With the new year comes my annual promise to get check ups. That includes a trip to the dentist . It sucks, but it's what you're supposed to do.
Along with mammograms and pap smears, these checkups are evil, but a necessary one. As tantalizing as having a total stranger arrange my boob on a slab and squish it, I only get that done once a year. A intrigued as I am reading "How to please my man"-Cosmo mag. Aug 1997, while freezing in a napkin size gown and socks, I only see my happy go lucky gynecologist once a year. So when the dentist reminds me to come in every 6 months for a "good cleaning" that time frame becomes very fluid.
Let's be honest here...unless the woman is wearing leather or vinyl, I'm just not that into being poked or prodded.
So I made the appointment with the idea that "I'd rather have a root canal" might not be a good line of thought.
For me a trip to the dentist is a trip back to childhood...but not in a good way. I sit in the waiting room, trying to drown out that mosquito-pitched drill noise and practicing my calm face for when the hygienist gets overzealous. She's this big black woman; she's good and she's thorough. She has gigantic breasts and as she grips my head to her bosom I fall into the childhood dream of being held fast by motherly arms-that is, until I feel that incredibly sharp pointy tool wedged between my teeth and gums.
Most of the time I try to keep my eyes closed. I have my calm face on, trying desperately to stay in the happy place...which is not, by the way, the fake painting of wildflowers in a meadow on the far wall. My eyes do open though...usually when the hygienist reaches the point where my toothbrush has obviously failed. She's half-Nelsoned my head so that when my eyes shoot open I'm gazing at the ceiling. Again childhood flashes. They've put a mobile up there...little toothbrushes, teeth and toothpaste dance above my head, like pixies before a roaring fire which is my third molar.
Soon it's over, and unlike me, my hygienist doesn't seem that concerned about the incredible amount of blood I'm spitting into a small metal sink. The hard part is over and here comes my report card. I am 10 yrs. old and being scolded for not flossing like I should. My dentist strolls in and looks at xrays. She too picks up a sharp instrument. Why must everyone be reaching into my mouth with sharp objects? I try to answer many questions with both her hands and the sharp instrument in my mouth...this cannot end soon enough.
So how do you like living in Narberth?
" is the best I can do.
Is the water fluoridated there?
"ow da uck ud i no
" comes out before I can stop it.
She pulls out both her hands and looks at me. "Sorry, I didn't get that last anwser.""I'm not sure...but I like living there very much."
I flash my newly cleaned teeth.
AND THEN IT HAPPENS
"Yes", she says. "I took my girlfriend to a great restaurant there for her birthday." She smiles back.
I'm speechless. I've been going to this dentist for three years. She's adorable, bubbly....and did she just tell me she's a lesbian? I start looking for clues. No wedding ring. Check. Sensible shoes. Check. But there's a couple of problems:
1. Straight women always call their friends their girlfriends...like they have boy-friends that aren't boyfriends. There should be laws against that.
2. She's Asian. I don't know about you, but I have a hard time telling whether women of color are gay. Call me stupid...
3. I'm just not Miss Confidence when it comes to schmoozing it up with women...they make me nervous (in a good way) but usually I turn beet red and mumble something about my left shoe...
Which is just what I did. I sat there and got a clean bill of health from my dentist and walked out of there not knowing what she meant. Whether she was being friendly, or whether I had just missed some sort of secret handshake for the club.
Sh*t. You know what this means, don't you?
It's gonna kill me to do this, but...I can hardly say it...I just might have to start going to the dentist more often. Oh, the humanity...