What this means is that John's interactions with the public are usually her way of nagging Rod about some quirk of his that bothers her. Given the number of times that John either does something juvenile that embarrasses her or pouts because he's caught being embarrassed, we're looking at a man who's being told to grow up and stop taking himself so seriously.
This inability of hers to even begin to understand that her readers simply cannot see inside her head blinds her to the fact that most people who encounter John don't see the straight shooter that he sees when he looks in a mirror. What they instead tend to see is a rather irritating figure.
To begin with this look at how he's actually seen, let's look at the women Elly assumes can't wait to steal him away from her and leave her alone, old and forgotten. From what we've seen, his alleged harem regard him as a petty tyrant instead of a love interest and you've got to know that the young women Elly believes to want to be ogled at feel like taking a shower because that leering idiot who stands there staring and slobbering at them in front of his own wife and children was at the park again.
Since Lynn seems to be unaware and demonstrates a distinct lack of interest in being made aware of the broader implications of her throw-away gags, she also doesn't seem to quite understand that most of his patients aren't going to be thrilled about having to go to a pompous ass who sees no problem preaching his hip, cool gospel of entitlement, dimwit sexism, knee-jerk authoritarianism and self-serving ignorance while he's supposed to concentrating on his damned job. The only reason that they endure a boring lecture about how his wife is trying to emasculate him by wanting to have an identity of her own and how he can't keep up with the 'defiant' children they know to be passive, docile idiots is that they cannot afford a better one.
As for his peers, they see someone who's barely competent, annoyingly hide-bound and extremely lucky to not have been sued for malpractice. This puts them on all fours with the other passers-by who see a juvenile twit who pouts like a six-year old whenever he doesn't get his own way. To this day, the store clerk who saw the clumsy oaf drop a turkey on his foot is telling his family about the whining dick who growled at his child because he had a boo-boo.
Finally, we must look at him through the gimlet eyes of the police; what they see is an annoying blowhard who thinks that he needs special treatment because he's important and who pouts like a toddler when told that the same law applies to everyone.
Simply put, John doesn't look all that good when you look at him through the eyes of his fellow citizens. Good thing for him that his utter lack of awareness of how he's perceived by others and lack of curiosity as to how those others see the world shields him from the realization that they don't see the great guy he thinks he is. The need to not see that most people would see him as being unfeeling, unfair and unkind seems to explain why he fears anything that would lead him to thinking about the world around him.