Today I was at the gym getting a little workout on and I couldn’t help but notice a skinny white guy in cut-off jeans shorts lifting weights and looking as out of place as the Pope at a strip club.
Tattoos adorned his arms and his frail body was so rockstar thin that I couldn’t help but conjure up images of him with a needle in one hand and a bottle of JD in the other. However, the tattoos, frumpy hair and cut-off shorts weren’t the things that bothered me, those things I wouldn’t have even taken a second look at if it weren’t for the large rings that were fixed in his ear lobes.
When I was a kid I used to see National Geographic magazines t my grandparents house and I was fascinated by those African women with the huge plates in their lips and and elongated necks. I would turn page after page looking at these women who had mutilated themselves for what a culture had deemed beautiful.
Extreme body modifications have been around since the beginning of time, but I don’t understand the why now, in the United States, where people eat with utensils and live in houses with air conditioning and running water, people still feel the need to stretch out their ear lobes to the a size that is so large that I could easily shoot an arrow clean through the loop from a distance of fifty paces.
Today I couldn’t help but think when I saw this young man with the two large rings on the side of his head that if he had one more ring in his nose then we could have started a small circus right there on his face.
I pushed my weights in and out, up and down and I couldn’t help but be distracted by the monstrosity of those ears. I don’t know why it bothers me so much but everytime I see this type of self-mutilation I get a little sick to my stomach. I would rather see a woman with the 20 rings on her neck than to see these big loopy ears.
As I was about to leave I looked back at the loopy-eared kid one more time and I wondered where it began. These type of behaviors normally start small and then they grow. Your peer group encourages you the same way a group of men who drive low-riders encourage each other that their ride looks good sitting so low to the ground.
It’s amazing how we do things to impress or to fit in with a certain group of friends and at the same time think that we are doing what we do to stand out.
I was a little sad when I thought about this young man and what he had done to his ears. What if he wanted to go back to being normal? His ear lobes weren’t going to miraculously go back to normal. He would have to have them surgically repaired.
I’m 33 and I don’t like things that I cannot change. I don’t like permanence and so I haven’t gotten a tattoo, a piercing, a dog or a wife – all things which I don’t mind on other people, but when it comes to the ear stretching, no thanks, I’m good. I like my lobes just the way God made them.