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Katrina M Sanders RDH, BSDH, M.Ed, RF, is a graduate and recipient of countless awards from the University of Minnesota’s School of Dentistry Division of Dental Hygiene. She is proud to currently serve on the alumni society for one of the most prestigious dental schools in the country. Katrina’s professional career emerged as an educator when she attained full-time employment with a career college in Phoenix, Arizona. A physical manifestation of Katrina’s commitment to her profession is in the development of her textbook, "Introduction to the Dental Hygiene Profession." Katrina proudly received her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership with distinction through Northern Arizona University as a Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society distinguished member. Currently, Katrina is a distinguished speaker with Dental Hygiene Culture as she lectures nationally in a variety of dental hygiene continuing education content.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, here are some ideas to pass along to your significant other to make the holiday extra special.
As the Christmas decorations come down and we return the “Thanks, do you have the receipt?” gifts (I received a flannel blanket fit for a tiny human from Mama Sanders this year … thanks mom), we are welcomed by the red and pink displays of Valentine’s Day cards, flowers and glucose … I mean, treats among us.
Despite the murky history surrounding the patron saint of Valentine’s Day, this “Hallmark Holiday” has made its stamp on the month of February. Those of us who are in relationships expect an abundance of roses, chocolates, and an evening of wining and dining, while those of us who are single and like to mingle will enjoy an evening of martinis and laughs with fellow single friends.
To all of my hygienists out there throwing the #hygienelove, take a look at these date ideas and tag your stud muffin/sweet lips, your flavor of the week, or your swipe-right Tinder fling to ensure they treat you to a fabulous Valentine’s Day to remember.
Click through the slides to check out the date ideas.
1. For the traditional hygienist. A reliable staple for date night is dinner and a movie. Who doesn’t love getting dressed up, enjoying a gorgeous meal and snuggling in a dark movie theater with your cutie patootie? If you and your honey are brave enough to attempt reservations for the big day, consider a new restaurant with a unique twist. Remember, foods like oysters, chocolate and strawberries are natural aphrodisiacs and pair well with the newest movie in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” series, “Fifty Shades Freed.” Without getting too graphic, I promise this will set the mood for a wonderful Valentine’s Day evening.
Please note: Valentine’s Day is on a weekday this year, so forgive your love muffin if she wants to enjoy quick takeout and the back row of the theater whilst sporting her messy bun and yoga pants. What can I say? Hygienists are creatures of comfort after a long day of fighting the good fight against periodontal disease. Plus, your evening won’t be tied up (see what I did there) in waiting for her to get ready. To you, your sugar bear, Christian Grey and Anastasia, I hope you all have a fabulous evening.
2. For the stressed hygienist. While most non-hygiene peeps don’t realize it, dental hygienists spend the better part of their 8- to 12-hour days hunched over in the same unnatural position, serving the public by ensuring the proper TV channel, polish flavor, chair position and water temperature to meet the needs of their patients while desperately squeezing in bathroom breaks and talking over their stomach growls. Hygienists consistently encounter patients who require us to contort like acrobats in order to clean their dirty mouths and often leave the office feeling emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted. Find me a dental hygienist who doesn’t suffer from aching muscles and chronic fatigue and I will prove that the tooth fairy is real!
Schedule a deep tissue massage and some fabulous tea for your pookie and you will secure your “significant other of the year” award. Additionally, your favorite gum disease-fighting super hero will certainly be much more relaxed and pleasant this Valentine’s Day. Bonus: Book a couple’s massage for a special gift for yourself as well.
3. For the wine-loving hygienist. Confession: I am currently writing this article at a wine tasting room. Why? Because nothing helps me escape the stress of a day of hygiene like the gorgeous juice of fermented grapes. Let’s face it: Dental hygienists spend their entire day working with people who are either in pain, are inconvenienced by having a dental appointment or have no problem sharing “I hate the dentist” as we glove up and work on ungrateful, grouchy, preoccupied patients.
If your sugar bear is anything like me, he or she is thinking about that beautiful glass of vino he or she will be pouring when he or she gets home from a long day of fighting the good fight against periodontal disease. Why not take us out on the town and enjoy some fabulous local wines? As a newly appointed level one sommelier, I am confident that your city has some wonderful wines available for even the most beginner of wine tasters. Check out your local Yelp page and enjoy some fabulous local wine with your love bug. Cheers!
4. For the cultured hygienist. After a horrible day of heavily diseased clients or ridiculous patient requests, most dental hygienists have met their threshold. If your buttercup is like most hygienists, he or she loves the occasional opportunity to decompress and escape to a different world. I am a profound believer that live theater transcends our reality and allows us to - just for a few hours - experience a new world, time or culture.
As a previous thespian, I recall most local theaters preparing fun and fabulous theatrical productions in celebration of Valentine’s Day. Shows such as “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” (yes, that really is the title to a show) or any Rogers and Hammerstein musical will not only fund the local arts community in a philanthropic way, but it will also give you and your beloved a wonderful evening of enjoying the dying art of live theater. I promise you, there is nothing like holding hands with your cupcake while singing the closing song to “Grease” and enjoying a glass of overpriced Chardonnay in a small black box theater.
5. For the curious hygienist. Dental hygienists are curious souls. While we’re programmed to always read and research, we also have wild imaginations that permit us to use our hands, intelligence and creativity in unique ways. Our consistently active minds make us incredibly fun dates for events like paint night, or perhaps a cooking class where we are able to infuse our type A personalities into an opportunity to learn a new skill or craft. Check your community websites for paint and bottle nights, pottery classes or even a gardening class at your local Home Depot. If you can’t keep your hands off each other, this will give you something else to occupy your time this Valentine’s Day.
6. For the adventurous hygienist. There is just something so incredibly nostalgic about packing the car with beef jerky and a boyband playlist fit for a road trip that makes this an awesome date for your main squeeze. Additionally, your lamb chop is tired of looking at the same four operatory walls and 1990s laminated Colgate poster; take us out for an adventure! Consider researching local hiking trails within a quick car ride, or perhaps look for local fishing spots, Jeep tours or train rides. The ability to (gently) set our loupes in their case and drive off into the sunset with our “PITA” patients in the rear-view mirror will appeal to any hard-working, fun-loving hygienist. Sometimes the best part of a road trip is getting lost and stargazing.
7. For the active hygienist. Let us not forget that February is American Heart Month, and I’m confident that your cookie bear experiences the responsibility that all hygienists do to spread awareness about the importance of heart health. For the active dental hygienist, consider taking a couples’ yoga class or perhaps purchasing a trial week to a local gym. Heart-pumping activities like racquet ball, a romantic but scenic walk, or even a throwback roller skating date are great ways to appeal to your energetic endorphin junkie.
Of course, the best way to bond with your turtle-dove while staying active is to book a couples’ dance class. From the foxtrot to ballroom dancing and every cha-cha-cha in between, I simply cannot imagine a better way to enjoy an evening with your loved one than to get your two left feet moving to the instruction of a semi-retired dance instructor while you hold back laughter. If nothing else, it gives you some great moves for the kitchen and a fun story for happy hour.
8. For the guygenist. To the lucky ladies or men who have landed themselves a guygenist: BRAVO! You’ve met a man who not only has intelligence and empathy, but also someone who can thrive in incredible amounts of estrogen, as we all witnessed from our male classmates in hygiene school. If there is anyone who is truly the hero, it is the guygenist who paves the way and does so with incredible patience. Your dumpling deserves an incredible Valentine’s Day free of drama and full of appreciation.
Might I suggest taking your gumdrop to a whiskey tasting, which is typically offered by many local restaurants and sure to tickle his palate. If your hunk isn’t the whiskey type, you can’t go wrong with a steak dinner, golf outing, bowling, or tickets to a sporting event or concert. You can also cook him a fabulous meal. Whatever you do to show your guygenist that you appreciate him, know that he is an incredible asset to the dental hygiene community, and you are incredibly lucky to have landed one of the good ones.
9. For the fabulously single hygienist. For those of you who are spending this Valentine’s Day with fabulous YOU, remember: This holiday is all about love, so treat yourself to some self-love. Splurge on the salt scrub add-on at the pedicure shop, pick up a fabulous book, enjoy a quiet evening walk to a wonderful playlist, crack open a fabulous bottle of wine, light the fancy candle, relax in an overflowing bubble bath, buy yourself a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, pick out a new lipstick color, order takeout at your favorite restaurant, or simply enjoy a lovely evening with friends who make you feel loved. You absolutely deserve it. Cheers to you, my fabulous friend!
10. For this hygienist. To conclude, I thought I would share what I will be doing for Valentine’s Day this year. Just like every Valentine’s Day before, my boyfriend and I will order takeout Chinese food, sprawl out on the couch in our media room with our three snuggle-bug doggos, and enjoy mindless Netflix while sharing a bottle (or two) of handpicked wine. If the night is right, we might fire up the Super Nintendo where I will, no doubt, kick his butt at Super Mario Bros. and perform my victory dance in sweat pants and a messy bun with wine-stained lips.
As he so lovingly writes every year on a sweet card typically paired with a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and chocolate truffles, every day is a celebration of our love. We choose not to brave the crowds or feel rushed during a fine-dining experience, but rather enjoy each other’s company from the comfort of our home. I appreciate our tradition because after eight Valentine’s Days together, what else could a 30-something woman in a committed relationship possibly want? (cough, cough)
No matter what your plans are this Valentine’s Day, I hope that you will take the time to reflect on the true meaning of the holiday: to envelop yourself with love, kindness and admiration, whether that is with your perfect someone or celebrating fabulous YOU.