I have a confession to make.
I may be English.
I’m an English Lit grad, prefer Brit writers over American, can happily watch Blackadder re-runs over and over again, love the understated-ness of the understatement and am married to a London-born man who till a few years ago, held a valid British passport.
Also, I have bad teeth.
No, scratch that, I have terrible teeth.
This may not seem like a big deal to any of you till I mention that till date I have had about eleven teeth pulled out, roughly eight root canals done and have gone through almost my entire college life with braces.
That’s a lot of pain, for one person.
And it’s not like I asked for it or anything. Okay, sure, when I was a kid I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the wash-basin come brushing time, but hey, I was four. I didn’t know better. And maybe I was a little dumb too – because it took quite a few teeth being pulled out for me to realise that maybe it’s a good idea to brush twice a day. But when I did wise up to the tricky ways of calcium and fluoride, I took every single piece of dental advice to heart.
Now, I brush twice a day, floss before going to bed, never have chewing gum, keep a small bottle of mouthwash in my desk drawer at work (and a large one on the basin stand at home), avoid food like guava (whose sadistic seeds make it their business to stick to teeth) and in general, have dental hygiene practices that border on the obsessive compulsive.
I can laugh about it with the people who find it amusing, I can live down the nicknames it’s earned me, all the you-shoulda-married-a-dentist jokes, I can handle it all.
Except the pain.
It never ends, see. Every few months, up pops another problem, I scamper down to my old friend the dentist and it begins. The local anaesthetics, the drilling, the little tools that look like instruments of torture.
It. Never. Ends.
But I guess that’s okay. After all, on the upside, I get to be English.