Monday, March 09, 2020

Earrings: A Quest

Growing up, the rule in my house was you couldn't get your ears pierced until you were sixteen.  My mother was raised in quite a conservative home in small town Idaho and piercings may have been considered a little bit of the devil.  She has three sisters and none of them pierced their ears, except for an elderly aunt who was tired of looking for clip-ons that only hurt her ears.  My dad was raised this way too, but I don't know if he really cared one way or the other.  Hmm, upon reflection, perhaps we should have gone to him about this instead.

I have two sisters and each of us wanted to get our ears pierced.  My older sister is thirteen years older than me and was, as I knew her, a big time jewelry-wearer.  Her earring style, it seemed to me, was big and hoopy and dangly. But then, she did spend her adolescence smack dab in the 80's. I remember wanting to get mine pierced but by the time my birthday rolled around I thought, ehh, I'll get around to it eventually.  Which I did about six months later when mother + daughters were in Southern Utah to watch my brother play football in college.  A girls trip of sorts.  What a perfect time to get my ears pierced! A sister suggested it and out of nowhere, my mom had a fit about it.  One not ordinarily to throw fits of any kind EVER, this was surprising and hi-larious and we still joke about it. She put up a substantial fight and her excuses were beyond ridiculous.  The conversation went something like this:

SISTER: Let's get Jen's ears pierced!

MOM: No! I don't want to.  We can't.  We don't do that on vacation. Let's wait until we get home to Idaho.

My mom does not fret or whine. Ever.  This was highly uncharacteristic.  We laughed and marveled.
Also-we lived in Utah. I have never lived in Idaho in my life.  In her angst, my mom was having some kind of regressive episode and, even though the rule had been sixteen, she just couldn't handle it.  Suddenly I was her and she was her mother. Maybe since I'd said nothing about it on my birthday, she thought I might not do it at all, and be saved from being counted among the pierced damned.  Anyway, we cajoled and razzed her and I ended up getting my ears pierced in St. George and I'm pretty sure my mom has forgiven me by now, hopefully probably.

Since then I've been on somewhat of a jewelry journey.  At least for earrings.  I feel like I've been trying for yeeeears to figure out my style.  Initially, I quickly experimented with different styles before I decided I only liked really small earrings.  I liked weird ones, like earrings shaped like feet or safety pins. Basically anything you can get at Claire's.  Or tiny hoops that barely cupped my earlobe.  I have earring memories with a few different pairs because I'd wear them every single day for months.  In fact, for years I couldn't wear any at all because after I'd lost an earring I'd been wearing nonstop, my ears rejected anything else I tried to put into it.  Seriously, years later I had to try again and I think I actually re-pierced my ears and ended up being able to wear them again after whatever had been giving them trouble healed over.

Long dangly earrings were never my thing. I kept trying and still do occasionally because they look fun. But-like trying to style my long hair when it was long, I always felt like I was trying to be all glam and that was just never quite me. I just never cared. When I cut my hair short which, on the other hand, suited me much better what with the doing zero to my hair every day, wearing long earrings definitely felt wrong.  Any time I'd try, I'd feel like a boy playing dress-up with his mom's jewels, to be gender stereotype-casting. Let's just say my overall style is not very girly. If I were to be a Spice Girl--and who among us has not categorized ourselves as such-- I would say I'm actually a mix of three: Sporty, prominently, to my annoyance in High School (but it was true), Posh, and a little bit of Scary.   Absolutely not Ginger or Baby.  I do not need a Buzzfeed quiz to tell me this.

So, again-- the tiniest earrings possible. My favorites were miniscule, like almost invisible rhinestones.  Nothing but a flicker of barely detectable light and that's it.  And of course, those are easily lost and difficult to find in the world.  When I want to dress up, I enjoy weird styles like ear cuffs and all the unusual trends you see these days but my ears have a hard time hanging onto those anti-gravity styles. But weirdness is still very much a factor when selecting items with which to adorn myself.

My style in general has changed over the years.  I really learned a lot when I went to New York where one drew upon surrounding widely varied inspiration on the daily, and since then, my style has continued to evolve.  It's something I enjoy thinking about and shopping toward. The older I get, the less I care about a LOT of things and one of those silly things is looking fancy. I like clothes and feel like personal style is important, but also, simplicity is a beautiful thing and, after my lifelong endeavor of trying to figure out what my earring style is, I think I've finally come to the grand conclusion that, at least for every day purposes, perhaps to the delight of my mother, it's NO EARRINGS AT ALL.

Sean says I have freakishly tiny ears.  I think he might be right. I never noticed until he pointed it out. I have infant ears.
The End.

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