Holes in his Head


My thirteen year old son wants his ears pierced.  My sunny little blonde haired blued eyed smiling little boy wants to poke holes in his head and decorate himself.

Ok, his hair isn’t clear yellow anymore: it has become a light brown/dirty blonde, and he isn’t little so much as 5’9”, but his eyes are still blue, and he is still sunny and usually smiling. 

I have a visceral reaction to this request for earrings, which is a loud, resounding “No, no, no, not in my lifetime, no.” 

Jacob’s arguments are sound, which is a problem for me.  I like to have logic on my side, and I’m afraid I don’t on this one.  His irrefutable arguments are these: 1. He has proven his responsibility.  2. His sister, who is two years younger than him, has had her ears pierced for years.  3. His grades are outstanding and he keeps his room neat and does his own laundry.  He has earned this privilege.  4.  Earrings on a boy are not alternative or counterculture or rebellious like they were when the Earth was still cooling and I was thirteen.  5.  Many boys his age who are generally good boys have pierced ears.  6.  Many of my male friends who are perfectly decent human beings in addition to being in their forties or beyond have pierced ears, and they managed to have decent, stable jobs.  7.  He can always just take them out and you could barely see the hole, just like I can barely see mine when I am not wearing earrings.  8.  He will be 14 in a few weeks, and we can’t think of anything better to get him as a present.

My husband says no, for one reason and for one reason only: my son is a guy.  Guys don’t wear earrings.

Mike is even older than I am.

My Dad, who is even older than that, doesn’t even like earrings on women.  “If God wanted extra holes in your head, He would have put them there.”

I searched deep for the root of my reasoning.  If I was honest with myself, I had to admit that a lot of it had to do with public perception.  There are at least four women that I am aware of who are vying to be his future mother in law.  This means that they want their daughters to end up with a boy like him.  I can think of no higher compliment.  This is no doubt because he is smart, good looking, polite, and well-behaved.  He looks clean cut and well scrubbed.  I fear that earrings will mar this image. 

I told him this.  I challenged him to find a picture of a non-celebrity guy who was wearing the type of earrings he wanted to wear who didn’t look like a thug.  It took him five minutes to find an adorably cute, quirky looking guy with the same coloring and basic look as Jacob and small black dots in his ears.  I still didn’t care for the fashion, but the earrings were no more a part of my dislike of the outfit than the jacket with a weird collar the guy was wearing. 

It comes down to a boy vs. girl thing in my mind, and I am conditioned to think that if I want to say that girls can do anything boys can do (only backwards and in high heels, like Ginger Rogers) then it isn’t fair to say that boys can’t do anything girls can do.  Which is a great theory and all, but we are talking about MY boy here, and letting some chickie at the mall or a guy at a tattoo shop violate the very essence of the Hippocratic Oath – first do no harm.  The fact that I have done the same thing, and allowed the same thing to be done to my daughter is immaterial.  Or is it?

So I thought this:

I’ll try to take off my Mom Goggles for a minute and see this worthy, independent kid for the individual that he is, and I’ll let the Court of Public Opinion have a vote.  I still have ultimate authority, but I’m curious what you think.  Let me know in the comments below.  

If you enjoyed this and want to read more like it, visit Lori at her website, www.loriduffwrites.com , on Twitter, or on Facebook. For the Best of Lori, read her books, “Mismatched Shoes and Upside Down Pizza” and “The Armadillo, the Pickaxe, and the Laundry Basket.”

About Lori Duff 352 Articles
Lori is the author of the bestselling collection of humor essays, "Mismatched Shoes and Upside Down Pizza" currently available exclusively on Amazon. In order to finance her writing habit, she is a practicing lawyer with Jones & Duff, LLC. She is married to Mike Duff, who is a retired DeKalb County Public Safety Officer, and has two amazing children who make cameo embarrassing appearances in her blog posts and who attend Walton County Public Schools. Her legal column, "Legalese", is meant to de-mystify and humanize the Court system. When asked about her writing, Lori says, "Life is too short not to laugh at every available opportunity. My goal is to make myself laugh -- and hopefully you will laugh along with me."

7 Comments on Holes in his Head

  1. Congratulations on raising such a fine young man, but he’s still only 13 years old. I made my son wait until he was 16, then let him get his ear pierced. He did it, but by that time the novelty had worn off and he only kept the earring in for 6 months. Now, at age 23, he laughs about it and thanked me for making him wait.

  2. My stepson’s mother faced that dilemma when he was 16. She said she would phone his dad and go by what he says. My husband said, “Well, he’s 16 now, he’s almost an adult, and I guess he’s old enough to make his own decisions, so if he really wants to, go ahead and let him.” We still laugh about her response to our now 39-year-old son. At the time she hung up the phone, turned to him and said, “Your father said No.”

  3. As you say, the pro’s for the argument are logical and sound. The con’s are mostly emotional and based on personal preference. The only restricting factor is that he is a minor and under your care and supervision, and the choice is generally up to you, unless he goes behind your back.

    If he doesn’t like them later on, he can take them out. If he finds them to be a drag on his romantic or professional aspirations, he can address that when he reaches that point.

    PS- I’m pretty sure piercers and tattoo artists don’t take the Hippocratic Oath. Did you inquire when you had your daughter pierced?

  4. As a mother of a 14 year old son, I can see your dilemma. Allowing them some sort of “independence” but on the same token giving them direction & guidance is hard. I am not a fan of earrings on guys at any age, but that is only my opinion. As I sit here & ponder my thoughts…I initially think no. Because 13 or 14 is too young for an earring (on a guy) but I don’t think that way for a girl. Why is that? At least with an earring, he can remove it & no damage is done if he thinks later in years he made a mistake. Unlike a tattoo!! Good luck with your decision.

  5. I would ask him if he intends to do that “gauging” or “stretching your piercing” thing. They use tapers to gradually stretch the ear lobes to their desired size…then they put those big round rings in that look like men’s wedding bands. ? The ear lobe may never go back to normal size, depending on how far he would stretch it eventually.

    • Jennifer Waddell, that’s what I meant by allowed within reason. I think that is so sickening- yecch! My poor son, I told he could, and then went on to specify just exactly how far he could go with it- lol I can’t even see grown people with those much less have to look at my own kid everyday with earring holes the size of a tire on a Buick. I don’t have the stomach for those kinds of piercing. lol

  6. I had to change my thoughts when I read the reply concerning his Dad saying no. The wife has influence but the decision (last word) comes from the Dad. It’s an open door for a talk on age and independence, but ultimately, you have to honor your parents’ wishes. In that event, I think waiting is always a good policy since kids will change their minds a thousand times before they get grown. If Dad says no, it needs to stick. But reasonably, you can get him to consider allowing him to wait. Otherwise, if Dad gives in, then all will (I promise) have a good laugh later on.

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