Bite Me.

If the folks at The New Yorker were to dish out a caricature of me, I think I know what it’d look like.

Big eyes, big nose, apple-ish shaped head… the possibilities are nearly as frightening as they are entertaining. Besides making me want to steer clear of three-way mirrors and touristy plazas where street artists might be lurking, these anti-climactic fantasies have led to some pretty serious contemplation regarding the promises of plastic surgery.

Yes, I tend to be over-dramatic, and no, I don’t have the money for even the tiniest syringe full of Botox. Really, though, if I had a few extra thousands of dollars, I wonder if I might give in and buy myself a new set of teeth rather than investing in micro-finance or starting (starting) to pay back my student loans.

Obviously, we’ve all been told that it’s what’s on the inside that matters, and obviously, our market-driven societies preach something different. For the most part, I’ve stopped reading “feminine” magazines because they make me want to vomit, shop, or step out of a very high window. On bad days, I can sit and stare into the looking glass for hours: squinting, plucking, scratching, frowning… On good days, I honestly feel love for my reflection, and, more deeply, for the much bigger entity that it represents.

Every once in a while, I’ll come across an image in the arts or media that I truely consider beautiful, and I’ve recently come closer to understanding why. The pictures tend to illustrate the compatibility of human uniqueness and humanistic universalism, and in doing so, they begin to transform our banal imperfections into elaborate gods.

If you’re asking yourself what the fuck I’m talking about, just look at the photo I included above. Georgia May Jagger has weird-looking teeth. Each and every one of us has a weird-looking something. So, we can empathize with this woman because she’s like us, in that she’s not like everyone else. Hooray!

Abstractions aside, I can tell you right now that the surgeon’s talents remain personally tempting. We may never escape the judgments of those around us, but in the mean time, I encourage you to expose yourself to competing conceptions of beauty. (Check out the Japanese “yaeba” trend as an example of how dental elegance is all in the eye of the beholder.)

Dear readers, you might never have actually considered going under the knife for aesthetic reasons, but how many of you have worn braces? And for those who did have the resources and the resolve to “fix” a trait that ticked you off, what was it that finally convinced you to make that decision?


Your Kitty

8 Responses to “Bite Me.”
  1. Thom says:

    I wonder if my utter lack of a problem with cosmetic orthodontia is just an artifact of its being a pretty standard part of middle class american life?

    Anyway, I think cosmetic surgery is repulsive, in a pretty deep down, gutteral way. Butttt, since I’m a hypocrite, the only thing I would consider is getting my formerly fat holding skin hemmed in, because it’s impossible to work off skin. Plus, I could justify feeling superior to other plastic surgery recipients because I’d theoretically have “earned” it more.

    Honestly, those are the two things that drive a lot of what I do: looking better and feeling superior. Hoo boy, the mirror isn’t pretty, ha ha.

  2. Brit-Brit says:

    Dear Kitty :)

    Back where I grew up, people who even thought of getting plastic surgery for the sole purpose of becoming more “attractive” were considered shallow and silly. Yet at my university, I have met plenty of girls who don’t have any issues with the idea of going under the knife. A good friend of mine obsesses over getting a boob-job with her first paycheck. When I hear her reasoning as to why she “needs” it, I find myself starting to (almost) agree.
    I admit to have gotten braces, invisalign to be precise, because I always wanted to have straight teeth. I didn’t like the way they twisted and I felt uncomfortable smiling. I straightened my teeth to…boost my self esteem I guess.
    Many Korean international students at my university get an eye surgery done to their upper eye lids, in order to make the eyes appear larger. The girls I spoke to about it say that in Korea, people don’t see it as superficial or even as plastic surgery. It’s as common as Americans getting braces and as ethical as wearing mascara every day to enhance your eyes.
    What do we learn from this? Is the desire for breast implants and wanting bigger eyes ridiculously vain, while straightening your teeth is perfectly acceptable? In American culture, the just-as-common-as-makeup argument could be argued for wanting braces, but what about Asian-eye surgery and boob jobs? Some women in L.A. would argue the latter is perfectly ok, while in Korea, they would say the same for eye surgery. Is there a way to judge what is acceptable and what is a vain desire? Or do things like this just vary from culture to culture or even across sub-cultures? One thing is for certain; each of these cases point to the desire to beautify oneself. It’s sad but unavoidable to feel the ridiculous standard of perfection from the media and other outlets.
    I wish more girls (including myself) could be as happy with themselves as the “yaeba” girls! Did you know some girls in Japan actually paste fake yaeba teeth on before going out?

    <3 B-B

  3. PuppyKilla says:

    I am against plastic surgery myself. I have worn braces to correct an under-bite, only because I didn’t want to end up looking like Will Young. My teeth aren’t straight though and I don’t mind that. I think we should be happy with what we were given. You don’t want to end up looking like Joan Rivers now, do you..?

  4. Olivia says:

    First off, I adore your blog. Like, for real. Not just the fake kind of internet-love.
    Second, I would never get plastic surgery, even though sometimes my face pisses me off. In the end, I always give up and just say hey, someone out there thinks I’m pretty, even if it is just my grandma, so I’m fine.
    I did have braces, but only because my mom wanted me to have them. I did think they were cool cos my older sister and her friends all had them. In the end I’m no more or less happy because of them, though I did quit wearing my retainer because they were just a little too obviously straight (to me at least). As for you, I think that if you want plastic surgery (and can one day afford it) go for it. As long as you end up happy with yourself, then I don’t see anything wrong with it. Just make sure its something you really want first, so you don’t end up a Heidi Montag. :)

  5. lovelifelies says:

    I haven’t had anything done…not even braces. It is something I’ve wanted…more for myself than others (they don’t notice apparantly). My grandfather died recently and he was so proud of who I was that I can’t imagine getting a boob job right now….although, it was something I had considered for some modeling stuff (no, I’m not a model or close to it). A lot of girls get a nose or boob job for graduation though.

  6. Duckie says:

    I have been told to get braces because my teeth are crowded, but if it was strictly for looks, I wouldn’t do it. I happen to like the shape of my teeth because they are so different. Call me crazy, but those little things that are flaws are really important. We’re not made from cookie cutters [excuse that cliche]. We’re supposed to be different. As for plastic surgery? It’s for the vain as far as I’m concerned.

  7. Melissa Ellermann says:

    I think all these images you posted are beautiful. I did wear braces but that was because of a choice my parents made. I think a lot of younger kids who have braces don’t necessarily notice their teeth are “imperfect” until a parent or someone else points it out. And honestly, I was never self-conscious about my teeth before I got braces…I think I was too young to feel that way. But with that said, I don’t know what my decision would’ve been in high school let’s say when everyone feels like they are being scrutinized.

    Anyways I really enjoyed read your posts….you have some really thoughtful things to say!

    mellermann86 from SB

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  1. […] reading your feedback on my last post (“Bite Me”) and having spent the last few days ruminating on associated themes […]

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