Monday, November 8, 2010


I had a smile full of braces in my senior high school picture- those awful "clear" brackets my orthodontist enthusiastically promised would be "almost invisible." Liar. It looked like my teeth were half an inch too thick- awkward little off-white squares that turned whatever color I was eating or drinking.

High school was tricky for me. It's not that I wasn't popular. I had attended the same school all my life so I knew everyone and, as far as I can remember, was pretty well-liked. I attended the Friday night football games and dinners at TGI-Friday's that followed. I was invited to the parties. I got drunk off half a Mike's Hard Lemonade like the best of them. Thanks to three older siblings I was socially normal and, despite those clear braces and a questionable center hair part, I wasn't terribly offensive looking. Still, it was a tricky time for my self-esteem mainly because I got zero attention from boys.

My friends had boyfriends and prom dates that tried to go to second base with them. All my dates to dances were platonic. In fact, when I did get the courage to ask a boy I liked to Christmas Formal (when girls are supposed to ask guys), he didn't hesitate to say no- a plain no without explanation. For whatever reason, I just didn't have what most post-pubescent lads wanted.

I liked who I was back then- a goofball, a good student, a good friend. Still (like most teenage girls) I wasn't too comfortable in my own skin. I rarely felt pretty enough or cool enough around boys.

By the time I got to college I had been kissed just twice. The first weekend of my first semester at UF a tall good looking junior walked up to me at a party and told me I was "hot." I almost dropped the red Solo cup I had been pretending to drink from for hours. I made out with him that night. He asked me if I wanted to go back to his apartment to "check out a coffee table my roommates made from beer bottle caps" (seriously). I ran back to my dorm as terrified as I was giddy.

This should be the point in the post when I announce that after that fateful night the floodgates opened and men lined up around the block to date me- the flower that had finally blossomed. Eh, not so much. I dated a little. I kissed around. I mainly spent my time developing crushes on undeserving frat boys. Unrequited love was my speciality. By sophomore year I surprised myself with a serious boyfriend and well, that was it for dating. We stayed together until I was 24.

I'm single now and obviously very different from the 18-year-old single version of me. Somewhere along the way, I started feeling pretty enough and cool enough. But, I gotta admit, that braceface still exists. She's why I still crush so hard so fast. She's why I give men fourth and fifth chances they usually don't deserve. She's this tiny part of me that wants to be liked so bad it doesn't matter how.

A couple weeks ago, I went for drinks at the usual bar my coworkers and I head to after work. I was sitting at a counter that faces the bar, letting my feet dangle as I sipped a cocktail, when a group of three took seats across from us at the bar. I was warned that "my type" had arrived. He was. I starred at him shamelessly between conversations. He made eye contact with me too. My coworker, aware of the spectacle, demanded that I go talk to him. I dismissed her insanity. I couldn't approach him. What would I say?

So then write your number on a napkin and hand it to him on your way out, she suggested- as if that was normal behavior. I rolled my eyes. I would never. Braceface was appalled.

Fifteen seconds later she put a pen in my hand and 10 minutes later, in one of my more shocking single moments, I waltzed over to him at the bar, leaned in, scooted the napkin toward him and muttered whatever I could as my heart palpitated "I promise I never do this."

He looked at the napkin, smiled and introduced himself. I don't really remember anything that flopped out of my mouth after that. Something along the lines of we should meet up tonight as I scurried out the door where my coworkers were waiting/giggling.

About an hour later, he called.

Yes, braceface is still a part of me and she always will be. But I'm kinda starting to like this other side too- fearless New York maneater. Ha, a braceface can dream.


  1. Wait a minute, does this mean what I think it does?

    Also, I really love this. I feel like minus the braces (I'm still rockin' my slightly crooked teeth) everything about this could have been written about me.

  2. I thought you still had braces...