|Anna Paquin "Sookie" from True Blood|
|Famous gap toothed beauty- Madonna|
So this blog is not all about makeup and beauty products but it's a way for me to express my self on particular views about what is considered beautiful in societies around the world. Today I was staring at myself in the mirror contemplating on whether I should get rid of my gap between my front teeth for about the 20 millionth time.
I was reading this article on the huffington post website about how "Gap teeth" have become the latest must have accessory and it made me smile. It meant to me that society, especially that of the west has finally accepted that beauty comes in different forms and shapes and that having a gap between your teeth does not make you any less beautiful. For years, I have been proud of Madonna for not getting hers fixed or for Lauren Hutten who is known for her beauty for not bending to social pressures and go to the dentist to get that "perfect smile." I used to say the day Madonna gets hers fixed, that the day I will get mine fixed. And then, there's Sookie from True Blood or Anna Paquin in real life who also says she finds it rude when people ask her why she never fixed her gap. I DO TOO!!!! She makes gap teeth look so sexy. Here's the link to the story http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/05/gap-teeth-the-latest-must_n_164339.html. Its a pity that I can't recall any black women who are considered beauty icons and have gap teeth. Ne ways back to my story...
Growing up in St. Kitts, I never realized that my smile was different till I was about 13, when I went down the road to go the shop and this older man stopped me to ask me If I know what it meant to have a space between my teeth but never finished telling me what it was. I was like what is he talking about? Then I went home to ask my mother what does it mean if I have a space between my teeth and she told me don't ask her about that non-sense. Then later on maybe 15/16 I learnt that the local myth states that if you have a space between your teeth or gap teeth that you were some how "sweeter" than all the other women and that some how you possessed "sugar down there". I was appalled to learn the truth of course and went to my mother and demanded that she carried me to the dentist to get it fixed but my mother told me not to listen to what silly men say and that I should walk down the road with confidence and be proud of who I was and what I looked like because my gap tooth was part of my identity- not part of some local myth. She said it gave me a distinct look and she can't even picture me without it. I struggled with accepting her views of this situation for a while. My mother to me had a perfect smile- no gaps, my aunts, my cousins, my friends all had perfect smiles and here I was with this space that some how meant I was better in bed and men always seemed to approach me about what their grandmother told them or what people say about girls with space between their teeth.
Of course in high school, I was made fun of several times by mean girls with self esteem issues telling me to go get my front teeth fixed or by ignorant people asking me if I was missing a tooth. I often did my research on my "condition" and found out it was actually a condition called "Diastema" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diastema_%28dentistry%29. You can read more about it if you click on this link.
The treatment for my condition is of course braces or veneers, both very expensive dental procedures. Oh and my gap grows with age so it is slightly bigger than when I was younger. I started begging my mom to let me get braces in my last year of high school because I didn't want to go out into the world looking different to every one else. I got the dentist appointment, he told me that the braces would be about 12,000 EC and that to make that gap smaller by using veneers would be about 3000 US. I sat in the chair dumbfounded that to fix something so simple could cost so much money but I still wanted it.
During the summer before 6th form, I was so exciting that I was finally going look normal like every one else with my perfect smile but I still felt guilty about spending the money on the procudure ( I was going to get veneers). I went for my second consultation to discuss the procedure and the dentist told me he wouldn't be able to close the gap completely, just enough to make it smaller or I would look like I had three front tooth. I was disappointed and went home to think about it. I thought to myself, why do I want to look like every one else, that is not me. Why am I ready to give up my identity to look normal? Well I opted out of the procedure because I guess I accepted my gap and looking a little different to every one else.
Today when men approach me about if I know what people say about women with gap teeth, I just smile and say "probably but let's see if you can be a little original". Honestly, I think I've heard them all. When I went off to uni in Canada however I got into a rut with my gap because the looks that I got were very different to the ones I got at home. People would be looking at my gap when I spoke instead of me. I felt very uncomfortable and realized I had it good at home. Yep it was a cultural thing, in the Caribbean. I again went to the dentist to consider my options but I always ended up opting out after a few convos with myself and my mother. And then I met my bf, who by the way also has a gap (coincidence). He never came up to me and asked me if I knew what people say but he told me one thing he noticed was my beautiful smile. I believed him and still do. He always encouraged me to accept my gap as part of what makes Shyne shine.
My gap is part of my distinct look. I finally get it. So when I looked in the mirror today wondering about how it looked compared to every one else, I just laughed and said maybe some day you'll get it fixed if it does get bigger but for now ...Im ok with it. To all my gap toothed beauty- be proud of being different- it is what makes you, you!
Oh, Condeleeza Rice and Susan Taylor- founder of Essence Mag both have a gap.
Interesting post from the black snob blog.