Friday, January 2, 2009

I did something New Years Eve that I have wanted to do for awhile.

I got my ears pierced.

I took my nearly-seventeen-year-old daughter to get her bellybutton pierced and, while I was there, decided to get my lobes done. Both of them.

A few years ago I took my seven-year-old son and together we got one ear pierced. He got one stud, I got the other. His looked cool. Mine got infected and I had to remove it. I had not gone back until December 31, when I chose to have them both done.

I like earrings. I like tattoos, too (I had my first done last year - an ink quill on my right interior forearm. Get it? An ink quill?)

Anyway, there's still something a little naughty about a man getting earrings and tattoos. but not nearly as scandalous as it used to be. My brother, Woofie (that's his real name, and another blog for another day) was the first guy I knew who had either done. I thought it was cool but I feared for his life, too. I mean, these things were not looked upon by our parents as being all that cool. In fact, we attended a church whose leadership preached that such things were an assault against the temple of God. Even earrings or makeup for girls.

Woofie, as you might gather from his name, marched to a different beat. You just expected him to get marked and pierced. I mean, the guy had shoulder-length blond hair and was the drummer in his own rock n roll band. He smoked and he was the first person that I can recall ever swearing in front of our father.

I do not think of myself as a bad ass. Let's just get that clear right now. I have no delusions about myself. Well, yes I do. (I'm pretty sure I think I'm cleverer than I really am.) But not delusions about how tough I am. I cried once when I had to remove a band aid from my big toe. I have hairy Hobbit feet! It hurt like a bastard.

I got my ears pierced because I like how they look. That's really as plain and boring the truth of it is. It's a purely vain, cosmetic reason. It's my boob job and lipo.

I have to admit too that a part of it feeds my ego. I mean, the reaction I get from people is priceless. It's a study in personal expectation and perception that others have of us. We expect someone to be a certain type. We perceive people within the context of personality frames. I wear glasses, keep my hair short and build web sites for a living. Nothing screams geek more. Or take Corrine. She's a mother of four and used to work in the local school library. Trust me. There is nothing dowdy about my wife. Nothing. (She has a tattoo on her lower back that is the hottest thing I have ever seen.)

People see me newly adorned and I witness a rainbow of thoughts spread across their brows. It makes getting them pierced well worth it. Most are kind and say they like it. But, behind their eyes, you see the gears clicking. The judgements falling into place like tumblers.

A 40-year-old getting his ears pierced and a tattoo screams MID LIFE CRISIS.

Of course, there are those who make the gay references, too. Oh Andy, how thweet. I juth love the new you, they slur, wrist bent.

They joke, but I always wonder if they are truly affronted. If they, deep down, wonder about my "orientation." Are people still that insecure? Are they, well, naive? Shallow? What's the word?

Well, for the record, I am not under the influence of a mid-life anything.

And I've never been more "oriented" in my life.

I love my naughty librarian. I visit her stacks every chance I get.

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