When I walked into La Provence, a quaint French restaurant in the San Diego Gaslamp Quarter nearly 12 years ago for a date night with my now-husband/then-boyfriend, I had no idea my life was about to change forever.
The change didn’t actually take place that night, but somewhere between the brie and the quiche, a fateful bite began a chain of events that led to a major ding in my self-esteem and a build up of my alter rapper ego, Mama Nelly.
In the midst of our romantic dinner, I found myself famished and on the verge of crankiness so I gregariously dove into the basket of artisan bread. I smothered a slice with some sort of succulent spread and went for it.
“Ouch!” I yelled as soon as my teeth clenched down on said bread.
Steve looked at me quizzically. “Are you okay?”
“Ouch!” I repeated. “I think my tooth just fucking broke!” I immediately pulled out the bread, with a piece of my tooth along with it.
The pain was sharp, and piercing through whatever layer of wine-induced numbness I had goin’ on at the time. One of my back right bottom molars had completely cracked in half, and the wayward, rogue half was sitting mockingly in the palm of my hand.
How do you say buzz kill in French?
Our romantic date night came to a premature close and first thing the next morning I found myself in the dentist’s chair receiving a porcelain crown. And damn did it hurt!
Cut to a few years later, me, in pink satin at a best friend’s wedding. After some hard core wedding party duties (i.e. drinking and dancing), I collapsed in my chivari chair in the middle of the Torrey Pines Lodge ballroom and bellied up to a dish of pastel Jordan Almonds placed ever so precisely at the table. One over-zealous bite is all it took.
“Ouch!” I shrieked as soon as my teeth clamped down on the hardest fucking nut known to man that has no business being at a wedding in the first place (no offense Lisa).
“Ouch!” I repeated. “I think my tooth just fucking broke again!” I immediately pulled out said nut, along with half of my expensive-ass porcelain crown.
My stint as bridesmaid promptly came to a close and first thing the following morning I was in the dentist’s chair, again, hoping the pain would soon be a distant memory.
The following events of that morning are all still a blur, but here is what I remember.
The dentist sat down next to me to have a canine to canine about the condition of my tooth and all the possible remedies. He began throwing the world “gold” around like it was a jewelry party and I began to freak out. Like I said, my memory is hazy, but from what I recall, when he said that my tooth was too delicate and damaged for porcelain I worked out a deal with him that he could put a gold crown on the top of the tooth, just so long as the sides were porcelain—and white! He agreed with that plan, or so I thought, and proceeded to hop me up with pain meds, poke, prod and wrench the shit out of my mouth for nearly two straight hours. Eventually the pain meds began wearing off and that shit hurt!
In a delirious state of pain and weariness I made my way to my car and began driving home. My mouth still in a Bill Cosby state of half movement/half drooling, I decided to look in the rear view mirror. And this is what I saw.
HOLY FUCKING SHIT! I have a GOLD TOOTH!
I did a quadruple take to make sure I wasn’t just seeing things because of my delirium. On every subsequent glance, there it was, shiny, bright, blinding and GOLD.
To say I freaked the fuck out would be an understatement. I went totally ballistic. Batshit. Crazy. Cursing like a trucker and wailing like a banshee. A gold fucking tooth? Are you freaking kidding me?
A few moments later I arrived home, though I’m not sure how I didn’t crash into a fire hydrant or purposefully run my car into oncoming traffic, nor do I envy Steve for having to deal with the absolute disastrous wreck that came barreling into the house. I’m pretty sure I did a dramatic wall slide (thanks Luvvie for that term), curled up into a fetal position and wept myself into a state of frenetic angst. Seriously? A gold fucking tooth???
Once my body stopped heaving and I could actually formulate a sentence, I picked up the phone and called the dentist. Upon hearing his voice I lost my shit again. “I thought, I thought, I thought you said gold AND porcelain. I really don’t want a GOLD TOOTH!”
His response was calm yet tense. Apparently when he was in the middle of the procedure he determined that my tooth was too fragile after two breaks and decided, on his own, that any amount of porcelain would crack again eventually, and henceforth decided to go with an ALL GOLD tooth to spare me anymore “trauma.”
Inner Monologue: I’ll give you trauma you masochistic, misogynistic asshole!
I’m not sure why I didn’t immediately hang up and call a lawyer–probably because I went right back into the fetal position, where I stayed for an unknown length of time.
There, in my ball of vanity and shame, I thought to myself, Yes, I love rap music, yes, I have every word to Ice Cube’s Predator CD memorized, but do I really need a gold tooth to prove I’m down with OPP? Isn’t the size of my ass enough to prove that?
Eventually I calmed down, like a year or so later, and I realized that it’s a barely visible back tooth that most people won’t even notice when talking to me (and now, moments before I hit “publish” on this post, I’m really wondering why the hell I’ve decided to share this story, ‘cause all you’ll be able to look at when you’re talking to me IRL is my bright shiny gem of a tooth).
And, though leprechauns and pirates want their way with me, and I cringe every time a disco ball makes pretty designs in my mouth, I’ve managed to survive the past seven years with little to no repercussions from this catastrophic event. Mainly my ego took a gilded blow and my inner drama queen was given the role of a lifetime.
Bling to the mother fucking bling!
Now, I embrace my alter rapper ego. Fuck it. I even have a clock necklace to wear for special occasions. And, on the bright side, if the recession ever gets too bad, I can always just hock my tooth.