Thursday, 8 December 2011


“You can come through now, Mrs. Lebens”, says the well made up and slightly chubby dental assistant.
So I stand up and shake her hand.
“I’m Doctor Naidoo, but you can call me …” I don’t catch her first name, and in addition to that, what is this?! The assistant who could never be my daughter for a variety of reasons (but is very young though!) is not an assistant after all!
“Ah, yes, of course, so you’re the dentist?!”, I say hyperventilating.
In my thoughts I hoped the floor would open and swallow me. But I realise that the floor won’t comply and therefore I just sigh, follow the dentist, and lie down.

Maybe it’s just me. Recently I bought a very expensive day-crème for the first time in my life. There were different crèmes I could choose from. Helpless in this “creamy environment”, I asked the saleswoman for help.
“What concerns you the most?”, she asks.
Ok. The hungry people in Africa, the Greenhouse effect, the pair of trousers in my size I just tried on and that didn’t fit me at all, health issues in general, what I want to do with the rest of my life.
But anyway, I have other priorities now. And besides that, why has she asked ‘what concerns me the most’? Why doesn’t she just sell me something let’s say ‘for the vital skin’?
I murmur with my skin taut something about fine lines. Thereafter she examines me very closely. So close in fact that I start wondering when I last brushed my teeth and if I’d drunk any coffee afterwards. So I hold my breath and I already had that tight face, so it’s a very complicated exercise to say the least. Luckily she decides quite quickly what I need and decisively she grabs a crème from the showcase.
I do sense what it might be and to minimalise my reaction to this, I read the description with one eye closed. And it says this: to delay the aging process.
I don’t get a lot of time to recover from my initial shock, because we are not done yet.
“Anything else? Those sunspots don’t bother you?”
We look in the mirror together and yes of course, full of little spots I used to categorise these a bog-standard freckles.

I walk out the door with a bag of rejuvenating creams worth a fortune and almost bash into a guy with his arms full of feather dusters.
“You want to buy one madam? They’re made of genuine ostrich feathers?” This second statement is accompanied by furious nodding.
Maybe it’s because of the feathers, maybe it’s because of the upcoming Christmas period, but all of a sudden it’s like I flitter above myself and while I’m doing that I even have the breath to say: “Apparently this is the NEW demographic for you. You do belong to this feather duster target group now, but you still think the dentist is too young and anti-wrinkle creams are not meant for you. What do you think yourself?!”
“Yes, well, uhm”, and I kind of start a story about the dentist I went to in the Netherlands who was way better (and more experienced) and who had a monitor showing cartoons. These cartoons made you stop thinking of your teeth, or the drill, and encouraged thoughts about whether people who like those cartoons really exist.
But all those arguments don’t make sense at all, since we are all getting older and there’s not all that much you can do about it.
So I humbly, give in and choose a pink feather duster.

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