What the hell, Julie? What’s with all the dentist stories?
I don’t know! I can’t stop myself.
The office was incredibly small. When I walked in, I briefly panicked – Oh my God did I just walk into someone’s house? I swear I saw the sign on the door. There was a sign right? Oh my God – until I saw the front desk area.
To this point, I’d only visited one dentist. He had a very small practice; I never ever remember there being any kind of assistants or hygienists working with him. He did everything, and I just assumed that’s how everyone did it. A dental n00b, I was.
So when the hygienist came in to clean my teeth, I thought she was the dentist. But – as far as I knew – my dentist was a Vietnamese woman, and this lady in front of me looked… what’s the opposite of Vietnamese?
She was blonde, and smiley, and probably about my age. She was also quite friendly in a superficial, plasticky kind of way (let’s call her Skipper, shall we?) and wasted no time asking about my life. Where did I work? Where did I live?
Then she asked about my husband.
She asked it so matter-of-factly that I was completely and totally taken off guard. “Uh, I’m not married,” I stammered.
“Oh,” she said. “A fiance, then? Boyfriend?”
Internally, I was rankled. She seemed to have some 1950s-era idea about girls of my age. I desperately wanted to lie and tell her that I was in a committed relationship with a Black woman and we were raising 4 Hispanic babies together, but she had her hands in my mouth. The possibility for accidental injury was high.
So I acquiesced – If I told the truth, she seemed the type to grill me about why I was single. So I figured I might as well have a little fun.
I quickly invented a boyfriend – a fiance backstory seemed too difficult to cook up on the spot – and she seemed eager to hear all the details.
“What does he do?” she asked.
“Oh, haha, I actually don’t know. He works in science. He’s a scientist. Doing lab things.” Apparently part of my imaginary life involved me being a blithering idiot.
Skipper was ALL IN at this point. “Oooh, does he work at [name of mega-pharmaceutical company that ruled the city]?”
“Oh, yes. Definitely.”
“Where did you meet?”
Well, there’s this club I work at where the men like to be spanked…
“Um, through friends.”
“Oh, that’s great! Is he from here?”
Lady, why are you so damn nosy?
“Actually, he’s from…” I briefly paused. I was about to leave this city, would never see this woman again, might as well go balls-to-the-wall, eh?
“…England. He’s English. British, I mean.”
Skipper about peed herself.
“Oh my gosh, wow! What’s his name?”
He has this brother, Noel. They fight a lot, though.
“So what is he like? Is he very polite? Does he want to take you to England? Does he have an accent?”
Yup, and he wears a bowler hat and smokes a pipe! Like, all the time. It’s kind of annoying, really. It gets in the way of our stiff and proper lovemaking.
I honestly don’t know what else I told her about my British Scientist Boyfriend. I sort of regretted the decision as soon as I made it, because Skipper would not shut up about him. Eventually I said something about never being able to see him because he was always working, and she went into Full-On Dear Abby Mode.
“Oh, that’s rough. You just need to make sure it’s extra-special when you do see him, though. Cook him a nice dinner and get all dressed up and make him feel special.”
Are you freaking kidding me, lady?
When the dentist came in and Skipper finally exited, I breathed a sigh of relief. The dentist seemed more concerned about my teeth than my personal life, and quickly determined that I had a cavity that needed tending.
Which, of course, meant I’d be back in again.
I really hoped Skipper wasn’t working.