what i actually can't live without is seeing normal brown teeth on tv
please can we get back to that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
hey so i did one of those strategist lists as part of my onslaught of book promo a few months ago (did you catch me on fresh air? happen to come across my essay in the new yorker?? did you listen to all 137 podcasts i audibly sweated through??? did you get extremely sick of my voice or my face or my written words or any combination thereof?????) and when i tell you i yelled when they asked me to do one i mean I YELLED. i love lists in general but i really love to read people’s lists of bullshit minutiae, whether i know the person or not. i will read every word of some obscure celebrity’s [the stupidest thing you can think of] list; i wanna know what someone ate for breakfast and why they bought that garish blue sweater and what books they are glamorously pretending to read on instagram and whose sad songs they prefer to cry to alone in the shower. i would also happily read a list of those same things written by the dude who does the “left left no right wait left again okay stop put it in neutral” hand signaling at the carwash or the lady who bumped into me with her cart full of inspirational wall plaques in the cat toy aisle at homegoods.
i subscribed to some fancy website called airmail just so i could keep reading their perfect ending column after randomly learning that ethan hawke enjoys “eggs over easy, green juice, bloody mary, pancakes, avocado toast, coffee, cinnamon bun, croissant, toast and jam, fresh orange juice, and a small chocolate croissant” for breakfast, plus 65 other very important facts that are completely irrelevant to my everyday life. isn’t it interesting to find out that kind of shit about people? if, by being a human being on this burning hellplanet, i have to walk around with so many snippets of useless information about people i don’t actually know bouncing around my brain i’d much rather know why someone has an allegiance to a particular airline or what their go-to cocktail is than even their most milquetoast sociopolitical belief.
one of the most hilarious things about the strategist list is that there’s always some fucking asshole who’s unironically like “i can’t live without my $139,000 maserati” and………………..okay sure, sir, i guess!!!! but if you can’t give me a list of bonkers things i’ve never heard of that give me real insight into your weird ass daily life (people clown gwyneth but at least homegirl is opening our eyes to a world in which people seriously purchase $700 portable infrared electromagnetic crystal mats to lie on??? tell me with a straight face you wouldn’t want to read a listicle from a bitch who would buy that), i’d much prefer a list of normal-ish shit that i, a regular idiot person who can’t rap, could actually aspire to one day own myself??? it is very nice to know you’re driving my house through the arby’s drive-thru but could you also maybe tell me about a fancy dish soap i’ve never heard of or something?
i also love (and i mean it, i’m not being shitty, i love!!) when some actress recommends a $70 lip balm or whatever and then some outraged non-actress throws a tantrum in the comments because they looked up the board of directors of the parent company behind the brand and a-HA: her cousin’s uncle’s grandmother’s dog is chief financial officer so of course she’s shilling their overpriced flavored vaseline!!!!!!! the commentariat also froths at the mouth when someone recommends something normal-wasteful that they can feel morally superior about; forget the private jets, heaven help any moron who dares to publicly admit to drinking from plastic bottles of water!!
as a student of the form i knew going in that my list should be practical, especially since all my expensive splurges in real life are for things that require a prescription, like the highest quality sleep machine available and custom-made orthotics. (did you know it costs four hundred american dollars for a lab to make painful wooden surfboards to shove into your shoes? is there a market for hobbled feet pics with painful-looking indentations???) i mean, it would be extremely funny (to me) to publish a list of hyper-specific medical shit that’s of crucial importance (again, to me), but no outlet has been brave enough to let me!
the only drawback to this is that the stuff you recommend has to be something with both a URL and a price tag because DUH it’s a shopping website, and as interested as i am in eric ripert’s favorite t-shirt i would also be interested in what podcasts he secretly hate-listens to or where he prefers to park in a busy arena lot (for me, i would pay any exorbitant, price-gouged amount to put my car right up next to the entrance so that when i leave, before the show is over of course, i can be on my way home before the encore even starts) but that site doesn’t exist yet. (if it does, please tell me! and if it doesn’t, please make one so i can look at it!!!!!!!)
anyway the one thing i feel like my quality of life would be greatly improved by is if we could just let people be on TV with their normal brown teeth and nobody felt pressured to install track lighting in their mouths. i genuinely think i could be a happier person if we could just go back to the 90s when you could tell how many cups of coffee a person drank a day just by watching them speak. it takes me right out of whatever i’m watching when [basic cable reality star] smiles and reveals two perfect rows of gleaming bluish-white piano keys with no spaces between them where their teeth should be. i was watching se7en the other night (it’s my comfort movie, i am insane) and it was so fucking soothing to feel the warmth of brad pitt’s and morgan freeman’s buttery smiles. so cozy!!!
and listen, i love every franchise in the real housewives multiverse like they’re my children but i gotta tell ya, watching screaming matches between three-to-five sets of wind-up chatter teeth sends me to the fucking moon. it’s like, i can’t be bothered to figure out who is in the wrong in all the yelling because i’m so goddamn distracted by intrusive thoughts like “can she floss those?????????” i don’t even like thinking about teeth that much but it can’t be helped when you’re watching a period piece and somebody walks into the room with 2023-ass chompers! i’m supposed to believe it’s 1987 when ol boy’s teeth were made in a factory two years ago???? absolutely not!
when i worked for mel one of his biggest accounts was this company (WHY do they have an instagram) that makes fake teeth. my mom had to start wearing dentures when she was a teenager because she’d been so malnourished as a child that her teeth fell out, so i wasn’t unused to seeing a fizzing cup of efferdent on the bathroom sink every night, but mel’s studio was filled with boxes of disembodied partials and moulds that he had to photograph and make packaging and that shit was so spooky. i hated being alone at night in the studio surrounded by all those mouthless teeth. the best thing about them, when i was forced to sort and organize the samples (though only in the light of day!!!!!!!!!!), was that they came in varying shades of “used.” every box contained a rainbow of colors from shaved parmesan to undiluted urine to antique coffee table, and i wish i’d known then to cherish my time with those creepy chocolate-hued ghost teeth before the only option for retired athletes and shining stars of reality television became “brand new apartment refrigerator.” sigh.