Going back to school means running around the city as I scramble to get last minute tasks and appointments completed. One such task includes revisiting my orthodontist, since my neurosis-fuelled teeth grinding has caused my teeth to shift.
While waiting in the dentist chair surrounded by smiling faces with gleaming Chiclets substituting for teeth, I pondered what to expect. After some ortho-patient bonding (“Have you been to Florida recently?” “No” you say. “Hmm. Now open wide.”), a glimpse of my teeth resulted in the verdict of another retainer.
Although punk is de rigueur for fall, I am fairly certain that a metal mouth is not exactly the right way to pull off this edgy trend. But, hey, thanks to my peripatetic choppers, that is exactly what I will be sporting.
Despite my current jocularity towards the subject of mouth accoutrements, I couldn’t help but think back to my desperate days as a kid when everyone else was getting their braces on, and I knew my day was coming soon.
It makes me nostalgic now thinking about how cool braces were then, nearly tantamount to the grills of rappers, and in the long run probably as expensive. In elementary school I would grin smug smiles filled with orange and black Halloween theme coloured brackets. Even though it was December, and I had missed my November appointment to go in for a colour change and tightening. Years later with all my so-called teenage wisdom I would use the old “Orthodontist Appointment” excuse to skip a class or two.
Braces hold a bizarre quarter in our memories. If you look back at a picture of yourself from that period, chances are the preteen, brace-face looking back at you isn’t actually all that cool. But still when we think back on braces, we remember the cool-factor, and of being one step closer to the apogee of hip: a teenager.
While hordes of Queen’s student are making the pilgrimage to Kingston for the holy Frosh Week, I will be patiently waiting until Wednesday for my retainer to be ready—the last of my back to school supplies—as if I were going into my last year of elementary school and not my last year at Queen’s. With another retainer in tow, does this make me any cooler? Any closer to being a hip teenager or its contemporary cousin? Probably not. Retainers now are more Liz Lemon than Lizzy McGuire. But I don’t see anything wrong with a little Liz Lemon.
Veronica Saroli, Fashion Editor