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Why do girls want to have their ears pierced?

Ear piercing has become something of a rite of passage for girls. I remember starting to beg my mum for pierced ears when I was about ten. She held out for years, and it wasn’t until I was sixteen that I finally made that exciting trip to the jeweller’s. I then had to endure the extended healing period, the studs that I couldn’t change, and the tape for P.E. classes, until finally my ear piercing was complete.

The ritual of ear piercing is one that most girls or young women go through, at least in this country. Some have their first piercing at only a couple of years old, some are teens, and others are well into their twenties before they have any piercing at all. It’s something to be looked forward to, but also to be slightly feared.

Ear ring

Why do girls want to have their ears pierced?

It can be painful, and at the very least uncomfortable. In my case, it’s one of the only times I’ve actually paid someone for a beauty service! So why are so many girls desperate to have their ears pierced?

I remember suffering from that greatest of teenage problems – feeling left out. All my friends had their ears pierced, so I needed mine done as well. There are plenty of other reasons, though. Earrings are a beautiful piece of jewellery, making them absolutely irresistible for jewellery lovers, or even fashion lovers in general. I was so excited to choose beautiful pairs of earrings, from subtle studs to fancy chandeliers. The novelty has somewhat worn off these days, but every now and then I put on some of my favourite earrings and rediscover that feeling of excitement.

There is also a certain level of expectation surrounding ear piercing. I had received earrings as gifts for a few years before I actually had my ears pierced – distant relatives just automatically assumed that I would be able to wear earrings. That assumption might be positive or negative, depending on your opinion, but it certainly encouraged me to get my ears pierced as soon as I was allowed.

That element of ‘being allowed’ is important as well. Some girls have their ears pierced at a very young age, of course, but for many others, ear piercing is an important step towards adulthood. It is a (mostly) irreversible decision and a physical way to show that you are growing up and making decisions for yourself. At the same time, parental permission is required for ear piercing in the UK, so this is a safe, parentally-advised way of making a statement.

Finally, ear piercing is subtle and innocuous, unlike many other piercings, or tattoos. It’s a safe way to experiment with styles that may be too extreme for your age or personal taste. If you decide that earrings aren’t your style, it’s easy to just not wear them. It’s unlikely that anyone will notice the piercing at all, let alone think anything of it.

Quick tips for ear piercing

If you or your daughter are thinking of getting a first ear piercing (or maybe even a second set!) then it’s important to choose a reputable jewellers or piercer. Don’t be tempted by cheap prices – choose somewhere that is professional and clean, preferably referred to you by a friend. Follow all the instructions given to you by the piercer, even if they seem unnecessary or too time-consuming. I know that you want to get on with wearing all those pretty earrings, but an infected piercing is a very nasty thing!

Are your ears pierced, and if so, when did you have them pierced?

26 Jan 2017

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