when i was an awkward adolescent in tapered leg jeans with the worst hair this side of the mississippi and ear drums that made doctors stand back in horror and exclaim "oh shit!", the purity of my ear lobes seemed somehow terribly important.
i refused to give in to the temptation of a trend i'd always found rather barbaric and desecrate my immaculate little lobes just because everyone else had done it. in my fervor, this seemed courageous. i was convicted that i must not subject my poor ears to any more unwarranted pain by ravaging their most innocent expanse with needles and metal. it seemed somehow terribly important that their chastity be guarded.
as my mum has not hesitated to remind me, for years i prided myself on this. the innocence of my ear lobes, the misguided belief that i would never want to marry and (because, dear God, i was a dork) the fact that i could quote the entire soliloquy from "are you lonesome tonight." at the age of 15, this was what i had to work with.
but now, there's so much more. now, i couldn't give two straws about the virtue of my ear lobes. i just want to traverse a new beguiling aesthetic frontier. my ears are desperate for decoration. they want jewels. they want to slut up.
in the silly little insular world of my silly little insular family, this has become a ginormous huge big thing.
the rape of my lobes.
rarely has this depraved notion been broached over the past few months, but every time i dare, there it is- the gasp down the line, my mum recoiling in horror, my second step into very great sin.
apparently it was "sweet" that i'd never pierced my ears and it is shocking that i would contemplate doing so now. and apparently if i do it might very well be the end of the entire whole wide world.
last night, resorting to fear tactics, hellfire, and brimstone, my mum (whose own lobes were debauched with ice cubes and an unsteralized needle at church camp in the summer of 1966) said this: "it will hurt and burn like your ears are on fire for weeks."
she said this in a certain tone, a tone that is probably the closest we've ever come to the tone from the talk after i fucked up before the dinner where she didn't hold my hand during the prayer.
and i didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
because here i am, girl in the big city, trying to persuade my mum that ear piercing isn't the first step down a lascivious tattooed path. that this single decision- the decision to defile my own ear lobes- won't have me pregnant and drunk in the gutter in six months time. 26 and yet still 9 years old, trying to convince mother i'm not about to fuck up again.