am going to be disappointed when our children don’t come out with blonde hair & blue eyes :) Although I do love that combo, it’s me!, I really could care less! As long as they are healthy, I will be happy!

  8. Em:

    Hmm, being tall and lean myself, I find that most men like to comment how cool it’d be if I lost 50 pounds so I could be a model (nice, right?). Or they’re intimidated by tall women. Seriously. Most men are not real comfortable dating a woman who’s almost as tall as them. In my experience, guys like petite women so they can "protect" them =]. i always assumed i’d have had more relationships if i were shorter. =]

  9. LOL! What a great topic. BF actually has pretty wicked genes – tall, muscly, sporty, smart, perfect vision – so would be awesome to pass those on. Pity they’ll get my Asian eyes instead of his blue ones though.

    But no, it’s definitely not something I’d take into consideration seriously. But OMG, one of the lectures I got from my parents at the age of 16….lecturing me about getting genetic tests before procreating with my future partner, in case he had bad genes or proclivities for certain diseases or syndromes or whatever…Christ almighty. I was STUNNED. I actually could not believe what they were saying, and I asked them if they’d done that themselves. "Of course," they said. I should have known better than to ask, really.

  10. Have you ever read Outliers? I think it speaks to some of this. But to answer your question, I don’t know if I consciously chose to be with someone for his genetic propensity. I do, however, find myself attracted to taller, leaner men. I’m not sure what that says. I’m also your height, and have always wanted to be taller. So, perhaps subconsciously that’s my way of compensating. Maybe?

  11. that’s quite a story. i’m not sure real love works like that though. well, i guess people have "types", but sometimes it’s hard to explain why things happen the way they do. if you’re happy, i say just go with it. sounds like that guy didn’t see the world that way though.

  12. Sunny:

    The answer is no, I wouldn’t reject, but intelligence is the one genetic trait that I find uncompromisable. :P

    That being said, I did find myself thinking at some pt., with one guy that I dated, how we would have genetically superior kids. Besides our intelligence, they would get the benefit of his height and nationally-ranked athletic ability, while I’d contribute my aptitude for foreign languages and musical talent. Not to mention my high metabolism and big eyes, lol. Hmm I guess I have some nice genetic gifts to pass on. ;)

    One of my exes refused to set up one of my friends with any of his friends. Why? He said she was too short and no guy would want to be with a girl who would produce short kids. In this case, the girl was below 5 ft. Superficial, but understandable, I suppose.

  13. Dani:

    My boyfriend is 6'3, lean, blonde haired and blue eyed.
    I'm 5'4, black hair, brown eyes ("ethnic" lol).

    We actually frequently joke about what a crap-shoot it would be if we have kids, we would have no idea what they would look like. I think it would be interesting if they had my almond shaped eyes that were blue like his. Or his blue eyes with my darker skin and hair.

    But no…genes did not play a factor in us being together.

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