I like jewelry. You would never guess it from looking at me, though, because I hardly ever wear the stuff. Of my ragtag selection of necklaces that hang from the light fixture over the bathroom sink, I have one necklace that I love—I think it looks Celtic. I have one bracelet that I bought for, oh I forget, maybe eight dollars. And I have a simple golden wedding band. (The first time I wore it in the shower on my honeymoon, a chunk of soap stuck to it and I was quite alarmed, thinking that I had somehow damaged it. I’m not kidding when I say I don’t know much about jewelry.)
Jewelry makes me nervous. I’m afraid that I’ll wear something tacky. Does this bracelet look stupid? Chintzy? Does this necklace go with a v-neck shirt or a turtleneck? Does it have to match my belt? What are the rules for this type of thing? Are there any rules? I end up not wearing anything (I do keep my clothes on) because it’s simpler.
I still check out the jewelry at the thrift stores and on the clearance rack at Kohl’s. Once in a great while I find something that I can imagine wearing. But invariably something is wrong with the clasp, or one of the little baubles is missing, and I end up wearing it once, or not at all, and then dropping it into the garbage can.
If I could be freed from my inhibitions (and if I had the money) this is what I would wear: Gothic-type necklaces (the silver pendulums and such), antique-type jewelry (tarnished silver and white gold) with intricate, yet modest, detail. I would wear small hoop earrings, or little dangly cock-eyed stars. An ankle bracelet. A toe ring. Definitely a toe ring.
No pearls, no diamonds.
This is funny, my jewelry crush. I don’t even have my ears pierced. My mother always said, “Why would you want to poke holes in your body? If you do that then you’ll be just like the women in those African countries that stretch their necks out with rings till they look like giraffes! Or those other people who poke holes in their lips and then keep putting bigger and bigger rings in the hole till their lip hangs down lower then their chin. That’s really no different then poking holes in your ears, right?”
Back then, I never wanted to get my ears pierced, so it wasn’t like we were having a conflict or anything. We were just discussing.
Eventually I did get my ears pierced, back when Sweetsie was about eight months old. I had the afternoon to myself, and I had a (pre-meditated) plan. I first went to the hairdressers and got my hair chopped off (I had only had long hair, ever since grade school) and then went to the mall to get my ears pierced. I figured that earrings went with short hair. I wanted to make sure I still looked feminine—what with my flat chest and cropped locks there was a slight chance that I was going to look genderless, and that was a little worrisome.
I can go through unmedicated childbirth just fine, thank you very much, but getting a piece of metal shot into my ear unnerved me entirely. Would there be blood? What if she missed and shot the stud into my skull? Did that ever happen? It turned out to be no big deal—I gave dainty little yelps and she didn’t shoot me in the head so everything was cool.
I cried off and on for a week over my hair, and my ears were sore. I finally adjusted to my short hair, but my ears stayed sore, even though I cleaned them religiously. My lobes swelled and were red (and yes, I got the non-allergenic kind of stud, whatever that was), but I persevered. But then it came time to take the studs out and put in some earrings. I could not put the earring in. It wouldn’t go. The hole wasn’t big enough. I pushed harder, but my eyes smarted. I just couldn’t do it.
I called my girlfriend Kelly. “Just push really hard. It will go through,” she said.
“But it hurts,” I sniveled.
“It won’t after you get it through,” she pointed out, amused.
My girlfriend Kelly is super tough when it comes to ear pain. When she was in middle school, her parents forbade her to get her ears pierced so she did it herself using a needle and a raw potato. She didn’t get the holes even, so now her piercings are lopsided. It doesn’t really matter though, because she’s beautiful. And she has long hair.
I tried a few more times to force the ring through, but then I gave up. Going through all that pain just to look beautiful was stupid, I chided myself, attempting to turn my failure into some kind of virtuosity. You know, sour grapes. I let the holes grow shut, but I kept the cleaning agent and the studs and rings. I just may decide to make another stab at earlobe beautification someday.
Is this crazy, my distress (granted, it is minor) over something so superficial? Yes, maybe. But there is a deeper longing under all that glitz, I think. There’s something so winsome, cheeky almost, about the spangles and bangles, loops and hoops. They catch the light and dance about, saying, “Look at me! Look at me! Look at me now!” Jewelry stands out; it is confident and bold. It has attitude. I like attitude.
I’ve got plenty of pizzazz (if you doubt me, just check out those blue shoes in the upper right corner—I wore those to church), but I’m downright shy when it comes to jewelry.
You’re probably thinking something along the lines of:
1. What’s important is who you are, not the decorations you drape over your hot little body. (Thanks for the compliment.)
2. Give your extra money away to people who don’t even have shoes to wear.
3. Just wear what you like and stop worrying about it.
Yes, well, that’s why I call this a confession. None of this truly matters, and I know that. I’m just talking, blowing smoke, so to speak. This is a little snapshot of how my mind works: I am inconsistent and I fret over the unimportant.
And I’m willing to bet my bottom dollar (whatever that is) that you also fret over the unimportant. Hmm?
So, go ahead and confess. I sure could use some company.
Ps. And while we’re on the subject of piercings: When our first foster daughter came to live with us, she had a pierced tongue, multiple ear piercings, and a pierced belly button. She had one extra-big stud that she used to keep all her piercings open. She sat at our kitchen island entertaining Miss Becca Boo by first poking the ring through her ear (the high-up piercing), then her tongue, and then her belly button. “See, I can put it anywhere,” she explained, totally pleased with herself. (So much for sheltered homeschooled children.)