Sunday, June 1, 2008

The theme of the week is clearly vanity

Between the white coat shopping and the ID photo trauma, there's no getting around my focus this week. Maybe obsessing over my appearance is helping me keep from obsessing over the boards?

It's true, though: I am very, very vain. I can make excuses all I want about how appearances matter and how there's not much else for a patient to judge a med student on in our 15 minute interactions (attending and residents will, I hope, judge us all on something else; hence the obsessive board study.) But let's be honest -- I'd be vain if I were working in a lab with nothing but microscopes to look back at me.

Sometimes I think it must be left over from a life spent mostly on stages. Though I've chosen medicine as a career, it's only really been 4 years that I've had my sights set on the M.D. (compared with 20 that I spent performing in some capacity or another.) In fact, I supported the first chunk of my pre-med education working at a bar where my tips came pretty much solely from that fact that our patrons liked looking at me (they certainly weren't paying me for my undrinkable Long Island Ice Teas.)

M-squared doesn't help either (love ya babe.) He teases me, sure, but he's almost as image conscious as I am (again, a life spent on stages.) I mean, what other couple do you know stands in from of mirrors in their underwear discussing what parts of their bodies they should work on at the gym? And isn't even remotely offended by the other's suggestions?

Of course, like any other pathology, vanity is only a problem if it starts interfering with your life. But even if I decide I'm spending too much time obsessing over my reflection, is there a cure? A pill? A detox program? A Narcissus Anonymous group? How do you beat back the vain?

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