Mark Hartley, Editor
Since I possess no formal artistic training, all I can say is that I liked the feel of this month`s cover. I liked it very much. I strolled down the hall to tell Mike Reeder, the artist, that, in my opinion, his effort resulted in the best RDH cover in many months. Since I dropped out of an art appreciation class in college, I had to compliment in simple terms, such as in Life cereal commercials, what I liked about it: "Marky likes it." Then, with the acerbic wit reflecting my training as a journalist, I cracked, "You got a thing for Barbra Streisand, don`t you?"
As striking as I thought the cover was, I thought I was peeking at a resemblance of the Chairwoman of the Board, the queen of song. If you disagree, I`ll admit that it has been too long since I`ve seen Streisand do anything: sing, act, direct, or produce. That`s sort of the irony about the cover. The woman depicted reminds me of Streisand. During the days when I visited the movie theater at least once a week, it seemed that Streisand always played these scatterbrained characters opposite George Segal, Ryan O`Neal, etc. Since that era, she obviously has influenced the film industry with several critically acclaimed movies. However, by that point, I was going to the theater only once or twice a year. Lost World and Independence Day were the last two movies I`ve seen in a theater. I don`t think the movies I watch these days are her style.
So, if we`re playing a word association game, and you say, "Streisand," I probably won`t reply, "With dignity" - the words that appeared on the cover. I`ll be remembering her zanier roles.
Image is a subjective opinion. Cindy Quinn, in this month`s article on professional demeanor, thankfully doesn`t spend much time on the relationship between appearance and a professional image. Although she points out that body language and your physical influence on a patient`s sensory perceptions are important, she focuses more on building, as the cover suggests, a dignified demeanor in the work setting.
I say, "thankfully," because I believe people tend to worry unnecessarily about their self-image. I`m more likely to kiss the feet of a pop psychologist who says "be yourself" than someone who outlines a standard that dental professionals should conform to. As consumers, we frequently are serviced by people who, at first glance, cause us to arch our eyebrows skeptically. Then their delivery of services, attention to detail, etc. always pleasantly surprises us. Of course, the opposite is true too. We receive poor service from "independent-minded" employees who think braids hanging down over their faces entitle them to be rude and inconsiderate.
I think patients will always make note of your image, as expressed by your personality and appearance. If this hurdle is cleared, then the next thing determined will be your dedication to your job. If patients perceive your passion for your work, I think they will be forgiving of any incorrect or correct assumptions made about you as an individual. So Quinn`s points about behavior are well-taken. Her lack of emphasis on the relationship between appearance and image is appreciated. Let us strive for integrity without being conformists. Be yourself. Let your passion for dentistry show.