When I turned 12, my mother took me to the doctor’s office to get my ears pierced. I felt so grown up. I love earrings. Especially fine dangling ones. Alas, while babysitting in college, an infant ripped the hoops out of my right ear and the skin never grew back together. To this day, I still wear clip earrings. Which I leave scattered around the country because I take them off since they always hurt after an hour. I could solve this problem by having my lobe stitched up. I just haven’t bothered.
But I digress.
Little bit wanted to pierce her ears. I told her, starting around age 8, she could have them pierced when she turned 10. We’d hoped to get our ears pierced together but I never got it together to fix mine in time.
As the time approached, I investigated options. Apparently, very few people go to a doctor. But I thought we might should avoid an “earring mill” like Clare’s just to ensure against infection. (Though I know plenty of people happy with Clare’s.)
After some investigating through my lovely social media network, I landed on a tattoo parlor being the best option because they pierce with a single use needle. Because of several solid referrals, we landed on 713 Tattoo down in the Montrose area of Houston which is FAR from my house. Nonetheless, we made our appointment for the afternoon before the kids 10th birthday so she could arrive at school the morning of her birthday with ears sparkling.
I picked her up from school, with all her friends cheering her on (and wanting to come along), and we hiked all the way down to the parlor. I was told I needed my i.d., her birth certificate, and a photo i.d. for her. Because she does not have a photo i.d., I was told I could use a yearbook so I swung by home to pick one up. On our drive, I mentioned that she might see people who have a lot of colorful tattoos and might have more piercings than she is used to seeing.
Yet, still, she wasn’t quite ready.
She was already very nervous about getting her ears pierced.
Upon arrival, we waited behind a high school couple there to get his nose pierced and her septum pierced. Then, a lovely young woman came out from the piercing room with so many piercings all over her face it took both little bit and I aback. Not to mention, the very nice man who did the piercings was completely covered in tattoos and piercings and had very long blue fingernails. Nonetheless, we pressed forward.
I had gone and left the yearbook at home but I had my driver’s license and her birth certificate and Bray had texted me a photo of the yearbook cover and her page. The cost to get her ears pierced, with their mandatory jewelry, was incredibly high, but still we pressed forward.
It wasn’t until the man, apologetically, shared that he was prohibited to pierce her ears without an in person photo identification that we had to throw in the towel. We’d had the appointment on the books for weeks and she’d told all her friends she would arrive at school, on her birthday, with sparkly pierced ears. Pearls, she’d said, all along (which were not available at the tattoo parlor, perhaps not surprisingly).
I was so upset. I’d forgotten the stupid yearbook on the counter! All my fault. So I thought back to my original social media post asking for recommendations for piercing spots. And I remembered a number of moms recommending Merle Norman. MERLE NORMAN?!?! I didn’t even know they were still around. My memory of them from the ’80s was that they sold heavy foundation.
Upon investigation, there was a Merle Norman FIVE MINUTES from our house! Hmmm, surely they wouldn’t be open past 5, I wondered while staring at the clock reading 4:30 while miles and miles from home. Nevertheless, I called, hoping against hope I could rescue my piercing promise.
She answered, could take us at 5:30, as they did not close until 6 pm!!! Great rejoicing was had by us both.
Then little bit turned to me and asked if there would be a lot of tattoos and piercings at Merle Norman. I laughed and said I could guarantee no tattoos at the MN destination. To which she sighed a great sigh of relief, her little face relaxing for the first time since our arrival at 713, and said, “Oh good mommy, I really didn’t want that man piercing my ears. Did you SEE his nails???”
The lady at Merle Norman was positively delightful. She sat little bit in the high Merle Norman chair for the obligatory before and after shots. And upon looking at their jewelry, they had beautiful little pearl studs EXACTLY as little bit had dreamed.
In talking to our friendly piercer to ease little bit’s fears, she was completely pale and shaking because she is terrified of needles, we heard the best stories. She shared that the oldest woman whose ears she’d ever pierced was 85 years old. The 85 year old, when asked why pierce her ears now, said her husband had always thought pierced ears were for “loose” women and now that her husband had died she was finally able to pierce her ears!
Well that cracked us both up and the first earring went in. Oh, that’s it, that’s not even as bad as a flu shot, she remarked. She visibly relaxed again, stopped shaking, and the second one went in without even a flinch.
Now, of course, we’re three weeks in and she’s totally annoyed at having to treat them every morning and night. But we do it religiously because I know when she’s in her 40s (if she stays away from hoop earrings and babies) she’ll be glad she did it! No infections, thank heavens, and she bounded off to school the next bright birthday morning with her shiny pearl studs!
And now, I promise, back to fashion and parenting and leadership and community posts. Thanks for letting me scrapbook our 10th milestones!