Shane MacGowan, of the Pogues, is probably more known for his teeth than his music.

My first love doesn’t have the best of teeth. OK, that’s being kind. He has horrible teeth and he’s well aware of it, so when he speaks, he keeps his mouth shut and pretty much mumbles. It wasn’t always this way.

When we dated in our early 20’s he had all his teeth and they were a perfectly lovely set of pearly whites. But years of drugs, hard living, and overall debauchery of a lifestyle have taken a toll and on top of looking much older than his 34 years of age, his teeth have really suffered. What few remain are dark and grey and it’s something you only noticed when he’s a had bit to drink and laughs, forgetting that he’s supposed to be keeping his mouth shut.

This particular fella left New York City today to make a life in some little southern town where he plans to open a bar, grow up and leave all this, this being New York, behind. I hadn’t seen him since I left for France a few months ago so he came over to say a proper goodbye. He was, after all, the incentive to put my fears aside and move here. We played our usual show and tell of the music we’ve been listening to, sat in bed, drank champagne and had this evening that was completely reminiscent of the ones we had at 22 years old. I think we were both too caught up in the moment because when we hit a silence, he moved in to kiss me. I looked into his pale blue eyes, the ones that always make me think of the Velvet Underground song of the same name whenever I see him, and just couldn’t do it.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s still beautiful, talented, funny and really smart; he’s still all the things I fell in love with a long time ago, but I just can’t get over the teeth factor. I don’t know how the women who have dated him since his teeth started being an issue could can accept it.

He often talks about “fixing” his teeth, and I really wish he would. Not for me or for anyone else, but because he is clearly very, very uncomfortable and I imagine talking to with his lips pursed all the time isn’t doing him any favors in keeping even more wrinkles from popping up on his darling face.

I’m not suggesting that everyone should have perfect teeth, because ones that are a bit wonky are actually quite endearing, but when there’s a Shane MacGowan situation going on, it really is something that’s hard to get over — especially for those on the other end of that kiss.

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