Nothing really makes you feel more awkward than being in your mid-30’s and having to worry about one of your rubber bands shooting out of your mouth while engaged in adult conversation. So y’all will understand when I say that I feel like Ugly Betty is a little bit of a kindred spirit.
I had thought about getting braces for years. My teeth were pretty straight until I was about 18, and if y’all think I was going to get braces before going off to college, well you’re grossly overestimating the state of my self-esteem at that point in my life.
About 5 years ago, I went to the orthodontist (which is the Latin derivative for sadistic, cruel torture wielder of incredible pain) and took all the initial steps to make my dream of adult orthodontia come true, but I backed out. Then one night last October, I told P that I was going to do it. I made an appointment for the following Tuesday.
Little did I know that my orthodontist knew me well. The moment he got me back in that office, he slapped these metal torture devices on me so fast that it made my head spin. He knew that if he let me walk out the door without them, he may never see me again.
I called P on the way home and let him know I actually had braces on my teeth. Actually ON my teeth. P is known for his complete honesty in all situations and I gave him advance notice so that he could be kind to my already damaged psyche. He said he didn’t believe me at first, but then realized that while I was saying “I have braces on my teeth”, what he was hearing was “I hath bratheth on my teeth.”
Later that afternoon I had to pick Caroline up from school. I couldn’t have felt more self-conscious so my plan was to get in and get out fast. I walked into the classroom, waved to the teacher and picked up Caroline’s things. I looked at her and said “okay, let’s go” while keeping my mouth as closed as I could. She immediately looked up at me and said in her best non-indoors voice, “YOUR MOUTH, MAMA, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR MOUTH?” Subtlety…not so much the hallmark trait of 2 year olds.
One of the things that made me the happiest after going through the ordeal of having FOUR teeth pulled and metal spikes glued to my teeth was when people would say “Why did you get braces? I never even noticed that your teeth were crooked.” Which just goes to show how little other people notice the flaws that drive you crazy. I spent years thinking people were looking at me and thinking that I might have in a set of those fake Billy Bob teeth that you can buy at the convenience store. I guess that was all in my head. A fact that would have been nice to know a year ago.
Yesterday morning I had my monthly visit to the orthodontist’s office. I knew I was in trouble when he walked in and gave me a cheery “Hi Sport!”. He then proceeded to twist wires and teeth and use a rubber mallet to hammer something into place. A mallet…in my mouth. Needless to say, last night I gave myself a triple dose of Advil followed by a pain pill leftover from childbirth. Pain my friends, I am in pain.
At one point, I was so uncomfortable that I started biting down on something to help get through the pain. He had to tell me that it was his finger. Y’all know what? I wasn’t even sorry.