President John F. Kennedy: Physical Description, Behavior and Personality

About the physical description, personality, and behavior of President of the United States John F. Kennedy, his height, weight.

His Person: John Kennedy was 6'1" tall, and he kept his weight at a slender 175. He had cool gray eyes and light brown hair-several shades lighter than it usually appeared in photographs. He was noted for his elegant and expensive wardrobe, and always took great care with his clothing. He changed his clothes from the skin out at least twice each day, and often wore as many as 4 different shirts in a single day. He particularly disliked button-down collars, and ordered the members of his staff to stop wearing them. He also disliked hats-convinced that they made him look silly. This created a problem with the hat industry when Kennedy was President-the public was so impressed with their hatless President that sales had dropped off sharply. Yet he continued to ignore pleas that he allow himself to be photographed in some fedora. This continued to his dying day, when he went through the Texas ritual of being presented a cowboy hat in Fort Worth, yet steadfastly refused to put it on, despite the wishes of 2,000 Texans.

Kennedy's enthusiastic pursuit of physical fitness was well known. Despite his had back, he enjoyed touch football, golf, and sailing; and he also exercised every day in his bedroom, in the White House gym, or even on the floor of his jet plane. At one point, he became so annoyed with the "flabbiness" of his staff, that he asked them to lose 5 lbs. each. Kennedy himself was little interested in food-he was strictly a "meat and potatoes man" who, according to a close friend, "always ate as if somebody were about to grab his plate." Kennedy was a modest drinker-occasionally he would enjoy a daiquiri or a bloody Mary, but seldom more than one in an evening. All his life, he disliked people who put their hands on him, and despised the habits of old-time politicians who tried to throw friendly arms over his shoulders. Though he learned to shake hands with the public like any other politician, he was distinctly uncomfortable with handshakes that lasted more than a second.

Kennedy enjoyed going to the movies, and his favorites were Westerns and Civil War pictures. If a film did not meet with his approval, however, he was reluctant to waste his time with it: He would tell his companions, "Let's haul it out of here," and expect them to leave the theater with him. His ability as a speed-reader amazed his colleagues; he could read close to 2,000 words per minute with 95% comprehension. Every morning he would read 4 newspapers in the course of 15 minutes, and then be prepared to discuss in detail any of the articles in each of them. He was impatient with people who digested material at a slower rate, and would sometimes tell them: "I asked you to read it-not to memorize it."

Everyone who met Jack Kennedy came away impressed by his sense of humor. He particularly enjoyed laughing at himself. Once, during the early stages of his campaign for the Presidency, he told a private gathering in Washington: "I have just received the following telegram from my generous daddy. It says, 'Dear Jack: Don't buy a single vote more than necessary. I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for a landslide.'" His humor also had a sadistic edge and he delighted in embarrassing his friends and his staff. When his brother paid his daily visit to the presidential office, for instance, Kennedy would often call in his aide Kenny O'Donnell and say: "Now-tell Bobby why you think that idea of his is terrible."

At work or at play, Kennedy had to win, and his temper occasionally flared up at touch foot-ball partners who put out less than the maximum effort. Once, during the Bay of Pigs crisis, he tried to relax by playing checkers with his old friend Undersecretary of the Navy "Red" Fay. When it became clear that Fay was winning their 1st game, JFK deliberately upset the board. "One of those unfortunate incidents of life, Redhead," he smiled. "We'll never really know if the Undersecretary was going to outmaneuver the Commander-in-chief strategically."

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