My thirteen year old son wants his ears pierced. My sunny little blonde haired blued eyed smiling little boy wants to poke holes in his head and decorate himself.
Ok, his hair isn’t clear yellow anymore: it has become a light brown/dirty blonde, and he isn’t little so much as 5’9”, but his eyes are still blue, and he is still sunny and usually smiling.
I have a visceral reaction to this request for earrings, which is a loud, resounding “No, no, no, not in my lifetime, no.”
Jacob’s arguments are sound, which is a problem for me. I like to have logic on my side, and I’m afraid I don’t on this one. His irrefutable arguments are these: 1. He has proven his responsibility. 2. His sister, who is two years younger than him, has had her ears pierced for years. 3. His grades are outstanding and he keeps his room neat and does his own laundry. He has earned this privilege. 4. Earrings on a boy are not alternative or counterculture or rebellious like they were when the Earth was still cooling and I was thirteen. 5. Many boys his age who are generally good boys have pierced ears. 6. Many of my male friends who are perfectly decent human beings in addition to being in their forties or beyond have pierced ears, and they managed to have decent, stable jobs. 7. He can always just take them out and you could barely see the hole, just like I can barely see mine when I am not wearing earrings. 8. He will be 14 in a few weeks, and we can’t think of anything better to get him as a present.
My husband says no, for one reason and for one reason only: my son is a guy. Guys don’t wear earrings.
Mike is even older than I am.
My Dad, who is even older than that, doesn’t even like earrings on women. “If God wanted extra holes in your head, He would have put them there.”
I searched deep for the root of my reasoning. If I was honest with myself, I had to admit that a lot of it had to do with public perception. There are at least four women that I am aware of who are vying to be his future mother in law. This means that they want their daughters to end up with a boy like him. I can think of no higher compliment. This is no doubt because he is smart, good looking, polite, and well-behaved. He looks clean cut and well scrubbed. I fear that earrings will mar this image.
I challenged him to find a picture of a non-celebrity guy who was wearing the type of earrings he wanted to wear who didn’t look like a thug. It took him five minutes to find an adorably cute, quirky looking guy with the same coloring and basic look as Jacob and small black dots in his ears. I still didn’t care for the fashion, but the earrings were no more a part of my dislike of the outfit than the jacket with a weird collar the guy was wearing.
It comes down to a boy vs. girl thing in my mind, and I am conditioned to think that if I want to say that girls can do anything boys can do (only backwards and in high heels, like Ginger Rogers) then it isn’t fair to say that boys can’t do anything girls can do. Which is a great theory and all, but we are talking about MY boy here, and letting some chickie at the mall or a guy at a tattoo shop violate the very essence of the Hippocratic Oath – first do no harm. The fact that I have done the same thing, and allowed the same thing to be done to my daughter is immaterial. Or is it?
So I thought this:
I’ll try to take off my Mom Goggles for a minute and see this worthy, independent kid for the individual that he is, and I’ll let the Court of Public Opinion have a vote. I still have ultimate authority, but I’m curious what you think. Let me know in the comments below.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Told You…” is set to be released in the Fall of 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here.