Heavy metal

Dear Dategirl,

I've had braces for about seven weeks now. I realize I'm in that age range (35, to be more accurate) where looks are not the only deciding factor anymore, but I'm sure I would be better off without the damn metal in my mouth in terms of attractiveness to the opposite sex.

In your valued opinion, what's the female take on braces? Total turn-off, or tolerable if other basic features are in place?

Marginally Insecure Nice Guy

Dear M.I.N.G.,

I, too, was born with a horribly mangled set of choppers—two oversized front teeth, two teensy teeth on either side of them, and a coupla fangs to top the whole mess off. As my parents were of limited means (five kids), they had to make some hard decisions where orthodontia was concerned—and I didn't make the cut. One of my sisters (who had been dubbed the "pretty one" at an early age—thanks, Mom!) was slightly worse off in that department, so she got the mouthful of metal. That way, she got to be even prettier, and I got to retain the title of the not-so-cute "smart one" (how scary is that—I was the smart one!).

As a result, if you look at pictures of me from puberty till about six years ago, there is not one photo of me with my mouth even slightly open. If there was a camera within three miles, my mismatched maxilla and mandible were clamped tighter than a nun's ass, my lips stretched to the cracking point in order to prevent someone from committing to film a permanent reminder of what I considered such a hideous disfigurement. To say my teeth were an "issue" for me is a grave understatement: I thought about them daily and cursed my Irish ancestry (Land o' Rotten Teeth) on at least a weekly basis.

About six years ago I decided to do something about it. I consulted my hysterically funny (and foxy!) dentist, Dr. Marc Schneider, and told him I wanted my teeth to stop bumming me out. He was ecstatic (ka-ching!) and informed me of my options. We decided that braces weren't really a sensible alternative in my case and that I should go for a bridge. In one of the most gruesome procedures I've ever been through, Marc yanked and filed my front teeth till I was sure I looked like the Hellraiser monster. He wanted me to check out the pre-bridge show in a mirror, but I declined. Long story short, I got a new set of front teeth, and it is by far the nicest, most positive thing I've ever done for myself. (Believe me, I realize how shallow and vain that sounds, and I don't give a shit.) The difference was instantaneous. I immediately dropped a bunch of weight, started meeting men like crazy (I think the fact that I smiled once in a while had something to do with it), and actually began talking without my hand over my mouth. I wish I had done it years earlier.

So what I'm saying, in a very roundabout way, is that you did the right thing in getting braces. Not only will you be much happier when your teeth are on the straight and narrow, braces are totally sexy in a "Hot for Teacher" kinda way. Though he doesn't have braces, I love it when my boyfriend is completely clean-shaven—he looks like he's about 18, and I get to feel like I'm corrupting a minor without having to deal with the nightmare that would be an actual walking, talking teen.

Speaking of teenagers, last night I watched Dateline's groundbreaking report, "Sex in the New Millennium." One segment opened with Maria Shriver (who looks more like a skull on a stick with a big head of hair every time I see her) warning, "If you're the parent of a teenager, good luck getting to sleep tonight." Some of the shocking facts the Dateline crew uncovered were that kids today are doing drugs, drinking, and fucking while their parents aren't around! Who knew?! Never mind the coke-snorting, beer-quaffing delinquents, the only two teens who scared me were the preternaturally smiley Amber and Bryan, a creepy Bible-toting twosome whose only goal in life seemed to be to make it down the wedding aisle with their precious virginities intact. Here's hoping they do that and then some!

Get Dategirl's valued opinion on your problem. Write to Dategirl at dategirl@seattleweekly.com or Dategirl, c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

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