Thursday, January the 5th, 2006

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[1], 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.

[1] 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.

This is a printer-friendly version of the journal entry “Oral Innuendo” from actuality.log. Visit to read the original entry and follow any responses to it.

2 Responses to “Oral Innuendo”

  1. J says:

    I guess I’ve been very good with my teeth ’cause I’ve never had painful sessions with my dentist, except sometime last year when I had a major extraction, grafting, root canal, planting of teeth etc. And the whole thing was surprisingly not one bit painful! I dunno why but I jus love the feeling of something happening in my mouth and blood trickling down.

    Ok, I’m weird.

    So I’m fine with dentists. Ok with old teachers and profs. Fine with bosses/old colleagues. Love meeting up with my shrink. dont mind meeting up with exes or people I’ve fought a great deal with. Who? Who? Oh who? Aah, I know… the idea of seeing my spiritual leader (yes, I have one) is kinda scary.

  2. pundit says:

    The point is, give a (this) woman sharp tools and lie in front of her sedated and helpless, and she will take advantage if she wants to. Some people are nice and careful, some, well, aren’t. It had nothing to do with the intial state of my teeth; I had to show up once a year for “just check ups”.

    “… love the feeling of something happening in my mouth and blood trickling …”

    I thought about this. We are not talking about something that happened in the heat of the moment in throes of passion or something. We are talking about sophisticated knives, scary noises and much prodding. I, for one, would like to really make incidents involving blood count.

    In contrast: Teachers and profs love me, and I them. I’ve only had one set of bosses/colleagues. I don’t have a shrink or spiritual leader. Exes, well, I’m not even going to go there.

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