I think Henry, in the comments last night, has the answer:
It's because he has a big head.Yes! I did notice his head was huge. He was wearing a white shirt and blue jeans, not the business suit he always wore for the debates. A suit jacket enlarges the shoulders and the upper chest, making a very large-headed man seem to have more average proportions. But the head itself, unbalanced by a shoulder-padded suit jacket, fools the eye into seeing the body as small.
Here's fashion-and-politics expert Robin Givhan explaining — to me! — the magic of the man's suit:
And here we are later, talking about suits:
Anyway... I know you expect me to get to some deeper analysis about the mysterious feeling of fakeness that people seem to get from Romney. How could he seem less like what he really is when he's there in person? Or something about human beings whose mental dimension is way out of proportion to their fleshly realm below the neck. Something about sexuality, perhaps? Eh. I don't know. You can work on that in the comments. I have other posts to post this Monday morning. I'll just say that Romney was gorgeous in person. He was a perfect dreamboat. Absolutely handsome.
And I don't mean in any way to imply that 5'9" isn't a good height for a man. It's exactly the average height for an American man. It's the height of my husband. (And my ex-husband.) It's just perfect, in my view — very proportionate... though if you're a big-headed man, it might make your head look really huge.
But what do with think of big-headed men? Henry, the commenter who solved my Romney-looks-tiny puzzle, said:
Big head politicians do quite well. Teddy Roosevelt had a big head. William Howard Taft had a big body. There you go.Looking back over all the men who have been President during my lifetime, I think they all had big heads. Tall, with big heads.
IN THE COMMENTS: Peter Hoh says:
Why did he seem so small in person? Is it an optical illusion?Aw, you know, I think he was adorable in that trees are the right height clip. And I understand exactly what he meant: When you go back to the place where you grew up, you see what is — for you, subjectively — normal.
Maybe he's best viewed in a state in which the trees are the right height.