Pierced

I see in the news that Jennifer Garner just got her ears pierced.  According to her, the main reason she didn’t do it sooner was because she thought her father would disapprove.

I can certainly understand.  Getting your ears pierced started to become popular when I was in high school.  As the years went by, more and more of my friends started to get pierced but my folks, particularly my father, were adamant that I not join the “fad”.  Back then the only official way to get your ears pierced was at the jewelry counter of the big departments stores and you had to have your parents permission if you were under 18.  There were a few girls I knew who did the deed on their own with a needle and ice cubes, but that scared the heck out of me.  It never occurred to me to go against my folks’ wishes in this, even if I could figure out how.

The argument went on for a couple of years and came to a head toward the end of my junior year.  All the trendy and interesting earrings were now pierced; the non-pierced options all made me feel like my grandmother.  Finally my father made his big error in his argument; he said that getting your ears pierced was a form of body mutilation “like those Ubangi natives you put the metals rings around their necks to stretch them out”.  I remember these words, because he brought it up several times before I came up with a counter-argument, that being overweight was also a form of body mutilation.  (My dad fought his weight his whole life.)  I’m not sure what gave me the bravery to say this to my dad and as soon as the words were out of my mouth, I was struck with the certain fear that he might kill me for this comment.  (No, my dad was not abusive, so this is not literal.)  But he did not.  He actually left the room and the next day told me that I was right.  And if I lost 20 pounds, I could get my ears pierced.

If I would replicate the process by which I lost 20 pounds, I could bottle it and retire to my own private island on the proceeds.  Took about 3 weeks.  I know that my mom yelled at my dad over this, but they both took the honorable path; my mom drove me to the department store, stood by while I got my ears pierced and even paid for it. 

It was a good decision for me.  I adore earrings and I have far too many of them.  Friends who know of my earring fetish has brought me earrings from all over, including some huge paper mache dangly fish from Hong Kong and some adorable pink pig earrings from a barbecue joint in Boulder.  I have earrings from Sicily, Hawaii, London and even New Zealand.  YA has made earrings for me and I have trouble not going overboard making them for myself as well. 

I did not repeat my parents’ dictions; when YA turned 10 she wanted to get her ears pierced for her birthday.  Off to Claire’s we went.  Too bad that Jennifer Garner didn’t have ME for a parent.

What have you tried to do differently than your folks?  How did that work out?

53 thoughts on “Pierced”

  1. My mother was emphatic in any “discussion” that was actually a disagreement. A favorite line was, “You know your dad has high blood pressure.” That was her way of saying, “If you continue to distress your father like this and he has a heart attack, how will you feel?”

    So it should not have shocked me when her response to my growing a beard (when I was 30) was, “If your grandmother ever sees that it will kill her. I mean, kill her.” The first time she made that threat I chickened out and shaved before my grandmother visited. When my grandmother came to live in Minnesota two years later, I didn’t shave. My grandmother did not, in fact, die, but seemed to like the beard.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Funny. This reminds me that when I was a little girl my grandmother used to say “you’ll give me heartstrings”. This was always when we were being quite rambunctious or loud or unruly. At the time we clearly knew that it was a bad thing but as an adult I’m thinking “heart strings”??

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I doubt anyone else has ever heard of a heart string either. But basically she was saying if you kids keep being this rowdy I’m going to have heartstrings, which I suppose may be some form of a heart affliction in her mind? We’ll never know because she took the phrase to the grave with her. And it wasn’t her heart that did her in at the end either.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Thanks, vs. I didn’t want to mention this earlier, but I was in my late 50s when I finally understood that my mother used guilt to control her kids and was not very fair when difficult discussions happened. This is tricky. She was totally loving and committed to doing the right thing, but as a person struggling with anxiety she couldn’t avoid making extreme statements when in the grip of her fears. I sometimes wish I’d understood that earlier . . . but we learn many things later than we wish we had. 🤷‍♀️ (an emoji meant to say, ‘Things like that happen’)

          Liked by 3 people

        3. It’s been one of the great joys of my adulthood that my mother is still around and that we can talk about things. All of my grandparents passed away before I got to college so I never got a chance to grow up enough myself to be able to talk to them about how they had grown up and how things had shaped their world. I’m sure my grandmother probably grew up in a time where children were encouraged to be seen but not heard, as she was born in 1904. And I’m guessing rowdy rambunctious grandchildren probably struck a nerve in her that I would never be able to fully feel as an adult but can now understand with hindsight.

          Liked by 5 people

        4. I love that reflection on being able to talk with grandparents. Although I was young and my Grandpa S died at a relatively young age (67 years), he and I talked about so much. I loved that. My Grandma H lived to be 99 years and 7 months. As an adult I got to discuss so much with her, as well as hear her stories about her own life, It was interesting and important. I miss her a lot. My mother always said Grandma was such a good mother.

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  2. In my small town, the local doctors pierced our ears. I had mine done in Grade 8, I think. When I was in college I was home one Christmas and I developed a fever and I had swollen glands. My mom called the clinic, and they told me to come in but to go through the back door and not sit in the waiting room in case I had the mumps. I already had the mumps, but I complied, and upon examining me the doctor told me I was allergic to the metals in my earrings, even the surgical steel posts, and I had to stop wearing them forever.. I haven’t worn earrings since then.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. My dad had similar arguments, VS, he said it was like getting a tattoo, and at that time only very marginal types had tattoos. But he relented when I was a7, if I would do it at our doctor’s office – I think a little known fact is that drs would pierce your ears. Then several years later, my mom got hers done!

    As first glance, as a young adult, I thought I did everything different from my folks – religion, food, politics, sex – but I ultimately found I carried many of their values with me. Will think more about this today.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think that is a common thing, BiR. Young adults often feel they have deviated radically from their parents. When they get older they are less impressed by how much they rebelled and more aware of continuity.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I remember being maybe 19 yrs old and finding an earring in the street. As a young innocent boy just off the farm, but hanging out with all these theater people, I knew nothing about earrings. This one was a flower design, maybe 1/2″ and not a ‘clip on’, but a ‘screw on’. So I put it on. I’m sure we were headed to the bar after a show and my friends said I would get beat up if I wore that in there. This would have been the early ’80’s and probably a reflection on the bar more than my style choice.

    I don’t recall when I got my first ear piecing, but I know Kelly and I both got another piercing (maybe at the ‘Piercing Pagoda’ – kiosk in the local mall) for our 10 yr wedding anniversary. All just ears – nothing more exotic than that.

    And then early 2000’s I’m doing a farm tour to a group of 1st graders from Roosevelt Elementary School in Minneapolis. We were pen pals and this was their end of year field trip to come and see Farmer Ben. And i’m showing how the calves get ear tags. One little girl had come up to me and asks if it hurts them to get ear tags. I’m kneeling down and we’re eye to eye as I tell her that it doesn’t hurt too much; it’s like getting your ears pierced. I looked to see if her ears were pierced – they weren’t. And at the same time, I saw her eyes go to my ears – and they were. We both smiled.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Where to even start. The ear piercing story made me laugh. The stories of “Pierced Ear Power Struggles” in the community where I grew up were the stuff of legends. One family in particular had a daughter who was popular with the other kids. Her father and her got into a prolonged power struggle about getting her hair cut and her ears pierced, and it influenced every other girl who knew her to get her ears pierced and grow her hair long (hippie style). The minute she turned 18 she had them pierced, despite her father’s insistence that she could not get her driver’s license if she would not cut her hair or if she got the ears pierced. Who exactly did that punish since he had to drive her EVERYWHERE while she refused to talk to him?

    I myself allowed my friend, Diane, to pierce my ears with a needle, an ice cube to numb the ear, and a potato (held behind the ear) to hold the ear lobe firm. This was at Ruthie’s house during a slumber party. I jerked at some point in the procedure, then my hand knocked over the open bottle of alcohol, spilling on the dining room table and ruining the finish.

    I spent most of my youth trying to be nothing like my mother. Regarding her, the thing I tried most to change was to be willing to ask for help and take help when offered. Mom’s stubborn independence benefitted no one.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. While here, we may get snow tomorrow. Stay but for a while longer, is my advice. I don’t trust this spring-like weather to stick around just yet.

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  6. I have spent a fair amount of my adult life trying to undo the damage my parents did when I was growing up. I’m probably as fully recovered as I’ll ever be, but lots of damage can be done in those formative years. I consider myself lucky to have had caring adults in my life, both as a child, during my teens, and later on as well, who helped me through the rough spots, of which there were many. I’m still a work in progress, and that’s likely how it will always be. At this stage of my life I’m grateful that I didn’t have children, at least I haven’t passed on to the next generation the madness that my parents foisted on me.

    I hope this doesn’t sound like I hate my parents, I don’t. They were deeply flawed people, who didn’t have the wisdom, encouragement, or guidance to break the destructive patterns of their own upbringing. They did what they knew to do, and didn’t question the wisdom of their actions until much later in life. I have great empathy for both of their situations, and I understand now what I didn’t back then, that they were both doing the best they knew how. Unfortunately, that doesn’t undo the damage they did, but it does make it easier to forgive them.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’ve long admired the way you have dealt with that, PJ. It was important to understand what they did, including regrettable stuff. But it is at least as important to make peace with the past so you can carry on. Maybe somebody actually had perfect parents, but I’ve not met anyone like that yet.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. OT – Anna stopped by this afternoon to deliver the books I purchased, and we had a nice little visit. This is a really sweet little book, I love it. Thank you, Anna. I’m planning of using one copy as a gift to friends who used to live in south Minneapolis, but who now live in Boston. If you haven’t received your copy as yet, you have a sweet little gem to look forward to.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. I have been quite successful in not moving around the country as my parents did. From age 20, I’ve had a mere 7 addresses. I estimate they have had 50. Military service accounts for some of that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The same for me…just four addresses including my first little apartment in Northfield. My folks were military but boy did we move a lot when I was a kid. And I remember saying once to my parents “when I grow up I’m never going to move.”

      Liked by 3 people

      1. My folks didn’t move often, vs, but they were demons for remodeling. I grew up hearing the piercing whine of my dad’s table saw and smelling plaster dust. I swore “when I grow up I’m never going to even drive a damned nail or do any other remodeling.” Of course, when I had my own home I did a lot of that, making a liar of myself.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. All of our moves were because of my dad’s different jobs before he opened his own practice when I was in junior high. But my folks loved to remodel as well. There was a small bedroom in the house I lived in in high school that had been remodeled when we first moved into that house. Then we were going to get a female exchange student so my folks remodeled it to get it ready for her. Then at the last minute she dropped out of the program and we ended up with a male exchange student; we had three days notice and the room got remodeled in that three days.Then when Pierre went home after a year, my baby sister had just been born and the room got remodeled for her to move into. Then when she was four or five they remodeled it again and then when she was eight or nine, once more. I think this one little room got remodeled eight or nine times before my folks sold this house.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. People used to remodel their homes as the family grew, vs. There didn’t use to be zoning and quality standards limiting what could be done. In their last home, the cottage on Lake Minnetonka where my sister now lives, Dad expanded the kitchen without getting permission. I always worried about that, but he got away with it. What your parents did was unusual in that time, but very much in line with older customs.

          Liked by 3 people

    2. I’ve never moved but we’re on our 3rd address.
      Used to be RR1, Then maybe in the ’70’s it was 3940 Viola Rd NE, and then in the late ’90s they (The county addressing people) said we were “… a problem within the overall address scheme…” and we (and our neighbors; I don’t know how many others this affected) got a new address.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. That just tickles my sense of irony. You never moved, in how many years? yet managed to have three different addresses. Avoided all of that packing and other inconvenience of moving, and still ended up with a new address.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. OT Sunday YouTube: When I was learning to cook, having started from a position of profound ignorance, I thought cooking was all about recipes. I set out to collect recipes. I spent vast amounts of time scouring the newspapers for recipes that I then typed in a recipe file on my computer. Now I have probably thousands of recipes, most of which I have never tried.

    Good cooks know that cooking well is mostly a matter of technique. Recipes aren’t much help for that. The presence of a great many recipes on the internet has made my former obsession with copying them look as foolish as it was.

    The online YouTube cooking channel I most like these days is Jacque Pepin’s (although I’m a little confused about all the channels he is offering). He is all about food, and he seems to have his priorities straight. His recipes are often fairly simple. His advice appropriately stresses technique. He’s really good.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I don’t watch any chefs or cooking YouTube’s on a regular basis. Although before pandemic I did tend to watch Donal Skehan, an Irish chef, on a fairly regular basis. I actually got one of my all-time favorite recipes from him, the one pan spaghetti, cherry tomato and broth recipe that I make several times this summer.

      Before pandemic I was a more regular YouTube watcher and I had several channels that I watched on a regular basis but pandemic kinda whooped that out of me. Now when I’m on YouTube I mostly just surfing for fun.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m actually pouting a little bit today. I did go in the kitchen for about an hour and make an awful mess, although not making pie. Sloppy Joe’s, pesto pasta and a batch of pimiento cheese.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Our son and I had a power struggle when he was about 10 over minestrone. He didn’t like the savoy cabbage in my minestrone, and I wouldn’t let him leave the table until he finished the soup in his bowl. It was really stupid on my part. Today he sent a funny video of him eating his own minestrone soup from his own recipe, declaring himself free from my narrative and making his own soup narrative.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I have generally thought of myself as frugal, but in many ways I am much less so than my mother was. She wouldn’t spend on indulgences very often. I’m frugal about the big things, but not so much the small ones.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. what did i do differently from my folks?
    i shook the dice every time it came up. what the hell its worth the risk for the big payoff. my dad was very small thinking and protects his sure things rather than risk it. i think of it as the bible story about the guy who left his 3 servants each a different number of his assets and then he left town and they were to do what they would with them until he got back
    upon his return the master asked these 3 guys what they’d done with his assets
    one guy invested and doubled his assets.
    second guy found opportunity also and did well
    third guy said he was afraid he might lose it so he hid it and kept it safe
    the master was pleased with the first two and lashed out at the third guy for missing the opportunity.
    i went for opportunity
    my family didn’t
    how did it work out
    i’m living with the lesson that you need to be willing to go forward if it all goes south
    starting over has been a 10 year mission
    i’ll let you know how it works out

    Liked by 2 people

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