I’m not a ginormous person. Not hulking. Not alpine. I couldn’t, like, take down Ann Coulter in a cage fight, although I’d really enjoy trying. But at five-foot-ten and prone to heels, I’m on the lanky side.
Still, I’m astonished how many readers meet me and make this exact comment:
“Wow. You look so much … shorter in your photo.”
I get it all the time. As if it were a perfectly rational thing to say. As if they believed my column mugshot were actual size, and the rest of my body should be six, seven inches tall.
“You’re big,” people inform me. “We thought you were this petite little thing.” They don’t say it in a “Wow, life is full of fun surprises” kind of way. They say it like it’s disconcerting. Like I’ve forever destroyed their ability to trust themselves.
One woman actually held up my book, pointed to the author photo on the back and said to her friend, “Look at her! That’s a small person, I’m sorry.”
The first few times it happened, I let it go. Chuckled, shrugged, tried not to feel like a freak. Maybe squatted a bit, trying to slowly, surreptitiously shrink down to the size folks picture me to be. The size they really, really want me to be.