If Someone Has Something In Their Teeth, Tell Them

Originally Published: 
If Someone Has Something In Their Teeth, Tell Them: Man with food in his teeth
Scary Mommy and Martin Diebel/Getty

I was walking into my favorite restaurant last spring to meet a friend for lunch. It’s one of those places that serves everything from rabbit to brick oven pizza, and it looks like Joanna Gaines decorated it herself. It’s my happy place and all I could think about was the taste of the balsamic glazed chicken and a glass of wine when I walked in. I was starving and could practically taste the food as I saw my friend already seated. However, something had me seriously distracted.

I couldn’t help but notice a lady in front of me standing in the lobby, digging through her purse. I loved her jeans and, upon a second glance, I noticed an inspection sticker on her left cheek.

I had to physically stop myself from pulling it off for her. I’m a mom and that’s just what we do. But it’s also not fun to tell someone—especially a stranger—they have an inspection sticker on their butt.

I didn’t especially want to tell her she had a white circle on her patootie. I would have rather gotten the jean info and ordered that wine ASAP, but instead, I set aside the awkwardness, leaned in close and told her. Because let’s face it, if you let someone walk around with an inspection sticker on their butt—or an unblended blob of make up on their face or spinach in their teeth, for that matter—you’re kind of an asshole. You’re putting your feelings of comfort before theirs.

She was so relieved I told her. This woman, who looked fabulous by the way, was on her first blind date in decades. Decades. She was a nervous wreck and was so thankful I told her there was a white sticker with the number 125 stuck on her booty. That’s right, I’m just out here doing the Lord’s work.

It takes some effort and can be a bit uncomfortable to tell someone they have their zipper down, something in their teeth, or their skirt tucked into their hose, but for fuck’s sake, tell them!

I don’t care if you don’t know them, are never going to see them again, or they don’t look approachable. The decent thing to do is not let them walk into any more potentially embarrassing social situations that could have been avoided.

That little twinge of putting yourself out there and bringing it to the person’s attention takes about two seconds, and you are saving them from a day’s worth of embarrassment.

If you’re keeping it to yourself that the cashier has toilet paper stuck to her nose, or your coworker appears to have only filled in one eyebrow, you should take a look at your manners.

They obviously don’t know, and they are the ones who will have to wonder how long they’ve been walking around with salad stuck to their teeth, not you.

If you’re keeping it to yourself and staring just because you don’t want to embarrass them, there’s a way to do it so no one else will hear. Pass them a note, whisper, point to your zipper, whatever. Just do something. They’ll get the point.

Maybe their cheeks will redden for a moment, but they’ll be thankful you’re looking out for them and not turning a blind eye and going about your day.

If you were walking out of the restroom with toilet paper on your shoe or your dress caught up in your spanx, wouldn’t you want someone to tell you as soon as fucking possible? Yes. Yes, you would.

Or would you rather walk around the grocery store and see silent stares that scream, “Thank god I’m not you right now”? No. No, you would not.

My point is, we’ve all been oblivious to things that are happening to our face or body. I once had a friend meet me at the park and she drove up and had a tick stuck to her forehead. A tick. It was engorged and I had to help her pull it off, so, it had been there a while.

She’d just been at the store before we met and said the lady in front of her kept turning around and looking at her, but never told her. I mean, she found out as soon as I took one look at her and screamed in horror, but she could have known sooner if someone had been willing to let her in on it. In this case, telling her wasn’t just saving her from further embarrassment; it could have actually saved her from Lyme disease.

Come on, let’s help each other out. Tell someone if they’ve got something going on you know they wouldn’t like. It’s called human decency.

But if you can’t pull yourself out if your own selfishness and let them in on it because it’ll put you out too much, remember, karma works in mysterious ways. It’ll be no time before you are walking around with a clump of dryer lint in your hair, or a hanger in your nose so big, people across the room can see it.

Do the right thing and take a moment to tell someone (quietly) if they’ve got something extra going on that would upset them if they were to spot it in the mirror at the end of the day.

Humans shouldn’t let humans walk around with stuff in their teeth or hanging out of their nose, period.

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