Can we talk about grooming?

Now, many of you are probably wondering, given the way I looked when you last saw me, what makes me an expert on style and beauty? OK, you got me there. On the other hand, where else you gonna find something this important in an optometric journal? I’ve researched this. The AOA, AOS, ABO, ARBO, AAO, ABBA and the rest of optometry has never truly addressed the importance of clean pants. Until they do, I’m all you got.

So, without further ado, here I go:

1. Who in the world cuts your hair? The “Texas Chainsaw” guy? As a child of the 1960s, it hurts me to say this, but no one wants your hair in their eyes. At least tie your freak flag back.

2. Polish your shoes. I see more nasty shoes at an optometry meeting than at my musicians’ union meetings. I know you are on your feet all day but your shoes should not look like they just came off the Bataan death march, and sneakers do not help develop professional relationships with your patients. Good shoes are a must to the modern, bunion-free optometrist. I know they cost money, but so does plantar fasciitis! Trust me. Ouch.

3. Casual Fridays will not get you on the health care panel. In fact, make Friday the day you dress like Fred Astaire at the Oscars. When that frazzled, rumpled, pit-stained patient wanders in for his pressure check, he wants you to be dressed like you’re fresh as a daisy and could work all weekend just for him! Dress to impress. You have to look your very best on Fridays. Unlike me. On Fridays, I’m home in my pajamas.

4. Do you own a suit? Yes, ladies, I mean you! There’s a reason those actresses playing doctors on TV alternate between thousand-dollar power suits and amazing little black dresses. It’s because that’s what the public thinks a doctor should look like. Of course, they also think you should be dating Patrick Dempsey. But, let’s be real. Surely you ladies understand that you’re smarter and look better than the good ol’ boys of yesteryear? Look as powerful as you really are inside!

5. You fellows aren’t off the hook. Those days of slovenly belly-flopping khakis are long gone. You’d better pull your sartorial game together if you want to be respected by anyone other than your two-year-old granddaughter—the one who calls you “Sloppy Poppy.” What will your patients think when they spot you in holey jeans and flip-flops at Walmart? “Hey, see that unshaven dude with the ‘Bieber Fever’ hat and dirty fingernails? That’s my doctor! Want his office phone number?”

6. White coat at the office? I prefer that my doctors wear a white coat. At my last physical, my longtime physician was wearing some sort of Nehru shirt. I half expected him to wave crystals across my prostate. I liked it better when he had a long white lab coat with all kinds of tongue depressors and stethoscopes bulging from the 10 different pockets. His IQ went down 30 points when he walked in the room looking like George Harrison visiting the Maharishi.

Is beauty only skin deep? Does ugly go straight to the bone? Is there a reason I think my opinion matters when it comes to your grooming? Well, you’re too old for your mom to dress you. Now clean up that mess in the mirror.