It was very frustrating to see other girls and boys having a wonderful time
at social gatherings and not being able to be part of the merriment. I was
born with silky jet black hair and a flawless porcelain complexion. I could
have been quite attractive if not for my two front teeth. Chipped and jagged
due to a fall when I was a little girl, I would not parade them for a
Once I met a good-looking boy on a packed bus. He smiled
and asked if I was from the same college. Before I could finish my sentence,
he interrupted to ask how I chipped my teeth ! Passengers standing nearby
seemed equally curious to have a glimpse of my disfigured teeth. I was most
embarrassed. I wished I could have jumped off the bus there and then.
I disliked face-to-face encounters. To avoid inspection of my
unpresentable teeth, I would cover my mouth, look elsewhere and do anything
to camouflage them. I often wished I was
flawlessly beautiful like my cousin, Josephine. At every social occasion,
there would always be a crowd of admirers around her.
Once evening, at Josephine's wedding reception, I was standing as usual
in a quiet corner of the banqueting hall watching other people enjoying
themselves. when i went to the "Ladies', I was shocked to hear relatives
commenting about me. "Stuck-up!" "Peacock!" "Rude!" were some of the harsh
words I heard before I dashed out of the room crying.
Just then, I saw a group of the wedding guests across the hall crowding
around a plain looking girl. Suddenly, she caught sight of me. Smiling
broadly, she called out. "Mary! It's me, Jane.
Come. Let me have a closer look at this much talked about pretty cousin
of mine." As I went closer, I noticed that she had a very uneven set of
Out of habit, my hand went automatically up to cover my mouth when I
greeted Jane whom I had not seen for years. Jane smiled at me warmly and the
understanding look in her eyes put me completely at ease. "Care for a walk ?
It's pretty stuffy in here," said Jane as she gently led me out of the
"Why is a sweet-looking girl like you playing wallflower on such a happy
occasion " Don't just stand around. Greet the aunties and uncles. talk to
the cousins, and stop letting everyone think you're proud or rude!"
Jane was right. i had unconsciously offended many people by being too
conscious of my teeth. I also realized that in trying to hide my teeth, I
drew more attention to them. I dawned on
me that during our conversation I stopped noticing Jane's teeth. what I saw
was a very pleasant and friendly person.
Acting on Jane's advice, I have learnt to mix more freely on social
occasions now. As my social skills improve I seem to receive more
compliments about my hair and my complexion. It is interesting that people
no longer notice my two front teeth. these days, I look forward to social
gatherings. I am no longer a wallflower on such occasions any more.