I was genetically predisposed to have awful teeth. They were spaced, chipped and and handful appeared to be planning an escape. I was poor and envious of rich middle school girls who had braces (and zits and tiny boobs forming).
I thought, "Maybe I can fix my teeth on my own" like some sort of dental MacGyver. Armed with a nail file, three rubber bands and the determination equal to that of a preteen boy searching for his dad’s secret stash of Hustler, I jumped in file-first. It did not work. After failing to fix my teeth I attempted to hide them. Hiding them meant not smiling anymore. I looked miserable, but attractive enough.
In high school I discovered a scene in which I never needed to smile. In fact, it worked in my favor if I did not smile and instead looked stoic and/or bitter as needed. The scene was hardcore and I was its angry-faced ambassador. This worked well for a few years up until a guy accidentally (verdict still pending) elbowed my face and broke one of my ugly teeth. (This is the part where I put on a Morrissey record and cry myself to sleep).
Enough was enough. I decided at twenty-five years of age that I would do something instantly regrettable and purchase myself 18-22 months of unyielding pain. I would get adult braces. (This is the part where I admit I do not always possess foresight).
December 9th, 2010 is a day I refer to as B-Day. The term is not short for birthday but is rather a take on D-Day, and instead of referencing the end of an international war, it defines the start of an internal one inside of my mouth.
I walked into a building adorned with a cartoon frog who defiantly revealed his metal smile. What an arrogant dickhead. Next, I paid a receptionist thousands of dollars and then took a seat. The twelve year-old girl sitting next to me was tall, pretty, and had nice teeth. At her age I looked like a balloon with a smiley face drawn on it.
Naturally, I died a little inside.
While waiting to be called in, I played and won a game of Tetris on my phone. Then I looked at the pretty girl and decided she would never be as good as I am at gaming and I felt infinitely better about myself and my status in the world. (This is the part where I acknowledge that I am an awful person).
My name was called. They called me Geena.
I walked in and laid my adult-sized body onto a child-sized red pleather dentist chair. If I was ever considered to be cool by anybody ever at all, that ended on B-Day.
My doctor and his assistants hovered over me and fiddled with my mouth for hours. Sometimes there were what seemed like dozens of fingers prodding my teeth, gums, and tongue. This may have been the sexiest thing that has ever happened to me.
After some metal pieces were glued and soldered onto my teeth, I looked into a mirror at my new self. It was like the unveiling of a modern-day Frankenstein. Part woman, part machine, part monster, but, really cute haircut (just give me that).
I walked out through the lobby and smiled at a baby who cried. (This is the part where I unabashedly go on a chocolate milkshake binge).
Did you know that you will lose weight after getting braces? And it won’t even matter to you anymore because your mouth feels and looks like an old hamburger? An old bloody hamburger. (This is the part where any boys previously reading have left and are now googling “Kate Upton NUDE”).
B-Day was sixteen months ago. I have two months left on my metal mouth lease. I am still unsure if this experience will be worth the result. This morning, I found a piece of broccoli from last night’s dinner in my back molar bracket.
Anyways, assuming I look like Michelle Williams after my braces come off*, just as my doctor promised, I will be satisfied. (This is the part where I say goodbye through my thick lisp but you cannot understand what I said and you just shake your head out of pity).
*My braces came off on September 5th and I still do not look like Michelle Williams. What a cruel world.