True Story: I Dated A Man With Horribly Bad Breath And Lived To Write About It

September 19, 2012  |  


By Recovering nostril hairs

Don’t judge. I know you will, but it just felt like the right thing to say given what I’m about to tell you. The only reason I’m writing this is because during a brainstorming meeting my boss said she wanted someone to explain the psychology behind being able to date someone with tart breath (to put it mildly) and never tell them about it. Before I knew, it I was opening my big mouth announcing, “Oh I did that,” and when I had a Tupac All Eyez on Me moment I knew I should’ve just kept my mouth shut. Yet here I am translating my diarrhea of the mouth to pen (or keys), which, ironically, is a fitting analogy for the odor I endured during that brief relationship.

In my defense, I was 18, I had known the guy nearly all my life, and we didn’t date that long. Still, the joke to end all jokes on him was that his breath smelled like some sort of horrid combination of rust and metal. And there I was putting my tongue all up in and through the danger zone. Gag me. Literally.

I imagine that experience is why I have such an obsession with pearly whites and oral hygiene these days, but for some reason during the end of my senior year of high school and throughout the summer before yuck mouth (YM), as I’ll call him, and I went to our respective colleges, I was willing to let my nostrils take that L for the sake of another l-word. Hell naw, not love! It was lusty hormones. Sorry, that’s the best logic I’ve got to explain my actions.

So how did I do it? Let’s just say I’m pretty sure I put a Trident exec or two’s kid through college during those summer months. Any time I was about to meet up with YM, there was a pang of anxiety in my stomach, worrying just what level of stank his mouth was going to reek of that day. Sometimes it was an, “Oh, hell no, did they not believe in toothbrushes in your household?” Other times it was like, “OK, I can work with this if you take 2 tic tacs, a piece of gum, and a squirt or two of binanca straight to the head.” In all seriousness, gum was my lifesaver. I’m never one to leave home without it anyway, but I made sure to double up when I knew we’d be hanging out. And just in case any of you are finding yourself in the unfortunate position of slobbing a yuck mouth, know that the flavor must absolutely be wintergreen, green mint, winter mint, peppermint, or anything in that category. Messing around with that wildberry, bubble mint mess with have feeling like you just stuck your tongue in a field of strawberries that mother nature defecated on. Learn from me, don’t do it to yourself.

Being careful not to stand too close when talking also helped. Like with anything else, the longer you think about something the less likely you are to do it. If I would have been up in his face for too much time before we had one of our cheesy makeout sessions, I’m pretty sure I would have eventually ran the other way and pulled one of those curfew copouts or fake phone calls to get myself up out of that sticky spot. But when the odor doesn’t overcome you until right about the time that you’re ready to start exchanging pecks, those teenage hormones are already in overdrive and you figure eff it. What doesn’t make me throw up, only makes my stomach stronger.

As for why I didn’t tell YM about the atrociousness spilling from his oral orifices. Simple: I wouldn’t be telling him anything he didn’t already know or that would make a difference. The thing is, gum was like a band-aid over his breath. Heck, toothpaste was a bandage over that putrocity (yeah, I made that up). I was convinced my summer fling/friend thing had a serious case of halitosis and what I knew for sure, like Oprah says, is that simply saying “your breath smells” didn’t even cover the half and was surely not going to remedy that ailment. Even more so, this man had a mama, a daddy, a sister, and best friends who happened to be my cousins. If none of them had let him in on the secret, which really wasn’t a secret, who was I to drop the fake bomb? I figured at some point, his younger sibling had to have hit him with a “that’s why yo breath stank,” “shut yo stank breath having butt up,” “your breath smells like rotten eggs mixed with feces” crack at some point during an argument. If he didn’t heed his family or his boy’s warnings, or if his parents didn’t love him enough to fix that ish by the time he became a legal adult, I was not the one.

Looking back on that relationship, I am a little surprised I was down for the boo boo breath for so long. I think that had we not been cool and pretty good friends before we tried dating for a while, I probably would’ve nipped that in the bud early. But it’s amazing what you’re willing to look past when you genuinely like someone. Good thing he turned out to suck as a wanna-be boyfriend or else I might still be going broke on breath alixers. Now when I think about it, I see why I was able to cut him off for other transgressions so easily. Nobody wants to be the girl crying her eyes out over a negro with egregious breath. Halitosis saved my soul.

Have you ever gotten mixed up with someone whose oral freshness wasn’t so fresh?

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