Saturday, November 24, 2007

Dentist Appointment Redux

"It isn't always how you look. Look at me: I'm handsome like anything and I haven't got anybody to marry me yet!"
--Brian, age 7

My apologies for the delay in providing details. I spent most of yesterday sadder than I expected over this, after having to be “up” for Thanksgiving with the family. I don’t know how I can have come so far from the teenager I was in almost all areas of my life, and yet still be so much the same when it comes to men.

Caveat: this is long. I tend to be an over-analyzer, so I hate to leave out details. Skip to the last few paragraphs if you just want the bones of what happened.

Anyway: I was ready. My hair was cooperating, I was wearing new jeans that looked great and my boots that make me feel like I can do anything. I was nervous, really nervous. Luckily, it’s a 10-minute walk from the Metro to his office, so I was able to burn off some of that excess energy, so when I got there, I wasn’t talking a million miles a minute and pacing in the waiting room.

I didn’t see him before I went in the exam room. The x-ray tech came in first and took a hundred x-rays of my teeth, and I’m sure you all know how stupid you look with that thing clamped in your mouth. The door to the room was open because the tech had to keep leaving the room to take the x-ray, and the whole time I was praying he wouldn’t walk by and see me like that. Yes, I know he’s a dentist, he sees everybody like that, but still. I put a lot of effort into looking good, and the last thing I needed was for his first look at me to be that. This scenario also repeated itself later when I was hanging out in the room with those stupid fluoride trays in my mouth. At least the door was closed then.

Ok, so x-rays, x-rays, x-rays; cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Every time the door opened, my heart jumped, but it was never him. Finally, all that other stuff was done, and the hygienist left saying the dentist would be in in a minute. I got up out of the chair, ostensibly to throw my tissues away, and she told me “Oh, just leave it on the tray, we’ll get it later.” What I really needed was lip gloss, though, so I lied and told her I just needed some Chap-Stick since my lips were dry after all the cleaning and flossing and flouriding. I will not see my future husband with naked lips, no sir. Luckily, there were mirrors on the wall, so I was able to fluff my hair and make sure there were no errant specks of toothpaste on my face before he came in. So nice of them to provide that convenience!

So I’m sitting in the chair trying not to panic, and in walks the Dentist. Oh my god, you guys. I had almost convinced myself that I had inflated his hotness and his funniness over the last four weeks, and that he couldn’t possibly be as handsome and funny as I remembered. But he was. He comes in all, “Hello, Counselor,” which made me laugh and led to a discussion of how long it took him to be comfortable calling himself Doctor. Then I asked him about his accent. I noticed it last time, but I couldn’t place it. He asked if I was good at geography. I told him I'm not, and that, in fact, I’d only just learned that the Philippines were in the Pacific somewhere (which is true, and I don’t care if it’s embarrassing; he thought it was funny). He said “I’m Latin, but I don’t speak Spanish.” I guessed Brazilian, and I was right. I could just die. Do you have any idea how beautiful Portuguese is? I could honestly listen to it for the rest of my life and die happy, without ever understanding a word.

Ok, anyway, back to the story. So he’s looking at my x-rays, we’re talking, and next thing I know, he’s running his fingers all around the inside of my mouth and making me stick out my tongue (oral cancer screening, you know), which is making me laugh, because I’m, for lack of a better word, giddy from being so close to him. He asked me what was so funny; I told him I felt like I was in a dog show, which made him laugh. Then he’s pressing on my sinuses and my neck (I don’t know; he was feeling my glands or something?), and look, I know he's a dentist and he does that to everyone, but the size of the crush I have on him? I was a happy girl.

So we’re coming to the end of the appointment, and I’m getting nervous. The nurse or whoever was in the room with us at the end, and I knew I couldn’t just ask him with her there. I thought about asking her to excuse us, but I just couldn’t do it. He asked me if I had any questions, which was the opening I’d been waiting for. Some of you know I had a whole thing planned out about how I was going to ask him to recommend another dentist, and when he asked why, I was going to say, “Because I wanted to ask you to have dinner with me, and if you say yes, well, I think it’s weird to go on a date with your dentist. And if you say no, I’ll be too embarrassed to ever come back here, so either way, I’m going to need a new dentist.” Instead, I just smiled and said no.

He got up and asked me about my plans for Thanksgiving, and we talked a bit more, he shook my hand, and then he left. I was at the counter waiting to check out and the receptionist was talking to me, but I was totally distracted. I was thinking that I was a chicken, and that I’d regret it if I didn’t ask him, and I was trying to figure out what to do. Finally, he came back in the hallway, and I asked him to go back in the room, saying I needed to talk to him.

So we’re standing there, he’s all handsome and whatnot, smiling at each other. Right then, I was hardly nervous at all. It was just something that had to be done. I said, “So I had a whole spiel planned, but I’m going to bag it and just ask you if you’d like to have dinner with me sometime.” His smile got real big, then he blushed a little, and said softly, “I’m flattered, but I’m seeing someone.” I smiled, shrugged, and said, “I thought you might be, I just wanted to ask.” And that was that.

I went back to the reception area to pay and fill out a reminder card, but my hand was shaking the whole time. I don’t really know what I was feeling – sad, definitely; disappointed; a little surprised, even; and embarrassed, too. He came up from behind me, put his hand on my back, and when I turned to him, he said, “You know, you made me blush.” I laughed and smiled, but I don’t think I said anything. One of the receptionists asked how I’d done that, but I didn’t answer. I wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving and left.

I’m not going to lie: walking back to the Metro, a few tears escaped. There was so much energy and emotion leading up to that moment that it had to go somewhere. I was beyond proud of myself that I’d done it at all, but I was so, so disappointed that it turned out the way it did. I had considered the possibility that he had a girlfriend, of course, but I’d convinced myself that whatever happened between us last time, the spark, or whatever, meant that he probably didn’t. I know I didn’t make it up; there’s something there. All we do is laugh through the entire appointment; I bet we’d have a blast on a date.

So I’m sad. And it’s going to take me a minute to move on. And probably, if I’m honest, I won’t really move on, at least not yet, or not entirely. Because I have to go back in February.


Jane said...

Oh, pookie.

Good for you, though. Seriously. Good for you.

Melanie said...

Thanks, Jane. And, you know, on the plus side: no cavities.

GDT Liidii/Linda/Valentia said...

Sing, you're courageous and smart and funny and insightful. And you're an excellent writer. Oh, and completely correct about Portuguese being an incredibly beautiful language! There is a Portuguese band I love, called Moonspell. Occasionally the singer will speak several lines in Portuguese. O.M.G. Pure bliss. :)

NoShowMo said...

Oh, Melanie. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Be proud of yourself for taking that step.

It's so rare that I find any guy remotely interesting, so I, too, build things up for a long time in my head.

You should have no regrets about this. You did great!