A couple of months ago, I
learned about a new TV sitcom that was going to feature an
adult woman wearing braces. I was disappointed that the show
was going to be called "Ugly Betty," mainly because I hate
the stereotype that wearing braces turns you into a dork, a
frump, a homely dateless wallflower...you get the picture. I
never felt ugly or frumpy in the 3 years I wore my ceramic
and metal brackets. Not to mention the elastic bands. No, I
actually felt confident and....well....kinda cute. I was a
"cute" 40-something woman in my braces. In our
vanity-conscious society, I'll take "cute" at age 43 any
day! It was better than Botox for my self-confidence.
Still, I was concerned. What if
this Ugly Betty show became popular and our ArchWired members
were suddenly earmarked as "ugly" just because they had braces?
Life in braces is tough enough without coworkers or friends
joking around, calling you "Ugly Jennifer" or whatever. And I
was worried that adults who were contemplating orthodontic
treatment (especially women) would be turned off if this
character was viewed in a bad light, and the "ugliness" of
braces became even more embedded in our society's consciousness.
But as I learned more about the
show, I understood why the word "ugly" was part of the title.
The show is based on a popular Hispanic novella (soap opera-type
show) called Yo Soy Betty La Fea. That roughly translates
to "I am Betty the Ugly One." So I suppose they felt it
necessary to use the word "ugly" in the title to get the point
across. The executive producer is Salma Hayak, a very talented
actress who, hopefully, wouldn't create a show that makes fun of
women. Yes, I was hopeful -- that Salma
was a feminist with a conscience who wouldn't poke fun at
someone just to make a buck.
Well, most of my fears were
dismissed when I saw the first episode last Thursday night.
Betty is actually a very intelligent, capable, hard working
young woman (I would say age 21 or 22) who happens to be
slightly overweight, sports a pre-pubescent hairdo, and has no
fashion sense whatsoever -- which is unfortunate considering
that she just landed a new job at a high fashion magazine and is
now surrounded by size -10 supermodels. It's The Devil Wears
Prada meets Univisión -- minus Meryl Streep and Don
Francisco. Betty seems to literally be the Mary Tyler Moore of
her young Hispanic generation. And I think she will "make it
after all" whether or not she has braces on her teeth.
Which brings us back to the
braces. Yes, they certainly were on her teeth. In fact, one
newspaper described her as having "braces on her braces."
Indeed, she does have a mouth full of metal. But so far, it
hasn't been a source of condemnation on the show. Betty is
viewed by everyone as a package -- a very frumpy overzealous
package with a huge metal mouth smile.
And maybe that's a good thing.
Because she isn't hiding her braces at all. In fact, she doesn't
hesitate to give everyone a huge lip-popping grin. Betty is
obviously comfortable with her braces, and I don't think she
cares what other people think of them. When you think about it,
she's actually setting a great example for us.
I don't know how much attention
the writers and producers of this show will pay to her braces.
Will they show her in the company restroom, grossing out the
catty models as she flosses spinach from her teeth? Will we see
her in pain after an orthodontic adjustment? Will her braces get
caught on an expensive one-of-a-kind couture sweater, causing it
to unravel? Will she wear rubber bands that cause her to mis-pronounce
her words and create havoc on the phone with an important
client? Wait, maybe one of her rubber bands could pop off and
hit an evil model in the eye, causing her to wear an ugly black
eye patch during an important runway show! Jeez, they should
come to me for ideas, because I could cook up some doozies.
Personally, I think Betty should discover ArchWired.com, because
we all would give her our full support.
Somehow, I don't think we should
be worried about this show. Because although the models and
magazine staff seem to abhor Betty because of her sub-par
appearance, the audience knows that she has a heart of gold.
Which really reduces the importance of a mouth of metal.
So I give my kudos to the creators
of Ugly Betty. Nevertheless, they'd better watch their
step. Because if they start poking fun at her braces, they will
have OUR community to answer to. And that could indeed get
very very ugly!
month's poll was very interesting. I asked, "What is the
number one most important thing that your orthodontist can
provide to you?" I was not surprised that Time to listen
to my concerns got about 40% of the votes.
FYI, I plan to write an article
about this for one of the dental/orthodontic trade magazines.
I'm not sure if most Orthos realize how important it is that
they listen to us and address our questions and concerns.
Perhaps the statistics from this poll will catch their attention
and validate the topic.
Some docs are very chatty,
while others barely say two words to you during the monthly
adjustment. If you are not happy with the amount of
communication at your Ortho's office, then speak up! Schedule a
separate conference if necessary. True, your doc may be very
busy, but if you have questions, you deserve to get answers!
I'm sitting here sore as
hell, but fortunately it's a good soreness. Recently my
husband and I decided to join a gym, after years of
exercising at home. The deciding factor in this change was a
chance workout my husband recently did at a hotel gym. He
realized that our Bowflex just wasn't cutting muster. We've
had it for 5 years, and my husband was appalled at how
little he could bench press now compared to pre-Bowflex.
He wants to give the Bowflex the heave-ho.
I must admit, I've been getting
pretty bored of the same old routine at home, although I do try
to mix it up. I like the convenience of exercising at home, and
I thought the Bowflex was OK for me mainly because I'm not
lifting huge amounts of weight. Now I realize that it hasn't
been giving me the best results, either.
After seeing a personal trainer
(part of the new member package) and getting a program done for
me, I am more sore than I've been in years. And that was with
light weights and only two sets of reps! The trainer took into
account my back, neck, knee, and shoulder problems and gave me a
program to build up my strength and core stability (a
combination of machines and mat work, some with a large
stability ball). Some of the machines are the ones I did in
physical therapy both for my back and my shoulder, so I know
they will not hurt me.
This morning, it was so hard to get out bed; everything ached!
But (she smiles) yea, my back doesn't hurt at all! I'm giving my
body a break from the weights for a few days and taking this
very slowly so I don't get hurt. This all comes at a really good
time. At the beginning of the year, I had resolved to lose 10
lbs. By April I had lost 5 lbs, but somehow gained it back
(which is weird for me, because I usually don't yo-yo.) It
turns out, my thyroid had slowed down -- which explains why I
was also so tired all the time. After some blood tests, I'm now
on a higher dose of Synthroid. But I can't totally blame my
thyroid -- it is also my inability to be consistent. To lose
weight you need to exercise consistently. It doesn't have to be
every day, but it should be several days per week. I was letting
too many things derail me. When you have a busy life, it's easy
to get derailed and make excuses. But in the end, you suffer
because of the compromises you make. Now I'm going to try harder
to stick to the plan and make it a higher priority.
After exercising purely at home
for the past 5 years, it's difficult to adjust to getting into
my car and driving to a gym. But once I'm there, I'm THERE and I
have trouble leaving! Having the discipline to get myself there
(it's only 10 minutes from home) is the challenge! Some busy
days, I have literally looked at the clock and said, "OK, I have
30 minutes to do the exercise bike and 5 minutes to cool down
before picking up the kids from school!" So now I have to do
more planning to get over to the gym. They have such a great
variety of aerobic equipment there that I can do a lot of
cross-training. I have really missed the electronic machines
with the built-in programs!
In addition, I plan to continue to
ride my bike and play tennis on occasional weekends while the
weather is still good.
I just realized that I never mentioned my new bike! OK, sidebar
time. A few months ago I decided to replace my old Diamondback
mountain bike with a hybrid touring bike. The main reason was:
hunching over the handlebars was bad for my neck and caused me a
lot of pain. The cost of modifying my mountain bike was almost
as much as getting a new bike, so I traded in my Diamondback and
got a really nice Trek 7100 Multitrack with high, fully
adjustable handlebars (tilt and everything); shock absorbers;
21 speeds; and an ultra-padded seat. It's a real "girl's bike" but I don't
care. I have been able to adjust it to my needs so that it is
totally comfortable to ride. Finally, I can ride with a smile
instead of a wince!
At home, we plan to replace the
Bowflex with a set of free weights and a small bench. (We also
have a basic non-electronic exercise bike, a Nordic Track, and
an Ab Roller-type thing). So I guess I'm getting a head start on
next year's resolution. Hopefully I will be able to lose that
stubborn 10 lbs after all. If I can keep ahead of the dreaded
"middle age spread" I will be ahead of the game!
Well, I have been pretty
successful in keeping up the regular exercise this month. I even
exercised on Thanksgiving! How's that for dedication?! Some days
I have been truly too tired to do anything, but most days I did
at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise (either on the exercise
bike, the elliptical stepper, my outside road bike, playing
tennis, or at home with my Nordic Trak). I am lifting weights 2
to 3 times per week and am getting really strong now -- making
progress. Sometimes my neck and shoulders bother me (but it's
rare for that region NOT to feel stiff since I have disc
degeneration in my neck). I've been slowly increasing weight on
all the machines as I feel is needed. My back has been GREAT. No
problem at all. That makes me the happiest of all. My legs feel
really strong. My tennis game has improved and I have more
energy. I haven't felt this way in years, actually. It feels so
Now that I'm doing so well with
this stuff, I'm thinking of taking a class (the gym has all
sorts of classes). I will probably try spinning. I think that at
this point I could do a 65 minute (gulp) class, because a few
times a week I have been doing 45 or 50 minutes on some
machines. There are traditional aerobic classes (one is called
Body Pump), but I will still wait a while to try those. I
picture a bunch of 25-year-old size-2 women energetically
bouncing around and leaving me in the dust....I'm just not ready
for that yet. Maybe in a month or two....besides the potential
humiliation factor, I want to get stronger and in better aerobic
shape before I take one of those classes, so I don't hurt
myself. What ever happened to good 'ol fashioned Low Impact
Aerobics?! Seems like everything is "extreme" or "intense."
Oh yeah, and I have lost a pound
and a half. You'd think that with all this extra activity the
weight would come flying off. But I suppose my metabolism is a
bit slow because of my thyroid problem. I eat sensibly, but I
don't starve myself. I let myself have a cookie if I feel like
it. Notice, I said "a cookie" not "a bunch of cookies." I'm
careful....most of the time....
So I consider this all very good
Hubby is donating the Bowflex to a
I got into a conversation with a
lady at the gym the other day and she asked what I do, etc.
Anyway, when I started telling her about this website and
DentaKit, she said "Isn't that something. I was just standing
here thinking what a nice smile you have." After all I've been
through with my teeth, it is so great to hear that. For so much
of my life I was embarrassed of my teeth and nobody ever said
that my smile was nice.
I had a bunch of annual health
tests done and I'm very happy that things are just fine.
Remember all that trouble I had during the summer with the
reflux, that horrible allergic reaction, etc? I had an endoscopy
done and there is NO DAMAGE to my insides. So, there is no need
to take anything other than OTC Zantac if I feel that I need it.
Basically, the Augmentin screwed me up. Seems like my upper
digestive tract is particularly sensitive to that drug and it
causes my mild reflux -- which my gastro doc said is "only a
little more than a normal person's" -- to get really out of
hand. I will NEVER take Augmentin again unless my life depends
on it! And if I ever have to take inhalers for a cough, I will
go really easy on them. So that was really good news. Some close
relative of mine have serious gastro problems -- so I'm relieved
that I'm not following in their footsteps as I had feared.
One thing that this has taught me:
if I catch a cold, I will lay off the acids. No tea with honey.
No juice. No Emgergen-C powder. All these years, I have
unknowingly made my cough worse by giving myself reflux from all
the acids. So that is a word of advice to you: if you have a bad
cough, lay off the acidic foods and beverages -- because they
could aggravate any sort of mild reflux condition you have and
make your cough much worse.
Well, this will be the last entry
in this blog. As you know, my orthodontic treatment ended quite
a while ago, and I find that I don't have very many
teeth-oriented things to say about myself these days. I have
received many emails over the years from readers who say that my
candor has inspired them. I'm glad, because I started this blog
(which went on to become an entire website) to help people.
So, dear readers, thank you for
taking the time to listen to my story. I will still be around,
of course, on the
Message Board, where I am webmaster and wearer of all hats.
If I have something important to say, I'll say it there. You can
always communicate with me through the message board.
Happy Holidays to everyone. I wish
you love, peace, and of course -- great teeth! Oh yeah....and
WEAR YOUR RETAINERS!