A different twist
Or, Don't get caught in the Orthos' dumpster...
This is a different twist on the development of a fetish, more of a love/hate thing.
My son is currently undergoing his orthodontic treatment and bought this all back when he showed me the Mouthwear page. I saw the links to this page and saw some similarities to my story. I lost my fascination with braces, and was even reluctant to have my son start, but my wife, and common sense, prevailed.
I was 10 when I first went to the orthodontist, this is 35 years ago. He, in some ways, was ahead of his time and even though my dentition was still developing he decided to start treatment. I am told this is quite common now, but back then most treatment was begun during the teenage years. My appliance consisted of four molar bands, one on each side, top and bottom. A thick, round wire was inserted on both top and bottom. Elastics ran from top to bottom, one on each side. It was not much compared to the full banded cases, but they were still pretty rare in our area, as were any braces at all. I was not a good patient, I would not wear the elastics, and whatever he hoped to achieve was met with limited success. After about a year, he removed the wires and bands.
Still, while I hated wearing the appliances, I somehow liked the control the orthodontist exercised over his patients. Now braces are so common kids donít even seem to notice. In the early sixties it was very different, braces were like some sort of sentence, a painful, embarrassing, drawn out sentence. There were no orthodontic fan clubs at the time.
The orthodontist office was a ten minute bike ride from my home. I would go by it on the way to visit my cousins, the older one, John, was in high school. Bobby was my age and we played together as well as went to school together. I found myself stopping outside the office, which was part of his house, and watching as the patients went in and out. I would sometimes see kids in tears or very upset at the prospect, or new reality, of braces. And that fascinated me. One girl I saw wearing what must have been a new headgear was inconsolable, and I remember her mother comforting her as her brother teased her. I was close enough to hear her mother tell her that she was going to have to wear it 14 hours a day. It was the first headgear I had seen, and this made it even more exciting.
I was about twelve at this point. One winter day, after school, I was coming home from my cousins, down an alley. It was already dark, but I could see the receptionist emptying the trash into a can out back. I waited for her to leave and started sifting through the bag she had just put in. I found an appliance just like the one I had worn. That started a series of raids on the trash, from which I would collect the various discarded wires and bands, elastics or whatever seemed interesting, including pictures I took out of a magazine he had thrown away. I kept this collection hidden in my garage.
I never had any intention of wearing them myself, I wanted to be the orthodontist, not the patient. The exception was when I found a facebow and strap one day. I went around the corner, out of sight (I thought) and even without and bands to attach it to, I tried it on. It was then I noticed three teenagers in a car looking at me with the headgear on and laughing. I was embarrassed and immediately took it off, which made them laugh even harder.
I was about a month later that I found a willing participant for my little game. It was a girl from the next block, Melinda. We had known each other for years, and had played doctor when we were younger. Not the sexual version of the game, we didnít even know about that yet. But we were in my garage and she was sitting in a chair when I said, just as my ortho had said to me, "Well, I think treatment is indicated. You should start wearing an appliance." She asked "What?" And I replied "Braces." I took out my little collection and put the headgear in her mouth. I told her I used to wear it when I had braces, she just accepted that. And I loved the feeling of putting her in it. She played right along asking me not to make her wear braces, and asking how long she would have to wear them etc. It was only about ten minutes, but it was what my budding fantasy was all about. She went home, probably thinking nothing more about it. I figured if I got her to play along once, I could do it again.
So I took my meager little collection with me and rode over the orthodontist to collect some more bands, if I could find them. As I was rummaging around in the trash, The orthodontist came out. I was caught red handed, with my entire collection. He had known someone was going through his trash for the last three months and was just waiting to catch the person, and he caught me. He took me into his office, looked at the bands, wires pictures and headgear, and called my mother. My mother was a very strict woman. I was her only child, my father had been killed years before. She was determined not to let anyone find out about this, and the Dr. agreed. They went into his private office and left me sitting alone.
They concluded, correctly, that I had a "strange attraction"to braces. Their mistake was in thinking I wanted them. My mother figured my previous bad attitude towards my appliances was a cry for more attention. And they both agreed, primarily for psychological reasons, that the best way to treat me was to make me not want to wear them ever again, by making me hate wearing them. Their plan was simple, put me in full bands and leave them on until they were sure I was "curedî. He mentioned the headgear but figured I would not comply. My mother promised, in front of me, that I would. She did not care how long it took. Whenever I tried to talk she just told me to shut up, I had no say in it and she did not want to hear any excuses for my "odd behavior." He agreed to start right away, and put spacers in my mouth that night. Two days later, it was a Friday, the braces went on.
I spent all of those two days saying how sorry I was and that they really showed me how wrong I was and that I didnít want to wear braces. I was told I was too young to know, and that they knew what they were doing. I still remember how bad I felt, I knew I was being punished, but not really sure what I did was wrong. I tried to explain that I wanted to be an orthodontist and that is all I was doing, but they knew otherwise. If I wanted braces so bad I could have them.
The good doctor did not skimp on the details either. Full bands, upper and lower. Then came the headgear. Then came the complicated archwires, with an unusual assortment of loops, bends and hooks, for all of the elastics. I was never without elastics, usually three or four at a time, always placed as conspicuously as possible. He made sure he did not hurt my teeth, but did every thing possible to make my treatment hell. All, of course, for my own good. The headgear had both a high pull strap, which I had never seen before, and a neck strap. He told me I should wear it as much as possible. My mother had her own plans. We went to see my cousin play in a baseball game the next day. I left the headgear in my room, and my mouth hurt like hell at this point, but it was everyone staring at me that hurt worse. As soon as we got to the game, my mother took the headgear out of her pocketbook and told me to put it on. I told her I would just sit in the car if she made me and I got the "you wanted them, you got them"line and she literally dragged me to the stands. Other kids just stared at that thing on my face, most had never even seen one, never mind worn one.
That became her favorite tactic, to wait until I got in a social situation, then take out the headgear and tell me, in front of everyone, "It is time for you to put your headgear onî. The plan was to make me hate braces, and it certainly did. They had me wear that headgear through high school. I had to wear it to dances, football games, to the mall, where ever she thought I would see anyone. I never had to wear it in the house unless there was company. If she found I took it off at school, and she knew most of my teachers, I would be kind of reverse grounded, she would take me places, dances, whatever. Two things a teenager absolutely did not want in public, headgear and his mother. I was continually asking when the braces were coming off, and was told that it depended on my attitude. I could never figure out what they wanted to see, even when I wore everything as directed. But the older I got, the more frustrated I got with wearing braces. I had become the joke of the class. But if I cheated, my mother would show up, even during school hours. She even sat in one of my classes once. Every two weeks, on Tuesday, I would have to go directly from school and sit in his office for three hours. I was always the last patient seen, and it rarely took more than a minute. Still, nobody but the three of us knew what my "treatment"was all about.
Finally, after I graduated from high school I figured they would have to come off, I was 18, and had been wearing them for five and a half years. Then he hits me with "I now need to put your teeth in their final position. It will probably take about a year, maybe a year and a half." I cried. Not only had everyone I knew gotten braces on after me, and gotten theirs off already, now I was going to college with them. He discontinued the head gear, and cut the elastics down to two, but still had them on until spring break of my sophomore year.
I still hate hearing the word braces. Whatever developing fetish I had, they crushed. But there was terrible price to pay. I hated high school, I hated the taunting, the looks, the way I was immediately characterized. I only joined one club, the newspaper, and we were all considered nerds anyway. I was jokingly considered the head nerd, and everyone thought that was funny, but me. I had no real social life, except for what my mother forced me to do, and she was consistent in forcing me to do things. I moved away after college, which I actually enjoyed. My mother died twenty years ago, and we never really talked about this. She was convinced she did the right thing. I know it was the reason we saw so little of each other. I have never told anyone the story, not even my wife. Reading it now it seems almost incredible. The anonymity of the internet makes this possible. I am not sure what the moral to the story is. I think I am reasonably well adjusted, if not somewhat of an introvert. I know I question every doctor carefully, I take nothing for granted. But I have gone out of my way to avoid going with my son to the ortho. I think I went from fetish to phobia. Maybe writing this will help.