She could also be known as Dr Dorian Gray, because she hasn’t changed since I’ve met her twenty five years ago. She’s expanded her office to include a fleet of hygienists, but her physical appearance has stayed exactly the same. It’s a point of pride that Dr. Janet tells me I haven’t changed much either. Perhaps she’s lying, but I never get tired of the compliment. The conversation, as you can imagine, goes something like this. ‘Hi Janet, you look great.’ ‘Thanks Janet. You look great too.’
When I go for my yearly visit, I always make sure to do a little extra primping. And even though it is removed immediately, I always wear some lipstick. She does too. A raging red that contrasts widely with her gleaming white teeth.
I put on a clean blouse in an attempt to get ready for my appointment. Then I picked up my $1,600 wig and held it in my hands. It isn’t looking very fresh these days, and is starting to become itchy. I tossed it around for a few minutes, until I heard the voice of Samantha Jones. ‘Oh, to hell with it!’ she said. She was right. I was getting bored of adjusting my brown bob every few minutes. So with surprising conviction, I tossed my heap of hair back on the dresser. I'd just have to make myself look good without someone else's hair. So I slapped on a bit of concealer, threw on a jaunty cap, and headed uptown.
Before seeing Dr. Janet/Dorian Gray, I spent a little quality time with the hygienist, who had to battle my tartar and update my medical history. And since not a day can go by without talking about canceritis – I told her everything. When she was done, she left me alone for a few minutes, where I adjusted myself to look straighter, relaxed, and hopefully more youthful. And then I saw Dr J coming down the hall.
But before she came in she greeted another patient who was on her way out. She was about 90, and walked with a cane. ‘Are you on your way?’ Dr Janet asked her. ‘Yes,’ said the lady ‘ I have to run, I have a lunch date’. Dr Janet smiled, ‘My, you’re busy.’ The lady grinned, ‘Yes. I can’t waste a minute of my life!’
Well, didn’t I feel shallow after that. There I was, bemoaning the fact that the hygienist had wiped of my lip-gloss. I was even holding in my stomach and trying to elongate my neck, just so I could look .035% better. All that, just so my dentist wouldn’t take one look at my short grey stubbles (and hat) and think that I looked old.
Dr Janet came in the room oozing confidence and glamour. Obviously she’d read my chart and knew what I’d been through. She smiled, for real this time, ‘I’m really glad to see you looking so healthy,’ she said. I wanted to ask her if by ‘healthy’ she meant ‘fat’ but decided just to accept the compliment. ‘Healthy’ is still music to my ears. And because health is what I want the most, it was almost compliment enough. Almost. But not quite. So I waited. And Dr. Janet sat down, and gave me the once over.
‘You look great Janet,’ she said. ‘Thanks Janet. So do you.’