Tuesday, 14 September 2010
#33 Brace yourselves.
The myth (in my case, read 'myth' as 'gospel truth') that British people have bad teeth arises from the fact that Americans are obsessed with braces. Literally obsessed. For a nation with no particular penchant for public transport, their appetite for slapping train tracks into the mouths of any unsuspecting, otherwise-attractive children is rapacious.
The world's nations spend their wealth on different things. Some, like Israel, develop state-of-the-art militaries; Ireland went for stout beer. Britain chose to have MPs, and America plumbed for dental care.
America has a mainly brace-based economy. Taken alone, America's annual expenditure on dental care exceeds the GDP of Slovenia. Not really. I just made that up. I couldn't find a number and I'm pitching to become a Fox News reporter. But it's probably in the ballpark. After all, this is a country which spends 16% of its GDP on healthcare, nearly four times the already-unimaginable amount they spend on guns.
Why? It seems incongruous. Braces, in most instances (or at least, mot of the extra instances in which Americans use them, and Brits don't), are a basically cosmetic consideration. That seems to fit, you might think - America is so shallow. You clearly haven't been listening to my stream of consciousness over the past six months. Two words: 'obesity' and 'fashion'. When you are so spectacularly bad at being attractive in so many fixable ways, why spend tens of thousands of dollars making yourself look like a bunny rabbit?