Idea of poking holes through flesh has dangerous ring to it

May 30, 1994|By MIKE LITTWIN

I do not wear an earring. I don't wear any earrings because I don't understand them.

What I don't understand is why people think it's necessary to have objects hanging from their ears or, for that matter, from any of your major body parts.

There is the pain factor to consider. People whose ears are pierced tell me it's not painful to stick a pin through your ear lobe. This makes no sense. I tell them I don't stick pins in any parts of my body any more than I voluntarily drop blocks of cement on my head or read books written by Tom Clancy.

I have a very low pain threshold. For example, I openly weep as I floss.

But more to the point -- even if I were as tough as, say, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Hillary Clinton -- I still don't think earrings are exactly me.

By me, I mean the kind of male person who, when asked to fill out a survey, long ago went past the part where it says age: 18 to 34. I am much closer to the 45-to-dead bracket.

When you get to 45, you are officially a geezer. You don't wear earrings. You wear shiny green pants and belong to a country club and have conversations with your friends about either lawn care or the dreaded prostate gland.

Earrings, the kind worn by males, like a tasteful diamond stud or (my personal favorite) a replica of Barney Rubble, are in the news.

First, we heard from Marge Schott, the more than slightly batty owner of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team who thinks it's fun to collect Nazi memorabilia. A fun lady, all in all.

Schott recently told a group of Cincinnati businessmen that she does not allow her players to wear earrings because, she said, they look "fruity."

She didn't say what kind of fruit she had in mind, but we can be pretty sure she didn't mean mangoes. Actually, we know what she meant.

There was a time when you used to hear that an earring in a certain ear meant a certain sexual orientation. I'm pretty sure it TTC was either the left or the right ear. Both ears? Few men go for both ears, which could mean, I guess, bisexuality. To be bisexual, as Woody Allen pointed out, means to have twice as good a chance to get a date on Saturday night.

Anyway, I think the left vs. right thing got lost a long time ago, as did, by the way, Marge Schott's brain.

Ken Griffey Jr., only the best baseball player maybe since Willie Mays, wears an earring the size of the Sears Tower. It doesn't seem to hurt his playing.

But how about his image?

It depends on who's keeping score. Wayne Huizenga, who owns Blockbuster video and music stores, has decreed no earrings or long hair for male employees and only one earring set for women. It's 1994 and he thinks that long hair and pierced body parts are bad for a music store? Is he trying to sell Metallica CDs or open a Marine recruitment center?

Huizenga also owns the Florida Marlins baseball team. Earrings are allowed. Obviously, he's hoping to someday get Ken Griffey.

Image?

I have a friend I'll call Jim. Actually, everyone calls him Jim. I just like the way it sounds to say, "I have a friend I'll call Jim."

He wears an earring.

I ask him why.

"To look cool," he says.

I don't know when this trend began exactly. The first time I heard of men who weren't pirates who wore earrings was back in the early '70s. A friend of mine who lived in a hotel on Times Square made an early sighting.

You have to understand what a hotel on Times Square might be like. The typical resident would fit neatly into the Manson family. My friend told me of one such resident who had a regulation-size test tube hanging from his ear. I don't know how he got it attached. Or what he had in there.

But you could see the danger.

You want an example from today's world? How about Jennifer Capriati? Once she was a typical teen-age kid. Oh, she might have had pierced ears, but I'll bet it was just one hole per ear, just like it was when your kid was young and you actually had some control over her.

Then trouble began. By the time Capriati checked into a drug rehab center, she was wearing four earrings in an ear and had a ring through a nostril.

One earring leads to four earrings which leads to nose rings which leads to smoking dope and then on to the hard stuff.

Just don't say you weren't warned.

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