American Girl Advice

When I saw that American Girl had published a book to help girls figure out if they’re “normal”, I was concerned. Not concerned because everyone has their own version of “normal”. I’m concerned because of this…

This is a photo of me dressed exactly like my doll Samantha. Now I’m no expert, but dressing in identical clothes to your Victorian era American Girl Doll is not normal. I wouldn’t have put it past my mother to have created this outfit of her own free will, but this was actually purchased from an American Girl catalogue. That’s why I can’t just sit around and let a company that directly contributed to my not normal childhood be the place that tells girls about what is or isn’t normal. The only logical thing to do is have me – a girl who’s as normal as anyone who was forced to dress like doll can be – answer the pressing questions of today’s youth. You’re welcome, America.

Dear American Girl,

I have a big problem. I am getting braces right before school starts. I’m afraid everyone will think I look like a dork!

–Can’t Face Braces

Dear Can’t Face Braces,

I don’t want to call you ungrateful, but you’re being ungrateful. In these tough economic times, if your parents are willing to shell out the cash to fix your teeth so that you don’t spend the rest of your life asking “Does my smile make my teeth look crooked?”, you should be thankful and move on. Now, I don’t want to sound insensitive to your plight, so let me give you the finest celebrity example and the person I’m sure will be your new braces idol, Gwen Stefani.

I know what you’re thinking: Gwen Stefani wore braces? That’s b-a-n-a-n-a-s. Yes, kids, back in the late ’90s, Gwen Stefani wore braces. Look at her – does she seem self conscious about those braces? Of course not. In fact, the braces where apparently a fashion choice and not necessary. That’s right, this look, including the braces, was a fashion choice! Now, am I saying that you should go out and get those bangs, pink hair and drawn on eyebrows, too? No. I’m also telling you that getting braces for s***ts and giggles isn’t normal, but being a teenager and getting braces is. Remember: Gwen Stefani chose to wear braces; she didn’t chose to be a badass, but she is and so are you, Brace face.

In conclusion, let me leave you with this final cautionary tale of what could be…

Knowing that you’re going to be getting braces soon, your boyfriend asks to take a naked photo of you so he can “remember what you look like without braces”. Afraid he’ll break up with you if you don’t, you agree. He shows it to his friends, soon someone posts it on the internet and eventually everyone sees it, including your parents. Your parents are forced to use your braces money to hire a lawyer to help get the photo removed from several websites. Not sure of where they went wrong, they ask Gwen Stefani to talk to you, not being a holla back girl herself, she won’t know what to do. Several more years will pass before your parents will have enough money to get you braces again. By the time they do, all your other friends will have gotten their braces off. Having just gotten over the whole naked photo scandal, you’ll refuse the braces, not wanting to draw any unwanted attention your way. After years of being self conscious about your teeth, you’ll finally get braces as a 28-year-old woman. Every time someone points out that you have some food in your braces, you jokingly say, “I thought I would look like a dork with braces at 13, now look at me.” You always try to laugh it off, but deep down you just wish you could go back and tell 13-year-old you to get the braces, because a few awkward years at 13 are normal and way better than them at 28. Well, you want to tell yourself that… and not to let your boyfriend take a naked picture of you.



*That’s right, I’m giving advice so good I had to change my name to something similar to Oprah.


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