Illustration by the mega-talented Kelcey Vossen
I have always wanted to date a doctor. I doubt this is a statement that requires much justification: doctors are sexy, their lives serve a purpose, their selfless deeds warrant them prime real estate in Heaven that you may get to share by association. I’m not referring to the basic dentists and dermatologists, or the more profit-driven plastic surgeons, which are a dime a dozen. No, I’m talking about the bona fide miracle-workers, the surgeons, the guys with higher brain capacity and willpower and stamina than the rest of us mere mortals. Granted, this naive generalization is exactly what got me into the predicament that we will hereby refer to as the story of Doctor Douchebag.
I met Doctor Douchebag on one fine October night in Paris. Fashion Week had just wrapped and my friends and I decided to celebrate by heading to a “masked party” in the 9th Arrondissement, which, in typical blasé Parisian fashion, meant that about 10 of the 100+ people jammed in 50 meters of space were wearing plastic masks that they had probably saved over from last Halloween. After an hour of being ignored by virtually every single person in the room, we threw in the flag (or in this case, the plastic masks) and headed to David Lynch’s esoteric basement cave of a nightclub, Silencio. Nobody spoke to us there either, except that this time I elected to take a more proactive approach by making people talk to us via my trademark 3-step technique which happens to be about as physically taxing as Zumba:
- Open mouth widely.
- Pretend that everything my friends are saying is 10x funnier than it is.
- Whip my hair back and forth like a Pantene commercial reject.
I spotted two potential victims standing by the bar. Lights, camera, action! Two minutes later, a heart-warming “Bonjour.” Bingo! I turned around to find a tall, handsome man in a fire-engine-red sweater standing in front of me. Immediately, he seemed interesting. Actually, I don’t know if he seemed that interesting, but he did immediately inform me that he was a surgeon, which scored him a good 5000 points in my book. He also happened to speak perfect English and, by some miracle of God, some Russian, which added another 5000 points. Basically, he had won. He could have a tail and a third nipple, and he yet had already won. His friend, a true hero, somehow managed to break through the icy barrier of my girlfriends’ bitch faces and we all headed to the tiny back room where everyone bonded over my flailing flirting techniques. I could feel the rare warm glow of approval spreading from my friends’ critical minds towards the doc and the doc’s glow of approval spreading warmly on me, and I started to get all excited in the way a girl does when she feels like she might have actually met a decent guy. At the end of the night, the doc took my number and handed me his business card with the words “Chef de Clinique” inscribed on it, texting me an hour later to tell me he wanted to see me soon. I went to sleep, feeling all light and fluffy, googling him for good measure to ensure sweet dreams.
I woke up with the giddy feeling of a child on Christmas morning – I had met a boy, and a doctor, no less! I called my grandmother to tell her I was dating a surgeon – she’s 87 and these things make her happy. By 3pm, he had asked me to have dinner with him the following evening, instructing me to meet me by the Pantheon Metro in the 5th Arrondissement. By 6pm, my friends and I had concluded that he might very well be The One and decided that he would definitely need to follow me back to the U.S., where salaries are higher and doctors don’t need to take metros.
The following evening, I arrived to the designated meeting spot in black jeans and a v-neck cashmere sweater that I had spent an hour picking out. The Doctor arrived wearing the same bright red sweater he had been wearing at Silencio. I was confused – did he only own one sweater? Had he been on duty since Saturday? Had he not changed since Saturday? I decided to ignore the sweater and focus on the man in front of me, who appeared slightly less charming than the one I had met on Saturday. (Then again, I was four Moscow Mules less drunk.) The first thing that he did was tell me that he had checked out my writing, which he thought was “cute.” I awkwardly switched the topic to my more respectable-sounding job in advertising. Whoops, big mistake. As it turned out, the doc was completely disinterested in my vain work industry that only “cultivated consumerism” and preferred to refrain from discussing it in order to “avoid saying something he would later regret”. I jokingly apologized for offending him. With a completely straight face, he told me that it was ok, as I had the looks to make up for it. Ouch. I didn’t even know whether to be angry or flattered, as I generally don’t consider my looks as being capable of making up for anything. The rest of the dinner was rather uneventful, aside from the part where he mentioned that he was friends with Antoine Arnault and Natalia Vodianova. I imagined us all double dating, Natalia and I bonding in Russian and becoming best friends.. Suddenly, this whole thing was looking up! I could hardly contain my excitement as a whole new career as an international philanthropist began opening up to me. Like DVF, I was about to become the woman I was meant to be all along!
After dinner, he offered to show me around his native 5th Arrondissement, completely unfamiliar territory for me. As we walked through the winding historical streets, the Doctor pointed out the different famous universities while occasionally reaching over to rub my back and lightly pull on my hair. I had never had a man pull on my hair on a first date and wasn’t sure how to respond. I didn’t really get a chance to deliberate as he suddenly gave it a nice strong yank and began passionately kissing me in a manner normally reserved for latin telenovelas. He repeated this exact move again on the next block, then the next, until he suddenly pushed me against the wall of a random building and whispered into my ear: “By the way, this is my house”. He then stuck his tongue deep into my earlobe, as if to let that information sink in.
Mortified, I asked him how often this technique worked. By the look on his face, I could tell that it had been known to happen. After coming to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t be sleeping with him the night, he calmed his roll and we continued our walk. In an effort to make small talk, I randomly inquired about Parisian real estate market. “I do not know, these things do not interest me.” I briefly wondered if having a roof over his head interested him, when he explained that his parents has bought him his apartment and he could afford anything else he wanted on his salary of 5K a month. I don’t know whether to be weirded out by him telling me this, or appalled by how little surgeons earn in France. At this point it finally started dawning on me that the guy was more than a bit odd, not to mention quite full of himself. And yet, he was a cute, brilliant doctor who spoke 4 languages and was friends with my Russian supermodel spirit animal… I couldn’t give this up! He walked me to the little love bridge behind Notre Dame and pressed me into another smoldering embrace until I could feel the tiny gold love locks digging into the back of my legs. I was about an inch away from falling into the Seine, when he abruptly stopped, pulled out a worn-out Moleskine day planner, and asked if he could to see me again that weekend. Thinking about all the children Natalia and I would be helping together, I couldn’t say no.
On Sunday morning he met me in le Marais after his shift, looking exhausted. His eyes were hollow, he was completely out of it, and to top off the misery, he was carrying around a 600-page book about Congo that he was reading for pleasure. I joked that it would take me a year and an Adderall prescription to finish that thing. He looked at me with pity and told me that I was lucky to be pretty. Not again! We wandered around the neighborhood and ended up in a tiny garden on Rue Payenne, where the Doc slipped his hand under my coat and underneath my sweater. Cupping my breast, he said, quite seriously: “I really like you. I think you should come visit me at the hospital.” Too distracted by the idea of somebody seeing me getting felt up in the neighborhood garden, I agreed.
In what I assumed was an effort to prep me, he texted me every day leading up to our hospital date with pictures of maxillofacial surgeries, accidentally scaring the daylight out of my coworkers in the process. As the day of my visit approached, I began having second thoughts – what the hell was I getting myself into? I convinced myself to go through with it, telling myself that he worked at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, a famous teaching hospital, and so it could all be very glamorous and Doctor Zhivago-esque. I began to get excited and even wore my nicest cashmere coat for the occasion, a gesture that the modest doc definitely didn’t appreciate. Ushering me through a long winding labyrinth of a hallway, he quickly removed my coat and bag and told me to leave them in the office where “nobody would see them.” He led me to the famous hospital lunchroom, which was decorated entirely with fresques of coitus and phallus and bosoms that made it an iconic Parisian destination. It was a pretty cool setting and I was almost starting to enjoy myself, when my dinner companion whipped out his iPhone and started showing me the emergency maxillofacial procedure he had performed that day, killing my appetite once and for all. After he was done, he sighed in his usual tormented way and escorted me back to his office, where he placed his head on my breasts and took a nap.
After this very bizarre evening, I decided that I needed to get a second opinion and invited the Doc to a birthday dinner at a friend’s house, even partaking in some of the cooking in an attempt to showcase my domestic skills. A wasted effort, considering that the doc showed up about ninety minutes late, looking like he had just run a marathon. Disheveled and confused, he presented my friend with a small paper bag with her “present”, which appeared to be a giant fruit roll-up from a foreign land. My friend, God bless her, acted charmed by the gift, and piled up the Doc’s plate with food, which he attacked as if he hadn’t eaten in days while never even looking up from his plate.
After he was fed, we sampled the fruit roll-up while the doctor told us about his time studying abroad at Yale and Oxford. Another friend, a new mother, made a joke about her husband having to work hard so that their children could go to private school. Dr. Dbag reacted as if she had told him she is planning on buying a chateau and lining all the toilet seats with chinchilla.
“Money does not matter, the best education in France is free”, he informed us. I pointed out that his years abroad in non-private universities must have contributed to his success. “Success is irrelevant to me. I am on a mission to help people, I seek no financial gain.” A beautiful speech, slightly ruined only by the fact that he was wearing a very expensive Rolex watch that we were now all staring at. Glancing down at it, he didn’t miss a beat: “Oh, that. You see, I have infinite family money.” I promise you I was not the only person who almost fell off their chair.
Despite their unaligned social views, everyone exchanged post-dinner pleasantries and the Doc and I headed downstairs. I was expecting him to thank me for the evening (and four course dinner) with one of his trademark kisses, but instead, he decided to volunteer an opinion about my friends. “I had a very interesting time. Your friends are the opposite of the people I surround myself with, but it’s good for me to be in places like this, with people like you sometimes” Really? He, the walking ball of hypocrisy with buckets of “infinite family money” that he clearly had no problem dipping into, had the nerve to say something about my friends, who actually had to plan their financial futures? With the Spice Girls’ “If You Wanna Be My Lover” playing in my brain, I turned on full bitch mode and started quickly walking in the direction of the taxi stand. Never one to sense my mood, he reached over and pulled my hair. OH. NO. Using the very little self-control I had left to prevent me from punching him, I turned around and growled: “Please do NOT pull my hair”. I remained silent for the rest of the walk, barely listening to the Doc ramble on about his week of saintliness and bemoan about how exhausted he was, before jumping into the nearest cab on Boulevard Saint-Germain.
And this is how I learned that douchebags come in all shapes and sizes, with all sorts of scholarly degrees. Being an Ivy-league educated surgeon doesn’t necessarily make you a kind and open-minded person – in fact, it can be quite the opposite. I may not read encyclopedias on Congo or know extensive details about Pierre and Marie Curie, but at least I’m not an asshole who puts down people who know less than I do. Before setting up philanthropic endeavors, it may be good to start by being nicer to people around you.
Voilà. The end!