Sunday, November 1, 2009

Of Pirates, Pin Cushions, and Purple Hearts

I understand why women pierce their ears: tasteful earrings accentuate a woman's natural beauty. I get it.

What I don't get is the infatuation men have with doing the same. No offense, "guys," but I just don't see the allure. Unless you really, really wish you were a "Danica" instead of a "Dan," or "Billie Jean" instead of "William," I can't figure out why you'd enjoy sticking dangly bangly frippery in your earlobes. I suppose a sufferer of Adam-and-Steveism is acting consistently with his perversion when he goes to the mall and gets his ears pierced, but this specimen of hu"man"ity is Not Right, in the first place.

I can think of two exceptions in which a man may retain his masculinity and also adorn himself with aural hula hoops or glittering baubles:

The first is if you are a woad - painted, naked Celt screaming across a fenland with axe raised high enough to split someone from stem to sternum. I won't question your manliness; I'll just duck out of the way. Insert any other barbarian killer, if this one doesn't fit your fancy.

The other is if you are an honest - to - goodness pirate -- and I'm not talking about the namby pamby modern equivalent with machine guns. I'm referencing the cutlass - waving, eyepatch - accessorizing, parrot - befriending, pegleg - hobbling, rum - guzzling, wench - slapping, keelhauling, plank - walking, maiden - despoiling, Jolly Roger - saluting, shark - baiting, Davy Jones' Locker - accomodating, chantey - bellowing, barnacle - chomping, doubloon - filching, tricorn - hatted Port Royalist with an open - throated tunic and hair on your chest thick and gnarly as steel wool.

If you're of the male persuasion, and this description fits you, then you have my blessing. Deck yourself out to your heart's content. If you're female and fit the above characterization, God help you.

Now we've come to the point at which Things Get Worse: I'm talking about the "fellers" who have discovered that a ring in each ear just won't do. Nope. But maybe one through the nipple will satisfy. Or the upper lip. Or the lower. Or the nostril. Or the tongue. Or the eyebrow. Or the eyelid. Or -- for the love of Blackbeard's navel - ring -- through the eyeball. Or all of the above. Yeccch, I'm just making this up as I go.

If you walk through a metal detector, and the thing begins to smoke and scream for help, you just might be a human pin cushion. Ditto if electromagnetic exposure means decapitation, your girlfriend wears ten thimbles when she touches you, or if someone mistakes you for an extra from that disney favorite, Hellraiser.

I once went to a family get - together, and as I spoke to my younger cousin, I noticed an honest - to - goodness silver metal bar about two inches long protruding through the middle portion of his ear.

I asked him if he'd received a Purple Heart.

Puzzled, he said "Huh?" and smiled.

I said, "Well, it appears that you've just come back from the front with an injury, and I believe you're still in need of having that shrapnel extracted from your ear," at which point he laughed me off and acted as if I was a little bit nuts.

Okay, the latter was a fair observation; but if I'm nuts, what about the guy who refused the medic when he offered to remove the shrapnel?

As one of the unpierced, I find myself confused when in the presence of primitives.

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