Single again, I'm throwing myself back into the cattle market of online dating.
This time, though, I'm ready for them. After the latest debacle, the latest disappointment, the latest paltry excuse for a man, I'm ready because I'm shorn of any illusions; I no longer want to hand over responsibility for my mental health to a Glaswegian male, aged 35 - 50, with a GSOH. Instead, I've realised that the responsibility is mine, so I'm not looking for a saviour, or a god, or a handsome prince. I just want someone with a clean criminal record, and with his own hair and teeth.
So, back into the cattle market with no girlish illusions.
If I'm no longer seeking 'unusual' men, what standard am I searching by? Well, perhaps the 'cattle market' thing is a good idea. When farmers are buying animals, don't they always prise their jaws open to check their teeth? I suppose they must be an indicator of health and age. Yes, I may be onto something here! When I look back on my romantic history, my men can indeed be sorted by their teeth, and I've found that the better their teeth are, the worse they'll be. Yes indeed, the whiter the gnashers, the blacker the soul.
Look at the Kinky Doctor, for example. He had the ultimate in dazzling Hollywood chompers. He'd spent thousands having them whitened, straightened, capped and bleached. He'd shy away from good old Colgate, only ever using his special brand of £12 toothpaste. Truly a perfect geggie, but a useless man.
Then there was the ex who'd discoloured his teeth by years of smoking and neglect. He was desperate to have them spruced up, but the dentist quoted him a staggering amount so he had no choice but to go to the Dental Hospital where treatment's free as long as you don't mind letting the students have a good poke around. The work took months and was often clumsy, painful and frustrating. He'd stomp home in a foul mood, forbidden from easing his pain with the usual medicine of a joint and eight beers, so he'd punch a door or kick a bookcase or - in one spectacular fit of tooth-inspired rage - he wrote an angry note to a cat.
Our neighbour in the close had cats who loved to pee on our doorstep plants. That night he came home reeling with toothache to find suspicious splashes by his geraniums. He banged their door to remonstrate but they weren't in. Fuming, he grabbed paper and pencil and scribbled a note, telling them to keep their bursting cats away from his aspidistras. He tore his note from the pad and marched out into the close. Instead of posting it through their door, he crouched down in the close and laid the scrap of paper carefully, dead centre, in the puddle of urine. That'll teach them, he reasoned! That'll embarrass them! They'll be forced to bend down and retrieve the missive from the cloudy yellow puddle. They'll be compelled to wipe it clean to read it and then they'll know how it feels to be so inconvenienced by cat piss!
Alas, his plan failed. The cat pee just dissolved the pencil markings and the neighbours took no notice of this blank scrap of paper. So there, this ex of mine got brilliant, reconstructed white teeth but turned out to be just an another emotionally stunted drunk. Truly, the whiter the gnashers, the blacker the soul.
Then there was Terry Boy. He proves my theory correct, having only had a tiny bit of dental work done, but being a good sort with whom I'm still friends. His GP had diagnosed him as depressed, and it was decided that if he got his teeth tarted up on the NHS it'd boost his self-esteem. A few caps were all he needed. He was dispatched to a dentist in Partick who was an expert at dealing with GP referrals for those with 'confidence issues'. Terry Boy was told to relax back in the chair whilst whale song echoed round the room, and projections of tiny fish darted across the ceiling and walls. This helped calm him. They also pumped him full of Valium. That helped too.
His son and I were waiting in reception to take him home, as he'd be too fuzzy with drugs to make it alone. I looked through some magazines and his wee boy played with the giant Spongebob helium balloon we'd got him.
Eventually, Terry Boy was delivered out to us and we took a hand each and escorted him, shuffling, along Dumbarton Road. He was wobbling and gaping helplessly at everything around him.
In the Botanic Gardens, his wee boy grew tired of the Spongebob balloon and handed it to Terry. As we walked past the pretty snowdrops, Terry Boy was smiling and merry on the dentist gas. He wobbled along, my arm in his, grinning to the world, the jaunty balloon in his fist.
When his GP appeared from the Kibble Palace, Terry Boy froze.
'Shit,' he said through his paralysed mouth. 'I'm supposed to be depressed!'
'I thought you were,' I said.
'Well I don't bloody look it,' said Terry.
He was right there, I thought, observing his comedy walk, his face stuck in a slapdash grin and his Spongebob helium balloon bobbing in the breeze.
'At least give me that balloon!' I snapped.
Terry handed it over and lowered his head, shoved his hands in his pockets and sighed heavily as we walked past his GP. Oh woe is me, he seemed to say...
So there, Terry Boy was a good one and only had a few 'self-esteem caps' fitted.
Then there was old Shug who was a bit of a pain, but essentially a good man. All he did, tooth-wise, was go prancing off for a polish whenever he had a new musical opening.
So, there does seem to be a link. The more dental work the man has done, the more of a prat he'll be.
On my next date, I hope they'll find it acceptable if I grab 'em by the jaw and check out their teeth, because, truly, the whiter the tooth, the blacker the soul.
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