A long time ago I decided to make an effort to look my best. Conventional wisdom said guys get better haircuts at female hair shops because the standards are higher. (Actually the prices are higher because getting your man-hair cut at a chick place is like taking your Camry to the Rolls Royce dealer for an oil change. Also some female
barbers hairdressers give high-maintenance haircuts that look good when you are all teased and pouffed up as you leave the shop but require gels and blow-dryers to maintain the look. But I digress.) Anyway I started getting my haircuts at places that called themselves salons.
What eventually happened with every hairdresser was that one day I would call to make an appointment and they would say she doesn’t work here any more. Then I would ask where she went and they would say we don’t know. In one case I made an effort to track down my woman. When I found her she said her loyal customers were following her to her new shop and the jerks at the old shop were lying about not knowing where she was working now. There were other hairdressers and sudden disappearances. For a brief period I got my hair cut by Stan at a traditional men’s barbershop on Devon Avenue. He was OK but someone told me that Marvin at the same shop was much better, so I started avoiding Stan and using Marvin and he was indeed the best. However, one day Marvin disappeared, so I started going back to Stan as though nothing had happened. I felt a bit like the colonial official in the Somerset Maugham story who brings his new English wife back to Malaya or wherever. The wife soon notices a native woman and children hanging around who seem oddly familiar with her husband, and eventually it is revealed that this is in fact her husband’s local family, at which point the new wife flees back to England and the native wife moves back in as though nothing had happened. I don’t think Stan would be my first choice as a roommate if I lived in Malaya but you get the point. Anyway I eventually got tired of the drama and now cut my own hair with a bowl.
My dentist is an older guy who sold his practice and retired about ten years ago but then decided that he wanted to keep working. So he resumed part-time practice through another dental office with whom he must have worked out some kind of fee-splitting arrangement. The new practice was a bit far away (perhaps he had a noncompete agreement with the people he had sold his practice to) but overall this arrangement was OK for me since I got to continue using my preferred dentist.
However, one day I called to schedule a cleaning and asked if Dr. ____ would be in the office when I visited and they said he doesn’t work here any more. I asked if they knew where he had gone and they said no. So I tracked him down at home and he said he was practicing at a new shop and his loyal patients were following him there, and the jerks at the old shop were lying about not knowing where he was working now.
OK, no problem. I knew how to find him if he moved again. And as it turned out he moved again in a few years and again after that, and each time he moved I followed him. He moved to a practice that was an hour’s drive from me, which was too much, and then he moved to another practice across the street from that one. At that point I started looking for another dentist, and I actually visited one who was recommended by an oral surgeon I was acquainted with, but on the first appointment the new guy gave me a hard sell for work that I didn’t think I needed. So I was relieved to learn that my old dentist was moving again, this time to a practice that was within tolerable driving distance (perhaps the noncompete had expired). That was about a year and a half ago. Since then my dentist has moved twice more, most recently back into the same building where he worked many years ago before he sold his practice. And yesterday I got word that he has moved yet again. I don’t know what’s going on but I can’t start doing my own dental work, so it seems clear that I need to find a new dentist.