White Power: Teeth Strips and Other Beauty Addictions

I want to be a sex goddess.

I know: I’ll buy teeth-whitening strips. That’ll do it.

Skill? Who needs skill? Communication strategies? Pshaw! No, I just need white teeth.

This is what the media would have you believe, isn’t it? Hey, she must be an all-American girl. See how white her teeth are? Geez. She really is the driven snow, but hey, I’d let her drive me.

Ahh, the media and beauty. If ever there was a more bastardly combination. Sigh. Where to begin? Where, oh, where, oh, where, oh, where?

Well, let’s go back from whence we came. Teeth-whitening. Well, I’m a cute gal. I’ve got a gap-toothed smile, though, you know. Just one gap, and not in the centre. I like it, actually. Character. I also have this one eyebrow with a crook in it, which leaves me easily delivering “devious” gazes in times of seduction. Those, and a small scar on my nose from when I had a tete-a-tete with a paintcan in grade two, are my flaws. But despite those, I have pluses. I’ve got warm green eyes that emote brilliantly, decent cheek bones, and even with their itty-bitty flaws, my teeth are pretty darned white, ergo I have a nice smile, and I’ve got nice, plush, full lips to frame ‘em. I’m all right, gap and all, ‘cos I’m just who I’m supposed to be, right?

Still, I did it. Those fuckers sucked me in. I bought them. I did. I justified it, though. ”I’m buying generic. I’m not a sheep. And hey, it’s on sale!” And I forked out $25 of my last dollars to pick up the fabulous, oh-so-now box of GLAM, BABY. Yeah, I bought the strips. What’s more, I bought the possibility of a less-flawed me. That’s what they’re really selling, after all.

Have you done this shit? Seriously. All right, we all know that getting sexy is an ugly, ugly business. Hair removal? Not attractive. Some ugly things go down when we’re alone and trying to get all sexed up. The things we inspect, the preening we strain to do. Oh, dear. It’s a wonder we come out of that with any self-esteem at all (even more mysterious considering those who willingly use the 10x magnification uberflaw-exposing mirrors — shudder).

But these strips? Dear, god. Insert them, and become a drooling mass of incoherence, a moisture monkey. Sex factor? Nil, man. I did one individual set of strips a couple weeks back and haven’t been back to do another set since.

I swear, you drool like Lenny when George has let him pet the rabbits too much. “But, George, I like to pet the rabbits. They’s so soft, George.”

Slurp, drool. It’s repulsive, really. Do not do this around your lover. It’d be so inconvenient to have them conjure a drooling-mass in-coital image of you arise to shatter — mercilessly — any hope of orgasm for that foreseeable moment.

And this ain’t no “God, I’m being pleasured ORALLY!” slurp of sexual satiation we’re talking about here. This is along the lines of “Granny’s having soup again, put her teeth on the counter”. So, unless you’ve a geriatric fetish…

But you know why they keep sucking us in? Insecurities. Beautiful means loved means admired means successful means laid, laid, laid. Oh, yeah, I’m in for the Kool-aid. Gimme some of that.

It’s our insecurities. I mean, hell, if you could find the ego as a bodypart, you could go and put an X for “hit me here” right on top of it. Our psyche’s one big soft spot. We’re all vulnerable in one way or another. We’re all judging ourselves a little on the harsh side, some people excessively so.

All our lives, we’re told to be better. Doesn’t matter who you are, where you are, you’ve been told one of two things: Be better, or conversely, forget better — you’ll never be any better, you’re trash. It’s all the same, still boils down got to look better, act better, live better, do better, speak better, better, better.

The cosmetics industry is playing that up like you wouldn’t believe. And now they’ve gone and gotten the boys all worked into a frenzy now, too. The last bastion of oblivion has been shattered, giving way to the rise of the metrosexual. Such pretty boys. I hate to admit it, I do like ‘em. They got that ready-to-eat look that conveys “yummy” and “sink teeth in” to me. Come on, you know what I’m talkin’ about. Some people are edibles. Some have “food group” and “recommended part of a balanced diet” all over ’em.

But there’s a lot to be said for rugged men, too, though. They clean up, and well. I like doing the cleaning, too. Rinse-and-repeat. Mostly repeat.

But you see? This is what they’re doing. Men are getting as compartmentalized and as stereotyped as women have always been. It started a couple decades ago, probably even as early as the ‘70s, but it’s blown out of the water in the last five or so years. Now guys are getting just as silly as the girls have been, via spending insane amounts on cosmetics and other beauty fixes. (Surgery, anyone?)

I’ve always been that type. My insecurities seemed tethered to my expenditures. “But it’s expensive, I’ll be beeyootiful the instant it touches skin!”

I’ve spent so damned much on the myth. I’ve always had a little bit of problem skin. I’m of Irish descent, so my complexion’s really fair, right? So, I’d often get blackheads on my nose. Every product I bought would do jack all about the problem, and I was spending $40 a bottle for this crap.

These days, I use a variety of skin cleansers, but when I want to exfoliate, I throw some sugar into it and lather up. My skin’s the best it’s ever been, my rosacea is completely gone for a more porcelain (ergo more corruptable, ergo good) look, and I’ve been looking five years younger since I started cheaping out. And my face is softer now, too. Truly. (Which is no mean feat since I ride a scooter and get exposed to the elements year-round.)

The irony is, They (the Man, et al) used to tell men that sugar was a great face scrub. I always thought, “Damn men, they’ve got all the luck.” I was gullible. But I put two and two together when the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy guys came along. At the start of the series, they’d tell the guys to scrub with sugar. It didn’t take long for them to be selling the “men’s exclusive facial care products” crap to the guys, though. “But it’s crushed avocado seed. It’ll give you…” rosacea, actually. Geez. That’s not exfoliation, that’s abrasion, dudes.

It took being broke to give me the best complexion I’ve had since my teens. Fuck H20, the Body Shop, and everyone else. Some things are worth spending money on, for sure, but I think the face-washing thing’s getting a tad out of control. My skin’s proof.

And this rant all started from me brushing my teeth before bed and eyeballing, guiltily, the box of whitening strips. My point? It’s a sad fucking thing that our insecurities cost us so much both financially and chronologically. Ah, if only being a sex god was simpler.