Dating in New York City – Holding Hans with Brian Hansbury: Halitosis in Harlem

Dear Hans,

My girl’s got really bad breath. I love everything else about her. I mean she’s pretty much the one. The only thing holding me back from popping the question is the breath. That’s how bad it is. Am I crazy?

Signed,
Hiding from Halitosis in Harlem

Ya know, I can really sympathize with this one. I once spanned time with a girl who was pretty great. She was the funniest girl I’ve ever dated. Unfortunately, her breath reeked of effervescent hot dogs. All the time.

It was never really a problem unless we kissed or had sex. But, when you’re a human being in your early 20s, you want to kiss and have sex all the time. Just like how when you’re a human being in your late 80s you want to smell bad and die all the time (ageist invective!). Though I wanted badly to be with this girl we actually never had sex. Her breath was bad enough to render me impotent. If, for whatever reason, it had been an old-timey detective story it’d be called, “The Case of the Boner Killing Breath.”

She would occasionally chew gum, and those times were great. It was as if we were lovers on either side of the Berlin Wall in 1989. An awful barrier had fallen and we were free to explore our physical relationship in ways that Morse code, flashed by lamplight from a distant high-rise, would never allow. Her breath pristine, I could finally feel comfortable enough to tongue the shit out of her. It was gross and animalistic and sadly, fleeting. In the end, the bad breaths outweighed the good and I had to regrettably call it quits.

Back then I lacked the maturity to fess up and lay it on the line. I needed to say, “Look, I think you are pretty awesome, but there’s something holding me back and I hesitated to bring it up because it’s normally something people don’t like to hear. You have really bad breath and I can’t stand it. You probably feel insulted, but there’s nothing I can do about that. I had to say it. I’d love to continue our relationship if you find a way to fix it because I’m really falling for you, (point to her mouth) that aside.”

Would it have worked? Would she have cast aside her embarrassment and worked hard, possibly undergoing surgery, to fix the bad breath and win me back? Probably not. I’m great, but I’m not that great. But the option of facing obstacles and giving the relationship another chance is a better one than simply walking away and saying it wasn’t meant to be.

Take ownership of your life, Hal. You’re not crazy. Like me a few years ago, you’re just a pussy. Turn up the gain on your flaccid God Complex and re-model your partner in your own image. The image of someone with great breath and minimal scarring. You love this girl. Don’t let her Oscar Meyer mouth farts ruin it.

Signed,
El Hansito

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