An Intimate Morality


A voice calls me into the back from the wait­ing room.

As I get up, I notice that her eyes are dark against her fair skin, almost black. They’re pierc­ing, but gen­tle, nev­er intim­i­dat­ing. Her face is kind and wel­com­ing, full of youth, like the younger sis­ter of your girl­friend.

I fol­low. Her hair is pulled back in a neat, braid­ed pony­tail. Wrapped around the curves of her body is her den­tal gown, and she looks like a small, ster­ile pack­age of ener­gy. She asks the usu­al ques­tions, speak­ing with unri­valed con­fi­dence. It’d be intim­i­dat­ing as well, if it was­n’t for the con­trol in her voice.

Even after I’m seat­ed in the chair and the ultra­son­ic scaler starts to whirr, I’m sur­pris­ing­ly calm. The unique buzzing, spin­ning, squirt­ing, suck­ing sounds begin their sym­pho­ny.

She rests her fore­arm on my chest for lever­age as she works on the pos­te­ri­ors.

With her breasts pressed tight­ly against my head, she stays like this, com­fort­able in this posi­tion, as she cleans.

I start to won­der how appro­pri­ate it is, if any­one has ever spo­ken out. Or have they not had the heart, like me?

I feel objec­ti­fied.

As she works, she makes one-sided small-talk, say­ing every word with con­vic­tion. With her tools in my mouth, I answer only in mum­bled pos­i­tives and neg­a­tives. She goes along the arch sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly, molar to molar, lin­gual to buc­cal.

I want to see her eyes again, to take a clos­er look at what struck me first. To avoid mak­ing an obvi­ous, dart­ing glance, I pre­emp­tive­ly look where her eyes will be soon as she fol­lows her pre­dictable path, and wait.

Her eyes arrive, and I look away. It’s too uncom­fort­able. I’m peer­ing into the world of anoth­er who’s dis­tract­ed, not return­ing my gaze.

Her phys­i­cal inti­ma­cy was inno­cent, I assume.

Mine may have been less so.


  1. :) Love it. Though that objec­ti­fied feel­ing usu­al­ly gives me the hor­rors. I’m not com­fort­able with it in any pro­fes­sion, not even hair­dressers. Probably why I cut my own hair, avoid doc­tors like the plague and only just suf­fer the atten­tions of a tai­lor.

    I imag­ine it’s rather dif­fer­ent for a man. You’re always mak­ing me think :)

  2. ::smirk:: Dear.

    I had Vietnamese doc­tor once that did that for me.
    What a twist of things in the gut while they’re just .…. exam­in­ing.… and I, silent­ly leav­ing my body like that stuff com­ing out of a Donnie Darko char­ac­ter.….

  3. I’ve nev­er real­ly under­stood why so many peo­ple are uncom­fort­able in sit­u­a­tions like that. I kin­da like just sit­ting in the chair and not real­ly think­ing about any­thing while the doctor/barber/whatever does their thing. I’ve always loved going to the eye doc­tor, for some rea­son. Although your sit­u­a­tion does sound pret­ty unique, I can’t say that’s hap­pened to me, haha.

  4. @Bean — It prob­a­bly is dif­fer­ent for a man, although I can’t imag­ine how. I bet this hygenist does the same thing for both men and women, because she seemed so obliv­i­ous about it.

    Always like it when I can make some­one think. :)

    @Xibee — Doctors are sup­posed to get close, but a doc­tor who gets too close is pret­ty bad, com­pared to what I went through. Especially when they’re the oppo­site sex.

  5. There’s some­thing about per­son­al space that’s dif­fer­ent from per­son to per­son. Some peo­ple are real­ly touchy-feely, and some peo­ple get real­ly uncom­fort­able from phys­i­cal con­tact. I can’t imag­ine why some­one would like going to the eye doc­tor though. Sounds like the start of some kind of fetish, hahah.

  6. Funny how we can con­nect with a stranger for one moment, yet down the road some time from now we hard­ly remem­ber our neigh­bors and high-school class­mates.

  7. I find mem­o­ries are get­ting more and more ephemer­al nowa­days, espe­cial­ly in the Western cul­ture. Everything is ori­ent­ed to “now”. It’s quite a pity actu­al­ly.

  8. When I used to have braces, one of the den­tist techs that would clean my teeth and put on new bands would do that to me all the time. I always felt a lit­tle fun­ny at the warm sen­sa­tion of her breasts, but ulti­mate­ly enjoyed it. It made the time at the ortho­don­tist well-spent, even at 13.

  9. Hahahhah, that’s a great sto­ry, 18. Better than mine, because of how young you were. The fun­ny thing is that I thought that this was an iso­lat­ed inci­dent. I’ve had a few dentists/hygenists over the years, and none of them have ever gone so phys­i­cal­ly close.

  10. For some rea­son, I had a sex scene in my mind when I read that. Didn’t real­ize it was the den­tist. Did you do that on pur­pose?

  11. No, I did­n’t have a sex scene in mind. Maybe this is a sign that I should become a writer of erot­ic lit­er­a­ture.

  12. What exact­ly did you think it was?

    It’s called teas­ing. In the good sense.
    Relating, com­mu­ni­cat­ing, ini­ti­at­ing con­ver­sa­tion. I don’t exact­ly know how it spireled down to Alice’s porno show, but I can assure you it was a somber dark slip­pery hole, adver­tised on a mar­quise for your friends.

    Blood, you ask?
    Whose? Whose blood exact­ly DID YOU TAKE?
    Yes, it was, rec­i­p­ro­cal. Then called a horse to call it an acci­dent. Then called the horse fam­i­ly to give me oats. And a fire ant farm to keep me at a dis­tance. No, don’t touch the fat girl.

    Nuh, huh. Show me how you pre­pare, argh, your ACCIDENTAL sushi.

    Oh, I see why you’re still a pet. Didn’t like the sushi, huh. Aw.

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