My name is Laura Argintar and I was born with a slight underbite and a sliver of space in between my two front teeth. The underbite has since been fixed, but pushing my two front teeth together to permanently close the gap has been a lifelong battle.
I don’t know if never having braces is my biggest regret or blessing. I thankfully never experienced that specific middle school torture that comes with owning a metal mouth (although I did have my fair share of taunts, I am a writer after all). But I now have found myself in an almost 24-year relationship with my retainer.
Everything about me screams full adult -- save for my nightly routine that is not unlike a prepubescent eighth grader's. I retrieve my plastic case from its hiding spot (lest a potential suitor should find it, or heaven forbid, smell it) that still has water-stained shreds of my orthodontist's “In case of missing” label.
I rinse it off, give it a quick brush and pop the plastered piece into my mouth. I next carefully make sure that the thin wires are wrapped around the two front teeth so that they’re gently pushed together in my sleep, like cuddling dentures I suppose.
And then every morning, without fail, I pop it back out, wipe the excess drool from my lower lip and smile into the mirror.
The gap is closed, temporarily sealed until the silent force of my mouth separates the doomed teeth and once again they must be put back into their place later before bed. And it will be this way for the rest of my life. Eternity, or at least until the teeth are replaced by false ones when I’m older.
There is no date for when I’m expected to no longer need it. There is no timeline for when the retainer gets removed, as would braces or other orthodontic measures. As long as I want to keep these bad boys together, I’ve no choice but to wear my retainer.
There is, however, the alternative. One that doesn’t involve any orthodontics or plastic surgery at all, but that somehow terrified me the most: leaving my teeth alone and letting my gap-tooth take over.
Not too long ago, I finally stopped wearing the retainer. It honestly just stopped making sense to keep fighting what came natural to me. And though it sounds trivial, it was rather exhausting having to remember the retainer every night.
So now I have a slim space between my two front-teeth that I affectionately refer to as my gap-tooth. I no longer mind it.
I no longer recognize it when first glancing at my reflection. I actually think it looks quite cute. And I’m secretly smitten when a man slips his tongue inside my mouth and can feel the sensation on that small strip of gum.
I’ve come to prefer the way I look with my gapped teeth than when they’re perfectly straight. It’s more authentic and that, to me, is beautiful.
But gap-tooth or not, it doesn’t really matter. Because I am still Laura Argintar.
Moles on your lip. Freckles on your butt. These are like your own personalized tattoos, no needles required. Birthmarks are super special parts of your body because only you know them best. Wherever you have them, consider yourself lucky because no one else’s is quite like yours.
2. Bumped noses
Whoever said bumped noses needed to be straightened clearly did not meet Penelope Cruz or Owen Wilson, two very good-looking celebrities with less-than-perfect noses.
If an irregularly shaped nose fits your face and makes you feel beautiful, there’s no need to conform to generic idealizations of beauty. Don’t go changing a good thing.
3. Crooked smiles
Don’t go through life frowning about your mouth, especially when it was made to smile. People don’t remember what another person’s grin looks like, but they will remember yours.
Use your imperfect smile to share joy and laughter and you’ll make an even more lasting impression.
4. Hammer thumbs
We wouldn’t even characterize hammer thumbs as flaws, except we know how sensitive people are about their phalanges.
Hammer thumbs are awesome! You get a major advantage when it comes to playing video games and gripping things. And your version of “thumbs up” is much more fun to look at.
Hammer thumbs are the level above opposable ones.
5. Dimpled chins
Dimpled chins are the holy grail of facial imperfections -- they’re sexy, interesting and rare. How many people can say that their chins double as slot machines? Cha-ching!
6. Missing limbs
Lacking a certain appendage doesn’t make you any less of a beautiful human being. What you have is spectacular and what you’ve gained from what you’ve lost is so much more important.
Over the course of your life, you’re going to accumulate many scars. They tell the stories that you would otherwise forget and fail to learn from. The time you fell off your bike and now you’ll always wear a helmet.
The time you burned your hand helping grandma bake cakes for Passover, which has now become an annual tradition. These are the signs that you’ve lived a life full of adventure and risk and fulfillment.
8. Untameable hair
Why are we so obsessed with making sure everything is in its proper place? Messy is real and perfectly polished has been done before.
Whatever texture your hair and no matter how far out it spans -- it’s your unique style and only you can wear it best. Don’t be afraid of your natural beauty.
Photo Courtesy: Tumblr