Among the big news at the D.C. Dental Society's gala last night was the status of Amy Carter's teeth.
"I have a scoop for you," said a breathless orthodontist's wife. "She's getting her braces on Monday." So far, Amy Carter's overbite has been restrained only by a night brace.
But come April 14, in the words of her orthodontist, Jacob Harris, "Railroad tracks."
The other big news at the gala was the gala itself. It attracted 600 to the Corcoran Gallery with an invitation that promised "an evening for enjoying the voluptuous pleasures of life . . . an evening you won't forget."
If that wasn't enough to grab you, the press package promised more. One would be able, it said, to "just sit and relax 'midst the elegant splendor of the Gallery's rooms and statuory as one samples the delectables prepared by our gourmet caterer. Then, too, one may simply enjoy their lady's company, and listen to the beautiful music or dance to same."
Even allowing for a wee bit of enthusiasm on the part of the dental society's press release writer, the evening was still one of the more astonishing things these orthodontists, periodontists and so forth had seen at a dentists' party in some time.
"Dentists parties are usually rather stuffy, you know what I mean?" said Janet Steinberg, wife of Samuel, a Rockville dentist. "Dentists are rather stuffy in general."
The reason for last evening's unstuffiness was John Law, the gala chairman, who decided it was time those in the tooth profession had something besides boring hotel dinner-dances.
"It can't help but help our image to know that we really like fine things," he said, adding that the millions of Americans who are scared of him and his cohorts have, in general, "a hang-up."
The gala was the social highlight of the society's annual spring meeting, held this week at the Shoreham Americana. In past years, after the daytime lectures on gum surgery, overdenture and nitrous oxide analgesia, the one big formal night has been held at the hotel. Usually, it attracts maybe 125 people. But this year, after seeing the invitaion, they came in droves.
But not before considerable preparty consultation. The main topic, given that the invitation said "formal attire not required," was what to wear.
So at 10 yesterday morning, Angela Abrahamian of Georgetown called Arny Bacos in Silver Spring and said, "Well, what are we going to wear?" Arny Bacos said what she was wearing depended on what her husband was wearing, so Anglea Abrahamian called Jim Bacos, and, well, he was wearing a tux. Then she called Helen Rivera in Kenwood, Md., who said her husband was wearing a tux, too.
"By one o'clock," said Anglea Abrahamina, "it was all tied up." The men wore tuxes; the ladies wore long dresses and everyone danced into the night.
Just before that came dessert. It was fruit, piled in a towering display at the foot of a nude statue. No sweets or candy, the dentists proudly pointed out.
But tucked along the side of the same room, sort of in the shadows, was coffee and, heavens -- petit fours. Ashur Chavoor, a Washington orthodontist, popped one swiftly into his mouth.
"Saccharin," he assured.