Bonfire of the Vanity

I removed a piercing. I got it, an industrial,  in 2009, on my first day of grad school, and after jonesing for one for years. My plan was to wait until the piercing healed and then shave my head (another thing I have always wanted to do, shave my head, although now I’m somewhat fearful I’ll do it and then my hair will grow back different: curly or wholly gray or knowing the entire Glee soundtrack by heart or something).


So the piercing never healed; I also never made good on my promise to shave my head. I will not insult your intelligence by pretending that one of these things caused the other. I have not shaved my head for one reason and one reason only, and that reason is: My mother would freak out.

Now, I know that a piercing that is still sore a year and a half after its insertion into my body is, like, uh, a bad thing, and for most of you it wouldn’t have taken this long to figure out, “Gee, maybe I should remove this,” but I obviously have problems.

My problems, though, are not so much about stupidity as stubbornness:  I had been told at the piercing place that something like 60% of industrial piercings fail, and I should not get my hopes up about keeping it.

I now know a True Fact about myself, which is that my competitiveness, which already hovers on the Competitiveness Continuum somewhere between Mark Zuckerberg and John McEnroe (but with, one hopes, less social ineptitude and screaming profanity), soars to terrifying new heights if called upon. I am not above living a Greek tragedy if it means that I will win. So I have been torturing myself with this metal bar that ached dully whenever I lay on my side and also made it difficult to wear ponytails. (Lest you think I was being hyperbolic before, when I likened the inability to wear my hair a certain way to a Greek tragedy, I’ll have you know that Euripides wrote scores of overwrought treatises about ladies’ hairstyles, but most have been lost. I blame the Etruscans.)

Don't even get me started on femullets, brah.

I seemingly would have done anything to keep my piercing in, just so I would not have to go through life knowing that I am among the 60th percentile of FAIL PEOPLE whose bodies reject an industrial. To have gotten me to remove it any sooner, I think it would have needed to actively catch on fire or leaked hydrochloric acid or constantly produced a high-pitched screamy noise, and even then I probably would have been like “Eh, let’s give it six months and see.”

Then again, keeping this piercing even though it was hurting me is probably among the more punk things I’ve done in my life (here is what I believe the punk movement to have been about: painful body modification and peeing on things), so I think overall, a success.

I am obviously not going to let the holes just close up, in case I lose my mind someday and decide to try the industrial again. I haven’t been to visit the head shop here in town to get new earrings, largely because the head shop smells (as all good head shops should) like centuries-old patchouli. So to prevent the holes from closing up in the meantime, I have stuck two spare bellybutton rings in my ears. It looks, in a word, completely insane.

Speaking of fake punk things, last weekend I went to a themed dance party where everyone was supposed to act like they were from the 1980s. I think doing cocaine and ignoring the AIDS crisis were optional, but you were supposed to dress up. Now, I happen to have a variety of (awesome) 80s clothes handed down from my mother — a majority of which are cerulean cocktail dresses — so I tried a few on, but on that night I was feeling less Working Girl and more Madonna On Nitrous Oxide, so I started improvising. Out came the costume box. A little polka-dot dress I once wore to a wedding, a homemade tutu, some torn fishnet armbands, and 70% of the necklaces I own.

I then turned to Hilary to find out what she was planning to wear. “What I have on,” she said. “Uh-uh.” I said, “We are not going together if you’re wearing that and I’m wearing this.” I started wheedling with her to let me dress her up too.

Et voila:

I’m going to be honest right now and admit that I wish I wore this every day. Particularly the tutu.


Fun: Crush the Castle is back! Please offer my condolences to your productivity.
Linguistics: It should be your goal in life to take as many rantum scoots as possible, and also to refer to them as rantum scoots.
Designy: Before coming back to school, I would only have marveled over the brilliant use of the word “mothballed” as a transitive verb in the opening sentence of this story. Now, thanks to the J-school, I am also marveling over the overall layout as well as trying to determine the lighting scheme for the photo: dark-field, possibly a colored card behind the coffee filter and coffee in the basin — but I have no idea how they got those coffee drips to show up red. Voodoo likely.

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