Wednesday, July 12, 2006


On Saturday, just a month short of her 10th birthday, we surprised eldest child Jolee, by allowing her to get her ears pierced, finally.

There are obviously a ton of different perspectives on this. It is not uncommon for babies to have their ears pierced at an extremely early age.

It may seem like a small thing nowadays, but the anticipation and joy that she experienced as a result of the new holes in her head were quite thrilling to watch. I kept thinking, every time she went to a mirror to look at her new earrings, how interesting it was that she was experiencing a great thrill and joy that a lot of other kids don't ever get, because they can't remember getting pierced, and have taken those two pinholes for granted.

In the Fall of 1985, three or four weeks into college, my fleeting girlfriend (if that term even applied) convinced me to pierce my left ear, because she thought it would look good on me. I would've shaved my head and eyebrows had she wanted, I was so smitten. I went with her to Eagle Rock Plaza to a jewelery store and pop! went the earring. A "conservative" gold stud.

Yet this was 1985, and pierced ears was not as common thing for eighteen year-old boys as they are today. It wasn't unheard of, but it was a bit unusual at the time, at least coming from the relatively conservative bastions of Iolani School.

Dear old Dad still mentions and/or remembers me calling from the dorm hallway phone (back when room phones weren't even standard - some rooms had no jacks) and saying "Dad, I did something to myself....". Such tact! Such honesty! Such seriousness! The father still recalls the fleeting moment of panic, his eldest son not even a month at college and confessing to some unmentionable self-multilation or disasterous bodily aberration. I told him. He was relieved. Maybe a bit disappointed, but relieved. I mean, an extra puka in the head was no big deal, right?

My stepfather, on the other hand, was an old school conservative Hawaiian retired battallion chief for the Honolulu Fire Department, and he took one look at me, when he saw me that first Christmas break home, and shook his head in disbelief. The new jewelery in my ear combined with the bouncy way I walk on my toes (always have, always will) made him wonder about my sexuality. Mom had to reassure him I was not one mahu (not that there's anything wrong with that) and that this was just what the kids were doing nowadays.

In 2006, when piercings barely raise an eyebrow (the jury's still out on what my girls will be allowed to do, and when), the hubbub about a simple single pierce in an ear, of all places, seems rather quaint.

A couple of months after the earring went in and Ava moved on, I attended my first and only concert at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The amazing triple bill of Megadeth, Wendy O. Williams, and Motorhead. I remember a few things about that night, one of which was coming out of the mosh pit during Megadeth's set and seeing the ideal Metal chick fantasy, an amazingly beautiful woman, all denim and leather and hairspray and... and.... and....what the hell was that? a nose stud?

I literally could not believe this woman had desecrated her temple of a face with a hole through her nose. I was visibly shaken. I still remember the shock. And of course, in retrospect, such naivete amuses me and most likely, you, dear readers.

Of course, now piercings seem to be no big deal...they're in eyebrows, navels, noses, ears, tongues, nipples, and various and sundry nether regions.

But I cannot help but smile as my almost-ten year-old fiddles with the earrings so recently popped into her earlobes.

I touch my ear, I feel the hole still there, the back covered with new skin. I wonder. . .

1 comment:

Jill said...

I had much the same experience as Jolee. My dad pierced my ears when I was 12. He's an MD and for some reason had a piercing gun at home. I guess it was all the rage then and he was asked to pierce a lot of ears. I think every female family member has "Pierced Ears by Dad." In any event, the gun he used was pretty industrial and rather than receiving a nice pair of gold studs, like some of my friend got at the mall, I got stainless steel pegs. Not so pretty and I had to keep them in for a month. Ugh. Despite the less than beautiful earrings, I still checked them in the mirror about every five minutes. Ah, simple pleasures!