I was 14 when I got my ears pierced. The first time, anyway.
I was an older child when we moved to Tucson, and of course, all the girls I knew already had their ears pierced, most of them as infants. It was a cultural thing. In my culture, such as it was, nice girls didn't have pierced ears. Even my mother didn't have pierced ears.
As it turned out, my friend SCK didn't have pierced ears, either. Because nice girls didn't have pierced ears. We both had late spring birthdays, about two weeks apart, and the year we graduated eighth grade, were confirmed and turned 14, our mothers agreed that we could get our ears pierced. My mother even bought me a very pretty pair of 14K stud earrings.
SCK's mother was a nurse, and she offered to do the piercing, having access to sterile needles and sterile supplies. Back in those days, it was usually someone's mother or sister or aunt who pierced everyone's ears, with varying degrees of success, a needle and thread and frequently, an ice cube.
The great weekend arrived, and I spent the night over at SCK's house. I don't remember why, but we decided it was of utmost importance that we make a batch of bagels while we waited for her mother to return from work. The entire time we were engaged in this pursuit, her father could be heard grumbling in the family room that "nice girls didn't have pierced ears."
We giggled and carried on.
"You might as well just put bones in your noses!" he hollered, which made us giggle louder. He was so disapproving.
I remember nothing about Mrs. K. running her gigantic needles through my ear lobes, except that it made my ear lobes feel huge and hot. No string to keep the holes open for us. She popped earrings directly into our ears. I do remember standing in the guest bathroom, looking at the gold glinting in my ears, feeling so grown up.
"Barbaric," Mr. K. grunted every time he looked at us for the rest of the day.
I had a second set of holes punched in my ears when I was in college. Multiple pairs of earrings were all the rage at that point, and I figured that I could always let them close up if it was just too outré for a future employer.
My mother, who had finally worked up the courage to have her own ears pierced, was outraged by my multiple earrings. A few months later when I came home with a single third hole punched into my right ear, she was beside herself.
"What does it mean?" she wailed suspiciously.
"It means that I have five holes in two ears," I replied breezily.
So yeah, I have multiple piercings. In the very tamest sense of the words.
The daughter has blown hot and cold over getting her own ears pierced. If I'd been smart, I'd have just done it when she was an infant. But I had this silly notion that it should be her choice rather than mine.
And at last, she's decided that for her 14th birthday, she'd like her ears pierced. She has no idea that I bought the earrings for her before her birth.
Go listen to some good music: "Walking In Your Footsteps" from the album Synchronicity by The Police.