I walked in on Ross naked, leaning into an open window to catch the sun’s light on medical grade tweezers, as he slowly peeled skin away from twenty splinters, five of which were causing infections.
He called me over in excitement, never once looking my way, sparing me the blinding glare from the headlight on his magnifying visor. He was focused, yet eager to show me every area on his hand causing pain.
I enjoy watching Ross take care of himself. He does things I would never do: pops zits, shaves his balls, benzos…
He makes me laugh, often mistaking self-care for self-destruction, and vanity for sloppiness.
He doesn’t have tattoos because you “wouldn’t put a bumper sticker on a Ferrari” but he shows up for a planned dinner an hour late because he was getting ready…the result of getting ready being a button up over a pair of three-inches-too-long, grease stained work pants. With a freshly shaven face. Because he can’t go to dinner without shaving. Shaving shows off his smile.
A smile that shone with privilege only 5 years ago. Today the smile shows a daisy chain of ill-fated dental procedures: 8 retreated root canals and 14 cavities filled with composite resin the color reserved for a tobacco chewer’s mouth.
What’s funny about the current state of his mouth is that his oral hygiene is better than mine. A crap dentist is a shitty thing. A shitty thing indeed.
My first dentist appointment after starting to date Ross, the hygienist asked what I was doing differently. “Your mouth looks better than it has ever looked!”
“I have a new boyfriend. He brushes and flosses regularly. We’ve started doing it together.”
She shared a similar story with her now husband. Their first date was at Cafe 80’s in Prague.
Our first date was at the Mormon temple in Oakland. He picked me up on a motorcycle, without notice. If I had any chance of saving my skin in an accident, I had to change clothes.
Good thing I’m not vegan and anti-denim. A leather jacket, jeans, and pair of combat boots later, I felt the slightest bit better about the viscosity of my insides should they drag along 80 West.
Good thing my mother never made me promise to not date homeless felons. I would’ve missed out on the ride of my life.