Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Self Portrait Tuesday

Body Parts - The Ear
I remember poring through the pages of the Great Western catalog's jewelry section, dreaming of the perfect pair of earrings that I would buy, if only I could have my ears pierced. I was probably around 12 years old. There were hundreds of styles. So many choices. But there weren't any clip-ons that I recall at all, and if there were, they were dowdy globs of colored pearls that somebody old and rickety like Great Aunt Edith would wear, but certainly not a fashionable young girl like me. Earrings were limited to those who had the good fortune to be counted among the pierced. How I yearned to have pierced ears. It was strictly forbidden. I'd plead with my mom. Why? Why? Why can I not have my ears pierced? Everybody has pierced ears. Aside from the fact that I'd have to face my tyrannical father, my mother would give me her story about how disrespectful it would be to put holes in the perfectly good pair of ears that God me. I don't know how many times I pleaded and begged.

In a moment of wild pre-teen rebellion, my sister and I took to the clandestine act of piercing our own ears. We smuggled ice and sewing needles up to our rooms and did the deed. I had planned ahead and purchased some dot earrings in a multi-pack from the local drugstore. They used to sell these cards of earrings with 10-12 pairs of colored dots for $2 or so. What a bargain, twelve pairs of earrings! I selected a card that had some tan colored dots, thinking that if they were skin colored, my parents wouldn't notice. Furthermore, I carefully pinned my hair in front of my ears so that they'd be concealed. I got away with it for about a day, but somehow my dad noticed. How, I'll never know, since he had so very little interest in me in the first place. He must have sensed my worry. I'm sure I was radiating guilt waves. He was furious. He sputtered like a volcano and shouted at me with fire in his eyes, but that was the sum of it, and it wasn't that bad, all in all. I survived. No physical violence took place. My mother gave me the I'm disappointed in you comment, but that was about it. Not long after that, I figured the damage was already done, so I double pierced my ears. Nobody noticed.

As luck would have it, I turned out to be allergic to the metals used in most of the cute costume jewelry, and ended up with infections if I wore earrings longer than a day or so. I also found that I couldn't wear posts, as the part of the earring in contact with my lobe would irritate and infect. They were uncomfortable anyway, because they would poke my neck. My dreams of accessorizing and making fashion statements with my impressive wardrobe of earrings fizzled away.

Some time later, when I was a bit more mature, in a moment of self contemplation, I realized that I have perfect earlobes. Or, rather, had perfect earlobes. Women can be so self-critical and find almost nothing to be pleased about when considering their physical selves. I will join the bandwagon and blame it on the media, with all those seemingly perfect examples of female-ness plastered on the covers of magazines. Forms that we aspire to be, but can never be.

I can find fault with almost any part of my physique, but my earlobes are nice. They would be even nicer if they hadn't been defaced. If I cared to share the sentiment with my mother, she would revel in a victorious I told you so.

These days, I wear a simple set of earrings to fill the holes. They stay in for months, even years.


Blogger la vie en rose said...

What a sweet, wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it. I so enjoyed it. You may wish that your earlobes hadn't been defaced but I'm glad that in the defacing we get such a great story.

5:00 PM, September 20, 2005  

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