Cute Guy, Messed Up Teeth
Note: This reader urgently asked the BSG not to post her name or email address. Gentle Readers…the BSG never posts names or email addresses and usually strips out any geographic identifiers (like cities) as well. There is safety in anonymity, the BSG believes.
Dear Bitter Single Guy: I met a guy recently that I’m very attracted to that also has a nice personality but has very messed up teeth. I am an attractive female who is not shallow, but does not understand why he hasn’t fixed his teeth. I want to ask him but I am afraid to hurt his feelings. I had messed up teeth from sucking my thumb but my mother fixed my teeth when I was a child. Even if she hadn’t I would have gotten braces. They are expensive but doctors allow you to make payments slowly. The true problem I have is that I get distracted every time he opens his mouth or smiles. I keep finding myself looking at his teeth. And he’s caught me a few times. Then when I try to avoid looking it makes me feel awkward because then I can’t look at him in his face while he’s talking. What should I do? I like him and would like to continue dating him. Should I ask him to get braces? Tooth Fairy
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Dear TF: The Bitter Single Guy thinks it would be easy to tell you that you’re being really shallow and that love is tough enough to find without picking on something minor like unattractive teeth. However the BSG knows, as most of his readers do, that sometimes these seemingly shallow issues are the toughest ones to get past.
OK TF, this could be a bit of a time bomb and won’t be easy for you, but the BSG is sensing that this is a big enough issue that it will get in the way of your relationship unless you say something. What’s that you say? If you say something to Snaggle Tooth, he might be totally freaked out and turned off and dump you? Correct; he might. But the BSG doesn’t give your relationship much future if you can’t look him in the face when he’s talking to you.
The right time to tell him is not immediately before, during or after an intimate moment. The BSG will guess that Snaggle Tooth is somewhat self-conscious about his dental deficiency so if you bring it up in a moment of intimate vulnerability it will be especially painful. You should ask about it very casually in a very casual moment that also gives the space for a deeper (yet casual) conversation should the need come up. Maybe the two of you will be meeting to go to a movie and you could (casually) say something like “I have a friend who had braces as an adult and I noticed that some of your teeth seemed to go in different directions. Have you ever thought about adult braces?” The BSG recommends avoiding words like “crooked”, “damaged” or, heaven help us, “gross” in order to avoid charging the conversation with tons of negative energy.
That said, Snaggle Tooth isn’t likely to feel good about himself regardless of your attempts at being casual and since the male ego can be somewhat fragile anyway, the BSG guesses that this might be the end of your relationship since it’s unlikely that you and Snag have built up sufficient foundation to survive a hit like this one.
Wow, after all that the BSG finds himself actually coming right back to telling you that you probably need to learn to live with Snaggle Tooth as he is, or prepare to break up with him (or be dumped). Good luck with that, TF.