On the night before my 41st birthday, two of my best friends took me to get my ears pierced at the mall. Yep, there we are, three 40-something babes walking into Icing and asking for the worker who Cindy spoke with who said we could get ears pierced without alcohol (rubbing alcohol on the ears, not tequila shots before the piercing). You see, I wasn’t squeamish or afraid of getting my ears pierced. I had actually begged my parents to have it done when I was nine years old and once my mom convinced my dad that I could do it, I had them pierced for the first time. I carefully cleaned those little gold studs with alcohol for six weeks and on the exact day that I could change the earrings, I put in the little pearl studs with sterling silver posts (maybe they were surgical steel). Soon after that, my ears got infected around the piercing sites. I don’t think they ever got better, even though we tried to take care of them. So, I had to take the earrings out and let the holes close up.
Years later, after trying to convince my parents that I had not been irresponsible and let my ears get infected (that was the consensus of what had happened the first time), on my 18th birthday, or somewhere soon after (because I never did convince them and had to wait until I could sign the waiver myself), I went and had my ears pierced again, in the same old holes. Well, to make a long story short, the darn earlobes got infected again and after we went to a dermatologist and he determined (without doing any testing, but just on his experience and the facts around my ears being infected) that I was allergic to nickel, which is in most earring posts. So, I went many years without wearing earrings, or wearing clip-ons (which are like wearing a vice on one’s earlobe and which also sometimes made my ears itch). In the meantime, I also learned another interesting fact about my body: I get an itchy rash if my skin comes into contact with rubbing alcohol.
So, after talking about it with my friends, we wondered if maybe it was the rubbing alcohol after all, so maybe I should try to get my ears pierced one more time, not using alcohol and not using earrings with nickel in the posts. I’m one week into this and so far, so good. I faithfully clean my newly pierced ears with saline solution and don’t plan to gamble with trying random earrings after I can change these starters. Here’s to hoping that someday in the near future, I’ll actually be able to wear earrings and not get a rash on my earlobes.