rite of passage

The Bee is turning 8 next week. As part of her pre-birthday celebration, I took her to get her ears pierced today. She’s been agitating for an ear-piercing for several years now, but I made up my mind a long time ago to do it when she was 8, and I stuck to my guns, despite the heavy lobbying.

I got an extra set of holes put in my head, too, partly to show her that it would be okay (I went first).

I remember vividly going to get my ears pierced for the first time. My mother insisted that I wait until I was 13–and she was 39 then, and got her ears pierced for the first time when I did. My mother told me then that when she was a girl, no “nice” girl had pierced ears. I think it freaked her out that I was still insistent on doing it, and I can’t now imagine what possessed her to do it after living without pierced ears for so long.

The Bee and I talked about that a little bit today, although I struggled to explain what made a “nice” girl nice, in the 1950s. There was a line, and the kid ahead of us was an 18-month (or so) boy. I told her that when I was growing up, it was very odd for boys to have pierced ears, just like it was odd for “nice” girls of her grandmother’s generation to have them. She asked me if I would let the Potato get his ears pierced, when he turns 8, and I told her I would. It was an interesting exercise in changing social mores.

Seeing that boy did make me wonder, though, about what the norm is becoming about the age of piercing. I know that I’m fairly conservative (on this, if nothing else) for our community–the Bee might be the only girl in her class who didn’t have pierced ears last week. I felt pretty strongly that she should be old enough to take care of them herself, thus the wait.

If you have a kid with pierced ears, how old was s/he when you got it done? If your kid doesn’t have them, why not? When (if ever) will you do it?

September 23, 2007. growing up. 17 comments.