Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Ear Piercing Saga, or: How Doing the Right Thing Reinforces That You're a "Freak"

My daughter came home from school one day in December and announced that her best friend was getting her ears pierced for Christmas and mentioned that she thought that was something she would like to do as well.

My criteria for ear piercing is that she be responsible enough to take care of her piercings properly. After some discussion, I felt she was ready. (This was also discussed with my husband, who did have some reservations, but didn't stand in the way). I let her know that if she wanted her ears pierced, that could be her Christmas present from me, and that she had until the week before Christmas to decide (leaving me enough time to get her something else if she opted against it).

While she was thinking about whether or not she was too scared to go through with it, I began to research places in the area for ear piercing children (she is nearly 8). I already knew that I was not going to take her to a kiosk or shop in the mall where teens wield the equivalent of a staple gun to puncture the lobes of their willing victims. Having several friends who are tattoo artists and piercers, I've long been aware that the needle is a much better option than the gun for all piercing. First of all, it is more sanitary, the piercer has been better educated, and the jewelry used is better.

First, I called the mother of the best friend. She wasn't sure where she was going to take her daughter, but she agreed with me that she was uncomfortable taking her to the mall for ear piercing. We agreed to both do some research and let the other know if we found an acceptable place for the girls to get their ears done.

I called close to 20 places in the area looking for someone who pierced children younger than 16. Most places told me to call our pediatrician and get it done in the doctor's office. Some doctors do piercing for infants and children, ours, however, does not. Besides, doctor's offices aren't really the optimal place to pick out jewelry. Finally, I found a tattoo parlor downtown that does pierce children's ears - provided I bring her birth certificate and my ID to prove that she is my child, and then sign some paper work stating my permission and understanding of the procedure. A bit of a pain, but I understand the need for it all - again, a protection that the mall doesn't provide...

I called the other mother and let her know what I found. She sounded pleased.

This past weekend, my friend and I took my daughter to the tattoo parlor get her ears pierced. (My friend came to keep an eye on my son in the waiting area and to provide moral support to my daughter.) She was so very excited! She got all dressed up in a "cool" outfit that she deemed appropriate for the place and the event - a black long sleeved tee-shirt with a metallic pink skull and cross bones, black lace skirt, black leggings and her purple metallic boots. She picked out pinkish opal chips for her first earrings. While we waited our turn, she flipped through the tattoo artists' portfolio books and admired their work.

Once it was her turn, we went back to the piercer's room where she explained step by step to my daughter what she was going to do. As she set up, my daughter and I amused ourselves by reading the Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse poster hanging on the wall. The piercer told us that more than a few moms were offended by the poster in the room. I was baffled - did they not realize that they were in a tattoo shop?

The actual piercing was quick and easy. My daughter didn't even whimper. And she was so very happy and proud of herself when it was done. She couldn't wait to go to school and show everyone her new earrings. She also called all of her relatives to tell them all about it.



New Earrings

Monday comes, and she goes to school. It turns out that the best friend also had her ears pierced over the weekend... At Claire's. A lot of the classmates thought it was really cool that my daughter got her ears pierced at a tattoo shop.

Tuesday comes. My daughter tells me that some of the kids told their moms, and that my actions with my daughter were frowned upon. Apparently it isn't appropriate to take children to a tattoo parlor for ear piercing - it's just not a good environment for them. Never mind that it is safer, more sanitary, and done by a professional...

Honestly, I don't care what they think. I'm already the Morticia Addams of the PTA. And regardless that my actions were the right ones, it just made my freak flag fly just a bit higher and more vigorously.

23 comments:

  1. Don't let them get you down. You did ear piercing the right way! I am expecting my first daughter in March, and definitely will not be piercing her ears until i feel she is old enough, responsible enough, and of course she expresses a wish to have them done. Such a great mother/daughter outing :) And if she decides to have it done, i'll definitely make sure she is taken to a real professional in a tattoo shop :)

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  2. As a body modification enthusiast, thank you for doing the responsible thing and taking the time to get your daughter a professional, clean, and proper piercing :)

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  3. Yeah mommy! So proud of you! Thank you for putting your daughter's health first!

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  4. Good for you, Momma! You totally did the right thing. <3

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  5. Needle is better- it does not blast through the ear.

    My daughter will go to a piercer!

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  6. Very cool! It's a shame doing the healthier, more educated thing makes you a freak (not thinking of ear piercing as the only common body modification here...). If my 8 year old ever changes her mind about wanting her ears pierced, to a piercer we will go. But as it is, she wants no part of it *sigh*

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    1. Thanks! It is a shame, but as an alternative type parent, I'm used to it :/

      I'm sure your dauhter will come around in the next few years.

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  7. I was twelve when I was allowed to get my ears pierced and we went to a jewellers I don't think my Mum would even have thought about a tattoo shop/piercer (we were in the U.K.) I didn't even know there were tattoo shops until I was in high school. The jeweller didn't use a gun though.

    Back on topic my Mum was in her thirties before she got hers pierced and I think she went to a jeweller also (the equivalent of something like Kay or Zales).

    I spontaneously decided to get third holes at "Piercing Pagoda" and got an infection. I'll never go back to one of those places.

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    1. I had mine done at a jeweler as well. But that was in 1984... I am certain my mom didn't know about tattoo shops. But body mods weren't really that big in the early 80s, so I'm not too sure if there were professional piercers then as there are now...

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  8. Your daughter is beautiful :)

    My daughter wanted to get her ears pierced when she was 10 or so, and her first two holes were done by a friend who is a piercer. By the time she decided to get her third and fourth ones done, around 14-15, however, he'd moved out of the area.

    And that's when I found out that MD/DC have regulations that no one under 16 is allowed to get piercings in a licensed, inspected piercing/tattoo shop -- mall guns are totally allowed, but ZOMG MUSTN'T EXPOSE THE CHILDREN TO THE FREAKS!!

    She and I were both pretty damn outraged, given that needle piercing is a HELL of a lot safer and has a better outcome.

    We wound up getting them done on a visit to the UK, at the shop where my girlfriend got her tattoos (the owner is a good friend of hers.)

    She has four neat, well-healed holes, titanium jewelry, and is now 20 years old and has survived just fine despite her exposure to the "atmosphere" of a tattoo shop ;)

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    1. The mutual friend who did your daughter's ears was the first person I contacted when my daughter decided she was ready. I was hoping he knew someone in the area that would pierce children.Unfortunately, he didn't.

      MD and VA are still no one under 16. DC isn't but I only found one place that will do it - Fatty's Tattooz off of DuPont Circle. And they would only do it after I showed them her birth certificate, my license, and then signed several forms...

      If I hadn't been able to find someone to do it here, I probably would have taken her to FL next summer and asked that friend to do it.

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  9. Love this. I think you absolutely did the right thing and those other mamas are missing out. Your girl learned about making responsible decisions and doing your research... And what exactly is so scary about a tattoo parlor?

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    1. Thanks!

      I'm not really sure why a tattoo parlor is scary. I think they probably have some serious miconceptions.

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  10. Many religions forbid body piercings.
    I suggest be piercing free all your life.
    If a Law comes in make it 16

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    1. I'm an atheist, so I really don't hold any value to what a religion tries to dictate about my body or my children's bodies.

      I don't break laws. We followed exactly what was needed to do this legally, and properly.

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  11. Hi, very informative thanks for sharing.

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