Beauty is in the eye of the beholder–at least that’s how the saying goes. I met a beautiful woman at work last week. For me, the feature that made her beautiful is something so deeply rooted in my culture. That thing was in her smile. When I told her I loved it, she laughed, thanked me then exclaimed that she hated it. “It” was a gap-tooth.
In many parts of Africa, including my birth country Nigeria, a woman with a gap in the middle of her teeth is considered a beautiful being. Women wish to have her smile, men love to see her smile. It is believed that such a woman possesses some sort of sexual appeal and beauty. There’s apparently something about that tiny space in the middle of the upper teeth that makes many Africans go wild.
My sister happens to be blessed with a gap-tooth. As a child, I noticed that people loved and complimented her smile. From young guys with piereced ears to village elders in traditional clothing, everyone just seemed to smile when she smiled. It was as if there was this force that drew people in. Of course I’m willing to bet her beauty played a part in this, but I’m also convinced that the gap in her teeth had a certain magic of its own. After hearing “your sister is so beautiful” over and over, I soon started to wish I had that gap. Actually I remember wishing I looked exactly like my sister.
In United States though, having a gap-tooth is not as appealing. An American friend of mine once refused to date a guy for this reason. It’s fascinating that something seen as beautiful in one culture is considered a turn-off in another. I don’t know. I guess that’s the beauty of cultural diversity: one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure. For what it’s worth, I happen to be a fan of the gap. I think it’s just as beautiful on a woman as it is on a man or a child. Then again, that’s the Nigerian/African in me speaking.
Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder and for me, a gap-tooth is the epitome of beauty.