We found ourselves back out at the mall today after lunch. While we were there, I bought a rockin' new shirt on clearance at Express (I didn't even know they had men's clothing!!) and went back out to Claire's where I again pondered whether or not I should get my ear pierced. Heidi was with me this time, lending moral support and coaching. However, she quickly grew tired of my waffling and told me that I had to decide what I wanted to do and go from there. I was having a hard time finding to put in the ear that I felt would be subtle yet shake things up. Also, I wanted it not to be too "girly" and that was proving to be a tall order at Claire's, considering that their primary client base are girls under the age of 15.
I walked out without my ear pierced, and I found myself actually bummed out about it because I was really going to go through with it.
I took Anna and Heidi home and took my truck out and drove down to Campustown. When I was in college at Iowa State, Campustown was so different from how it is today. There were a lot of restaurants, record/CD shops, florists, etc. lining Welch Avenue and the surrounding streets. The neighborhood has declined some - partially due to the closing of the Towers residence halls which were at the opposite end of Welch Avenue as campus. The loss of foot traffic between campus and those dorms resulted in the closing of the McDonald's and a lot of other fast food type businesses. So now, it's pretty much all bars and tattoo/piercing places. OK, a bit of an overstatement as there are still some nice shops and coffee shops and restaurants, but that's really the vibe you get when you walk down there now.
I had looked up a couple of the piercing places in Campustown just to get a feel for the place by their web sites. I didn't know how it would look for a thirtysomething guy to come in there and ask for a piercing. But there I go again, worrying about appearances. I had settled on one, only to show up there and be told that they could do it in a couple hours! Well, in that time, I could completely talk myself out of it, so I walked a little bit further and came to a place very fittingly called The Asylum. I did feel a bit like I belonged in one for wanting to do this but in I walked. I talked to the lady at the desk and she helped me pick out some ear jewelry, had me sign the paperwork and pay my 20 bucks.
I had to wait just a bit - nowhere near the two hours that the other place was going to have me wait - but in that little bit of time, I went from one end of the spectrum to the other as to how I felt about it. One second, I was ready to walk out, even though they already had my twenty bucks, the next, I had decided that I would look exceptionally good with it. I also decided that I would look at least no more ludicrous than those guys that I see everywhere wearing PHONES on their ears a la Doctor Who.
The guy who was to do my piercing came out and asked where "the lip pierce" was. OK, so there was someone ahead of me, no problem. Until the lady at the counter pointed at me. Me, lip piercing?? No, sorry, that's next week. Fortunately, they were pretty adaptable and the guy who was going to pierce my ear told me that the earlobe was the easiest, quickest piercing of them all. He was great - very much someone you would expect to be working in a place like that, complete wih the large round hoops IN the cartilage of the ear itself, exaggerating the hole to almost comical effect. Seriously, I had seen pictures in National Geographic of what this guy had in his ears. But he was very cool and walked me through it and when I told him how it was something that I always wanted to do, even though I didn't know I did, and thought "well, it's never too late" he was in complete agreement.
That was when he took the NEEDLE out of the sterile wrap. What, no piercing gun? An actual needle? Dear God, what have I signed up for?
He told me it would sting a bit, not much. All I could think of was how I had a NEEDLE going through my ear. And by the time I thought about it, it was over. And I was all outfitted and he was explaining after care to me. Fortunately, Heidi has had some experience with pierced ears so she can help.
Ultimately, I think it was something I needed to do on my own. And a decision that I needed to wrestle with a bit. I think that although I am sure to get grief for it on Monday, the me with the pierced ear is actually more authentically me than the image most people have of me. While I am the nice guy, suburban Dad with a young daughter and beautiful wife, I am also Dan that desperately wants to live on the edge and shake things up and be braver. I'm the guy with a blog and a lot more on my mind than just pharmacy.
So here I am. Bear in mind, this was taken with the MacBook so it's the mirror image of me. It's my left ear that has been altered, not the right (even though that's how it looks in the picture.)
I think this might have to be my new avatar. It's not a bad picture of me if I do say so myself.