Piercing Stares

I am so far behind the times on piercings. In the piercing world, I am like the school marmish librarian with a bun, little glasses, a grey cardigan and comfortable shoes. I have one hole in my left earlobe and one hole in my right earlobe. Talk about having no imagination. Even Sister Barbara, the nun at my church in New Jersey, had pierced ears.

I hear the latest place to stick a metal rod is in the bridge of your nose, between your eyes. They put a tiny silver barbell there. God forbid you get old enough to have to wear reading glasses. Or have an itch.

This is going to make me sound like an old lady, but I’m going to say it anyway, “What’s the point of that?”

I can understand the convenience of pierced ears, because you’re going to wear jewelry there anyway. Women have been wearing earrings since cave women needed a place to hang pelts to dry. So it’s only natural that at some point we would poke holes in ourselves to make our jewelry stay on. But septum jewelry hasn’t even been invented yet. Why would you want to poke a hole in there?

I got my ears pierced when I was in high school. I went to Strauss’ downtown Youngstown with my neighbor, Leslie. This was in the early days of ear piercings, when my parents’ generation still thought that pierced ears were for Italian immigrants, and my mom had a drawer full of clip-on and screw-on earrings. When I played dress-up, I used to put on my mom’s screw-on earrings and GAH! what a nightmare those were. I was too little to know the “righty tighty” rule and I would forget which way to turn the screw to loosen it. No matter which way I turned it, it seemed to tighten even further. The whole thing frightened me into a near mannish look.

Ear piercings in the ‘70s had just moved out of the doctor’s office and into mainstream society, namely the makeup and jewelry departments of big stores. Leslie was terrified of getting such a delicate surgical procedure done in Strauss.

“Hey, look, the girl has on a white coat! You’re safe!” I told her. And it was true, the girl who pierced you wore a white lab coat, to give the impression that she was a doctor. She was standing at the glass counter with a needle, a bottle of rubbing alcohol, and a cork. Oh, and a pen. I think we had to sign a paper that we understood the risk of infection and promised to wear only the plain gold studs for at least six weeks before we moved over to the 99-cent aluminum butterflies. By the time we got our first infected earlobe, the lady in the white coat would be long gone.

In the ‘80s when everyone was getting a double hole in one ear - which did not mean you were gay, or so I was led to believe - I thought about it, but didn’t have time. I was busy in the ‘80s. Then in the ‘90s when everyone was getting a little stud in the upper cartilage of their ears, I resisted that, too. I was birthing babies, had gall stones and kidney stones, and wore spike heels in the ‘90s. Adding an elective painful procedure just didn’t make sense.

So when people started adding decorations to their cartilage and building little rows of earrings, and then moved over to the nose and tongue, I was so far behind, there was no way I could catch up.

I bought a fake nose ring, once, just a little clip on ring and I tried to convince my husband that I had my nose pierced at the Renaissance Fair in Wisconsin, but it fell apart because everyone who has ever known me knows I could never get my nose pierced, nor could I ever pull off a pranky joke like that.

Extra pierce holes mean having to buy extra earrings and Barbie doll barbells. That means more money and more trips to Hot Topic. No thanks, but you go ahead. The nuns and I will be over here infection free.

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