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Me and My Braces

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jawsI’ve been wearing braces for three weeks now. I’m not too fond of them. I feel caught (like a bit of arugula) somewhere between Jaws and Hannibal Lecter.

You can tell a lot about your friends by the way they react to the gleam of mouth metal. There’s the ‘oh my god’ with a little laugh, which is really just a ‘holy fuck Maggie you weren’t kidding’. Then there’s the sweet, ‘oh you can barely see them’, which is quite patently not true, but a lot closer to what my polite reaction might be if in the same situation. The best of them so far has been, ‘they look cute on you’. I love the person for saying this, but I’ve been fooled by this one before. ‘Oh your hair is so cute’ turned out to be code for ‘good for you, but I’d sooner die than cut mine that short’.

No, much like my accent, my braces are not ‘cute’. They make me lisp, but not in an oh so hilarious five year old trying to read Shakespeare out loud way. More of an, is she drunk or did she have a stroke kind of way. The latter being exacerbated by the lopsidedness of my mouth giving the impression of bells palsy setting in.

Of course it’s not lost on me that I’m conforming to one of the great stereotypes of the British by now having to wear these damned things. (British friends can say entirely the same in reverse). I can only look forward to the uncensored comments from residents of the home for the demented when I go back to visit my mum at Christmas. Just hoping that while I’m in England I’ll encounter some building site arseholes yelling out ‘give us a smile love’. Be careful what you ask for.

When I was a kid, I was teased for having yellow stained teeth. My reaction was to not smile. Being a teenager and living in a village where medieval described more than the time period when it was founded, this was pretty easy. Plus, bad teeth were as common as the yobs living on the council estate. And the worst teeth of all belonged to the ultra posh Nigel and Penny’s of the village, big horsey gnashers that flashed at you as their Range Rover sprayed you with puddle sludge.

But hardest of all to accept is the lost job opportunities. Or more specifically, two event planner internships applied for as part of my hospitality industry classes. A job requiring lots of talking and smiling. And tasting food. I’m pretty sure that one interviewer was already visualizing the strands of veg in my front teeth as I slurred my way through her perfunctory questions, regularly licking my lips and swirling my tongue across the front of my teeth as if in eager anticipation of my fava beans and chianti. Of course in all other respects I was the perfect candidate. There was absolutely no other reason that I wasn’t selected as an intern. Nope, not a one.

Eating is an interesting experience. Actually it’s a wretched experience, but gives me a greater insight into the puree lifestyle so at least I’ll be ready for it in the nursing home. Which is ironic really because I’m going through all this so I don’t lose all my teeth and have to wear dentures when I end up there. Alanis Morrisette, you’re welcome.

Course now I have them I do empathize more with teenagers who have to find their way around the minefield of sticking their tongues and other things in each other’s mouths while both wearing them. Fortunately I’ve been married for 14 years so no need to dwell on that.

Still, there’s always a metal lining to every cloud. I was googling to find people in braces worse off than me and came across this on the site:

ATTENTION NEW MEMBERS: Do not post full-face photos or personal contact information on this website. We have had problems with people re-posting members’ photos on fetish websites. 

I honestly never knew, though it does give some comfort when I look in the mirror. But I do fear that the over 40 market may not be the primary target for the fetishists. Oh well, only one way to find out. And after that I’ll investigate the market for women with one sticky-out ear.

Anyway, now that I’ve revealed all, please don’t completely ignore them when I next see you. Go ahead and acknowledge them, just a little, not too much, then move on. And don’t stare too hard at the arugula.

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