I put in my first earring in at the behest of my first live-in girlfriend, the Serially Monogamous Adulteress. The SMA (sorry, but that’s another story) didn’t like boyfriends without earrings so I had to get one. In our little college town, you went to the local hairdresser where one of them had done the necessary course and duly fired a sterile gold bolt through a part of my earlobe she marked with a red pen.
It wasn’t very painful and felt like a further step towards the coolly Bohemian self-image I craved. I had long hair back then and soon replaced the little gold stud with a series of hoops, dangling skulls and (my favourites) hand grenades.
Ten years later, I met Supermum. Supermum had about five in one ear and two in the other when we started seeing each other. She one-upped the SMA effortlessly by deciding to drill the hole for the second earring herself with a sewing needle and an ice cube. Her knees turned a little wobbly part way through so I finished it off myself. The final crunch through the tougher layer of cartillage was very satisfying and I took a great deal of satisfaction in telling the few people who noticed te addition where I’d got it from.
Meanwhile, my hair got shorter and thinner and the earrings accordingly decreased in size. Finding small studs (I kept losing them) became an issue. Mostly, I wore a tri-armed symbol mirroring a tattoo of supermum’s and a skull, both the size of tiny seed pearls. I began leaving them out in certain meetings as I was worried that people would find them a distraction from my presentation of myself. Or maybe that was a rationalisation, though I don’t know what of.
A month ago, I left them on a bed post. I’d been taking them out regularly (earring holes can get seriously grungy) and later changed some duvets and sheets. Predictably, the silver studs went missing in the ensuing flapping and bashing and though I crawled all over the floor, I couldn’t find them.
It takes a while for holes to close up so I didn’t worry too much, assuming I’d pick some up from somewhere. Thing is, I didn’t and it’s now clear that I don’t intend to. Partly it’s the nature of the job interviews I’m chasing and partly – call this an excuse if you like – it’s a sense that I don’t need them anymore. They don’t represent me the way they used to.
So now, I wear my skulls and handgrenades on the inside. I flatter myself they suit me better than ever.
Where do you wear yours, people?