Some Empathy for Tom Cruise

Now that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are divorcing, Cruise will eventually be back on the market. I’m the last guy he needs dating advice from, given gorgeous co-stars and the long line of dating interests from the past.

What I can offer him is some empathy. We’re both over 50 and he’s just slightly taller than me, 5’7″, which sounds pretty good given that I’m 5’5 1/2″ on a charitable day. Height matters because Cruise is getting some pummeling these days as writers dredge up comments about his height in fleshing out stories about his marriages and even his films. I’ll set the religious issues aside for now.

The quote that really made me gulp came from Mrs. Cruise No. 2, Nicole Kidman, the Amazon from Oz, who stuck the knife in when she was divorcing Cruise in 2001 after a decade of marriage. The quote showing up everywhere is this:

When David Letterman asked the Moulin Rouge star how she was handling her divorce from Cruise in 2001, the actress poked fun at her ex-husband’s 5’7″ stature. “I can wear heels now,” she teased.


In good fun or not, the height difference and the comment take me back to my online dating days. Women and their high heels! That combination sank embryonic contacts before we even had a chance to meet. I heard that kind of comment several times — you’re too short, I like to wear heels, I need a taller man. At some point does that thinking become obvious as self-defeating, or does it remain a primal romantic sorting mechanism, in the eternal quest for the bigger, badder bringer of the DNA for the next generation? In your late 40s and 50s, I can’t see the rugged DNA angle being much of an issue, but height-as-qualifier retains its allure, as I know from being on the short end of the measuring stick several times.

While Cruise hasn’t had any trouble dating and mating women taller than him, the post-divorce comments about his height and other even more intimate issues, courtesy of Mrs. Cruise No. 1, Mimi Rogers, who called Cruise “celibate,” have got to sting. Nobody likes to see their physical attributes or bedroom behavior slagged in the press. I imagine this all bounces off of Cruise, and won’t deter him from finding the next 20-something Tall Girl to be Mrs. Cruise No. 4. Still, I hope, just talking guy to guy here, neither Holmes nor her eventual replacement pops off about the guy on these issues. If Tom Cruise isn’t safe from that kind of talk, none of us are.


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