I have a piercing I regret. Two, actually. The first I got when I was 18, in the campus salon at the College Formerly Known As Ricks. (Is there a symbol for that for simplicity's sake?) It was a second ear piercing, directly above the first one, but in my left ear only. I was a freshman in college, breaking out and living on the edge. I'm sure I wore a side ponytail every day for at least a week after (on the opposite side, of course) .
The second pernicious piercing I got about 8 or 9 years later. I was a new mom with a baby, trying to hone my image and bring a sense of symmetry about in my life. Because my huge noggin (it has its own weather system) was leaning precariously leftward, and I was getting a kink in my neck. Because I was walking through the mall with my stroller-pushing mom-friends and I got a wild hair. Pick a reason (they mostly all apply), I got a second second hole, this time in my right ear.
Yes, now I regret both piercings. Now I am 40 and feel no need to make obvious my hipness (or connection to the 80's) through the wearing of extra earrings. Not that I haven't seen them look lovely on other women; they're just not "me" anymore. I'm not sure that they ever were, but I guess they served their purpose, once upon a couple of times.
Here's the issue: even though I haven't worn earrings in those holes for over a decade, the holes are still visible and obvious. What can I say? My luscious ear lobes emphasize those holes like dimples in a baby's bum. Earrings or none, my lobes shout "yoo hoo! Post 80's new-waver-wannabe on board!" Earrings or none, I walk around with piercer's remorse.
Now, to everyone who has multiple piercings that they enjoy: more power to you, live long and prosper. I realize how ridiculous this all sounds, considering the myriad of piercing options available these days. This is just my own, goofy, personal hang-up.
I guess you could say I'm pretty boring when it comes to ornamentation now, wearing only one pair of earrings at a time, a silver necklace I rarely take off, my wedding ring and an occasional bracelet. Keeping it simple and appropriate to my carpooling/diaper-changing lifestyle. I don't feel the need to make a statement with my jewelry anymore, and if I did, the statement would need to be more like "Mommy don't play that." (If anyone happens to know exactly what jewelry makes that statement please let me know! My kids aren't getting the message.)
I have pointed out the holes to my kids and mentioned my regret, in the hopes that they will think twice someday, when they are tempted to alter themselves with something they might later regret. (Who am I kidding? When I got my ears pierced I couldn't imagine ever being 40, let alone regretting my trendy accessories.)
So a couple of days ago I found myself in a grocery store with my 6 year-old son (something I try to avoid as much as possible). We had come through the shopping trip generally unscathed when we arrived at the check-out counter. Ian immediately looked up at the checker and announced (not once, but three times) "Mom! That guy has huge holes in his ears!"
I looked up and sure enough, the checker was sporting some dime-sized gauges in his earlobes. And he was not amused.
I could have played "hipster mom" with a comment of "yes, son! Aren't they groovy?" But instead I went right into damage-control mode with Ian. Glares and squeezes don't work with him; not blatant enough. I bent down to his level and whispered "stop talking until we get out of here!" Ian just looked up at me with his typical, bug-eyed surprised look. The checker never said a word but my total to me, and I smiled like a dork as the transaction was wrapped up.
Then I got to have the don't stare, point, or talk about people who are different than us chat on the way to the car. I think Ian mostly heard me, but who knows. I'm not really sure if I handled this the right way, anyway. It's not like he was staring at someone with a physical disability they had no control over; this guy knew very well that he had been consciously trying to stretch out his earlobes. And it's not like it's the rarest thing to see anymore- we have relatives who wear them. But this guy was bugged at Ian's comment, and I didn't know where to go with that. I mean, if some kid came up to me in the store and pointed out my earrings, I'd probably take it as a compliment. Hmmm...
I am aware there are cosmetic surgeries to repair unwanted piercings, and maybe someday when there aren't 5,000 more important issues to deal with in my life I'll consider that. In the meantime, I'm going to start compiling a list of comeback lines I can use, next time I take Ian out in public.