Respectful Insolence

Drunk with scrubs

Just as a brief followup to my post about being carded twice in a bar despite being a member of the over 40 crowd, I can’t help but make a brief comment on something else that happened while we were sitting back enjoying some beer.

We were inside, but there was an outdoor sidewalk cafe area with tables as well. As I was sitting there sipping my brew, I noticed a guy in surgical scrubs showing up in the outdoor area. Not surprisingly, he appeared to be trying to chat up a couple of young women who were also out there.

I had to restrain myself from bursting out in laughter.

OK, I suppose it’s possible that he had just gotten out of the hospital (there was one just down the road a few blocks) and didn’t have the time or the inclination to change into some street clothes before heading to the bar. Possible, but not likely. Let’s face it, in practice, the only reason that a doctor goes to a bar dressed in surgical scrubs is to proclaim loudly to the assembled females there: “Hey, I’m a doctor. I make a lot of money.” (Or soon will when I finish training.) There’s such a thing as being too obvious, and this is about as obvious as it gets. Indeed, when I was in medical school, we used to joke about a couple of our classmates who did the same thing.

So, fellow male doctors or doctors-to-be, be you residents or medical students, just let it be known that, if you do show up in scrubs to a bar or a party where members of the opposite sex are in abundance, pretty much any health care professionals, including doctors and nurses, are probably secretly (or not-so-secretly) laughing their asses off at your pathetic obviousness. I know I was at this guy. Chances are, any women with half a brain are laughing their asses off, too.

On the other hand, I’m guessing that this technique, if it works at all, only works on women with less than half a brain.

Comments

  1. #1 Joe
    June 3, 2007

    That really is desperate and sad.

    BTW, can you suggest where I can get some scrubs, for purely research purposes?

  2. #2 Mike Saelim
    June 3, 2007

    Perhaps he just watched the episode of Scrubs that entailed JD going to a bar and trying to nonchalantly tell everyone that he’s a doctor to pick up girls?

    If I recall correctly, it went pretty well until he vomited on her.

  3. Great posts today. I’ve seen guys doing the same thing. Plus the “I am so busy that I don’t have time to take my steth from around my neck before I go to Starbucks” Doctor.

    I guess it is not something that romance will bloom from, but it’s quick shorthand that the guy will have a job, a place and possibly some alcohol gel and wipes. Plus, he can practice bimanuals on you :)

  4. #4 shadowfax
    June 3, 2007

    perhaps it is the women with half a brain who are his target audience….

  5. #5 AnnR
    June 3, 2007

    Girls with whole brains can make their own loot…

  6. #6 MarkH
    June 3, 2007

    I really dislike this pretentious crap too. Especially when you consider that these are the clothes you wear in the hospital so that if you get covered with puke, blood, urine, crap, whatever, you can just chuck them and put on a new pair.

    It’s like going out in your pajamas, but worse.

  7. #7 Justin Moretti
    June 3, 2007

    perhaps it is the women with half a brain who are his target audience….

    Shadowfax is right on the money, I think. Women with a whole brain would be too much for this guy to deal with.

    (Someone I knew from the earlier part of my Path training recently told me that I should really be the ideal match for all the career and monetary reasons, and why the hell am I having trouble finding partners? The trouble is, those aren’t the reasons I would hope are motivating my eventual life-partner.)

    And yes, it is terribly, terribly sad.

  8. #8 Willis
    June 3, 2007

    I just watched Rushmore again the other day.

    Max: “I like your nurse’s uniform guy.”

    Luke Wilson’s character: “These are O.R. scrubs.”

    Max: “Oh, are they?”

  9. #9 Samantha Vimes
    June 3, 2007

    Obviousness isn’t always a bad thing. Men have traditionally gone places in their military dress attire, which says, “Hey! I’m a manly-man and officer to boot! As an officer I have a decent salary and expected code of behavior.” Other men go out in Armani, which says, “I’m financially successful AND I have a fashion sense.” Whatever.

    To me, scrubs could indicate nurse or orderly as well as doctor. I see RNs in scrubs all the time. So what I see when I see scrubs is someone who went into healthcare, and therefore, may be presumed to value human life and be caring. So I would be reading a different message than wealth, and one that would have more value to me. I’d also make an assumption of intelligence… which is appealing to women with more than 1/2 a brain.

    So, yeah, it may be obvious, but if he can make good conversation, etc, the scrubs would not, I think, be a social killer.

  10. #10 Justin Moretti
    June 3, 2007

    Samantha, I see your point. However, I would expect any doc who was coming out for a drink to be organized enough to change out of their scrubs before leaving the hospital, because I would not want them to have a drink (an alcoholic one at any rate), and then go back to the hospital to work that night. Especially not to drag his (or her) street-soiled scrubs through the theatre suite. So for this reason I’d have to balk at someone in scrubs.

    As for the military going out in their uniforms, I am given to understand that, at least while on deployment or on “flag waving” tours overseas, they have no choice but to wear them. Some would say that the Armani wearers are making a statement that they’re rich enough to afford inordinately expensive clothes with an eye-grabbing label, but that’s just an opinion, and not necessarily even mine.

  11. #11 DuWayne
    June 3, 2007

    I find this very amusing. Because my partners sister is a RN we have managed to inherit quite a few pairs of scrubs from a time when she wore smaller clothes. They are perfect for sitting around on hot days and I occasionally wear them for quick runs to the corner store. It never even occurred to me that someone might misinterpret the reason for my wearing them. I always put it right there with wearing pajamas to the store (something I’ve also been known to do).

    I think the worse work-wear error I have ever made, was when I forgot to take the hammer out of it’s loop in my overalls, when going out for coffee. That, coupled with the carpenters pencil, stuck in my pony tail, totally turned off the friend that a friend brought to meet me. It worked out for the best, as I met my current partner, shortly after. She thinks a decent dusting of saw dust is particularly sexy, though she does check me for tools, on the rare occasions we can go out child free.

  12. #12 Clark Bartram
    June 3, 2007

    I’ve seen it all. For instance,

    1. Man arrives at gym, walks out to the pool in very nice suit (not bathing)complete with gold, yes gold, stethoscope hanging in necktie fashion, sits out at snack bar for a while, talks to some ladies and then leaves. I am assuming he had worked out and changed into his work clothes before leaving. Did I mention it was a gold stethoscope.

    2. Man in scrubs, with stethoscope around neck, playing slots at Harrah’s in New Orleans.

    3. 1st year medical student at party, in scrubs, talking to girl at the bar. Medical student says, and I quote, “Man, I’ve been standing here so long I’m starting to get edema. Oh, sorry, that’s medical talk. I’m in medical school.”

    4. Many episodes of men, and one woman, wearing their white coat with stethoscope while grocery shopping

    5. Even more frequent stethoscope hanging from rear view mirror sightings. What is up with that. I get it, you own a stethoscope!

  13. #13 Samantha Vimes
    June 3, 2007

    I think I should add in my area there are a lot of medical offices, hospitals, etc, so I frequently see women shopping in their scrubs. I think that’s why I’d just assume the guy in scrubs in the bar was supposed to meet someone there after work and was running late.

  14. #14 HCN
    June 3, 2007

    I live between two hospitals… I see folks in scrubs all the time, complete with their ID badge. When my kids were little I took them to a particular nearby playground on sunny days because it had lots of nice shade trees. Occasionally I’d see some kids watched over by someone in scrubs… they were patients from the children’s hospital across the street.

    I don’t think any of the people I’ve seen in scrubs were doctors. They all seem to be nurses and medical techs.

    Also, for some folks… they own their own scrubs (possibly working in one of the many medical offices near the hospitals), plus some have made their own custom scrubs with funky patterns:
    http://www.simplicity.com/dv1_v4.cfm?design=4378

  15. #15 RyanG
    June 3, 2007

    You can’t just wear scrubs when you’re not on duty. You’ve got to be subtle.

    Back of a favorite t-shirt: Sleep Safely. Sleep Soundly. Sleep with a Paramedic.

  16. #16 Paul
    June 3, 2007

    There is a good possibility that the person was not even employed in the medical field. Surgical scrubs have been “cool” for some time, and are commonly seen out and about being worn by people who wouldn’t know one end of a stethoscope from another.

  17. #17 Jon H
    June 4, 2007

    “Samantha, I see your point. However, I would expect any doc who was coming out for a drink to be organized enough to change out of their scrubs before leaving the hospital, because I would not want them to have a drink (an alcoholic one at any rate), and then go back to the hospital to work that night. Especially not to drag his (or her) street-soiled scrubs through the theatre suite. So for this reason I’d have to balk at someone in scrubs.”

    It’s also possible that the person *did* change – into a clean set of scrubs.

    I mean, why muss a clean set of ‘real’ clothes if they might just be worn on your way to and from work? If some doctors work where the expected attire is shirt & tie or scrubs, I can totally see them going for scrubs as much as possible. If only to cut down on the ironing.

  18. #18 Joe
    June 4, 2007

    When I was a post-doc I noticed a full professor walking around in a white labcoat all day, every day. That is odd because a) chemists rarely wear them, and b) people with his seniority seldom venture into a lab. I asked a student if the guy still worked at the bench. She laughed and said “He wears it because he isn’t one of us. He has an MD, instead of a PhD.”

  19. #19 Tanta
    June 4, 2007

    Last year, I was sitting in the waiting room at the cancer center, terribly uncomfortable in my pre-cancer, pre-surgery clothing–swollen, painful abdomen chafed by pants too small, cachetic limbs engulfed by pants and sleeves too large, fussing over a bloodstain on my blouse in that spot that always rubs the corner of the dressing off–when it dawned on me that those nurse scrubs were probably not very expensive. Indeed, I discovered that they are made with a drawstring waist–helpful for someone whose proportions had become very odd–and they have all these pockets, and you can buy three sets, pants and jacket, for $50 on the sale rack at the uniform store if you aren’t particularly choosy about the color. And if you’re a classic bald chemo patient with the comically-shaped body, you find yourself unconcerned about fashion. I wore the things all summer.

    Lord, mercy, but did it annoy the hospital. Apparently some people see scrubs and think you work there. And that perhaps the people who work there ought not look like mange-ridden pale shaky homeless drug addicts who just woke up after a three-week bender. They’d all have been a lot happier, I suspect, had I wandered around in a backless gown, mooning and all, but hey, that’s what you people get when you allow outpatients into the joint.

    So worry not, medical professionals. For every shallow little snot trying to impress the chicks with the scrubs, there’s some clever little patient like me ruining the effect. I say you’d better hope I don’t buy myself a stethoscope.

  20. #20 William the Coroner
    June 4, 2007

    For us, the whole point of scrubs is to go to work in your jammies, wander around all day comfortably, and then head home. Of course, considering all the smeg that gets on them in a hosptial, I don’t want to wear my good clothes there. I did know a bone pathologist who flew in his scrubs and labcoat, which struck me as way pretentious.

    But no one, really, wants to date pathologists. Or have dinner with them.

  21. #21 Xerxes1729
    June 4, 2007

    I saw a surgeon I know wearing scrubs at the post office. I thought it was strange, but it’s unlikely he was trying to pick up women.

  22. #22 V
    June 4, 2007

    The hospital where I did my med school surg rotation had 2 sets of scrubs. One was for the OR & only to be used there. The other set was to be worn around the hospital. Perhaps that was the case with your barfly.

    And I’ve been on elevators’visiting a relative in another hospital, where there were young residents all but crowing “Look at me!! I’m a doctor.” I giggled to myself & didn’t crow back “Me too!! You’ll have to try harder to impress me.”

    I think the issue is not necessarily the wearing of scrubs. I’ve copped a few from my training & they make great jammies. It is the attitude of “Look at me!! I’m special!!” That never worked for me. But, a self-confident guy, regardless of his job, was way more attractive.

    V

  23. #23 TheProbe
    June 4, 2007

    Speaking of being carded…a 7Eleven fellow carded a NY State Trooper, in uniform, who was buying cigarettes.

    The trooper looked under 18.

  24. #24 James
    June 5, 2007

    About 10 years ago my parents were visiting Atlanta and my father was carded (he was just under 40 at this time). The problem was that this was before New Zealand drivers licenses carried a photo and he had left his passport at the hotel.

    Fortunately a kind stranger was willing to buy him a beer.

  25. #25 studentdoctor
    June 5, 2007

    Consequently the whole “scrubs” thing works for women, despite not actually looking for a guy.
    I was once out with some friends at dinner when a guy randomly walked up to me and stated that it would be “so hot to do a girl who could resuscitate me, and probably would have too”
    Two questions…
    Why are scrubs on women hot?
    Why are men so slimey?

    and if it makes you feel better I still get carded for things that you have to be 18 to buy.

  26. #26 Justin Moretti
    June 5, 2007

    But no one, really, wants to date pathologists. Or have dinner with them.

    Do pathology trainees count?

    I could nominate two pathologists I would be more than happy to date, or even simply have dinner with (but you’d probably say it didn’t count because as a path trainee I’m one of ‘them’ anyway).

    Not all of us are morbid ghouls who walk around with bits of dead bodies under our fingernails and use cadaverine for aftershave (or perfume, for the ladies), you know…

    PS: To studentdoctor – men are not slimey. Sub-bacterial filth is slimey. Slime moulds are slimey. But real men – gentlemen, that is – are not. As for scrubs being hot on women, I don’t know. But… well, I have to agree with that one. They are. Maybe it’s because they’ve traditionally been cut and tailored for men, and when women wear them, all the right curves jut out in all the right places?

  27. #27 RalPac
    June 5, 2007

    Must say that I really don’t like to wear scrubs. Have a few pair rolled up in the closet. Good for painting, mowing, and changing the oil in my bike. Prefer casual dress pants and shirt. No tie. Stethoscope has been laying somewhere in the backseat of my truck for some time. I can always borrow one at work. I guess I don’t have a problem with health care folks walking around in scrubs in public. My question to all of you is: How in heck can you tell? In my experience, I run into more non-medical people in scrubs; the cafeteria lady at my son’s school, the chick working at the hair salon, the dude waxing the floors at WalMart at two in the morning. I don’t need to undergo the quizzing encountered at the checkout line at the grocery store.

  28. #28 RalPac
    June 5, 2007

    Must say that I really don’t like to wear scrubs. If I’m pulling an ED shift I’ll slap some on. Have a few pair rolled up in the closet. Good for painting, mowing, and changing the oil in my vehicle. Prefer casual dress pants and shirt. No tie. Stethoscope has been laying somewhere in the backseat of my truck for some time. I can always borrow one at work for thirty seconds. I guess I don’t have a problem with health care folks walking around in scrubs in public. My question to all of you is: How in heck can you tell? In my experience, I run into more non-medical people in scrubs; the cafeteria lady at my son’s school, the chick working at the hair salon, the dude waxing the floors at WalMart at two in the morning. I don’t need to undergo the quizzing encountered at the checkout line at the grocery store.

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