Ask Minda Honey: Are Braces A Deal Breaker?

Hey Minda,

So here’s a unique situation:

I’m a 29-year-old female who got adult braces a couple of months ago. I’ve created a profile on Match and felt it necessary to mention (aside from photos) that I wear braces — so there wouldn’t be any surprises — and, not wanting to put dating on hold in the process, that I’m looking forward to a straighter smile in spring 2018.

I understand guys definitely view that as a physical deterrent. I’ve been on a few dates that went very well conversation-wise, but haven’t had second date offers and am convinced that the atomic metal-mouth scares them off after the initial meeting.

Aside from staying optimistic, what would be your advice to convince potential dates that the railroad tracks are just a temporary device and that a good foundation for a relationship can be built apart from physical appearance?

I appreciate your input!

—Cheers, Bypassed-in-Braces

Hey Bypassed-in-Braces!

You’re going to find it really bizarre how supremely qualified I am to answer this question — and not just because my teeth were jacked, and I wore braces from seventh grade through my junior year of high school. You see, when I’m not lending an ear to Louisville’s lovelorn, I’m putting in 40 hours a week writing about teeth. Thanks to my super-niche day job, I’ve actually spent more time than most thinking about adult braces. Like did you know that one-in-four wearers of braces are over the age of 18? Your situation isn’t as rare as you might think.

When I lived in Los Angeles, I had several friends who were rocking adult braces. For them, it was a status symbol. They’d finally reached a point in their lives where they could invest in their teeth. You’re literally out here stunting on people with your smile. But you know what I think? Your question — your entire line of thinking — isn’t really about braces. It’s just one of those “I’m not good enough because…” thoughts that women have as they start to inch closer to 30 without a ring on their finger, whether they’re interested in getting married or not — damn societal expectations! These might sound more familiar:

Maybe if I lost some weight…

Maybe if I wasn’t so opinionated…

Maybe if I wasn’t so educated…

Maybe if I didn’t have such an intimidating job…

Maybe if I knew how to settle…

Those thoughts will get you nowhere. I’m going to respect your wishes and refrain from telling you to be more optimistic, but I am going to tell you this: You are good enough.

You’re stunning, you have a bomb job, and you look after your dental health — I bet you even floss. And if there is something wrong with you, it can’t be your braces. You’ve had them only two months, and I assume you’ve been single longer than that. So, either you’re perfectly fine, and you’re just stressed about being single, or there’s some other issue that you’re avoiding. I suspect it’s the former (if it’s the latter, I officially give you permission to send me a follow up question about that).

Remember last month when I wrote about what a shit age 23 is? Well, 29 — more specifically 29 ½ — is the greatest age I’ve experienced so far. Not because it was a particularly good year, but because, at that age, all the fears and worries I had about turning 30 simply disappeared. At that age, I’d suddenly had enough years behind me to feel less anxious about the years ahead of me. I didn’t have all the answers, but I felt more confident that I knew how to find them. One of the things that I suddenly innately knew was that, when it comes to being single, sometimes all you can do is wait.

I know that’s not what you want to hear. It would be so much easier if there were something you could do to fix yourself and signal to your soul mate that you’re ready for his or her arrival. But there isn’t. All you can do is continue to live your best life and keep putting yourself out there.

One last thing: Chill on the braces PSAs. Dudes can see in your pics you have braces. That’s enough. If they message you anyway, they’re interested. On your dates, don’t mention them, and don’t cover your hand when you smile. Just be you. Anyone who’s not giving you a second date because of your braces lacks imagination and, from what little I know about you, you are not the type of person who wants to spend a lifetime with someone who lacks imagination — in the bedroom or outside of it.

— Minda

(Send your love-related questions to [email protected])