My name is Camilla, and I am single.
C'mon guys. I at least expected an audible gasp or something.
But it's really no secret. Not to my family, not to my friends, and not to my dentist.
Yes, my friends, you read that correctly. My dentist.
My dentist and I have a very intimate relationship. Well . . . okay, it's intimate for a dentist/patient type of relationship. I estimate I have seen this dentist every six months since I was twelve. So, I've seen him now for around ten years, minus the year-and-a-half for when I was serving a mission. And it seems like as soon as I hit the rightful age of dating, he has asked me the same question every six months: Are you still single?
Now he doesn't word it this way. The man is very kind and has social skills. No, instead he phrases it in a variety of ways.
"Any cute boys around?"
"Anyone you're interested in?"
"How's the dating scene?"
"How're the boys around you looking?"
"You got your eye on anyone?"
"Anyone got your eye on you?"
"Do you have a special someone?"
"Gone on any dates lately?"
"How's the pool of guys in your congregation looking?"
"So . . . anyone neeeeew in your life?"
And every six months for about the past ten years, I have always responded to this question by
saying . . .
To get the full effect of just how this sounds, please place your fingers in your mouth, just as he was doing in the moment, and say audibly, "No."
This is always followed by the exact same dating advice, somewhere along the lines of:
Telling me the story about his beautiful and single 24-year-old daughter who isn't married yet and has no hope in the guys around her. (She really is drop-dead gorgeous. She went to my high school and sometimes I would just stare at her in awe.)
Saying he's sorry that I'm single, followed by an apology that I have to marry and deal with men.
Telling me to make marriage a priority
Telling me not to marry too fast
Telling me not to settle.
Telling me which kinds of guys I shouldn't date.
Telling me which kinds of guys I SHOULD date.
Then apologizing cause all those guys are taken, and I'll be left with the guys I shouldn't date.
Analyzing the possible reasons for me being single. Generally it's the guys fault. He'll say something along the lines of: "They just don't realize how great you are." Or, "Some guys are intimidated by smart girls." Or, "Guys never notice the girls that are worth it."
This is generally responded by (again, put your fingers in your mouth and repeat what I write to get the full effect), "Mmm." "Aaaah." "Yeah." "Mmmhmmm."
As mentioned before, this has occurred EVERY dentist appointment to memory. So, when it came for my six month check up once again, I expected this to be the case.
Yet for some reason, this time really seemed to push me over the edge.
It could be because of the current situation I'm in: 22. Single. Getting on Facebook and seeing at the very LEAST 3 weddings, 5 engagements, and 1-2 relationship announcements, followed by around 1-4 gushy "I'm so grateful for my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend on our something-month anniversary!" that is INCREDIBLY long.
It gets overwhelming, especially when you feel an intense amount of shame around the fact that you're still single, and you feel like nobody will ever romantically love you because you're not good enough and worth anyone's time, so you'll end up an old, ugly, lonely, hag.
. . . it's complicated, guys. I'm working on it.
But I had prepped myself mentally that this would happen, so I felt ready as I headed into the dentists office.
First, it was the hygienist. Or, as my family has nick-named her: Flake-O. It sounds meaner than it is. Guys, she's a 100 percent flake.
She opened the door and said, "Camille?"
I automatically stood up, knowing that Camille (Kuh-MEE-ell) was equivalent to Camilla (Kuh-MILL-uh. . . encase you need a pronunciation guide).
"I'm sorry, did I pronounce it right?" she asked.
"It's Camilla, but I respond to a number of variations, so you're totally good."
"Oh, I know how that goes! People pronounce my name Laura (Law-Rah) when it's really pronounced Lora (Low-Rah). If I wanted to go by Laura, my mom would've named me that! My mom gets so mad when my husband calls me Laura instead of Lora!"
I literally had no response to that comment, so I followed her in silence to my chair as she laughed uncomfortably to herself about her funny comment.
After a couple x-rays, I sat down in the chair that she lowered to an abnormally low height so that I thought all the blood would rush to my head and I'd pass out.
As she began cleaning my teeth with that terrible-tasting, high-scale toothpaste or whatever they use to clean teeth, she asked, "So, anyone special in your life?"
The hygienist NEVER does this to me. I didn't expect this! I'm not prepared for this! So this can ONLY mean that both her AND my dentist will catch up on my romance life . . . or lack there of.
I thought of a couple possible sarcastic responses.
"Why yes, my roommates are quite special to me and I'm happy to have lived with them this past semester."
"Oh, yes. My sisters are quite precious and special to me, as well as all my family!"
"As in the good kind of special, or the bad kind of special? Cause I have examples of both."
I also considered listing off every friend I've ever made ever.
But her fingers were in my mouth, and I didn't want to be like that annoying kid in your class who always gives the smart-aleck responses thinking he's soooo funny and clever, and really you just want to punch him in the throat by the end of the semester (Oh man, guys. I've been that kid), so instead I said:
"Aaaw I'm sorry."
Apology for me being single? Check.
"Eh." I said, which in my mind interpreted to: "It's really fine, but your fingers are in my mouth so I can't give you a longer response. Can we please change the subject now?'
Amazingly enough, Laura/Lora couldn't read minds, so she asked, "Any friends setting you up with guys?"
The full response would've been: "Ummm a couple of times, yeah. It happened mostly over the summer. And a lot didn't follow through, but yeah. I've been set up on some dates, just not recently."
But again, I felt uncomfortable with her fingers all up in my mouth so I said, "Yes."
"Any worth a second date?" she asked, filling my mouth with water.
As the blind dates I went on flashed through my mind, I was able to give her a full and true response after I spat out my water.
"Well you never know who will walk into your life! Are you flirting?"
. . . Is she being for real right now?
Thankfully her fingers were back in my mouth, so I resulted to giving her a variation of the "eh" response in hopes of her going off on a tangent about her own marriage or something.
Instead, she said, "Well, you just gotta bat your eyes and flash them your pretty smile! Boys will come flocking to you!"
Yeah, because every guy likes a girl who smiles constantly while blinking her eyes at an unnatural speed that makes it difficult for even yourself to see.
Time to spit again. This time I took the opportunity to change the subject. Before I laid back down to have her fingers go into my mouth, I said, "Well I'm going on a study abroad to New Zealand for 3 months, so I haven't really been looking to date anyone if I'm just gonna leave them."
I hate pulling the New Zealand card cause I feel like I'm bragging, but I was desperate.
Her fingers went back into my mouth as she said, "Oh, honey-
Please never call me honey ever again.
"That's the best time to get a boyfriend! Don't you want someone to write letters and emails to while you gone? Don't you want someone to look forward to calling while you're gone?"
. . . Is she being for real right now?
What I wanted to say:
"Um. I have that. They're called friends and family. Dear goodness.:
But again, I just said something along the likes of, "Mmmhmmmhmmm?"
Last time to rinse and spit, and then she was off to get the dentist. As she walked out the door she said, "Well just work on those flirting skills! I'll go get the X-Rays ready for the dentist to look at."
I watched her leave, then promptly laid back down in the too-low chair and pretended to be asleep. She came in a couple times (to do what? I don't know), and I didn't dare open my eyes.
. . . I'm pretty sure it was her anyway.
Finally I heard footsteps and someone say, "Hellooooo, Camilla (Kam-EEL-luh). Or is it Camilla (Camel-uh)?"
The dentist! I opened my eyes and sat up.
"Shoot! I'm sorry. We have another Camel-uh who comes here, and the Spanish way to say your name is Cam-eel-uh. I should've reviewed."
"It's really fine. I get it a lot and respond to all." I said.
He began doing his dentist thing, and asking me the usual update questions. School, work, family. I reminded him of my age, and told him a bit about my major. It was a good chat. I really do like this guy.
There was a slight silence as he scraped at my teeth, and then came the question I had been long anticipating.
"So . . . is there anyone . . . significaaaaaaaant?"
You're asking me if I'm still single. Why don't you just flat out ask me, "Are you still single?" It's just expected at this point, and you HAVE to be running out of creative ways to ask this question.
I wasn't gonna mess with this guy. I respected him too much.
"No." I said.
"Oh, I'm so sorry."
Scrape, scrape, scrape.
Scrape, scrape, scrape.
"Anyone you got your eye on?"
Mirror in mouth.
The truthful answer?
Yeah. A couple. Buuuut they're not interested in me.
What I said?
"Ugh. Boys these days. Have you noticed the shift in dating? Well of course you wouldn't. You're so young you haven't seen what it used to be like! Men used to ask women out all the time, but now it's resulted in hanging out and only noticing a few girls. There used to be more dances and free activities, but now it's just all hanging out and nothing formal. Not to mention TWENTY year old guys are getting married! Could you imagine getting married to a TWENTY year old? They're so immature at that age! But if we're being serious, they never really stop being immature. Take me and my brother for example."
I did something that imitated a laugh. I think it sounded like, "Hur-hur-hur."
"I'm not saying there's anything wrong at all to get married young! I had a daughter get married right out of high school! But it's hard for those who aren't married yet! The dating scene is rough out there, I'll tell yah."
Oooooh here we go. Buckle up, everyone.
"My daughter is having the hardest time dating. The only guys she's around are losers! Which results in her dating losers! It seems like by the time women are 22, all the good guys are taken."
. . . He DOES realize I JUST told him I'm 22, right?!
"So they'll either have to marry that 28-year-old who lives in his mothers house, or the immature 20-year-old."
. . . I will pray every single day that there are other options besides that.
What I wanted to say was, "Oh, I'm sure there's other options too." But again. His hands were all up in my space.
"A lot of guys are just SO intimidated by smart girls, you know? I mean, you're smart and-"
You don't know my life.
"-my daughter is in dental school, and one of her friends told her that he wouldn't date her because she is so smart and it intimidated him. Now she wishes she had just done something else instead and acted like an airhead."
This time, I said exactly what was on my mind.
"NUR. NUR. NUR. NUR. NUR. FATS SUS WONG."
"NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. THAT'S JUST WRONG."
"I know! Not to mention I dated some of the airhead type, and there's nothing in there! You're out of things to talk about on the second date!"
Talking about his beautiful daughter's awful dating situation? Check.
He turned to look at my X-Rays.
"You gotta get married, Camilla," he said, and had reverted back to calling me the Spanish version: Kuh-MEEL-ah . . . or whatever I defined it as before. "But be sure you don't settle. You can't marry someone with no ambitions living in the basement of his mothers house, but be sure not to marry someone who is a child, okay?"
Telling me to make marriage a priority? Check.
Telling me not to settle? Check.
I scratched the back of my neck uncomfortably, wishing his hands were still in my mouth, because I didn't know what to say. It's amazing how I've gotten this lecture so many times, and yet it still leaves me speechless."
"Okay," I said.
Just then, my dear friend Laura/Lora returned with toothpaste, a toothbrush, and floss.
"You need to floss more," said my dentist. "You're on the verge of getting a flossing cavity."
I groaned and said, "Dang it. I HATE flossing!"
"Well nobody does!" he said.
"My roommate does. But she's studying to be a dent-."
"Well yeah there's always those people. But I'm just saying the general population doesn't like flossing."
. . . Yeah, bro, I know what you meant.
"Well, you'll get married, Camilla! Keep your chin up! See you in six months!"
Reassuring I'll get married? That's a new one. But . . . check.
Lora/Laura showed me to the reception desk to set up my appointment.
"Well, have so much fun in New Zealand!" she said.
"Take lots of pictures for me! I love living through other peoples lives by looking at their pictures! Hahaha!"
Woman, when would the opportunity even arise for me to show you my pictures?
"Haha. . . I'm sure I'll take a lot!"
"And have fun with the meeeen!" she said in a playful and unusually high voice.
I was speechless, and I'm pretty sure I was failing at attempting to NOT look annoyed.
"Maybe you'll meet someone in New Zealand!"
Filter = off.
"The main purpose for me going on a study abroad is NOT to get married." I said, trying really hard to sound polite, but I just made my voice sound flat.
"You never knoooooow! But either way, this'll be the PERFECT opportunity for you to practice flirting. Just think of the MEN!"
Facial filter = off. I stared at her with a look that I'm pretty sure translated to pure annoyance and disbelief. But if it did, she had no clue.
"I mean, no commitment! You can just flirt it up with aaaaaaaall the attractive local guys, and you'll get so good and confident in it that you'll come home and you'll have no filter with guys, and you'll just flirt with everyone!"
My filter IS already off, woman.
"Yeah. I'll have fun."
She said more stuff that I completely brushed off, and bounced away. I turned to the receptionist, who had a huge smile on her face and said, "I went to New Zealand a few months ago. It is beeeeautiful. You'll love it."
Pure relief filled me as she talked about the scenery, the activities, what she did to stay entertained on the flight, and how grateful she was that she went.
And not one mention of dating.
My heart was warm as I thanked her, left the office, and thought about New Zealand, and the reasons I chose to go.
It occurred to me after that I'm going to the dentist right after I get home from the study abroad, and I will probably be having the exact same conversation once again. And it'll be interesting to see how his daughter's dating life is doing six months from now, because I'm SURE he'll fill me in.
I'll keep you posted on that, guys.
Have an awkward day and an awkward date, everyone.
May I please take a moment to list everything wrong and inaccurate about this picture?
Nobody looks that good when they go to the dentist.
Someone with that white of teeth should have graduated from going to the dentist.
Nobody looks that happy when they're at the dentist.
I don't usually look my dentist lovingly in the eyes as he's checking out my teeth.