Adam*, nonprofit adviser, Washington, D.C.
“I fell in love with a girl about a year ago. Days before I ruined the whole thing, I presented her with a toothbrush to keep at my house. I inscribed her initials on it with a Sharpie, in a tiny gesture of romantic fealty. It still sits in my bathroom cabinet. My current wonderful girlfriend hasn’t noticed. It’s a secret, toothbrush-shaped tribute to what could have been.”
Frances, photographer, Brooklyn
“After making room for our new baby, my husband and I began sharing a medicine cabinet. We’d been blearily fighting over space when I noticed 10 old toothbrushes taking up a whole corner. He made it midway through his protest that he’d been “saving” them to send to a recycling company he’d read about before we both were in hysterics. They were mailed out, and I moved my creams in.”
Alessandra, editor, New York City
“My partner and I care about our dog more than most people probably care about each other, so when we became aware of canine gum problems—and that cleaning requires anesthetic—we got hands-on with nightly toothbrushing. Our pup sticks his tongue out the whole time and I can’t stop laughing, so my boyfriend is the one who does it. Dog’s been sparkly ever since.”
Devon, communications manager, San Francisco
“I’d been dating a boy for two months when he bought me a toothbrush. It was a little unexpected, and he was kind of sheepish about it. And then three months later, he was like, ‘Let’s move in together.’ That was three years ago. Mr. Domestic signaled his domestic intentions with the toothbrush.”
*Name has been changed.
YEAR GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN, BECAME THE FIRST U.S. CITY TO FLUORIDATE ITS WATER IN AN EFFORT TO PREVENT TOOTH DECAY. TODAY, ABOUT 70 PERCENT OF THE COUNTRY’S POPULATION DRINKS FLUORIDATED WATER. ■