On Height

My girlfriend is taller than me; I am very proud of this. My partner in destiny - Lord forgive my delusion of grandeur - Nicolas Sarkozy, is evidently less proud: One of the pictures from last week showed the president of France standing beside his celebrated wife at the opening of the Union for the Mediterranean conference - Carla in flat shoes, Nicolas in stacked heels. It was a moment of historic and poetic justice: After years of pressing our women to totter around in shoes with impossibly high heels, it's payback time - the president of France in high heels, not to say on tippy-toes, adopting one of the ugliest and silliest articles of clothing, while his wife is in flat and remarkably comfortable footware.

Sarkozy aspires to perpetuate the old order that dictates doing everything but everything not to spoil the line. That's the way we men are: We want our women to be tall, but by no means too tall. Statuesque, but not, heaven forbid, more than us. There is nothing that threatens our standing more than a woman who is taller than us. The standard man must always be older and taller than his wife. The time has come to put an end to this folly. After women have burned their bras, it is also time to be liberated from artificial heels.

Sarkozy looks ridiculous in his heels. That is precisely how those women sentenced to high-heeled shoes look, teetering on their towers, all to satisfy men's desires, all to appear more "sexy" and slender. Take a look at a well-dressed couple crossing the street: She leans on him lest she stumble on her stilts, wracked with pain; he marches forth in his comfy shoes.

It is high time to say that height doesn't matter. From Napoleon to Tom Cruise, from Sarkozy to Sheldon Adelson (another stacked-heels guy), all need to be told: Free yourselves of your inferiority complex. Your women are allowed to be and look taller than you. Not a hair on your head will be hurt by that. Your honor will not be trampled underfoot, heaven forfend.

At the same time, the women must be told: You're uncomfortable in heels? Toss them on the ash heap of history. Just as the comb-over hairdos make men look ridiculous, thinking that three hairs stretched from the nape of the neck to the forehead cover an embarrassing baldness, another few centimeters of metal heels achieve nothing. Let nature have its say.

This social edict conveyed to women is not accidental. It is another link in a very long chain of dictates that treat a woman's body as an eternal round of improvements: treatments, operations, corsets, clothing so tight you can't breathe, hair dyes, makeup, plucking, waxing, hairdos and diets - and heels. If we don't rid ourselves of the heel handicap, perhaps thanks to the president of France we will at least reach a dignified tie: Short men will grow sky-high on heels, exactly like women. And by the way, my girlfriend occasionally wears high heels.