The scariest things in a little kid’s life usually involve the hair-raising monster under her bed or the creepy hunchback lurking down the road with the odd protrusion on his forehead. But that’s not the story for this kid. The most intimidating thing in his life has always been his dentist. Not only has she been around (and caused) some of the most physically painful experiences I’ve ever had, but having known her since I was a little kid, she’s also assumed that it’s her right to double up as a stern mommy. The evil kinds of mommies that kick cute sleeping puppies on the sidewalk out of their way. The kinds that poke and prod you with their sharp tools, and then yell at you for being a baby as you start to cry.
Growing up, I was mortified of her, but for whatever reason (she was a stellar dentist, apparently), my mom kept dragging me—kicking and screaming—back to her year after year. She even got socially involved in our lives when at some point she became our neighbour as well. Needless to say, that didn’t bode well with this little kid. I assumed this feeling would pass as I got older, but the phobia only got progressively worse. The unfunny part is, I’m something like a quarter century years old now, and a shiver still goes down my spine every time her face flashes across my mind.
When I was home for the holidays over the summer, I had not the slightest hesitation in meeting my parents shaggily clothed, pony-tailed and pierced. I didn’t in the least worry about what they’d say as trudged down to one of my grandparents’ village. But this woman I was still mortified of. She surely already had enough reasons to yell at me (or so I thought), I couldn’t possibly face her looking like I did, giving her more ammo. What would she think? Would she approve? Would I be lectured and yelled at while she’s hurting me? Would there be a never-ending stream of questions I didn’t want to answer?
Then, it happened. Not being able to take it anymore, I cheated on her. I found a woman who lovingly cared for me, treated me with respect, and actually complimented my oral hygiene as she was gently prodding my mouth. Something I longed for and never once received in all those years.
And I hate that I feel guilty about what I did.
 Men don’t have to endure things like childbirth. We get to experience only the more pleasant aspects of baby-making.
Postscript: I am quite proud of the way I worded and structured this post. And I’m curious as to who you fear the most. Don’t be afraid to scream it out.