I wanted to get out of the house, so Dan picked me up and took me to the mall. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, so as we walked through the glass doors I turned to Dan.
“Are you shopping for anything?” I asked.
“Yeah. Dental floss.”
I looked out at the carnival of stores before us. Finding dental floss at Rivertown Crossings Mall was going to be about as easy as coming across a sixteen year old without a facebook account. After trying out rollerblades at Dick’s, spending ten minutes looking for a store that had gone out of business, and being passed by a woman about four decades our senior while making laps around the building, we decided it was time to go.
“Do you still want to get dental floss?” I asked as we walked through the parking lot.
“Yeah, I should get some. I’ve been using my dad’s and I don’t like the kind he uses.”
“Actually, I should get some, too. I ran out and I’ve been using my brother’s.”
We drove to Meijer and made our way to the dental section. I took a package of the store brand mint waxed floss. Dan pointed to a floss in a translucent teal case.
“That’s the kind my dad uses,” he said.
“What kind of floss did you use before you started using your dad’s?” I asked.
“Oh, I didn’t floss before that.”
As a girl who religiously observes the ritual of daily flossing, I whirled back to the rack, determined to find the perfect floss and convert my fellow man. I realized I had never really taken a good look at the dental floss rack before. I always bought what was the cheapest and didn’t spend a lot of time looking at the other brands that cost three times as much. I was startled by what I was missing.
First I saw a pro-health floss that had five varieties: comfort plus, deep clean, sensitive gums, clinical protection, and original. How could you possibly choose only one of those? Who wants clean teeth without comfort? And what about protection that’s not sensitive? And what mysterious benefit are you missing if you don’t buy the original? There were packages with sparkles that said “clean burst,” packages that said “hi-tech” in a slanted font, and packages with pre-measured strands. Gentle care, total care, essential care, super care. Floss made out of satin, silk, cashmere, and velvet. Floss for when you’re on the road, floss for your first date, floss for when you’re in Paris, floss for when you have a head cold, floss for when you give a baby shower, and floss for when you make a batch of cookies and put in an extra cup of chocolate chips.
After I pointed out all of these options to Dan he thought for a minute, then selected a package identical to mine, except it was flavorless.
“I don’t like flavors.” he said.
Dan brought our two boxes of uncomfortable, dirty, old fashioned, unmeasured, boring waxed floss to the checkout and spent a walloping $3.62.
Despite my frugality I continue to be happy with my choice of dental floss. Last week I went to the dentist and my teeth were deemed cavity-less. As for Dan, he recently labeled himself a “flossing fiend.” I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I think he’s trying to say that he flosses his teeth more often now. Which is a good thing because, according to one of thirty-eight articles about flossing found on the Oral-B website, “when it comes to dental floss, flossing every day is the most important choice you and your family can make.”