The day when a presidential hopeful has to worry about a 5 o'clock shadow or a few wiggly wattles may be over. Now it's ear lobes that can drive a candidate to his mirror-mirror on the wall.

After last week's debate in Houston against other Democrats eyeing the White House, Sen. Paul Simon drew a plus rating on IQ but a minus on ear lobes from Republican pollster V. Lance Tarrance.

"He may have the highest IQ but he's never going to photograph well," said Tarrance. "His ear lobes are unbelievable."

But a spokesman for Simon said yesterday that some of Simon's constituents look at his ear lobes differently. One of the first congratulatory calls Simon received after announcing his decision to run for president came from Chicago's Chinese community, said David Carle, Simon's press secretary.

"The caller said large ear lobes are viewed by the Chinese as a sign of wisdom and that no other candidate can match Senator Simon's," Carle said.

As for Simon -- a Lincoln scholar and the author of 11 books, including one considered the definitive work on Abraham Lincoln's years in the Illinois General Assembly, "Lincoln's Preparation for Greatness" -- his reaction was what you might call Lincolnesque.

"I never said I was the best-looking candidate. But I am one of the best listeners," Carle quoted Simon as saying. Then, in an apparent reference to Lincoln's protrusive ears, which were often the subject of ridicule, Simon added:

"I'm all for anything that invites comparisons with Abe Lincoln."

At breakfast yesterday were "tons" of cards from her best beau, the president. Over lunch later at Windows in Rosslyn were a "Happy Birthday" serenade and a four-candle chocolate mousse cake. If successfully blowing out the candles can be taken as an omen, Nancy Reagan's birthday wish seemed destined for fulfilment.

"She didn't tell us what it was, of course," said Elaine Crispen, Mrs. Reagan's press secretary, who has become an expert on First Wishes -- including those the first lady makes in the Lincoln Bedroom. "Mrs. Reagan says if you sit on the Lincoln bed and make a wish, it will come true," Crispen said.

So went Mrs. Reagan's birthday (64th by White House count -- 66th by the count of others), a milestone that found her 32-member East Wing staff (including four regular volunteers) taking her to lunch at the Rosslyn restaurant first recommended to her by Robin Weir, her hairdresser.

The staff also gave her four white ceramic flowerpots for indoor use in the new California home the Reagans intend to purchase when they leave the White House.

Last night at the White House, a more intimate dinner with the president was scheduled.

For two years Eleanor Dulles has been the prime mover behind an effort to establish a memorial to her brother, the late secretary of state John Foster Dulles, in the centennial year of his birth.

Fired by a determination to do something about what she sees as "a crisis in leadership," the 92-year-old Eleanor almost single-handedly raised a half-million dollars, put together a distinguished committee of sponsors and elicited a commitment from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School to set up a professorship and studies program in the field of diplomacy in her brother's name.

Now, though still $2 million short of her goal, Eleanor Dulles says she's coming into the homestretch. On Feb. 25, 1988, the 100th anniversary of brother John Foster's birth, Secretary of State George Shultz will deliver the keynote address at Princeton in ceremonies launching the memorial.

The other day, in a letter to the committee, Ronald Reagan added his blessings. Describing the late secretary of state as "a towering figure in his time, for whose legacy we are grateful," Reagan wrote that he could think of "no better way to honor him and perpetuate his tradition of service than to devote an academic program at a distinguished university to the examination of leadership and statesmanship."

Besides Honorary Chairman C. Douglas Dillon, who was undersecretary to Dulles, and Executive Chairman Gerard C. Smith, another trusted Dulles lieutenant, Eleanor's handpicked sponsors so far include two former secretaries of state, Alexander M. Haig Jr. and William P. Rogers, former CIA director and ambassador to Iran Richard Helms and members of President Dwight Eisenhower's family.

Thus far, about 40 gifts have come in from such varied donors as the Dillon Foundation, the government of Taiwan and a number of individuals, according to Eleanor, who boasts, and rightfully so, that she can still do "a lot of the work because I know Washington, I know a lot of people and I know Princeton."

She says it was at Princeton, John Foster's alma mater, that he became "very interested in Woodrow Wilson, worked with him, was very impressed with his idealism and his plan for world peace."