Too Many Earrings?

Growing up in an Italian family, it was a tradition of the culture to get your ears pierced when you were a youngun’. So the rights of passage occurred when I was 6 years old. I sat on the kitchen table, Mom held ice cubes to my ear lobes and along came my Aunt with self-piercing earrings and pliers. “Why pliers?” you ask. So she could squeeze the earrings through the lobes. Why else? I’ve had those earring holes for 40 years.

When I was a teen and it was the trend to get a second earring hole, I desparately wanted to but Dad said, “NO WAY!” Like the obedient child that I was, I didn’t get the second piercing until I was 18, a legal adult. And to be even more adult, I only had the left ear pierced. Now I had two earrings in the left ear and only one in the right. Dad never noticed for quite some time. I, of course, was no dummy and didn’t bring it up.

Then when I was in my 20’s (I think), the trend for more piercings was the thing to do. So, being one not to left the trend escape me, I got a third piercing in the left ear. Now I had a total of four earring holes to fill regularly. Three on the left. One on the right. I was way cool!

Now I ask you this Dear Readers. How is one to present an argument against multiple piercings in your ears (or elsewhere for that matter) when the one arguing against it has four earrings in her ears? One cannot, I tell you. Ya jest can’t! How do I know this? Because I’ve been running up against this problem more and more lately.

Church School students over the years have whined to their parents, “But Mrs. Alan has it!” Harumph! Those words came back to haunt me just recently. “But you did it!! You have multiple piercings! So what’s the big deal?”


Dear Readers, there is always a time to stop being combative and rebellious. There is always a moment when one must look in the mirror and say, “Get off that pedestal girl. You are no idol.”

I took my two extra earrings out this morning and put them away. For good.

Sigh. They were cool though. They really were.


14 thoughts on “Too Many Earrings?

  1. Anonymous wrote, “people who get themselves bound up in such small details are the ones who make the rest of us want to run away from the Church for fear of being judged or worse- spiritually micromanaged”

    She is absolutely right and I agree 100%.

    However, it is interesting to me that most if not all comments missed the point of the post. Which, of course, is more than likely due to the writer’s ineptness and NOT the reader. Though Huw did comment on the rebellious issue, which is part of the point. The reminder of the point was “who is being worshipped? Is there an idol?” For me, yes the idol is/was myself and doing what *I* wanted in rebellion against family/culture/etc.

    Thanks for all your thoughts folks. This post is now done.

  2. I agree with Raphael’s first post. Get over it- it’s no big deal and people who get themselves bound up in such small details are the ones who make the rest of us want to run away from the Church for fear of being judged or worse- spiritually micromanaged! And I can say that as a tatoo-ed, three holes in my left ear & TWO in my right (See, I’m cooler than you!)30 year-old female recovering evangelical.

  3. I have no extra holes in my head. 🙂 I grew up in a relatively conservative Mennonite family–no jewelry except for pins/brooches. Not even wedding rings.
    I have never been tempted to drill holes in my ears. 🙂

  4. P – Curious you should cite Fr David who was the voice of reason in that online conversation 🙂

  5. Huw, I understand your point about the OCA priest and his ranting. As a psychologist once put it, body jewelry is not unusual in many cultures. It is a right of passage for many. It hasn’t been a right of passage in our culture (middle class, white), at least not until now. Though I would challenge the “middle class/white” category.

    I don’t think earrings are wrong. I do think body jewelry, to the point of body mutilation is wrong. I am not comparing my 4 earrings to body mutilation. But it brings up a question. Where does it stop? Where is the line of demarcation that says, “This side is okay. This side is not.”?

    As Fr. David Moser once put it, there are many tools in the toolbox of Orthodoxy. For some, wearing head scarves is a tool. For some it is not. For me, taking out those two extra earrings, that were done as a matter of rebellion (disobedience)against my father and have raised issues with kids that have crossed my path, including my own, it is a tool that I am using towards my salvation.

    Thus, the issue isn’t the earrings as much as it is obedience. Also there are other things rolling around in my head that it is related to that I’d prefer not to get into on a public forum.

    And I think I’d probably want to know *why* so many teenagers are getting so many different body parts tattooed and pierced, but that’s a whole blog post on its own.

  6. I’m not sure the idea of “not of this world” equalling earrings is a good Christian equation, although it is good middle class and white. I pick those words on purpose. Preferring conformity to any part of our American culture over any other one is rather silly, I think. If you say one is ok, why is that?

    You should still do as you want to – because you are an adult and not accountable for some choices you make. With your students the problem is not “but I want an earring and my teacher has one (or more)” the problem is “My teacher obeyed her parents and I should too”.

    This particular issue is a button for me because prior to my conversion – before I had even stopped going to an Episcopal church – an OCA priest online ranted quite a lot about body jewellery; to the point of suggesting that a teenager showing up w/ a nose ring would be directed to psychiatric help.

    I was very relieved to get to the Cathedral and find men wearing earrings without Fr V ranting at them.

  7. Thanks for the comments one and all. They are appreciated.

    Morning Star Editor (Cuz Annie) said perhaps my *extra* earring are about conformity not rebellion. And Cuz David said I should do what *I* want. Both bring up good points.

    It is exactly both which my choice reflects. To not do what I want and to not conform. As a Christian person, if I believe that I am not to conform to the world’s standards and not do what I want, then the choice to go against the tide is called for. This is a tiny way in which to do that. Also, if we as Christians are to take the high road and be examples for those who come behind us, then this is also another reasoning for the choice. If I am to be an example for the kids at my church, especially as their *teacher,* then I must set a standard for myself that is not of the world since Christians are not of this world but only live in it.

    Though I did not put this in the post itself, one of the questioner’s was a family member.

    Again thanks for everyone’s thoughts.

  8. I think you should do what you want to do, not what other people want you to do. Don’t let someone else’s parents stop you from expressing yourself in perfectly harmless ways. Who cares how many holes you have as long as the ear is still in one piece? Kids will always try to use other people to justify their behavior. If they don’t point to you, it will just be someone else.

  9. after moving out of my parents home i did the self-pierce thing… ice cube and a jabe through the lobe with the earring. it was short lived as it became infected and i started to get a headache; i noticed after removing it that the headache went away….

  10. Since people who are commenting on your earrings all have mulitple piercings themselves, maybe yours are a sign of conformity not rebellion. Put them back on! Not because you’re rebelling,but because it pleases you to wear them. It’s such a harmless thing, I mean you do keep the tatoos covered, right? 😉

    PS I had to stop wearing earrings due to alergies, but I can wear them again. I just have to be careful which kind I buy.

  11. There is rebellion, there is conformity and there is just plain cool!

    I completely know what you mean…although I stopped with two holes in the left ear and one in the right and yes…I was very, very, cool, too. (AND I had to wait until my 18th birthday to get any piercings at all. My German mother said that my earlobes would look ugly when I got older. That argument never made any sense to me…I mean…now that I am older there are several things that don’t look so good…not just my earlobes! 😉

    I stopped wearing earrings when my boys were babies. They are 18 and 22 now. Once a year I put them in for the company Christmas, er…Winter Holiday, Party and then I become cool again…but just for the night.

  12. Well…I have three holes in my left ear and two in my right! But I kept losing the extra earrings so that’s why I stopped wearing them. My holes are still there though…every now and again I check! I don’t know why…maybe some weird connection to lost youth or something. LOL!

    I respect your decision…

  13. Sadly, I developed an allergy to pretty much most earrings, so I have had to let my holes close.
    And I had such a lot of pretty earrings :-((((

  14. I don’t mean to make light of your choices. I was very very very very happy to find that my holes hadn’t closed when I got to a place where I could wear them without an eye-brow raising. There is rebellion for the sake of rebellion and conformity for the sake of conformity (with the extremes being enforced conformity and abusive rebellion).

    Neither seems very salvific.

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