I promised Julianna long ago that she could get her ears pierced when she turned 12.  Much to my surprise, she turned 12 about 2 weeks after her 8th birthday.  I made sure she really wanted it by telling her that we were going to a piercing/tattooing parlor to do it.  She was still game.  I’ve read and heard that a needle piercing from an actual professional is less likely to get infected than a gun piercing.  I have no clue what the statistics are and it seemed unlikely that she’d lose an ear even if we went to Claire’s, but it just seemed to make sense to go to someone that is trained and licensed rather than some mallrat with a gun.  Apparently, the needle actually removes the piece of ear tissue– like a hole punch–rather than just shoving the stud through the way the gun does.  yeah, I know, it’s just an earlobe hole.  As Jerry pointed out–I like to make everything an adventure.  And, you know, I have to win at ear piercing.  I went to our food co-op and sought out the multiple piercing crowd and asked them who they recommend.   They all agreed on two downtown parlors.  And thought I was just the most adorable old lady, asking them about tattoos and piercing.  So cute I am, in my flowered clogs and my single-hole ear lobes.  One of the recommended places doesn’t do kids at all, so our decision was made for us.

Molly was going to get hers done at the same time, so we all trooped up to Time Bomb on Market Street downtown.  Ben was at a party, so it was me, Julianna, and Lily, as well as the entire Donald clan–two parents and girls 14, 10, and newly 8 AND a Westhighland Terrier.  And, let’s face it, we don’t look like the usual tattoo parlor crowd.  We looked like we done come off the mountain to go to town.  Which, well, we did.  Hidey ya’ll!  I had to produce Julianna’s birth certificate and my picture ID to prove that I wasn’t just an easily bribed baby sitter.  Around this point, Molly decided she was A-OK with the Piercing Pagoda at the mall and became a spectator.  To be fair, I’m really impressed that Julianna didn’t.   The fellow who was preparing to help her was named Moose.  He looked like all guys named Moose do, except that he had a baby face.  Provided that baby had a face full of metal.  Both eyebrows pierced, bridge of nose, three on his upper lip, one on the lower, pointy semi-circle through the nose, many in the ears–and HIS lobes had gaping open holes where he could insert those fat plugs or what have you. Would that bad guy from Hellraiser even seem scary anymore?

Moose (on the way home, Julianna pointed out that his last name, as seen on some certificate of completion or license or what have you, was “Almighty.”  Moose Almighty.  How I hope that is his legal name) was super gentle and kind and sweet.  He joked with Julianna just as much as he thought she could take and kept checking in to see how she was feeling.  He complimented her on how well she was doing and assured her that she was doing SO much better than other kids her age.  He also told us about his three guinea pigs and was excited to hear of cubes and coroplast cages, AND knew Small Angels, so he was our pal.

It certainly took longer than the gun, but it was a far better show.  As usual, I was excited to get to be on the set of my own reality show.  I watched Miami Ink for ages, since I’m quite taken with really gifted tattoo artists.  *I* don’t want a tattoo, as I’m already well on the way to knowing what my skin will look like old (and I buy my clothes at Goodwill so that I can toss them after one season.  I need change), but I’m drawn to the culture.  When I was bartending, I discovered that motorcycle people are, as a whole, the salt of the earth– good tippers, not rude, and not pervvy like the truck drivers were.  I find the same with the body-mod crowd I encounter.  I’m not sure what drives them to need such control over their bodies, but they’re never as scary as they look.  I think I’ll become a tat hag and just hang out and swap jokes with them.  We got to watch a woman getting a key tattooed behind her ear (I know.  Who can see it? Maybe it’s so she always knows where her keys are.  Maybe the key to her heart is over her cerebellum.  Who can tell?), and see people coming in with ideas that the artists then sketched out–just like on TV!  Let’s see, I’ve been on Shear Genius, and House, and now Miami Ink…I need a way to get on Lost…

So here she is:

They use the barbell kind so that the ear can swell without danger of skin growing over the back post cover thing (which happened to a friend of mine).  But also, how cool does she look now?  Oh, no sappy little hearts for us, my friend.  Oh no.  THAT show would be on Lifetime, which we don’t watch.  At least until Project Runway ends up there.