Me and my gap

Sting was bragging about her perfectly straight teeth and got me thinking (yet again) about my eji, or gap. Yup, I am one of those Nigerians who is blessed with a gap. My gap isn’t one of those sexy Madonna-esque ones either, the type that you catch a glimpse of then think “Oh, how cute, she’s got a little gap”. Oh no, mine is huge. Don’t believe me? Check it out:

gap.jpg When I was in elementary school, I didn’t really take special notice of my gap. It was there but it was no big deal. As I entered my teens, not surprisingly, my appearance and the look of every part of my body was suddenly an obsession. My gap got more scrutiny by me, and as I started babysitting younger kids, they would ask innocent yet upsetting questions like “Did your tooth fall out?” and “Are you missing a tooth?” which would be fine if I was also seven and still losing teeth, but was embarrassing when I was 12 or 13. I dreamed of braces, but they were far too expensive, and my mom repeated what every person whose gap has bothered them has probably heard: “Your gap is byootifoo (beautiful) and it’s a sign of royalty and prestige” (something like that). She also tried to get me to take pride in having a gap because family members had it too. To my mother’s credit, Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike have told me that gaps are sexy or something when I was self conscious about it, however, that doesn’t really stop you from wishing that you just had normal teeth.

My gap got bigger when one of my teeth that had grown in crookedly and was causing me trouble had to be pulled. Basically the hole caused by this tooth being gone led to some shuffling around and of course, the teeth on each side of my gap decided to move apart from each other. It got to a point where I didn’t want to smile if it meant showing my teeth. Of course when I told my mother that my gap was getting bigger, she denied it in that vehement way that (Naija) moms have (anything to make you feel better about yourself).

And then as often happens, real life intrudes, and you realize that there are worse things in this world than being born with a gap the size of a truck in your mouth. I finally became proud of my gap, and happy to share something in common with my maternal grandmother and my late uncle who I am said to be similar to. In my 20s I now smile widely when I feel like it, letting the gap show to all who care to see it.

I still think of one day getting braces, only now I think it would just be to close the gap a bit, but that’s probably just a waste of money. I can’t imagine my face without a gap, and a part of me suspects that the way my upper teeth are arranged, short of having extensive surgery I’d never close the gap anyway. But I’m ok with that. I’ll just keep smiling.

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15 thoughts on “Me and my gap

  1. Having a gap is pretty n u have a lovely smile.
    As u said there r worse things in life than having a gap.

    My 9month old cousin has a gap (he has 6 teeth), n his smile is soooo cute.

  2. I have a gap between my teeth too!!! I was always teased by my brother but i love it….your mum is right, it is byootifoo…keep smiling!!!

  3. @ Oya & Oluwadee – thanks ladies. I'll keep smiling.

    @ jarrai – us gap sisters have to stick together!

  4. Trust me when i say braces would not close the gap a bit, it would close it completely. You will go through pain sha, but the gap go close by force, it doesn't have a choice. I don't know if u read the reply i left u in my blog, but what i said was, the reason i got braces in the first place was becos i had spaces in my teeth that i need to get dentures for. Because of those spaces, my teeth decided to shift (exactly like u said). My dentist insisted that i get braces to move my teeth back to their correct positions so that he can do put the dentures (rather a bridge). I had one missing molar on my right side and 2 missing molars on the left side. The braces completely closed the space left by the missing molar on the right, and now i only need a bridge for my left side (which is going to cost me another $1000 btw).

    I also had a gap in my upper teeth but it was in both sides. It's a family thing cos we all have it and i was very sad when the orthodontist said he would have to close it. But after 2 painful years, it's all closed. I'm pissed that i had to spend all that money on braces that i didn't need in the first place cos of incompetent nigerian dentists that pulled out all my teeth when they could have fixed it.

    If u love ur gap now, there's really no need to spend all that money fixing it.

  5. My mom has an "egi" and she's more beautiful because of it!
    Yours is just as unique. Leave it be girly!!
    And hope you are bringing you "A" game, I don went and bought me a microphone and back up vocals for blogsville idol. It's ON!!!!

    I just recorded a song and even minime (my biggest critic) conceded that it was just okay and that's a lot coming from that pint size human.

    Again, babe!! It's on!!!

    (sorry for trash talking you on your own blog, I'll take it back to email where it belongs now————>)

  6. i have a gap too and people in school would always make fun of me. i would beg my parents for braces while my peers were begging for theirs to be taken off. but as i got older i learned to deal with it and finally to love it cause it's unique.

  7. Glad to hear you would never actually close it, you are right its a part of you.

    "…that my gap was getting bigger, she denied it in that vehement way that (Naija) moms have.." – So true, you just got to love a naija mommy, they will do anything for us.

  8. I seem to be the only unfortunate one of all my siblings to not have a gap…they have little ones and i think its cute..keep it
    its ur signature

  9. Pingback: The approval of parents « Adventures of a good Nigerian girl

  10. I have a gap too, but funny enuff, it never worried me. However, i've never been too happy with my dentition, and when i was younger, i never used to take pictures, not because of the gap, but cuz i had big front teeth which jut out slightly.
    The few times i smiled, i heard how much it lit my face up and made me look more beautiful, so since then, i've kept smiling and i haven't looked back. U shd see my laptop, i have like 20 million pictures of myself.

    I have considered the invisalign option, cuz i know i can't wear brace, lai lai, like afrobabe said, they really don't go with lipstick!
    Bad as e bad, whe i hammer, i'll do dental reconstructive surgery.

  11. i have a gap, i used to like a lot when it was not too wide, but now it is too wide and am ever feeling so embarrassed about it. i dont want braces but just to fix them, pls where can i go to. am in nigeria, abuja

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