By Alexa Day
Long ago, I worked for a man who had an intriguing scar. About the thickness of a line drawn by a Sharpie, the scar ran from the corner of one eye down his face to the corner of his mouth. He made no effort to hide it, although I always thought that would have been easy to do. Certainly, he could have paid for enough plastic surgery to have it removed. He just hadn’t done it.
I found it mesmerizing. It drew my attention to his eyes, for one thing. Beyond that, though, I couldn’t help wondering why he had kept it. Maybe he didn’t care about it. Maybe it sent him a message every morning.
Remember, man, that thou art mortal.
In any case, that scar made him interesting. Maybe that’s why he kept it. I’ll never know. I just know that I couldn’t look away from the one thing that many people might have regarded as a flaw.
Almost as long ago, I was enjoying my first evening alone with a new beau. Our conversation had lapsed into that first long silence — the one where we both put our drinks down on the coffee table — when he said, “I have to show you something.”
This was a fantastic guy. Wise beyond his years, he was the one his friends called when they were in trouble. He could dance while sober. He’d traveled the world. He could have told me he was all tentacles below the waist, and I’d have been fine with it. I enjoyed his company, and hello! Tentacles! Who is going to say no to tentacles?
He didn’t have tentacles. Instead, he reached slowly into his mouth and withdrew a partial denture. He’d been wearing it since a childhood hockey incident he described as “teeth everywhere.” When he put it back into his mouth, I mentioned the tentacles. You know, just to put it out there.
“Do women really take issue with your teeth?” I asked.
“Yes!” he said emphatically. “That’s why I’m bringing this up now.” He reached for the drink again. “Do you actually know anyone with tentacles?”
The other day, I made a passing allusion to Damian Lewis and his nasolabial folds, the parentheses I’d love to get inside. (As I was writing this, I had to pause for a bout of vulgar giggling. I just wanted to share that with you.) I mean, look at them. I know I’m not the only woman out there who wants to put her tongue into those, although I am constrained to concede his wife’s superior claim to them. I see this confession coming back to bite me in the ass — or lick me elsewhere — later, but I’m willing to own it anyway.
And yet there is a whole industry dedicated to eliminating nasolabial folds.
Leaving Damian aside, because he must know that we want to lick his, why would one want to be rid of parentheses? They frame one’s mouth. They reinforce a smile. They make smirking worthwhile. And chances are, some desirable person somewhere wants to lick yours if you have them. (Just putting it out there.)
What is going on with society? On the one hand, it seems fixated on wedging us into one bland, boring mass designated “the norm.” Simultaneously, an increasing number of beholders is just as fixated on attacking “the norm.” Why let “the norm” define us at all? Can’t we all just lick the parentheses and celebrate the stories our scars have to tell and maybe … just maybe … hope to be embraced by tentacles?
Free your mind in the comments.
Hashtag your nasolabials or someone else’s. Don’t forget the vulgar giggle.
And follow Lady Smut. We’re wide open here.