Gracie got her ears pierced recently. My youngest granddaughter turned 6 years old today, the youngest of my progeny to have holes poked in her lobes in the name of gilding the lily.
She didn’t even flinch, her mom, Ruth, commented. But later she privately admitted she was a little scared about the whole thing, and it did hurt.
Ruth and her older siblings (twin sister Becky was born first by a whole minute) first experienced ear piercing during their junior high years. In fact they were playing school volleyball at the time, and rules required that they wear tape over the newly installed studs during matches.
Funny thing is, one or two of my daughters rarely if ever wear earrings anymore. And Gracie’s grandma never did get her ears pierced, nor has she even worn clip-ons for quite a few years.
According to Aunt Becky, Gracie’s oldest cousin Courtney was scared to death when she went through the process. To top that off, the girl who did it told her she was going to count to 3. But the piercing came on 2. Courtney was not a happy camper.
Gracie is quite the girly girl, insisting on earrings at an age when many kids are barely thinking about it. She has a mind of her own, and she exercises it freely.
But these days earrings aren’t the big deal they once were. A glance at today’s adolescent females is likely to reveal rows of piercings all up and down the ear. And then there is the trend toward body piercings in random locations, some of them in places you wouldn’t think they would want strangers to touch, much less pierce.
And of course piercings aren’t just for girls anymore. Guys not only pierce one or both ears but their tongues, noses, eyebrows and other places you’d have to be on pretty familiar terms to observe.
You see little girls not far removed from infancy with earrings, too. But they probably didn’t get them of their own volition, some of them still being younger than the talking age. Some parents like to grow their kids up fast. Bad idea; the teenage years will come before they’re ready for them anyway.
And we won’t even go into the tattooing craze. Each generation has to be a little more in-your-face than the last one. Where do we go from here? At least earrings and studs can be readily removed if the wearer gets tired of them.
So far no such questions have arisen over our grandsons. Problems with boys are of a different nature.
A couple of them, as I understand it, have had confrontations of a physical nature in school – and received varying degrees of discipline for it. I hasten to add the names are being withheld to protect the guilty.
Kids eventually grow up. And have kids of their own. And it starts all over again.
Jim Bailey’s column appears on Wednesday. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.