I don't lie.
Well, ok, I don't tell giant lies, and I don't make up stories, and I try to keep the creative licence that makes any anecdote more interesting to a minimum. If something was big, I’ll tell you it’s really, really big, but I won’t tell you that it’s humongous. Capisce?
(You know, that right there could explain why I’m still single.)
Anyway. Having said all that, I will also state that I'm not averse to a fib now and again. If your hair looks a bit mad, I'll probably tell you that it looks fine, just fine. If I'm having a horrific time at your party, I will tell you to your face that I'm having a marvellous time, and around 11:30, I will most likely look you in the eye and feign the worst kind of sinus headache. Lying for the sake of politeness is not really lying; it's really just greasing the wheel that keeps the world spinning on its proper, etiquette approved axis.
So, now that I've given you all my truths, maybe you all can weigh in on why, for the last nine years, I've been spinning the worst kinds of whoppers to my dental hygienist, and I'm in so deep right now, my only options are to come clean, move, or get dentures.
I suppose it started after the first few appointments. She was a new girl, not much older than me at the time, but with an engagement ring you could go skating on that she wore hanging from a chain around her neck. And she was so pretty, and a bit vacuous, and sort of smug, in the way that tiny girls who make $37 an hour and look fabulous even wearing scrubs can be. She said words like "sangwich" and she told me all about "the movie she seen the night before." She was very polite when she asked me to open my mouth bigger please.
I see the woman three or four times a year, after all, so she doesn't have to reach too far back for small talk at the last appointment. And frankly, there was always a lot of small talk, because I hate going to the dentist. If small talk is the only way to prolong the scraping and the gum poking, then hell, oh my God, I love your hair, have you always worn it like that?
She'd ask me how I am, how work was, if I was seeing someone. And I'd say fine, and busy, and no. Three months later, she'd ask me how I was, and if work was alright, and if I was seeing anyone. And I'd answer that it I was fine, and busy, and no. Then three months after that I'd say again, fine, and busy and no. And then one day, for no reason - no good reason - other than the fact that I was just so tired of being fine, busy and single, I said fine, and busy and yes! Yes indeed! I am. Now, it's likely that I had had a good couple of dates with someone, or perhaps I had stopped having a good couple of dates with someone and wasn't ready to accept that he just wasn't into me. I’m sure I didn’t just create it out of thin air. But whatever it was, it started there. It could have easily stopped there, too, but...
Three months later, she asked me how my boyfriend was, and very likely, I either forgot I had one, or those couple of dates went nowhere or somewhere or, well, God knows. I think at that point, I may even have started dancing around another likely lad, and so I said, "Oh no! It's a whole new guy now! The other one is old news! I've been going out with this one for weeks and weeks and weeks!" (Weeks, according to Moses, of course. Weeks being, you know, hours. Minutes. The time it took to introduce himself at a party. The phone call where he asked me out for a drink.)
And so it continued. He was wonderful... until she decided to irrigate my gums, and then it was time to dump that ass, and be fancy-free. "So who are you dating now?" she'd ask, while giving me a polish, and I'd tell her as she was reaching for her tools that I was single, because the last guy had failed to tell me that he was married, and can you believe that? And then she may have got a cloying little look of pity on her face, and maybe I was feeling extra-sensitive, what with the sensitive gums and the cheating ass I just made up in my head. So as she was getting ready to take X-rays, and to reward myself for not staying with the guy, I was going to go on a little trip, to New York! Or London! Or Rome! Or... God knows what I fed her that time. It was just important that I "went" somewhere that I'd been before, otherwise I wouldn't be able to tell her about my trip... and the gorgeous CEO I met as I was coming out of... The Ivy... where I sat next to... um... Victoria Beckham... no, her husband wasn't there, but um... she was eating with Karl Lagerfeld...
God. I know. I know! But it could happen! It's not outside the realm of possibility. Right?
And then it was fixable! It was totally fixable, because one day, about three or four years ago, I walked in, and she wasn’t there! A little Asian man named Kevin was putting on gloves and asking me to be seated. My regular girl was out sick, and Kevin was going to be doing my cleaning that day. Kevin asked me nothing! Kevin only told me to turn my head to the left, or open wider please. Kevin was restful, even if he was a little rough and left me bleeding like a stuck pig.
So at my next appointment, I hadn’t seen my hygienist for over half a year, and I had totally lost track of what I’d fed her. I walked in that day, promising myself that I would go back to the fine-busy-single routine, because it was true, absolutely true. The business was still new, and I was run off my feet, and I hadn’t been flirty with anyone in a dog’s age. Fine, busy, single. I’d gone on a few little weekend trips here and there, and I had a few interesting stories to tell, so I could totally rely on the truth. I braced myself for a whole new kind of appointment.
“How are you?” she squealed, as soon as I walked in. And then, horrifyingly, “Which one did you choose? Which guy did you end up with?” Oh God. I am overcome with shame at the memory of that moment, because I was faced with my own disturbed behaviour, and I couldn’t get out of my own tangled web. Sure, no one knows my hygienist, so I’m hurting no one. Nobody would know the harmless lies I told, and really, you could say I was brightening up her day, giving her something more entertaining than what the rest of her patients gave her before they opened wide. Still though… Who does that?
And so took a deep breath, avoided her eyes as I climbed into the chair and said, “Girl, you don’t know the half of it. I had to tell one to stop calling me, because I just do not date married men!”
“You never told me he was married!”
“Well, I didn’t know, did I?”
And I mean, that’s true. I didn’t know he was married. Not until that moment, anyway…
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