Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Teeth Cleaning

God I love the dental hygienist. She says that I'm her most relaxed patient. And I am, and it's not because I'm on the green pills or the white ones. And it's not (just) because I've spent the previous hour masturbating to clips of Gwen Stefani's leggy interview on Letterman (March 21, 2005). It's because I enjoy her hands and her sharp metal instruments in my mouth.

There I lie, mouth open, having rinsed with Listerine, and pink bib donned, I clasp my hands over my stomach, which strikes me as a funereal position, inappropriate for a sensual occasion, but then again, death may be the ultimate relaxation. My thoughts are far from morbid, as you will see, and I cross my legs at the ankles because I don't think a corpse would do that.

My teeth cleaning is an intimate experience with a thirty-something, red haired, blue eyed lady of indeterminate Eastern European origin. She wears a mask, but I can taste her nose-breath, and it tastes like raw mushrooms, but distinctly female. She pokes my gums between the teeth with the hook, saying "Four, four, three, four, two, two, three..." Who knows what this means, but I like the way she clips her vowels and her short "T" made with the tongue pressed nearly to the inner (lingual) side of her top (maxillary central) incisors.

Then comes the scraping. I don't mind the scraping, though I always feel a little guilty for my lifestyle habits of smoking, drinking red wine, and sometimes passing out without brushing my teeth. It must be nice for her to work on a mouth free of all the filth I put into mine. Then I forget all of this because she says, "Turn a little towards me."


As she scrapes and cleans between my crooked bottom teeth that collect the most dirt and tar, I wonder if she is single. I am prejudiced, but if she were married within (I'm guessing here) Montenegrin culture, then she would be expected not to work, to bear and care for children. But she could be married to an American man, or her husband could wear briefs, or...

"Turn a little away from me," she says, and guides me gently with her warm rubberized hand.

I appreciate the touch. Perhaps she has a history: she married young into abuse. She left her sexy, Neanderthal husband, got an education, and became a dental hygienist. She makes a good living now, but seeks a stable relationship. Her looks are fading, and the bamboo plants she keeps in glass jars are no substitute for children. Even the tall one. The tall one is her favorite, the most lucky.

"Open a little," she says.

"Fuck, man," I tell myself. "What right have you to be imagining this woman's life? If she knew the thoughts you were thinking, she would do a quick, substandard cleaning and dread your return. Is that what you want? You violator of privacy, you sick...hey...take it easy on yourself. You're not here to judge her. Radiate empathy. Women can sense..."

She puts Mr. Thirsty in my mouth. "Close," she says.

Mr. Thirsty sucks his drink. I open my eyes and stare into the bright lamp. Some dentist told me once that I salivate more than the usual client. This is good for dental health. I probably salivate even more now that I have hot woman fingers in my mouth, encased in little more than finger-condoms.

She buffs my teeth with the polishing instrument, inducing more minty spit, then goes to find the dentist.

"How's the real-estate business?" asks the dentist, a short, happy Filipina, while sticking a mirror into my mouth.

"Fine," I mumble.

"You are in the real-estate business, aren't you? Or are you the supervisor of a building? Or do you ...what do you do?"

I don't even know what I do. "I'm in the real estate business," I say.

She doesn't care. "Looks good," she says and leaves.

I wait for my hygienist to unhook my bib. I get up out of the chair, staggering from the blood rush away from the head.

"You are so relaxed," the hygienist says, her mask off. She is pretty.

I gather my coat from the hanger on the door.

"Thank you for the cleaning," I say, grinning as wide as I can so she can see her handiwork, her artistry.

She smiles back.


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9:01 AM  

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