Sometimes conversations don’t at all go in the direction you were expecting.
One moment you’re talking about balloons as cat toys and the fact that your wisdom tooth is digging into your cheek, and the next the conversation has taken a sharp left turn and you are hearing a sentence that doesn’t seem relevant in the slightest.
“Before you get pregnant, it’s vital you get any dental issues out of the way.”
This conversational clanger had been dropped in – apropos of nothing – by my mother. Just to be very clear, I have no plans to get pregnant. None at all. I am not a broody person. When I see babies* on the street I smile politely, that is all. As a general rule, babies hate me. They tend to respond to my touch with shrieking cries of instant unhappiness; I think they can sense my fear.
“Yes, teeth before you get married. It’s very important.”
I narrowed my eyes and squinted at the wall, hoping the paint markings might provide some insight regarding this sudden non sequitur.
“What- I mean, why- “
In my mind, question marks popped like bubbles. I stumbled over my words before deciding that ultimately, wherever this road was leading wasn’t worth it. The journey would be too painfully infuriating. I massaged my forehead with my fingertips.
“… Never mind…”
I needn’t have bothered. My mother simply continued as if I hadn’t interjected at all.
“You know, before my sisters and I got married, my father took us each to the dentist in turn to get our mouths fixed up.”
“… What now?”
“Yes, each of us in turn. Right before our weddings. It’s crucial to get it all done before you get pregnant.”
My head fell back and I eyed the ceiling as I imagined some faceless man pulling at lips and examining gums and checking teeth before slapping my mother and my aunts on the back and calling them “Fine fillies!”
… Or whatever the Spanish term is for good broodmares.
There was a long, yawning silence as I debated whether or not I wanted to continue this bizarre and mildly disturbing line of conversation.
Anyway-” I started over in an attempt to change the subject.
“I’m serious. Teeth are very important to get fixed before you get married.”
“Okay, but I mean-“
“It has to be before you get pregnant.”
“Okay but I never said-“
“So you should do it quickly now.”
“Well I mean there’s definitely no rush-“
“You should definitely do it next month.”
As somebody who has no plans, somebody please explain this logic to me. Is this some sort of strange common-but-unspoken thing that I have never heard of? Do people go to the dentist to get “their mouths fixed” before they marry? Is there any reason you wouldn’t get your mouth fixed before then?
There is nothing wrong with my wisdom teeth; they’re good teeth, Brent. They are, however, growing into a mouth where all the space is currently occupied, so I just feel like they may have to vacate the premises. It’s on the long list, you know? Riiiiiiiiight below growing my hair out and finding a dress to wear at Christmas and going to Dubai and getting a job that will pay for both the dentist and the dress.
So you know, on the list, but down a bit.
No, down further.
Further. Keep going. Yep, next page.
There it is!
*In comparison, when I see a dog on the street my eyes turn into lovehearts and I make a beeline for them so I can pet them and tell them they’re beautiful. Can you be dog broody?