Saturday 1 April 2023

My Dentist Brings Me Up To Date


John Lavery, The Dentist, 1929

There's never any white knuckle gripping of the chair when Your Correspondent makes a visit to the dentist, it being a rather more relaxed and convivial affair, principally because there's nothing amiss with my fangs. The White Lab Coat of Authority as seen on this dashing dentist morphed sometime ago into white t-shirt, denims and Italian shoes on my long-time former dentist and latterly into navy scrubs and clogs on his fashionably-tattoed 20-something niece who has taken over the practice. 

The picture hasn't changed much from above, although I was wearing slightly less jewellery for the occasion of my checkup and clean. And I'm not really a candidate for the Swarovski crystal tooth gems she has introduced to the dental menu. Very groovy (is that still a word? I forgot to ask) music still plays, as does video footage over the chair of sea life frolicking possibly in The Great Barrier Reef, all meant as a distraction from what's going on at the business end, but none of that was necessary yesterday. My dentist and her assistant were busy bringing me bang up to date on the vernacular of Gen-Z.*

It started with Ghosting. The term came up when she was regaling me with an anecdote about visiting a cheese place nearby. We'd moved off a bit of preliminary teeth chat into dietary changes which segued into her talking about visiting this place with her last assistant before she was ghosted by her. There was that word! I really haven't had a proper explanation as to what it means. I saw my chance, Dear Reader, and as soon as hands and whatnots were out of my mouth, I asked if she'd talk me through Ghosting. 

She and her lovely new assistant were only too delighted. It was a simple enough explanation - more or less vanishing without trace or warning - but the anecdote which illustrated this example was utterly enthralling, despite the what? why?? nature of it. When another breather between proceedings cropped up, I asked if there was anything else I need to know about. I was trying to remember another vaguely understood societal term I hear bandied about - maybe it was Gaslighting? - but instead I promptly landed into an enlightening tutorial on completely new-for-me vernacular by the young women. All to do with dating.

I learnt all about Love-bombing (being smothered by someone with affectionate intensity at the beginning and then when you're hooked they drift away); Breadcrumbing (just leaving enough crumbs on social media so your target doesn't lose interest); the coloured flag system of classification of potential dates and some acronyms appropriate or not for your "profile". Not only did I come away with a nice professional scrub of the fangs but my marvellous dentist brought me the priceless gift of knowledge and I'm now right up to date.

* It's rather nice to find yourself, ahem, tradesmen to look after one's physical condition when you take yourself off to the shop, so to speak, who are young for they can outlive you. Rummaging around for replacements after one takes retirement, or even drops off their perch, is not for the faint-hearted. A couple of my -ologists are ageing alongside me but luckily the newer arrivals into the diary seem like positive children

Image credits: 1: British Dental Association Dental Museum; 2: Graphics Fairy

Bats In The Belfry