I grew up during the late 70s, early 80s in Southern California. At the beginning of my teen years we moved to Orange County. My family in no way fit the bill as normal in The O.C., but it was years before I realized just how different life was for me, as compared to most of my friends. For starters, my dad’s name is Darwin. Not Bill or Mike or John or Richard. Growing up with Darwin was never dull and I will write about it often. This is my recollection of how I convinced him to let me get my ears pierced.
“Dad, I have something to ask you.”
“I had a feeling.”
I took a deep breath “Can I get my ears pierced? Please??”
“Why would you want to do that?”
“Because it looks nice. I like earrings, and it would be fun to have some.”
Darwin looked at me, waiting for a more compelling reason.
“Dad, I’m the only girl I know who doesn’t have her ears pierced. I see babies with their ears pierced, and I know a lot of girls my age who have two holes in each ear.”
“Were their noses pierced, too? And their hair dyed green? Tattoos?”
“Dad, no. I just want my ears pierced, that’s all. Pleeaassee. Otherwise, I’ll be the only girl in the entire eighth grade that doesn’t have earrings. People are going to think I’m a dork.”
“Are you?” Darwin asked.
“Am I what?”
“No, Dad. Stop it. You’re so hard to talk to sometimes.”
“If God wanted you to have holes in your ear lobes, you would’ve been born with holes in your ear lobes.”
“Dad, really? We don’t even go to church. It’s not fair to act like you think God cares one way or the other if my ears are pierced. I think God wouldn’t mind, especially if it means I fit in.”
After an excruciatingly long pause and unbroken eye contact, Darwin said, “I’m going to say yes, but with one condition.”
“Yea! Thank you, thank you. I can’t wait. When can I go?”
“I said there was a condition.”
“I know. I heard. That’s fine, what is it? Thank you, thank you.” I hugged him.
“I want you to take Sister with you.”
“Okay! I don’t care if she watches. That way, when it’s her turn, she’ll know to what to expect.”
“No, that isn’t what I mean. I want you to have Mom take you both to get your ears pierced. Together. At the same time.”
I was shocked. “What? Why? She’s only nine.”
“Because, I don’t want to have this conversation all over again with her in a couple of years. Go make yourselves, and God, happy and get all the ears pierced at once.”
“You’re kidding right? I had to wait until I was thirteen, but she doesn’t? Dad, that’s not fair. She should have to wait until she’s thirteen, just like me.”
“Life isn’t always fair, Kid. The sooner you get that through your thick skull, the sooner you’ll quit being disappointed about it. Life. Isn’t. Fair.”
“All of the ears or none of them. It’s your choice, I’m done talking about this.”
And so all of the ears were pierced. I never did pierce my nose, or get any tattoos, or dye my hair green, but in college I pierced my ears several more times. Just because I could. Like a dork.