I don’t remember when I first noticed, I just remember it was months into the courtship.
By the time I realized he didn’t have any (upper) teeth, I was too embarrassed to say anything. I mean, it was his issue, why didn’t he explain? Missing a whole row of teeth is not something you can just ignore. Maybe it wasn’t an issue for him. Maybe he had been without them for so long it didn’t faze him anymore and he forgot that someone new might be taken aback.
Barring some unfortunate circumstance, illness or disease, I just assume most people under 50 have teeth, real or not. That’s what I get for assuming. And that’s what I get for chuckling when I hear women talking about their ‘wish list’ for a man and they say ‘make sure he has all his teeth’. At my age, I always thought that was a given and chose to focus on the more ‘meaningful’ attributes I desired. But after this experience, I’m not taking any chances. Next time, a full set of teeth will be on my list too.
After the initial shock, I started to wonder, had I really not noticed or did he used to have teeth? Did he forget to put his dentures in one day and just say to hell with it?
At first, I thought maybe his top lip just hung unusually low and hid his teeth. No, I didn’t really believe that, I just hoped that was the case. I started comparing his smile to the smiles of other men – checking to see how low their lips hung and if it was really possible for the lip to completely cover their teeth. Negative.
Then I started watching him eat. He ate everything. Every time he opened his mouth, I struggled with trying to see inside without him knowing I was trying to see inside, hoping to catch a glimpse of his pearly whites. I started trying to remember nights when we had gone out to eat and what he ordered. One night he had chicken wings, but looking back, I honestly cannot remember if I saw him bite into the wings or pick the meat off with his fingers. However, I do remember on our first date he ordered an oversized hamburger and bit into it. I remember that clearly because when he bit down, his whole face kind of compressed and I remember thinking that I had never seen someone’s face become so distorted and unrecognizable while eating a sandwich.
Kissing was an ordeal. He complained about me pecking him and always tried to stick his tongue in my mouth. I would push my lips out, effectively pushing his away with a quick peck before disengaging. I know he thought I couldn’t kiss, but I didn’t care. The truth is, I just didn’t want my tongue to end up massaging his gums.
Then I came up with a way to figure this thing out once and for all. Once night we were sitting on the couch, watching television. He was a big guy so I liked to cuddle with him. On this night, I decided to rest my head on his chest while we talked. When he opened his mouth, I had an up close and personal view. Not an upper tooth in sight.
This is what I do not understand. He made sure I knew how much money he made on certain business deals or how much he spent on certain things. He showed off his expensive sports car and bragged about the business moves he was about to make. So how is it that he was walking around without his upper bridgework? He was way too arrogant and superficial to be walking around toothless. How is it that he could brag about how much money he lost/won gambling and not take care of his dental work? I have so many questions.
“Every time you date someone with an issue that you have to work to ignore, you’re settling.” ~ Anonymous
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