Saturday, June 10, 2023

C. Stroup: Lend me your ears!

C. Stroup
C. Stroup

My oldest granddaughter, 7, decided she wanted to get her ears pierced. I was jealous. Here, at the ripe old age of 71, my lobes were still virgins. Without exception, every female I know and about half the men have pierced ears. I told Jaci we could go together and hold hands and I’d pop for the cost. Sounded like a good deal to her but we didn’t set a date. A couple of weeks later she decided, after talking to her mom and hearing what all was entailed, she’d wait until she was eight. After polling three or four of my friends I decided not to wait and go ahead and get it done.

I heard some horrific stories of how these piercings were done back in the day. It seems that most of my buddies, in their naïve youth, say anywhere from 6 to 12 years old, had gathered for piercing parties to do it themselves. The procedure of choice seemed to be to numb the lobe with ice and sterilize a needle (or not) with a lighter or match. The victims would grit their teeth and have someone quickly jab the needle through the ear. OMG…to be that brave and stupid! They ignored the blood that followed and there was never a follow on antiseptic used. I shuddered.

Further investigation led me to learn that Walmart did piercings for a mere $30. All you had to do was purchase the earrings they supplied and a cleansing kit was included. So you used this lotion for six weeks, three times a day. Sounded like a deal to me, though at first I thought having Walmart do it sounded pretty second class. But one day while shopping there I had an earrisitible urge to visit the jewelry counter. Guess what happened next? Yes, it hurt a bit, but the owie only lasted a few seconds and it was over! I didn’t experience a ringing in my ears but rather a piercing sound. There. I did it! At last I could throw away my mother’s old clip-ons! (I seldom wore them and when I did they always pinched my lobes). Now, when Jaci’s turn came, I was prepared to describe the entire process to her, armed with first-hand information I could give her an “earful.” As luck would have it, she FaceTimed me within a few days and said she had changed her mind about waiting. Besides, recently two of her friends, around her age, had theirs done so you know where she was coming from.

We arranged to meet at my house so we could go to the same lady that had pierced me. I was very pleased with her. I thought it would be just the two of us but it turned out to be a family affair. My husband, son, his wife, and Jaci’s two siblings all attended. She was all hyped and ready to go! I’d called ahead to make sure Monica was working that day. But, of course, nothing ever goes as planned so when we arrived we learned she had left early. We heard about a jewelry store nearby that pierced, and happened to be the same in a chain that her friends had used. Naturally every earring Jaci chose was out of stock. After three or four tries, she finally made a selection that pleased her and they had instore. However, by now her courage was waning.

She no longer wanted to hold my hand but clung tightly to her mom. Her bottom lip trembled as the piercer prepared to shoot. (They really shouldn’t count, 1,2, 3. They should just do it. The anticipation for a kid is just too much.) Tears rolled down her cheeks but she sat straight up trying to be brave as she braced herself for the second assault. She cut the circulation off in her mother’s hand as I secretly wished it were mine. When it was all said and done you could hear her breathe a sigh of relief. But the look in her eyes said much more than, “Boy am I glad that’s over!” After clinging to her mom for a while she was able to accept the paper tiara they placed on her head and accolades all-around of how brave she was. We all raved about the earrings and they really were cute. I walked up to the register to pay. “That will be $77,” the cashier said. I gulped out loud and dug out my credit card. Didn’t want to make a fuss in front of the whole family but I was a little shocked. I suppose the difference in price had much to do with the after-care regimen. Jaci’s packet only required she swab the areas twice a day for three weeks. Her solution contained an antibiotic to ward off any infection. This was a lot more than the $30 I had paid at Walmart but it was worth it. After all, we’re supposed to spoil our grandkids, right?

So now my six weeks are up and her three weeks are up and we both get to change out earrings. She confided in me that she needed three more dollars before she could buy a new pair. And with her index finger on her chin, “Oh my! I don’t know where I’m going to get that three dollars.” Pretty clever kid, wouldn’t you say?

C. Stroup
C. Stroup
Cindy Stroup is a Double Oak resident and has been contributing to The Cross Timbers Gazette for over 30 years. Read her column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper.

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