I’ve bleached my teeth before. When I was getting married—oh, you should say a silent thanks to the deity of your choice that there weren’t blogs when I was getting married. Because nothing mattered more than my looks for the year leading up to my wedding day and I’d’ve spent that year talking about nothing else. I lived on water, peaches and Lean Cuisines. Yeah, yeah. Don’t bore me with how much sodium and MSG those have. In 1997, Lean Cuisine were the starving bride’s meal of choice.
Every day after work, this other girl, Angie (who had already gotten married so why did she bother), and I would head across the park to a gym, where if you lived or worked in this suburb of LA (glamorous Commerce, California, where I proofread for a textbook publisher), you could work out free. They had step aerobics in a trailer next to the gym, and rather than use the free gym with weights and stuff, we inexplicably did step aerobics, using two steps, every weekday without fail.
Then I’d drive the hour home, because LA, and eat my dinner peach and I’d down 47 more pounds of water.
I also went to the dentist and got a teeth-bleaching kit so I could dazzle m’crowd. I was gonna be bones and white teeth bones. ‘Twas the theme of my wedding. If they’d yet invented those freestanding places you drive to to get your teeth bleached, they must have been exorbitantly $$ because otherwise I’d have used them.
As it was, my dentist made me a mold of my teeth, then sold me this goop that twice a day for like an hour each time I had to put on and live my life. Seeing as the only time in the day I wasn’t eating peaches or leaping aerobically onto a step was during work, so I’d put that terrible goopy tray on at 10 a.m. and then again at like 4:00.
I remember one assy coworker accused me to trying to “get attention” by doing this during work, but all I did was slip on a guard and lean over my work and read it. I had a job where I literally never had to speak or look at anyone if I didn’t want to. I just took my work and slid it back into the in-box for whoever the hell looked at it next.
People are forever accusing me of trying to garner attention when in fact attention just comes to me. I don’t have to ask for it. I’ve never once said to myself, “How can I get anyone to notice me at this juncture?”
Anyway, to tell you the truth, I don’t remember my teeth looking any whiter.
Then in 2010, I was getting my hair cut at this salon right across from Ned’s old apartment but I didn’t know Ned yet because I was married. Stuff like that is weird, isn’t it? When you think back on a time you were near someone who’d become major in your life but you were blissfully unaware at the time.
Anyway, a drag queen worked there (at the hair salon, not Ned’s apartment), doing manicures and so forth, and she was running a special on teeth bleaching. I signed up mostly because I wanted to hang around a drag queen. It was two sessions, under a blue light. After, I tried to friend said drag queen on Facebook and got an “I’m not accepting more friends, but follow my page!” response. I wrote back, “You’re kidding” and that was the end of that.
To tell you the truth I don’t recall my teeth looking any whiter.
Two years ago, I was at my dentist because I used to go places and not fear it would kill me to do so. I saw in the corner a contraption. “Is that for teeth bleaching?” I asked. I never, ever, ever give up because Winston Churchill was huge on teeth bleaching.
So I made an appointment to get my teeth bleached on what turned out to be the day after my car accident, so then I had to cancel cause concussion, then when I finally went, they laid me in a chair, put this whole thing over my face, stuffed my mouth with cotton, laid another thing over my mouth, then shone this light on my face and I said,
“Ahh-ahhh. AHHHH! Ahhh-ahhh!!”
“You want me to stop?”
I had a total claustrophobic panic. I was totally smothering under all that shit they’d piled on my face and nose and nose and face and then they’d crammed my mouth with shit and where was breathing supposed to happen, exactly? My gills?
I couldn’t do it. And I was totally humiliated and felt like a diva but my whole back was sweating in a panic and I left that chair looking like the Shroud of Greensboro.
“You can buy our at-home bleaching kit instead,” they said. “We already made a mold of your teeth for your at-home touchups anyway.”
So I did, mostly because I felt I owed them something for smothering me to death and rescheduling and all.
Then for two years that whitening kit has sat there mocking me. I’ve been busy worrying about my bladder and my ovaries and my pandemic. But this weekend, I saw it and thought, What if I emerged from this cocoon looking marvelous? Sure, I’ve gained 25 pounds and my silver roots are two inches long and I’ve shot absolutely nothing in my face for more than a year so I look like the puppet Madame, but what if I emerged from this cocoon looking marvelous because white teeth?
Because history has shown teeth whitening has a dramatic effect on me.
So Sunday night I got the mold of my teeth out, and the gel, which is almost expired so good thing I got it out. I read the instructions and carefully applied it to the mold. Then I slid it onto my teeth and thought of that fekking bitch from the textbook place, accusing me of seeking attention.
“I’m doing this all alone, in the privacy of my home. Bitch,” I said to her. And as you can see I didn’t go on about it in my blog later.
I shut off the bathroom light and moved to the living room where
“OWWW!” I said out loud, by the time I reached the couch. “OWWW! AH AH AH AH AH OH MY GOD OH!”
Edsel is acutely aware of my every move and mood, and this outburst rendered him into a nautilus shape. He was terrified. So I tried to keep my emotions on the inside, where they belong, but
the pain was exquisite. EXQUISITE.
It was in my lower back teeth, on both sides. It literally felt like someone was doing dental work to me with no Novocain. Oh my GOD, it hurt.
I minced to the sink and ripped the mold out my mouth and even though I was scared for water to hit it, I rinsed that crap out my mouth.
BOING, BOING, BOING, went my nerves in my teeth.
The pain was all I could think of.
“Am I going to have to go to the ER and catch COVID because of my stupid bleached TEETH?” I thought. I mean, that’s how bad the pain was.
I minced to the cupboard and took some Advil and minced to the couch (I learned to mince during pain or sickness from my Aunt Kathy) and willed myself to be calm while my teeth said BOING! BOING! BOING!!!
After about 40 minutes of exquisite pain, and I wish I were into pain because that would’ve made it a lot more pleasant, it subsided.
You’ll be stunned to hear I threw the gel out. I also threw the teeth mold out, as I would be scared even a trace of that gel is in there and just the thought makes m’teeth ache.
So that’s the history of my teeth bleaching. Stay tuned for next week’s history channel, when we’ll explore all the ways I’ve tried blush.