Five days before my second lunch with Ben, I did that creepy thing where I whitened my teeth. Whitening one’s teeth is not in itself creepy per se, but to whiten the teeth in anticipation of a lunch with a boy whose interest in you can be summed up with an amiable shrug – why, he lunches with anyone who asks! – is just the tiniest bit creepy.
The thing is, whitening my teeth before meeting the objects of my desire has become a crucial part of my m.o. In addition to my regular shower routine, I exfoliate my skin, slather on lotion, brush, floss, whiten. Some obsessive compulsive undercurrent tells me this is what it takes to not only play but also snag the game – akin to a hunter sharpening his knife, oiling his gun, tying his shoelaces just so. I have fangs, incidentally – it’s a genetic thing – and my how they gleam with the help of Crest Whitestrips.
The last time I whitened my teeth was for my professor, the one who still, despite Ben’s burgeoning presence in my imagination (note how I do not say “real life”), occupies a tender morsel of my heart. In certain corners of Ben’s office I saw my professor and in the particular way Ben moves his hands, smiles, looks and looks away, I see my professor. There is such thing as preferred game. My meat of choice is the tender, unassuming, blithe, kind genius.
Okay, so it’s not feminine to compare my lovelies to animals. And how utterly unsurprised most people will be to learn how unsuccessful my M.O. is. Creepiness almost never works unless you’re trying to attract a creep.
So what does work, then? My methods aside, I have nothing else to operate on but anticipation, in itself a strong enough wind to carry me breathless to the day of.