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Dr. Philips in the News...


The truth hurts but it beats being misled

DEAR JANE: I was dating a guy for nearly a year until we broke up in February. It was the best relationship I've ever had. I've never felt so in love. He was everything I want in a guy - nice and kind and very, very cute.

Back in February I decided to have "the conversation" about where the relationship was going (we're both 27). He told me he really likes me but wasn't interested in a commitment. He said I was the only one he wanted to see, but he'd be leading me on if I thought he wanted anything serious. I said I did want something serious, so we broke up.

-CHRISTINE, TORONTO

DEAR CHRISTINE: I think that if there were a bureau of the Telephone Police, you'd do well to turn yourself in and surrender your cell phone before you do something you'll regret.

Joy Hunter, who specializes in couples and individual therapy, believes it's possible for two people to be having the same (yet fundamentally different) relationship. It's fun to be romantic and coupleish and playing at being in love; without having "the conversation," a pair could go on billing and cooing indefinitely. Just be glad he didn't lead you on selfishly with a half-hearted "love you too, baby" and a quick change of topic.

Hunter points out the guy was as upfront and honest about his expectations as you were about yours. Credit where credit is due - don't you go changing now in an effort to get him back.

It's hard to hear the truth some times, particularly when it's one that not only points out an unhappy reality, but dashes future hopes as well.

But now you know. If you're clear about what you want from the start (though you needn't feel compelled to list "marriage, a house in the suburbs and two children - twins" on a first date), you'll waste a lot less time dating people who will disappoint.

So don't call. Save your quarter - and your caring - for someone who will appreciate it.


DEAR JANE: I hate my teeth.
I've always had wide gaps between my top four front teeth, but what was somewhat cute as a kid is making me increasingly uncomfortable as the years go by. I finally thought "enough!" but when I told my husband, he told me he loves me just the way I am and reminded me we've been saving to put a new deck on the house! We always said we'd both have to agree to any large expenditure.
What can I say to convince him this isn't just a vain whim?

-KRYSTAL

DEAR KRYSTAL Since the source of your feelings can be traced back to our prehistoric ancestors, I wonder why your ever so slightly Neanderthal husband isn't more understanding.
Right or wrong, the teeth we present to the world say a mouthful.
Dr. Ed Phillips, one of North America's premiere esthetic dentists and pioneer in the field of "smile patterns," says things were different several hundreds of thousands of years ago. The teeth we needed back then were sharp and wolfish and widely spaced to help us tear at raw meat, defend ourselves and, by flashing ferocious snarls, define the group hierarchy.
Teeth still perform that subtle function: They tell people who we are, how we are and where we fit on the social scale. Whether we know it or not, we're responding to ancient instincts. Widely spaced teeth elicit negative subconscious associations with our violent past. Evolution may have changed our teeth, but our instincts remain in our lizard brains.
Phillips says the smiles to which we're instinctively attracted now are filled with straight, white, tightly spaced teeth.
Our subconscious loves the face-splitting grin of Julia Roberts - it tells us she's guileless, adventurous and happy, while Meg Ryan's little baby teeth conjure images of youth and innocence. Elvis Presley and Drew Barry- more share down-turned smiles that read as both sexy and mysterious. Different as each of these smile patterns is, we're drawn to their healthy symmetry.
So you can give your husband a quick history of the evolution of the smile, or describe for him any of the many practical reasons for altering teeth with cosmetic procedures or braces - career advancement, better health and greater social comfort are a few.
Or you could offer up the classic "bite me" ... but the best argument I can think of is that it would make you happy.


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