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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?