Of Headhunters, Orgys, and Alien Antennae by Tawni Waters


My tooth is sitting on the table as I write this.  It’s exciting, really, in a morbid sort of way.  My dentist gave it to me today.  It’s this weird, little, pink artificial gum attached to a very realistic white-ish tooth.  Wires sprout from it.  It’s ugly, but I feel great affection for it, as I often do for ugly things.

I think part of my affection has to do with the fact that its job, when it isn’t sitting on the table, is to fill in the unsightly gap that was left in my mouth when the dentist with good drugs yanked out my original tooth.  (See my column titled “My Recent Foray into Drug Addiction.”’) The other part of it has to do with the fact that I’m hoping, really hoping, that what the tabloids say is true, and the wires will serve as little cosmic antennae and pick up bits of alien conversation and deliver them to my brain.  Wouldn’t that be fun?  To eavesdrop on the aliens?  But I digress.  (If I ever, ever write a column that doesn’t contain the words, “But I digress,” I will eat my tooth.  Not really.  But I do say that a lot.  Because I digress a lot.  I’m a professional digresser.  I make at least a quarter of my income from digressing.  We won’t talk about how I make the other three-fourths.)

About eating my tooth.  That’s the first thing that scared me about this new, removable addition to my body.  The dentist warned me to take it out with both hands, or I might end up swallowing it.  “And then you will have to cough it up,” he said.  Like that was the only possible ending for that particular scenario.  The other ending, the more obvious one, the one my hypochondriac self immediately jumped to, is that I would choke to death on my alien antennae.  You know, I understand we all have to die sometime, but I simply do not want to go out of this world choking on a dental partial.  How unromantic.  “How did she die?” they’d whisper at my funeral, and my loved ones would be unable to reply for fear of laughing.  People would take their silence to indicate horror/ dishonor of epic proportions, and they’d assume I accidentally broke my neck during a meth-amphetamine-fueled orgy.

Not that that the fear of choking/ being rumored to have died in an orgy stopped me from making the dentist cut off one of the little wires designed to keep the tooth in place.  The wire showed when I smiled, and it turns out, my vanity is a stronger drive than is my will to live.  If I choke on my tooth, I choke, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to have bling going on in my grill when I smile.

Speaking of smiling.  Men love my smile.  I’m not making this shit up.  They do.  They tell me.  (I know.  If I ever write a column that doesn’t eventually circle around to the subject of men, I will start a Facebook rumor that I died in a meth-amphetamine-fueled orgy.  Actually, I might do that just for fun.)  So I NEED my smile.  It’s how I attract mates.

Now, let’s be frank.  My track record for attracting mates isn’t stellar.  Maybe I should knock out all my teeth so I stop attracting them.  Every time I attract one, he attempts to kill me.  Just yesterday, I found out that a former mate, who incidentally threatened to cut my head off, has a warrant out for his arrest and is making a mad dash for the state border.  Thank God, because I’ve always thought that he might show up at my house in a heroine-induced stupor (yep, he did heroine) and make good on his promise.  I’m not making this shit up either.  This really, really is my life.  So like I said, maybe I shouldn’t keep trying to attract mates.  They never do me any favors.  Many of them are unnaturally obsessed with the idea of dismembering me.  And there’s just no way to spin that as romantic.  I mean, dear god, in my attempts to make Romeo out of Frankenstein, I’ve tried to convince myself men wanting to kill me was a sign of their devotion, but even I wasn’t capable of buying that bullshit.

So after I broke up with the last headhunter, I made a vow to myself.  “No more headhunters.”  If I was honest, really honest, with myself, the fact is that every time I started to date a man, I knew exactly what was wrong with him within minutes.  The fact is that I chose to ignore the warning signs.  Ok, not signs–warning flares, warning bombs, warning nuclear explosions.  (Aww, really?   You just got out of prison for cutting someone’s throat?  That’s so cute.)  I was so dead set on having a mate, I simply pretended the heroine-addicted headhunter who got out of prison the day before I met him (that part is true too) was Mr. Right because I didn’t actually think I deserved someone really good.  So, after I managed to escape the last headhunter with my head intact, I made myself that promise.  No more headhunters.  In fact, I went further than that.  I said, “I will never let a man touch me again unless he’s brilliant and beautiful and kind and deep and spiritual.  Also, I must be hopelessly in love with him, and his presence must make my spirit shine like a recently-waxed Rolls Royce.”  Problem is, there’s only one boy in the history of the world who has ever actually met those qualifications, and he’s married.

But in the time since I dumped the headhunter (and fled for my life, living in friends‘ basements for a while), I’ve encountered two other men who might also make me shine like a Rolls Royce if given the opportunity.  I gave them the opportunity.  Neither of them really seem particularly interested in making me shine.  I’m starting to think it’s either headhunters or nothing for me.  And if that’s truly the case, I choose nothing.

But here’s the thing that’s tormenting me today.  What if one of these men that makes me shine actually decides to kiss me?  What if we are alone at a party, or a concert, or a whatever, and he just pulls me into a corner, plants one on me, and the sparks fly?  And what if, say, things get so heated that tongues get involved?  Will my new, fake tooth hold up to the onslaught?  And if it doesn’t, what then?  What if my paramour’s tongue manages to work loose the one wire that binds my fake tooth to my other teeth, and with a swift flick of my tongue, I shove my dental partial down his throat?  And what if, what if, one of these beautiful men, the only men in the world capable of making me shine, dies right there in front of me, choking on my fake tooth.  “How did he die?” people will whisper at his funeral, and his family members will glare at me with murderous eyes.

Can a girl get indicted for involuntary manslaughter if she has a suspiciously loose fake tooth, due to the fact that her vanity overrides her will to live?  Is this an offense that can be prosecuted?  I don’t know.  But I do worry.  I worry about that little tooth sitting so innocently on the table beside me, promising to pick up alien conversations.  What if it isn’t actually an antenna?  What if it’s a killer in disguise?  What if my new tooth, my innocuous, ugly, little tooth is the next headhunter in my world?

These are the things that keep me awake at night.  I think I will buy myself a T-shirt and bedazzle it, in a way that is flattering to my figure, but also covers my legal ass.  It will be low cut, and it will be either siren red or vixen black.  It will declare, in words written with stunning sequins, “Warning: Fake Tooth.  Kiss at Your Own Peril.”  That should take care of any legal issues, right?

Anyway, I’m seeing one of the shiny boys tonight.  I hope to God he doesn’t try to kiss me.  If he does, I’ll probably make some lame excuse about why I can’t kiss him, and he’ll walk away scratching his head, thinking, “I could have sworn she wrote me 37 poems declaring her passionate desire for me.  And wasn’t that her that sang ‘I Will Always Love You’ outside my bedroom window that one night?  Wasn’t she the one tossing pebbles at the window to get my attention?  Wasn’t she the one who hit me in the eye with that rock?”

This is why men and women never get along.  Miscommunication.  Between this tooth and the headhunters, I’m destined to become a nun.


Author’s Note: As I was proofreading this column, I realized I wasn’t entirely certain of the proper spelling for the plural form of “orgy.”  I did what I always do when I have a spelling dilemma, which is to Google the word in question and see what comes up.  Boy, did I get more than I bargained for.  My eyes!  My eyes!


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