May 17th, 2002


My Hot Dental Assistant

Some topics call the credibility of the writer into question by their very nature. This is probably one of them.

Understand that I thought about this, asked my friends if they thought I was right, and waited awhile before discussing this with anyone I didn’t know well. There’s nothing more pathetic than a guy telling a story of heterosexual attraction that leaves the listener/reader assuming it’s about his ego rather than her actions. Certainly working retail gives me plenty of opportunities to watch misguided men mistake the friendly actions of women who are getting paid, in part, to be friendly and approachable, for invitations to annoy and harass.

But I’m pretty sure my last dental assistant had a crush on me. Since I’ve had a lot of dentist visits over the last couple of years, this is based on observation over time and not just one incident. It would be just one small action per visit, but it always followed the same pattern. She’d wait until she was the only one within hearing distance and then she would do something sweet or oddly intimate.

The first time I noticed this, we were alone in the "room"* and she said to me, quickly, while adjusting my bib, "You have beautiful eyes." The dentist was returning so she busied herself straightening implements and acting professional.

The next noticeable but subtle act of special attention was on my next visit when my forehead got splashed with water while my tooth was being drilled. The dentist left to get a tool and she slowly and I think, somewhat lovingly, dabbed my head with a paper towel. After finishing she left her latexed hand on my brow for just a second or two longer than necessary.

Over the next few visits I noticed subtle yet sweet actions on her part. When I’d be tensed up from the drilling or pain she’d sometimes shift her weight just enough so I’d feel her arm against mine while she worked the suction hose. She even covertly implied that the particular dentist I was going to might not be the best one available. I would have begun falling in love if not for one thing.

I can’t imagine a time when I feel less attractive or sexy than sitting in a dentist chair. My bad teeth and cavities on display. Drooling blood, saliva, and dental waste onto my bib. Numb lips pathetically trying to form words. Hot? Not exactly. But all the effort I spent trying to figure out whether things she said had double meanings or things she did were intentionally intimate did make the time go faster.

It all ended the day I got a root canal. My housemate came to pick me up but my work was running late. My dental assistant came into the room and said icily, "Your *friend* is here to pick you up. I told her she’d have to wait." Immediately she started speaking, loudly, to another DA, "So my *husband* and I are taking the kids to his Mom’s next weekend . . ." That was when I was sure for the first time.

I ended up changing dentists soon afterward, She had been right; my dentist hadn’t done particularly good work. And really, with our relationship being based on my pain and suffering, it really was doomed from the start.

*It was a cheap dental clinic kind of place with four chairs and no real walls or doors except the exterior ones. There were some cabinets and machinery, but they were probably about 35% open at all times. So she really had to pick her moments carefully.