I got teased a lot after we moved to America. A LOT. I got teased about everything… especially my looks. It was all up for discussion.
One of the many things kids picked on was that I had teeth that were too big for my head. As the teasing made me insecure about my smile, it is rare to find a childhood photo of me where there are teeth showing. I perfected the closed mouth Mona Lisa look:
[Inscrutable Samantha Chardin school photo, Beaufort, South Carolina, 1990]
You might get a glimpse of my teeth in a candid photo and even from my self confident perspective now I cringe at the size of my chompers.
[Samantha Chardin, Beaufort, South Carolina, 1991]
Kids will tease you about the dumbest things. I got teased because my skin is naturally pale. How dumb is that? These were the same kids who were racist against other people for being too dark. You can’t win with some people.
I was supposed to have a gap in my front teeth like some of my maternal cousins, but that was “corrected” when I was a child. Think Lauren Hutton. A gap may have been cute but I didn’t want anything that would draw more attention to my front teeth.
[model/actress Lauren Hutton]
For a while I had a “gummy” smile and I got teased for that, too.
[Samantha Chardin school photo, Paris France, c. 1980]
My hair has never looked that tidy again.
Anyway, very recently I saw photos of my paternal grandfather for the first time. “Hey there, teeth! Nice to know ya!”
[René Alphonse Chardin, Pantin Paris, France, c. 1916 ]
And this explains why my half sisters and I all have front teeth that take up most of our faces.
[René Alphonse Chardin with son, Jean Chardin, Pantin Paris, France, c. 1927 ]
As an adult I appreciate a big smile and I’m not shy with mine anymore.