So, I was just minding my own business while having a manicure and pedicure… when a cheery, little teenage girl said to me, “My dad would NEVER do that!” I smiled and responded that any guy who wants girls to like him had better get in touch with his feminine side. 

There’s an old saying: “If Mama’s happy, everyone’s happy!” In optometry, we know this to be true, and for those of us who don’t have the advantage of being female, we’d better get in touch with our feminine side if we expect any family to stay with us for more than one measly examination. Guys don’t want the responsibility of choosing doctors. Even guys who are doctors don’t want that responsibility. We’d rather spend our valuable time performing important tasks like checking air pressure in tires—which, by the way, is hell on your nails. 

Moms are the medical decision makers, so they deserve most of our attention. If you don’t believe me, try this experiment: If your 25-year-old male contact lens patient misses his yearly exam, call his Dad and tattle. You’ll never see the patient again. Instead, call Mom. The kid will be at the door when you get there tomorrow morning. 

Oh, I know—calling Mom about her adult son’s tardiness is probably some kind of a HIPAA violation, right? I’m willing to face the Federales as long as the Mom is there to defend me. Even the Feds fade when Mama’s not happy. 

Oddly, I hear that sometimes female patients don’t give female doctors the respect they deserve, and even sometimes assume the doctor is the assistant. Part of that is just innocent ignorance or maybe even unwarranted prejudice. Like the man said, you can’t fix stupid. 

But those moments are, I believe, becoming rarer each year as highly qualified women enter the medical field and take great care of patients while we old buzzards still spend half the exam chatting about a trophy fish or that amazing putt three years ago. Women listen to the patients. Guys listen to themselves. 

So, fellas, it’s time for a change. I know you hate to change. (So do I.) But here are a few tips to get you in touch with your very own feminine side while not losing what little testosterone you have left. 

1. Listen. If you just can’t listen, then keep your comments to things like “I see” or “OK” or “Hmm, wow.” The Moms in charge will think you are listening. 

2. Compliment. You heard me. Say something nice like, “Now that’s what I call a nose ring!” Women compliment other women. You should try it, bud. 

3. Speak “easy.” Ask them to choose the lens that makes them “see easier” not “better.” Men think in terms of “Which is better, one or two?” because we are too goofy to pay attention to all the lovely shades of grey that lie between. Use “easier.” Mom will know just what you mean.

4. Sell the truth. We all know the right frame is like an instant facelift, and costs a lot less money. This is the time it pays to be honest—be excited and tell them that your assistant will be able to find the frame that makes their eyes and whole face look younger… Done! Sold! Even old men want that!

After work, go get a manicure and pedicure. They’ll never see your feet, but trust me—your little piggies will be in hog heaven. And your hands? Your hands look like crap! Deal with them and watch your practice grow!