The office was rather small, located on the 14th floor of a high-rise in Midtown. I’d been sitting in the dentist’s chair for nearly 40 minutes, waiting. The pleasant and mild-mannered hygienist had already taken x-rays of my teeth and informed me that there was some staining (cool) and now all there was to do was wait for the good doctor to come and examine me. It was my first time at this dentist’s office. I hadn’t had a check-up since I was 19 (oops) so, a lack of dental insurance and a fantastic Groupon deal had led me to this particular, miniature office last week.
I’d been informed that the dentist had an “emergency patient” and that he was in really “bad shape.” I tried to be sweet and polite but I was really f****** pissed. Who doesn’t want to spend a whole day in the dentist’s office? Who wouldn’t want to be here instead of napping?
Honestly, this man of the mouth was lucky I was not hung over or he may have ended up with a metal dental tool stuck in his eye.
“He better be hot.” Was my only thought, deciding that if he was sexy I would not be angry at the asshat who came in with his teeth falling out. I sat in the chair, feet up, staring at my mismatched polka dot socks, and waited.
After what I imagined would amount to 11 teeth cleanings in walked a man wearing a white lab coat—my dentist, I assumed. He looked like Dave Chappelle’s emaciated, less successful twin brother. I was disheartened and sent a sad snap chat to my brother and roommate. Alas, no Prince Charming this day.
“We’re moving you to another room. Cool earrings. Cool socks,” Is all he said to me. A little confused about why my dentist, Dr. Chappelle, didn’t introduce himself to me and even more confused as to why I was being moved to a different room, I grabbed my purse and my backpack and followed him down a hallway to another examining room, which looked exactly like the one I had come from in parallel.
Suddenly Dr. Chappelle disappeared. I sat in the new chair and stared at the wall in front of me. “Hello there.” I heard a new voice behind me, a man’s voice. Startled, I turned around. Standing next to me, holding my chart, donning another white lab coat was easily the most gorgeous man I have ever seen in New York (other than the stoic models at fashion week but that’s not real life anyway). So, Dr. Chappelle was just another assistant and this Adonis was my doctor.
My jaw basically fell out of my head.
Oh, universe how could I have doubted you? My patience (though begrudgingly afforded) had paid off. Dr. Pearly Whites = dream boat. Be still my heart.
Throughout the examination I was trying to be my cutest, most witty self. Obviously, this was not an easy task with the good doctor’s hands jabbing around inside my mouth with various tools and instruments. He was charming and funny. His only flaw—he didn’t understand my sarcasm. But that’s okay, I thought, we have a long way to the aisle. We talked. He asked me where I grew up: “gurgle gurgle Chicago.” He asked me what I was doing in New York: “gurgle gurgle studying, writing.” Clearly, a match made in heaven. I couldn’t decide if our monogrammed towels would look better in navy or evergreen. Yes, I’m a psycho.
When the exam was over I had better luck being my charming and flirty self (LOL). I asked him questions about himself in that cute way that Grey used to melt over. We chatted about my gums. Apparently I needed to see a different doctor because my gums are too low. Clearly we’re flirting, right? I could just feel something there. The rational part of my brain knew he must just be like this with all of his patients. I asked him about his weekend plans and he casually said something about a girlfriend and I, of course, ignored that detail entirely.
He walked me out to the front of reception. I was surprised he was being so attentive. I couldn’t get over how charming he was. He couldn’t have been older than 28/29. It was the first time a doctor spoke to me like I was an adult, an equal. And I wanted in like jelly in a donut.
As we said our parting words, he told his receptionist that I’d be back soon (swoon!). As he walked back into the depths of the office he turned and looked at me. In that moment we had one of the more intense moments of eye contact that I’ve ever had in my life. He tore his eyes from mine and I looked down shyly and embarrassed since the receptionist had definitely bared witness. “Giiiiirl you all red!” she jeered. I turned even redder, “He fine right?” I couldn’t help but laugh. I had no idea we were so obvious, “Yes, well I’m sure this happens all the time!” we shared a knowing giggle, she gave me a goodie bag with a tiny toothpaste bottle, a soft brush, and a guide to “keeping your teeth healthy.”
I walked home on air. I knew I was probably being completely nuts and was sure this was the first and last time I’d see Dr. Pearly Whites. But I couldn’t help but feel light and strangely happy. He had made me fall in love with New York all over again.
There are still good ones out there, New York, thanks for the reminder when I was starting to lose my faith again.
I climbed to the top of my 5-floor walk-up, set down my heavy purse and keys on the table, and I went to the fridge to see if there was anything I could scrape up for dinner even though I knew it was empty.
Suddenly, I looked to the glass table in the center of the room. My phone was buzzing. I walked over. It was a number I didn’t recognize. I picked it up, cautiously, not sure what to do. I never answer numbers I don’t know. This isn’t 1995. For some reason, though, I felt like I should answer.
“Hi, Gigi, This is Dr. PW.”
“I know this is unexpected but I just wanted to make sure everything was okay with your teeth. I like to check up on my patients.”
After a very flirty conversation in which I complimented his bedside manner and attentiveness he said, “Well, let me know if I can do anything for you…teeth related. I can get you a recommendation for that periodontist. This is my number.”
As I hung up the phone, in complete disbelief, my heart started racing. Do dentists normally get the cell numbers of patients from their files in order to follow up less than 2 hours later? When he said “this is my number” did he mean at the office or did he mean his cell? Was this common doctor/patient behavior or was it something more?
These questions burned through my mind all evening. My brother told me I was being completely insane but when I asked one of my close girlfriends, BA, she told me this was totally something more. I couldn’t understand it or make sense of it. I wanted it be true. I was dying for it to be true. He was essentially the real-life paper cutout of a guy I would want to end up with.
The next morning I saw everything clearly. He had been checking up on me just to be nice, not to flirt. It was all in my mind. Just me, single in a big city trying to create Carrie Bradshaw-like romance out of a simple teeth cleaning.
That afternoon, on our lunch break, BA and I went to eat and chat at a Japanese place with an amazing lunch special. She told me to call him, “I mean if it’s nothing, it’s nothing. But you should at least call and ask for the referral just so you can know for sure. If you’re completely nonchalant, then it’s fine. Nothing bad comes of it. But if it isn’t! THEN you know there’s something there.”
All this time I had forgotten about the girlfriend he had casually mentioned. It’s not like I’ve ever been the queen of fidelity anyway.
It was a short conversation. He sounded nervous and flustered. What struck me was that he answered the phone, “Hello” not “Dr. PW.” He was definitely on his cell. Which was strange. He asked if I could call his office for the number of the other doctor and I told him I would. We hung up.
The walk back to work was very strange. Neither BA nor I had any idea what to make of the call. It only left me more curious than before.
Then something happened that changed everything.
I got a text from the good doctor. It said, “They helped you ok? Let me know if I need to get involved.”
Thus began a two hour conversation with a plethora of winky faces and inappropriate suggestion.
Here are some of my favorites from throughout:
Me: Will do my best, doctor’s orders after all.
Him: Very cute 😉
Him: Now I’m blushing
Me: Oh look at me I’ve made the good doctor blush :p
Him: You seem very confident. As you should. You have a lot going for you.
Him: So you’re superwoman? Annnnnd now I’m trying to picture you in that costume.
Me: Just can’t help it Groupon didn’t say “here’s your Groupon oh and by the way your doctor will also be gorgeous” so, not my fault.
Him: Well I get a pleasant surprise also…beautiful patients.
AND THEN SHIT GOT REAL WEIRD
He said he had to take off for vacation for a week. I said I was jealous.
His response: want to come?
Like? LOL COOL.
I ask where he’s going and he says he’s going to Napa. (You know, only the most romantic place in all of the United States besides New York City).
He then asks if I want to come again. Needless to say I’m tempted.
Me: You’re going to Napa alone.
Him: Sunday. With the girlfriend.
EXCUSE ME? Cue inner monologue!
Let me get this straight. You’re asking me to come along with you and your girlfriend to Napa? No, I get that’s a joke. But seriously? Even suggesting that is absolutely disgusting.
And let’s see shall we. You’re about to take your girlfriend to a romantic week in Napa to drink wine and eat cheese and make love in terrycloth bathrobes and meanwhile you’re on your cell at work flirting with one of your 23 year old patients?
You, sir, are the scum of the Earth.
I stopped responding. I won’t ever talk to him again and am already on the look-out for a new dentist. It just goes to show you: men are pigs. Even when they seem ideal, they often are not.
I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’ve messed up massively in relationships. I’ve hurt people. I’ve been selfish. But it was different seeing a grown man act like a horny, pathetic teenager. It was off-putting. It made my skin crawl.
But I came out on top. I had been so jealous of his girlfriend and just wanted to steal him from her. I was afraid maybe all of the good ones really were taken.
In the end, I feel bad for her and am completely disgusted by him. I have the power. I have the control. I got what I wanted. I wanted him to want me. I don’t feel crazy anymore. Now I can move on to the next great thing. No regrets.
An aside: Saw his Facebook profile –yes I stalked—and he’s wearing a wedding ring in his profile picture, so…… DOUBLE ICK)