It was a clash of tooth and male

October 4, 2004

A marriage that cannot survive some dodgy dental work must be built on shaky foundations, writes Jemima Lewis.

It is never nice to gloat over another's misfortunes, but sometimes the Schadenfreude is too strong to resist. I refer you, therefore, to the cautionary tale of Ellen Fein's teeth.

Ms Fein is the author of The Rules, the best-selling dating manual that instructed women on how to find and keep a man. (In brief: play hard to get, don't talk too much, don't make jokes, wear short skirts, let him pay all the bills and, for heaven's sake, don't sleep with him.)

Thus having undone decades of feminist thinking - and caused considerable annoyance to those nice, normal men who like their women to have a brain and a libido - Ms Fein sheepishly announced that her own marriage had hit the rocks.

Last week, after four years of silence, she finally revealed why.

In a lawsuit filed in New York, she claimed that cosmetic dental surgery had left her with "gigantic teeth", rendering her smile so ugly that her marriage disintegrated.

The before and after photographs show that she was indeed much prettier before she had enormous, dazzlingly white veneers put on.

Such are the perils of vanity. But I can't help feeling that a marriage that cannot survive some dodgy dental work must be built on shaky foundations.

Ms Fein herself has admitted that there were other issues - as you might have expected.

What kind of man marries a humourless, sexually passive mute who never picks up the tab? The kind, I'm afraid, who'll be off like a shot when she loses her looks.

But all's well that ends well. Ms Fein, 46, is now engaged to another man - one, we presume, who is big enough to look beyond the tombstone teeth.

And perhaps this time she will throw caution to the wind and learn to be herself.

As the sage Katharine Hepburn once observed: "If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun."

- Telegraph