Ear Piercing in a Foreign Land

When I was a senior in high school I had the amazing opportunity to go on a Spring Break trip to Europe and visit Rome, Paris, and London. While others were headed to the Florida beaches to party me and some of my good friends went abroad to experience new cultures and it was without a doubt one of the most fun trips of my life. It was one of the first nights overseas pretty late at night in the stairwell of our hotel in Rome and me and some friends were hanging out before bed. I really have no recollection of how it came up or why she’d even brought it with her on the trip but my friend Emily had a piercing needle and for I don’t know if it was due to the high of being in a foreign land having the trip of a lifetime or if my rebellious side came out but I decided then and there that I needed to get my ear pierced and Emily was more than happy to oblige.

My nervousness was apparent on my face as I waited for her to return with the needle and several people told me it wouldn’t hurt too much but feel like more of a pinch. Those words succeeded in relaxing me and by the time my piercing expert who was a junior in high school by the way, returned to put a hole in my ear I was feeling more confident than ever that I was making a fantastic decision. There was a lovely about which ear meant that you were gay that left me feeling uneasy because nobody was completely sure but I decided to forge ahead any way. It’s not that I have a problem with gay people but I didn’t feel comfortable being in a strange country unintentionally sending out that message. Fortunately we pierced the correct ear not that it really would have mattered since I had the piercing for less than twenty-four hours.

The excitement of doing something crazy and excitement quickly passed and was overcome by the realization that I had unfortunately not weighed the pros and cons of the situation. I went to a conservative christian high school, a school were guys weren’t allowed to have piercings and even if they were I certainly would not be allowed in the house upon my return home with something sticking out of my ear. I was on a school sponsored trip and surprisingly the teacher chaperones who were with us didn’t seem upset about it although one of the teachers told me my ear was going to fall off. I’m pretty sure he was joking but by the next morning it was hurting quite badly probably due to the fact that I didn’t know the proper cleaning techniques for a new piercing. I wanted the pain to stop but it would have been super lame to take it out the morning after having it done. That morning we went to Vatican City in the middle of Rome, arguably one of the most holy places in the world and looking up at the obelisk in front of St. Peter’s Basilica a wave of catholic guilt washed over me and perhaps moved by a greater power I removed the ear ring there. I was a little worried about how my mom would react when she found out about it but the tiny hole had closed up by the time we returned home and like the teachers she didn’t seem upset about it. My ear hurt for a few days following the removal but it healed up fine with no medical attention needed. I guess the moral of the story is if you’re ever in a foreign country and a friend offers to pierce your ear you should definitely do it because it wasn’t too bad aside from a little pain.

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