I’m often asked if it hurts to get your ears pierced.My reply is, “no, it’s a quick and painless process.”I always fail to recollect – possibly as a defense mechanism – my first experience with the ear piercing gun.
I was ten or eleven years old and my mother took me to get my ears pierced at the piercing pagoda at the Cranberry Mall in Pennsylvania.I was nervous, but excited as I perused the earring selection.Even then I was overly concerned about choosing a style that would complement everything.I settled on a simple yet classic pair of sterling silver ball stud earrings.
As I pointed out my selection to my mother, a teenage girl wearing a New Kids on the Block t-shirt walked over.She lauded my choice in an effort to ease my obvious anxiety and reassured me that, “it’s over real fast; you won’t feel a thing.”
She handed me a teddy bear as we walked over to high bar stool that loomed over my small frame.I politely refused the teddy bear, and much to my mother’s chagrin, the hand she offered in comfort.I wasn’t a baby.I would be able to do this without a stuffed animal or my momma.
The young girl drew on my ears with a pen and, handing me a mirror, asked if they were straight.I nodded without really looking and set the mirror face down on my lap.I wanted to get this over with.Perceiving my urgency, she looked at my mother who nodded once.That was the universal signal for “Go” and proceeded to ready the gun.
The gun. The ear piercing gun.Why did it have to be a “gun?”Shooting earrings into the head is insane.Even as a kid, I remember thinking that whoever decided to call their invention a “piercing gun” was an idiot.It did not ease my fear.
“Take a deep breath in and let it out slowly,” the girl said as she clamped the plastic contraption over my tiny ears.What torture.I took a breath and before my lungs were even full I heard a loud POP!The first side was done.A piece of metal just went through my entire ear and it didn’t even hurt.Since she literally jumped the gun the last time, I was a bit more hesitant.She didn’t even let me get a full breath.I forged ahead though; I didn’t want just one side.That would be worse than holding a teddy bear.
She walked around the high chair to the other side and zeroed in on her mark.She steadied her aim using my shoulder as a tripod and repeated the instructions.POP!The other was done.I had pierced ears.I picked the mirror and admired the two silver earrings that framed my face.For some reason, it scared me.A high school student just stuck pins through my ears and now I have holes in my head.
Perhaps I was an alarmist child, but it runs in the family.
I stood up.It felt weird.My skin got hot.My vision skewed.I took a step.It got worse.I panicked and took off.
For reasons I’ve never understood, I always ran when I was about to pass out.It was as if fleeing the environment would stop me from fainting.I’m not sure what my reasoning was, but that was the last time I ever did it.
I woke up on the floor, both my mother’s colorful sweater and the New Kids on the Block stared down at me.The girl looked terrified and was asking if I needed a doctor, ice, water, the bear, anything.Apparently, in my frantic effort to leave the premise, I passed out and hit the display wall on the way down.Getting my ears pierced certainly did not hurt, but the injury I sustained after the fact did.I had a half-inch gash above my right eye where I collided with one of the metal stands.
It wasn’t very deep, but left a small scar.Now I never run when I get the faint feeling.I stop, drop, and avoid head injury.
Next time a little girl asks me about the ear piercing process, however, I think I will keep my answer as, “No, it doesn’t hurt a bit.It’s over real fast.”We don’t need more alarmist children running around malls and falling into jewelry displays do we?