8 Mouths

Sometimes I make snap judgments about a person – judgments based on really trivial things. Like a boss I had once. Let’s call her Suzie. The first actual conversation I had with Suzie, she was eating her lunch. Why she called in me in for an introductory meeting while she was eating her lunch, I’ll never know.

Now, although there’s a long-standing rule of etiquette that says you should never talk with food in your mouth, many, many people do it quite successfully every day. They take small bites and move their food over to one side while they’re talking or wait until they’ve swallowed or put their hand over their mouth if they’ve just taken a bite and they absolutely must say something and feel there might be some shrapnel.

Not Suzie. Suzie talked, loaded up her mouth with food and kept right on talking. And chewing. It was fascinating to me that she could chew and talk at the same time. I was able to witness, close up and personal, the entire first step in her digestive process – masticating the food and mixing it with saliva. I had ring-side seats and like all ring-side seating I had a good view, but I was also getting covered by debris.

When she was finally done eating, there was a whole bunch of food stuck in her teeth and around her mouth which mesmerized me for the rest of the meeting.

Call me petty, but my entire opinion of this woman henceforth was based on that initial meeting with her mouth.

Come to think of it, I judge people a lot by their mouths. The mouth is usually the first thing I notice about a person – it will cause a visceral reaction which rightly or wrongly, informs everything else I see or hear or discover about that person. For instance:

  1. I am always leery of people who have no lips. They look mean and like it would hurt to kiss them.
  2. When I see women with lip liner and a lot of lipstick, I always want to laugh because they remind me of clowns.
  3. People whose mouths contain severely backwards slanting teeth remind me of reptiles. I don’t understand how they can bite things. I have this picture of them just swallowing everything whole. It’s as confusing to me as if their nose was on upside down.
  4. People whose teeth are absolutely perfect and dazzlingly white. They are pretty, but also confusing. How is it possible to have real teeth that look like they were manufactured in a Perfect Teeth Factory? More and more young people have teeth like this. Do they ever use them or do they consume nothing but white liquids through a straw?
  5. When men have hair around their lips, especially when they have small mouths, their mouths remind me of sphincters.
  6. People who don’t take care of their teeth and gums kind of freak me out. Sure, I know it’s not always possible to see your dentist twice a year, but toothpaste and floss aren’t that expensive or difficult to use.
  7. I’m right put off with people who always seem to have to have something in their mouths; whether it’s a cigarette or gum or their fingers. Seriously, I think the oral cavity needs rest during the day just like the rest of you.
  8. And finally, of course there’s the stuff that comes spewing out of the mouth. That’s probably the most important one of all. Sometimes a person can entrance you or utterly repel you within the first few sentences.

Probably some of you recognize yourselves or other great, wonderful people in one or more of the aforementioned. So, obviously there are serious flaws in my judging-a-person-by-their-mouth theory.

I’m not saying I will reject a person out of hand because I don’t like something about their mouth, but it will always be there and I’ll always be thinking, “if only this person wouldn’t always eat while they’re talking to me I might be able to take what they’re saying seriously.” Or, “this person is so pretty and kind and intelligent, I wonder why they never brush their teeth?” Or, “I wonder if she knows that her lipstick has worn off and now there’s just a dark red ring encircling the outside of her mouth?”

By the same token, I’ve been taken in by a pair of luscious full lips, clean teeth and a brilliant line of chatter more than once, much to my chagrin.

Perhaps the mouth is not the window to the soul after all? Maybe it’s more of a gateway or portico to the soul — which you have to go through in order to get to a window? Or maybe it’s a vestibule or atrium of the soul where you can sit a spell and look around before deciding to carry on into the main part of the building? Or maybe it’s more like a ….

… I think I’ve lost the thread of this analogy.

28 responses to “8 Mouths

  1. I never really thought about it, but I too occasionally make judgments about people based solely on my first encounter with their mouth. Like for instance, back in the days when you could still smoke in your workplace, there were these two guys at my office who smoked cigars. And as if that wasn’t bad enough (never could stand the smell of cigars), their teeth took on the shape of smoking a cigar, so that even when they weren’t smoking them, they still looked like they were. It was hard hearing what they were saying, because I was so fixated on their teeth, just waiting for the smoke to blow in my face.

    Then there are the people who are missing one or more of their front teeth. I used to do the occasional online dating, and the first two guys I met that way both had missing front teeth. My snap assumptions about them upon seeing this on our first “dates” were proven correct, and so after that, I always asked possible matches pointedly if they had all their teeth before agreeing to meet them.

  2. This topic reminded me of an HR Director who was known to have said that she judges a candidate on the address on their CV and their teeth (nice.). Teeth can really say a lot of someone, especially their economic status. It’s expensive to have those pretty teeth that all young people seem to have these days!

  3. For 50% of the population, I don’t even notice the mouth.

    There are other…er…”assets” that I’m checking out first. 🙂

  4. the hubby always gets salad cought in his teeth and i find it revolting. so i tell him so that i can look at him while we are talking. but he always gets upset that i point it out to him. i really don’t get it. why wouldn’t someone want to be told that they have something big and green ad leafy stuck in their teeth.

    i’m curious what you’re first opinion is of people with gaps between their front teeth (a la David Letterman)…

  5. What about people with spittle trails when they talk or foam bubbles? I had a boss that would get white foamy stuff at the sides of his mouth while he talked. He must have wondered why I had trouble looking at him —— if I did look at the foamies directly, I had trouble keeping myself from gagging.

  6. Skye –Ewwww. I reckon the least you should be able to expect from a date is that he has some front teeth.

    Julie – Yes, I know. I don’t think a person’s teeth have to be perfect. In fact, a few dental flaws make for a much more interesting mouth. But it’s not really that difficult to keep your teeth clean, is it? Even if you can’t afford a dentist regularly, I think it says a lot about a person if they care enough to floss and brush regularly.

    Friar – Why you dirty boy. Are you telling me you’d date a woman with a good rack who has gingivitis, bleeding gums and furry teeth over a woman with nice clean teeth and little or no rack?

    Lebowski – You mean because after a woman sees you eat, she won’t want to have sex with you?

    Smothermother – I guess you’re supposed to love your husband no matter how revolting he is. So let him go to his next business meeting with arugula jammed in his teeth. And, I rather like a bit of a front gap. I always used to wish I had one. Back in the middle ages, being gap-toothed was considered very sexy. The feeling was that the gap-toothed were particularly highly sexed.

    Nylonthread – Ackkk- the white foam. How could I have forgotten that? One of my high school teachers and then later one of my university profs always had that going on in the corners of their mouths. It made me gag to look at them too. And then they get a string of it between their lips and keep talking and the string widens and shrinks..widens and shrinks as they open and close their mouths. Excuse me, I have to go lie down…

  7. If a woman has sex with you and then sees you eat and doesn’t want to have sex with you again who really cares?

    I hate it when teeth are moldy. Fortunately I haven’t seen anyone with moldy teeth yet.

  8. Reading this post made me a little queasy. I used to work with someone that did the whole chewing with their mouth open, even if she wasn’t talking, and it really grossed me out.

    I think everyone makes snap judgements based on all kinds of little informational cues. It’s not necessarily good or bad, it’s just human nature. I think sometimes we pick up on things that we can’t even put into words that tell us someone is worth knowing or not or what kind of person they are.

  9. … you have me laugh and laugh… I agree with 99% of this post… and while I was reading it, I was recalling the hundreds of times I have to tell my kids: don’t talk with your mouth full… but more regrettable for me is that my best colleague at work does it all the times… I have been tempted to tell her, but I prevent myself to do it… it is a very sensitive issue… I rather prefer to continue suffering the time I have to share with her, talking with her mouth full…


  10. I broke up with a boy once who I nicknamed “yellow bubbles”. It was in grade six, the poor guy probably ate something with mustard and ended up with yellow bubbles in the corners of his mouth. Instead of doing the mature thing and telling him to wipe his mouth, I had a girlfriend tell him I didn’t want to “go” with him anymore and he was forever known as yellow bubbles in my circle of friends. He’s probably a super-successful rich handsome guy now.

  11. My best friend wore lip liner in the early days, but I wore her down and she no longer wears it, thank god. That lipless thing is bizarre. Simon Cowell has that. And there’s an actor on my soap that always hold his mouth open for a full 8 count before he begins to talk and that drives me absolutely insane. And sometimes there is a saliva thread going on. Blech! My husband has a teeth obsession. That’s the first thing he notices. I only notice teeth if they are very bizarre. My one mouth fixation is people who seem to smile upside down. Their top lip curves down when they smile. There is a lot of that on TV and I hate it. Julianne Moore has that.

  12. I have thin lips, both top and bottom, somone told me it was a lesbian trait…but I don’t know about that. I have straight and good teeth. I have never had a complaint about my kissing.

    I think the thing that tells the most about a person are their eyes…

  13. Glen –I’ve heard that some people like to have sex with the same person twice.

    Dave – Ah, your getting soft. Must be all that love and romance.

    Jazz – You have to be true to yourself.

    MM – No. Blech.

    Kimberly – I agree. Even when I try really hard to overcome my initial snap judgment of a person, they usually end up proving me right anyway.

    Nathalia – That’s a tough one. I wouldn’t bother telling the person either. Just avoid them when they’re eating. That’s what I do.

    Meanie – Boy and I thought I was shallow! Lol. I assume this happened some time in grade school??

    Geewits – Is that Victor who waits an 8 count before speaking? I seem to remember him doing that from back in the day when my roommate and I used to rush home at lunch to watch whatever that show was. I’ll have to look closely at Julianne Moore for that upside down smile – sounds very weird.

    Cedar – Okay, I’ll take your word for it. I don’t think I’ve ever kissed anyone with no lips.

  14. Look if you really want to know what it is like I will take a hit for research and kiss you.

  15. What should I do about my front tooth that is slightly discoloured? I fell off my bike when I was about 8, after the adult tooth had come in, and it bled into the enamel, making one tooth slightly darker than the surrounding teeth. Now that I am going into public office (thank dog it is just at the municipal level!), I have been wondering if I should get a veneer. Of course, sometimes veneers look fake and so worse. Like old fashioned caps.

  16. This post made me laugh! Thanks 🙂 I am definitely put off by people with really ugly teeth. Unfortunately most of them work in customer service down here in the South and it’s difficult not to gasp when they start speaking. And why oh why am I having such a hard time finding a job? I find it hard to believe the Hilton would rather have a front desk clerk with crooked ORANGE teeth as a first impression to its guests when they could have adorable ME!

  17. Oooh…I just remembered someone else with a weird mouth.

    Mr. Roper on “Three’s Company”.

    His lips were the same color as his skin.

    WTF is up with THAT?

  18. Bob – Glad you enjoyed it

    Cedar – You are such a trooper.

    Manny – Why yes, I think I did..and a one, and a two….

    Nathalia – Try to tell her you’ll come back when she’s finished lunch. That’s what I did with my boss. Convince her it’s not good for her digestion to eat and do business at the same time.

    Julia – I never even noticed. Do you think it will make or break the election for you?

    Charlene – I don’t understand it at all. I think you have to be ugly and surly to work in the service industry in North America maybe

    Friar – Okay really, really big, but she also has a mouth full of filthy rotten teeth and missing teeth and her breath will kill you. Mr. Roper’s mouth wasn’t as bad as Mr. Furley (sp??)

  19. Bob – Glad you enjoyed it

    Cedar – You are such a trooper.

    Manny – Why yes, I think I did..and a one, and a two….

    Nathalia – Try to tell her you’ll come back when she’s finished lunch. That’s what I did with my boss. Convince her it’s not good for her digestion to eat and do business at the same time.

    Julia – I never even noticed. Do you think it will make or break the election for you?

    Charlene – I don’t understand it at all. I think you have to be ugly and surly to work in the service industry in North America maybe

    Friar – Okay really, really big, but she also has a mouth full of filthy rotten teeth and missing teeth and her breath will kill you. Mr. Roper’s mouth wasn’t as bad as Mr. Furley’s (sp??)

  20. I have backward slanting teeth on the bottom which can’t be corrected without major surgery, in which I am not interested… your conjecture is correct – it is difficult to bite things.

    You’ll pretty much never see me eating corn on the cob, for example, and I usually cut up things like apples and pears.

    But you know, over the years, that never bothered me much. What still gets me to this day… biting my tongue, which seems to happen a lot. ow.

    I have the mouth/sphincter thing too, but for me it’s a hairless face and particular kinds of facial features that generate that response.