I’m wondering if it’s hypocritical of me to yearn for braces, yet disapprove of plastic surgery. Where does the line for beautification stop? Is it that I approve of braces because it’s only ‘natural’ (as mother nature intended, but obviously a screw-up happened somehow for some with unlucky genes) that a smile is straight, thus making braces an evolutionary necessity? Is it because crooked teeth are so ghastly that it entirely warrants the alteration of one’s appearance? Or is it that practically EVERYBODY with crooked teeth (I mean severely crooked teeth here, not teeth that are near-perfect that aren’t perfectly aligned) will get braces to correct this problem? So that would make me a conformist? But I know I’m not. No, perhaps it is precisely because everybody has normal teeth, that I don’t want to stand out with a grotesquely deformed smile.

What about plastic surgery? Considering I am against this procedure (unless a person was deformed in an accident), but how is it different to the straightening of teeth? Both is changing the natural appearance of a person. Maybe it’s because a relatively straight smile is just a person’s right, every person should be entitled to an un-malformed smile; it’s when you’re expressing your happiness, how can you feel ugly when you express your happiness?! But plastic surgery…is different because, to be honest, no person on this earth has a ‘deformed’ face (excluding those with inborn or external accidents), and so in essence, everybody has a ‘beautiful’ face, thus making plastic surgery an unnecessary aesthetic improvement. I guess if you view it in terms of severity, it justifies braces but it doesn’t for cosmetic surgery; many people have ‘deformed’ teeth, so many people get it fixed, it doesn’t make them conformists that it just so happens to be a common problem among the human race. However, I get quite irked when others with near-perfect teeth are nitpicking and complain of their ‘crooked teeth’. Those who have just slightly bent teeth that is hardly noticeable would have little grounds to get braces.

On the other hand, it is extremely rare for people to have a ‘deformed’ face, and naturally they want to fix up this abnormality, a completely natural desire, but those who don’t have a ‘deformed’ face but just want to make themselves the ‘ideal’ is doing so for vanity. It can also be said that braces do have some functionality as well, like making chewing and cleaning easier, but that’s not so for the purely aesthetic cosmetic surgery.

Maybe I’m just trying to rationalise my hypocrisy. Maybe. or maybe not…

Either way, even though people strive to be the face of ‘perfection’ in their own vanity, I guess it is their right, and I accept it. You could even say that part of my criticism lies in the possibility that I am actually subconsciously jealous: jealous that these people are going to be more attractive than they really are just because of some operation they had. But I have not been through what they have been through, so I can’t judge them.

What about transexuals? I don’t frown upon it, although I do admit I find it rather bizarre. I guess they can’t help their feelings, and in this case, plastic surgery is more about fulfilling a sense of identity rather than narcissism.

All things aside, I know I want to get braces. And today, I finally got them. My mouth is full of metal: it’s painful, it’s uncomfortable and distracting, it sucks the joy out of eating, it makes ugly teeth even more conspicuous and ugly, it has made oral hygiene 10x more tedious, it traps bits of food in every imaginable nook and cranny that refuses to dislodge even with rigorous rinsing, it impedes speech, but boy am I very happy. 😀 For 10 years (approximately) ever since my teeth started overcrowding, I’ve been longing for it intensely, ever so self-conscious and ashamed whenever I smiled or laughed. And while most people were lucky and got it in their younger years, my patience paid off, and I am finally on my way to a more beautiful smile.