Friday, February 13, 2009

Bow Tie Friday

This all started because, after three years of being a drug rep, I still had doctors that didn't know my name. This bugged the hell out of me because "Relationship Building" has always been one of my strengths. I know their spouses, their dirty jokes and their taste in movies. I have a little file in my head for every doctor and I'm not afraid to use it. I'm good at this, damn it! Some of my doctors, it turns out, thought of me as just another drug rep. A nameless, faceless automaton who dropped off samples and brought lunch for the office. They didn't know who I was, what I sold and had no idea I had a secret life as a screenwriter.

I set out to raise my profile.

Step One: Grow a beard.

I went home to Michigan for Christmas. It was cold. I refuse to shave on vacation and when I got back to Los Angeles, I had a halfway respectable beard. I had never seen another rep with a beard, so I figured, what the hell, right?

EVERYBODY had to tell me how they felt about my fresh scruff. Admins, nurses, echo techs and, most importantly, doctors. My Russian doctors embraced me as one of their own. Love it or hate it, doctors talked to me and remembered me the next time I saw them. It became a thing.

Step Two: Bow Tie Friday.

Now I was the Beard Guy and doctors that never talked to me before were going out of their way to ask me how everybody liked it and talk about how it was growing in. I used this time to get my message out and burrow into their brains, kicking out competitors as I went. I started to wonder how I could take it up a notch. Then, like a jolt of serotonin, it came to me. Bow ties!

NOBODY wears bow ties anymore. Sales people looked at me funny when I asked for them. They'd pull out a dusty box and try to talk me out of it. Men's Wearhouse had formal bows but nothing you could wear with a suit. Nordstrom's finally came through at the low, low price of $45. Sold, to the man in the boring neck tie! I took my prize home and prepared to take over the world.

Do you have ANY idea how hard it is to tie a bow tie? I had to look it up on YouTube and there were a hundred excellent examples of how to royally mess up a bow tie. Then I found Lucky Levinson.

Done and done. Thanks, Lucky.

Now, when should I debut the thing? I settled on Friday because there's a more casual atmosphere in most offices and doctors are in a better mood. I wore it to Cedars Sinai on the next one that rolled around. Guess what I found out? Bow ties make people happy.

Two doctors paraded me through their waiting rooms to show their patients. Another doctor came right up to me and started adjusting the thing, breathing in my face. I could feel eyes on me everywhere I went. Some nurses laughed at me, lots of people chatted me up in the elevator and I had one doctor holding back tears as he told me about how his father always wore one. Bow ties, it turns out, are connected to some very emotional memories. That's a very good thing.

When I came back through those offices, this time in a regular tie, those doctors not only remembered my name but went out of their way to spend time with me. I had broken through the wall and become a bearded, unique face.

At this point you probably think I'm over selling the idea. I don't blame you. I wouldn't believe it either if I hadn't just worn it out into the world for the second time with the same results. I'm not saying that bow ties are magical or anything, just that they command attention. So, go ahead, shake up your life a little and make a statement:



  1. Awesome. There's a lesson in this. Wonder what it is?

    I know another sales rep who tried the beard and bowtie thing but it didn't work well for her.

  2. Thanks. I'm getting such a good response from the things that I might start having the occasional Bow Tie Tuesday.

  3. father wore a bow tie at a time when other men had all switched to ties. It was his "thing"....and people remembered him for it. Of course, as a teenager, with him as a high school teacher at the lone high school in our small town, he was even more of an embarrassment than one expects parents to be!

    A year or so ago, we were in NorCal for a wedding of one of Erica's friends and her guy, Dennis, needed his bowtie (with his tux)tied. Everyone said, "ask Linda....she'll know!" Well, I didn't. So Dennis and I went into the hotel's business center and googled tying a tux tie. Golly Gee Whiz....there it was! What would we do without the web. Of course, my tying still left a lot to be desired and he barely made it thru the ceremony intact!

  4. You know, I had always wondered what brought on the whole bow tie thing. Now that I've been filled in? I'm loving it. Kudos, good sir. Kudos.