In Defense of the Male Earring

It’s not perfect, but it’s mine.

I was an impressionable 19-year old who’d just flunked out of the frat rush process when I was assigned a spot in a suite with five in-your-face, perma-sweaty wrestlers. I never wore a singlet, but I was determined to keep up so I got obliterated, tattooed and thrown around a little. One night, a few weeks into that debaucherous year, one of my roommates suggested I go with him to a piercing shop. I was open to the suggestion because I was open to all suggestion and because he (the guy on the left) was a hard guy to say no to – captain of a sports team, good looking, new girl creeping out of our bedroom every week. He claimed that his earring was the source of his sexual success. Who was I to argue?

I got the earring and a couple of years of academic mediocrity, several failed flings, and a diploma later, I’m still wearing it. It’s a bauble, nothing to be proud of, but it feels like part of who I’ve become. I get shit for it and I’m open to the idea that I deserve to get shit for it, but I’m not taking it out. Let me break down why.

Because I Am That Guy

In the late seventies and early eighties, pop culture pirates like Michael Bolton and Mr. T (two dudes who shared little else in common) pioneered the masculine lobe decoration. Over time, the look made its way from Wham-era George Michael to Michael Jordan. Having an earring went from being a very specific type of affectation to being what cool guys did. Then regular guys (like me) started doing it and the whole thing got dumbed down. But the message has remained consistent. I want to live on a tour bus and have women throw themselves at me. I envy Axl. Maybe it’s something to be proud of and maybe it isn’t, but I wouldn’t mind signing a few tits and I’m comfortable with the world knowing that.

Because Women Dig It

Women are into some weird shit. Yeah, synthetic zirconium dioxide doesn’t do it for everyone, but there are others who swoon the second they see a twinkling rock. If you actually game out the math, I think the $16 pin in my ear is helping. I’m short, which already limits my choices. It’s better for me to work harder to attract a more tightly defined group of women than to try to attract all of the women, which isn’t going to work out unless I go big on Cuban heels. “I think it depends on the context,” a woman once said of earrings (I end up talking about male earrings a lot). “But if you wear it with confidence, like you, I appreciate it. You can get it.” I’m not entirely sure how sincere this sentiment was, but a little bit of feminine insincerity goes a long way.

Because Shut Up

There are as many reasons to get an earring as there are guys with an earring, so let’s try to answer a different question: Why the fuck not? It’s a line of inquiry that almost inevitably boils down to personal taste. You don’t like my earring? Fine, I’m not always sure that I do. But nothing irreversible (other than maybe a Prince Albert) has ever been done at a Piercing Pagoda. If the right woman asks, I’ll remove it. My ear will heal, but that spot on my left lobe will always be where an earring belongs. If that right woman ceases to be the right woman, I’ll put it back in. I’ve just got to be me – up to a point.