that’s right, brace yourself for what i’m about to write because it’s so ridiculous that it may want to make you bang your head on the wall.
okay, not really (i hope), but it is quite ridiculous. and i decided to write it down here so i could keep amusing myself. :p it’s about (you guessed it) braces, and how they are perceived in my home country. or perhaps only in Jakarta, my home city. and before i start, please know that i love my home country (and city), even if the people in it can be quite silly sometimes. aren’t we all a bit silly sometimes anyway? 😀
the first time i knew about braces was when i was probably around 5 or 6. my cousin, who was a bit older than i, had the removable kind, and as soon as i entered elementary school, i saw that some of my classmates also had the removable kind. in short, all the people i knew who had braces were kids my age, or at the very least they were teenagers. whether it be the removable kind or the traditional metal wired one. i guess i was lucky enough to not ever need one, even though my lower teeth aren’t exactly straight. so what? imperfection is perfection in my dictionary. 😉
and then my sister got braces for her teeth. she was in the university back then, and that was probably the first time i ever knew anyone who’s older than a teenager who wore braces. there were reasons for her getting them when she was older though, and yeah, i could understand them. i also knew that putting on braces when you’re older means you’ll have them on for a much longer time than when you’re younger, so my sister had to put up with it for a while (i don’t remember any more now just how long).
life went on, and 5 years later, i got into the uni myself. by the second year, something must have happened while i slept, because all of a sudden, braces became a trend in Jakarta. you read me right, a trend. suddenly, everyone wanted to get their teeth braced, and not just the ones that had problems with their teeth, but EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. even those who had perfectly aligned teeth. and of course, they had to have the metal ones, the more colourful the better. and get this: they even sold fake braces. no idea how that worked, but this is the honest truth. since the real deal costs a fortune, why not get a plastic one and charm your friends with your fake braced smile?
i already started to mentally shake my head back then, watching everyone else show off their braces and wondering what on earth was happening to these people. they were supposed to be educated enough to be able to go to the university, and yet they spent millions of rupiah for braces they didn’t even need in the first place, just to be able to have a… what, exactly? brace-y smile? again, i have to remind you, that i have no problem at all if you actually do need it, no matter how old you are. but just for following a trend? and not even a good-looking one, i’m sorry to say.
some of my classmates from my university still had their braces on when we graduated, and even when i got married and moved here. this means that they were also already in their mid twenties.
one day, probably some months ago, i was just checking my FB, and trying to update myself with what’s going on in my home country at the moment from what my friends were talking about. that was when i stumbled upon a wall message from someone’s friend to my own friend, and had to hold myself back from hitting my head to the wall. it said something like this: “OMG, i just saw that X’s little girl got herself braces for her teeth. can you believe it? she’s just a little girl, and already she has braces!”
………………………………………………. excuse me while i slap my head. it’s the least i could do to make sure i wasn’t hallucinating.
but you know i wasn’t. and i kid you not, that message was genuinely written by someone in their 30s, who was apparently so shocked that someone so young would be given the pleasure of a million dollar rupiah braces to fix her teeth. um, right, wasn’t the whole idea of putting on braces was to fix one’s teeth when one’s still young? or have i always understood it wrong all this time? since when is it “normal” to get braces when you’re in your mid twenties or even early thirties, unless there are some very good reason (medical/financial reason) that kept you from getting them when you were younger?
i didn’t stay around to wait my friend in FB replied to that friend of hers. nor was i interested to know more. i just hope one day i’ll wake up and find that braces are no longer a trend in my home country, before i find another reason to bang my head to the wall.