By: Zarina Mahomed

Today would be the day.
It had to be.

Squeezing the red paste out of the closeup tube, I prepped myself for what could potentially be the best- or worst- day of my life. I was never the type of girl to walk up to a guy and declare my undying love for him…
Or am I?

Valentine’s Day had good old Joburg painted red. Woolies had the sweetest treats to make any girl smile. On the road, vendors were hustling according to the theme of the day, offering roses to one driver as the perfect gift for the “queen” in the passenger seat, or as a peace offering for a squabbling couple in another car.
It had been a good four years since I’d had my own Valentine. All Woolies did for me since then was offer me cheap deals on my guilty pleasures post-Valentine’s Day, which provided me with great company while watching chick-flicks on my down days.

However, today, the tables would turn in my favour.

Red toothpaste, red lips, I was armoring myself in all things red, to just my confidence enough to blurt out my deepest secret…

That’s how a lot of “crush stories” start off. You have to mentally gear yourself up to do the seemingly impossible, while up against self-esteem issues, intense intimidation, and for those who don’t drink, lack of sedatory effect to calm your nerves or even to cushion the blow of rejection. What adds to that, is the effect of bad oral hygiene.

No, I’m not a dentist.

It isn’t easy to get out of your comfort bubble and move into someone else’s personal space, being so self-conscious and then have bad breath as a deterrent. You can forget about reeling him or her in with your amazing personality or your super long list of achievements, if the first thing that catches his attention is some awful smell coming from your direction.

So, in an effort to help all those “Lonely Hearts Club” members, closeup is here to help you #makeyourmove. It isn’t the most comfortable thing, getting to know someone, and even harder when you’re getting to know him or her on a more intimate level. Don’t let bad breath come in the way of you and potential bae!

In addition to tearing down plaque, we also want to tear down barriers that prevent us from finding love- illogical, irrational invisible nothings that, due to societal conventions, are actually somethings. Just like plaque, these walls we’ve put up to discriminate between one another, are small, insignificant and a bit of a pain.

Be free to make your choices, be free to get #closeup. Anything non-traditional, just like anything traditional, is beautiful and should be celebrated. In a society that is considered to be so unique and diverse, we divide.

It’s time to focus on #breakingbarriers.

So get out there.
Put your brave pants on.
Find your prince or princess and pucker up.
Time is precious and so are you.