A senior doctor came home and told his physician wife about the adorable first year medical student who came to clinic that day. Quiet, in her little white coat, she listened attentively and ‘actually’ spoke up at the end of the discussion and made a valuable observation.
His doctor- wife was none too pleased. “Adorable? How could you even say that? At least don’t repeat it to anyone else.”
I already did,” he admitted sheepishly. “But it was to a woman faculty member, and I prefaced it by saying, “this might be inappropriate, but…”
It reminded her of her childhood when the mean girls would say ‘no offense, but…’ then follow with a totally offensive comment. She secretly hoped those girls googled her now. Anyway.
She pointed out how the desire to apologize meant you should keep your mouth shut. She then trotted out all the reasons why he should never do it again.
It is demeaning. Would he have referred to a male student that way? Yes, he replied. Even if they were 6’3” and ‘built’ (he is 5’9”). Yes, he replied. I doubt it, she responded sagely.
It implies naïveté. Babies are adorable, puppies are adorable. Both being tabla Rosa, unformed, certainly not learned. Which leads to:
It is disrespectful. Prior to arriving in his clinic, she had devoted at least 6 years of AP classes, SAT prep, pSATs, SATs, a pre-Med curriculum, extracurriculars, MCAT prep, MCATs, interviews. That’s not ‘adorable’, it’s impressive. Very impressive for a woman or man (another pet peeve, calling med students and residents ‘kids’, but that’s for another time).
Finally, she is not sure the student would want to be graded on a rotation by someone who thought she was adorable.