Why a Bow Tie?

A recent Facebook contest asked Doc Smo subscribers to guess the reason behind Doc Smo’s bow ties. We got a lot of great answers, but here is the official story:


As a child, I hated to get dressed up. My mother and I had many an argument about me wearing sports coats, ties, and dress shoes. After I left home for college, I didn’t even own a tie. Then came medical school and residency. Dress code there was slacks, sneakers, and a clean shirt; that fit in with my fashion ethos. Finally at age 30, I got my first real job as a pediatrician in a growing community, Charlotte N.C. My partners all wore traditional neck ties to work each day, and they made it clear that I was expected to do the same. I started down the traditional hang-down neck tie road for the first few months of my private practice medical career, until I realized that leaning over babies with open diapers was very hazardous when one had on a traditional tie. Additionally, I frequently dropped food onto my neck tie. This made for a particularly bad look, so I decided to make a change. That’s when I came up with the idea of a bow tie: out of the way of falling lunch and the dirty diapers I spent my life with. Soon, I became known as the bow tie doctor. The kids seemed to enjoy guessing what color tie I would have on on the day of their visit, and 32 years later I am still wearing them. Some of my graduating patients have even asked me for some of my ties so that they could start their own bow tie habit. I have been happy to oblige, giving quite a few of my older ties away to young aspiring Doc Smos. What started out as a practical move has turned out to become my brand.  Strange how life does that.


Congratulations to Carole Everette Hartman, Betsy Olinger, Christy Byrum, and Becky Agnew Cato for chiming in with the correct answer! Contact us through Facebook or at docsmopedcast_at_gmail_dot_com to claim your very own DocSmo t-shirt! And thanks to everyone else for checking out the Doc Smo page and for being a part of the Pedcast family.

6 Comments

  1. Carol Hartman says:

    Carol wrote: “I would guess that it was for practical reasons as well as your good taste; as a pediatrician, a neck tie might be in your way as you had to lean down or over your little patients to examine them. Also, little hands could grab a neck tie more easily than a bow tie. :)”

  2. Betsy says:

    Betsy wrote: “Neckwear is not easily laundered or dry cleaned. When leaning over a patient, a traditional tie could touch the patient and transfer germs to another patient.”

  3. Becky says:

    Becky wrote: “Yep, I would guess either safety or sanitary reasons as well. If you’re leaning over talking to little kids a lot, a regular tie will be in the way.”

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