The Reality Of Dating When You've Got Adult Braces
The Debrief: Navigating the dating world with a mouth full of metal is complicated
The prospect of wearing train tracks seemed bad enough when I was a teenager. After all, no one wants to have their first snog with someone whose mouth closely resembles a cheese grater. But if there’s one thing I wish I’d told my hesitant 15 year old self, it’s that braces are a whole new world of pain when you’re a real life grown-up actually trying to get people to have sex with you.
A few of my luckier friends have managed to get away with almost unnoticeable Invisaligns, which don’t massively affect their dating life until it comes to trying to sneak their retainer out before the prospect of any mouth-to-mouth. But for me, whose vampire-esque teeth meant the only option was 18 months of metalwork, the single life ahead seemed pretty grim – especially considering that I didn’t intend on taking a vow of celibacy in the meantime.
Having now spent almost a year with my own less glamorous version of a grill, I’ve certainly had my fair share of ups and downs in the dating game. From the inevitable ‘there is an entire burger stuck in your teeth’ moment to the brace fetishists who dig ‘a mouth full of custom engineering’, I’ve learnt a lot of valuable lessons about readapting to the dating game with, let’s say, limited oral capabilities.
Getting back in the game
On top of basically feeling like someone was continually pulling all of my teeth out, the emotional impact of my first few weeks with braces was pretty rough – especially when I started thinking about dating. Online, I’d decided not to update my profile photos (the debate with my girlfriends as to whether this is deceptive or not still rages to this day), although clearly the issue was still on my mind. After finally receiving a message that was slightly more engaging than ‘Hey bby grl, wanna cum over?’ from a nice bloke called Jack, I immediately felt the need to dramatically blurt out that I had train tracks in a manner comparable to confessing that I had ten children from previous marriages or an axe murderer ex-husband.
After learning to keep my brace-induced word vomit in check, I did manage to get a few dates lined up. Having been doing it for a year now, I’ve learned that the only way date with braces is to OWN. IT. Big smile. Killer red lips. Zero fucks given attitude. But in the early days I wasn’t quite so confident. On my first post-brace date with a dreamy artist named David, I spent the whole hour (yes, it only lasted that long) elaborately trying to avoid showing my teeth at all costs and generally unable to accept that my mouth was still attached to my face.
David: Hi, how are you doing?
Me: *incoherent muffled response*
David: Errr so, do you want to get something to eat?
Me: *shakes head vigorously*
I mean, I know some people like the quiet type, but even I wouldn’t have given me longer than 20 minutes. For that David, I thank you.
If there’s one thing less attractive than a girl with braces, it’s a girl who looks absolutely gutted about having them. I spent weeks on the phone to mum moaning about how no one would ever kiss me again before realising that a) it wasn’t helping and b) nobody gives a fuck. Seriously. NO. ONE. CARES. And so, I stopped staring at my teeth in the mirror on an hourly basis and decided to get over it.
The next issue: eating. My ‘hot date essentials kit’ has now expanded from a clean pair of knickers to a clean pair of knickers and an entire bag of bizarre dental contraptions. But no matter how prepared I try to be, nothing can protect a girl from a stray spinach leaf. All was going well on a romantic rendezvous in a Soho restaurant until I started noticing that my date’s lusty gaze had turned into a slightly awkward squint. Having retreated to the toilet to take stock of what I could possibly have said to warrant the serious shift in vibes, I then noticed what was essentially half a salad bar hanging from my front tooth.
Post-date (if you know what I mean…)
Eventually, I managed to master the oh-so difficult skills of talking and eating to the extent that a date invited me back to his. I’d never really been nervous about kissing with braces. After all, I’d managed to drop the whole ‘bashing teeth’ snogging technique around age 13 and was pretty confident that my kissing skills were hot. as. fuck.
But then came sex. Specifically, blow jobs. As I went downtown for the first time with braces, I’m pretty he could hear the voice in my head screaming ‘please don’t shred his dick, please don’t shred his dick…’
While I have since managed to give successful head (after a lot of Saturday afternoons spent trying to deep-throat a banana), I do try and avoid any prolonged action. And I’m still pretty gutted that a kick-ass oral sesh now strikes the fear of God into me and, usually, my partner. Sure some guys like it (Simon: “I love it, it’s like Russian Roulette for my cock!”), but others seem to develop what can only be described as a look of abject horror as I attempt to move down south. So for now, I’m busting out my wider repertoire of killer bedroom moves and looking forward to that day in six months time when I can finally put my skills to use again.
Bring on January 2016…
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