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Psychiatry Makes You Vivid

DR. SHRINK sent me his clinic’s URL so I could see what he looks like. He won’t put his photo on the senior dating site where we met. This is not because he feels it’s professionally inappropriate. It’s because he wants to separate the sublime from the faulty. He hates dealing with flirts from ladies who are on the faulty side. He writes in his first email to me:

My photo was not posted because I am not interested in interacting with the world. I have chosen to be selective. I sensed special qualities that you have. These I feel are important when it comes to developing an intimate relationship.

I ignore the haughtiness and the reference to “intimate relationship” and write back:

I’d be curious to know what special qualities you feel you have intuited in me at this early date.  I find it hard to intuit all that much in myself that is unique. I live in Washington, where people are credentialed down to their toes and everyone has a long, impressive job title and a longer list of important and connected friends and acquaintances.

DR. SHRINK responds:

You may have come from a family where approvals were not as common as criticisms, otherwise, your internal mechanisms would reflect the feeling that you are a fine and caring soul, accomplished with the ability to hold your own with anyone.

Me: I did not speak of self doubt. Only of context.


DR. SHRINK presses on:

Their inputs helped to shape fundamental ways you interact with the world. With all your talents and real accomplishments there is a reflection of images that cause a belief that for whatever reason others have far greater abilities. Missing approval from the parents can have powerful consequences. You need not bow to anyone. I can tell you are a wonderful person.

baby vintage

DR. SHRINK must be accustomed to dealing with people who hate themselves. How else to explain his inability to distinguish false modesty from self-loathing? This may be why he thinks it’s cool to start a relationship with an affirmation-of-self lecture.

I’ll stick with DR. SHRINK for a while; but I suspect my penchant for thinking outside the box will not work with his rigid by-the-book style.


Dr. Shrink’s on-line dating profile is amateurish and kitschy: to develop a meaningful relationship with a woman, share experiences, travel, and sunsets. I am only answering his flirt because I have never dated a physician before, and I want to try it out. DR. S’s psychiatric specialty is “relationship issues.” I’d like to learn how someone with such obvious relationship difficulties of his own can be an effective therapist.

You may think it’s disingenuous of me to make these pronouncements about my new doctor friend, but I have never liked system transparency. I dislike restaurants in which the waiter appears with a menu and two glasses of water and recites, “Hi, my name is Brian, and I’ll be your server tonight.” I prefer places where every part of the subtle service ballet seems spontaneous. Similarly, when a guy’s profile mentions “sharing sunsets,” I know it represents not devotion to the mysteries of twilight but to a conviction that a reference to a sunset, powerful metaphor that it is, will reel in the babes.

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'Psychiatry Makes You Vivid' have 5 comments

  1. January 23, 2013 @ 10:06 am CGCarol

    Ha Ha – you wanted to “date a physician.” Well, you did and you found out. Psychiatrists are the worst. Most of them studied to be shrinks because they were so familiar with craziness because of their own issues.

  2. May 13, 2011 @ 3:59 pm Sienna

    The good doctor and I have parted ways, Penelope.

  3. February 24, 2011 @ 6:08 am Willa

    This man obviously has, as you say, some relationship issues, but he just seems lonely to me. He’s trying too hard to find someone.

  4. May 24, 2010 @ 11:20 am Cynthia Kay

    I have only dated one doctor but that was enough for me. He was always preoccupied, mostly with his own importance. He was always looking to see if someone recognized him because I think he wanted people to call him “Doctor” in public. In private he was ok, except that his beeper was always on. Now I am dating a bartender and when he’s off work, he’s off work. And the mixed drinks are

  5. March 4, 2010 @ 11:11 am Roxy

    Not very promising.

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