The Unexpected Hazards of a Tragus Piercing

It’s my birthday and, in addition to keeping a promise to myself to finally launch this blog after the requisite amount of procrastination , I decided to treat myself (#selfcare) to a pair of earrings at Maria Tash (“the American authority on body piercing”)  that I’d been eyeing for a while. I say pair, but actually it’s two white gold handcuffs attached by a very fine chain, meant to be worn as two hoops in one earlobe with the chain dangling down in between the cuffs.  Although now that I think about it, that’s just me superimposing my preconceived notions on the correct usage of an item of jewelry. I mean, what’s to stop me from having the handcuffs placed in either nostril with the chain dangling under the nose, like a sexy bull? (Answer: the fact that I’ve got 4 kids to set a good example for). Or in an eyebrow, with the chain ever so gently dusting the eyelid? Same idea but in the lower lip? Across a bellybutton? Other places that don’t get much sunshine? It’s a free country, go for it. But, no, I’m sticking with my original vision; two in one earlobe.

So a few days before my actual birthday, I go to Liberty of London and  saunter up to a Brazilian man named Renato and inform him that I’d like the handcuffs, please (Renato works for Maria Tash, by the way, he’s not some random guy. That would be weird, even for me). I explain to Renato that I’d like to have the two small earrings that are currently in my left ear removed and replace them with the handcuffs. I’d then like to use those same little studs used to pierce two new holes in my right ear where there is already a rather fetching, sparkly arrow in my lobe.  We chat for a bit as he removes the two earrings and he asks if I know where on my right ear I want my new piercings. I hadn’t given it much thought and I told him I’d (rather boringly) have them placed in a row on my right lobe.

“What about your tragus?”, asks a very beautiful and very pierced woman with orange and yellow hair who appears from behind Renato. Now’s the part where I pretend  to know which part of the ear the “tragus” is. (Note: if it was such a well known word, why would spell check keep trying to change it to “triage”? Riddle me that. ) There is a whole set of vocabulary words that describe parts of the ear that can be pierced and I knew none of them other than “lobe” which is maybe why i wanted all of my piercings there. Now I know ALL of the ear words and I’m sure that information will come in handy. One day.

So, after learning that the tragus is the little nub of cartilage that points inward toward my ear hole (conch and forward helix for the initiated) I say, “sure let’s go for it. It’s my birthday after all!” and everyone cheers.  Those Maria Tash people are super happy. When friends and family see my new ear decor and inevitably ask “Did it hurt??”, I’ll have to decide whether to answer  with “Not as much as a double mastectomy and reconstruction by dragging my stomach fat and muscle up to my chest!” or, more mercifully, “Not as much as you might think”. Both are true; one would elicit a more entertaining response.   20 minutes later I’m walking out of the piercing  booth, after-care instructions in hand,  pleased with myself but wishing I could forget the crunching sound that the needle made when it went through my cartilage. It was a brutal, primitive and foreign crunch. But at least it didn’t hurt. Much.

The euphoria that floated me home quickly gave way to irritation and resignation as the kids came home from  school, one after the next, and a shouting match ensued.  What were they shouting about? Who knows, probably someone called someone else a something.  But they were in the kitchen and I was in the kitchen getting supper ready and the noise level was rocketing up towards unbearable. Instinctively, my hands flew up to my ears, forefingers extended and ready to plug up my {insert correct name for part of ear where sound enters here} when suddenly a piercing pain (ha ha , get it?) sent my right hand flying back toward my side.

Too late, I realized that it would be months (the prescribed healing period for a tragus piercing) before I could use earplugs to sleep at night, wear earbuds to listen to music or, crucially,  stick my fingers in my ears to block out the noise that only my kids seem to produce. You know that old saying, “A moment on the tragus, a lifetime on the……”. Or am I mixing that up with something else?

 So, do I look cool? Yes, yes I do. But at what cost? We shall soon find out


Note: Just in case any of my kids read this, which they won’t because that would require actual READING, know that I truly do adore you and you are the reason that I’m alive today. Also I loved my birthday present this morning.   XOXO, Mom

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