Traveling with Earrings

02004-10-13 | Memories, Travel | 1 comment

I had my right ear pierced for the first time in 1978, in Taipei, Taiwan. Bought a little gold stud.

A few months later I found myself in Thailand, about to board a bus from Bangkok to Phuket Island. A lot of busses were getting hi-jacked and robbed at that time and in order to attract less attention I tried removing the stud from my right ear. I couldn’t find the lock behind the ear and tried pulling out the stud from the front. Something was resisting and it hurt, but I gave it a good tug and the stud came out. Since it seemed a little infected I did not put the stud back into the right ear.

A few months later still, I found myself in New Delhi and staying on the roof of a hotel – cheapest beds were on the roof, under a tent-like structure, maybe 10 beds under the tent… An Australian girl pierced my right ear again – by placing a potato behind my ear and jamming a needle with thread through the ear into the potato…

Are you grossed out? Should I stop?

Fast forward about six months and I am walking around Cologne with my brother. Something had been itching in my right ear-lobe for a few days… and I kept messing with my ear. I walked into a restroom and looked into the mirror. A strange shine seemed to emanate from my right ear lobe, only when the light hit it at a certain angle… I leaned forward and closer and started pulling on my ear – and removed the clasp that had been fastened on the stud in Taiwan, and which I could not find in Thailand. Apparently my ear-flesh had grown around and over the clasp while I was in Taiwan and Hongkong, and caused the resistance I experienced in Bangkok when I tried to remove the stud. The girl in New Delhi had re-pierced my ear in a higher spot – above the clasp inside my earlobe. And now the clasp had completed its journey from behind my ear through my ear to the front.

I started wearing an earring in the new, higher hole and soon the weight of that ring made the top hole unite with the bottom hole to form one rather large hole…

Anyway, in the Summer of 1979 I lived in New York and Vermont and it was cool to have an earring in the right ear. In the Fall, however, I moved to Boston. Different rules apply in Boston – I believe Keith Richards commented somewhere on this silliness also – while in New York an earring in your left ear was considered a gay-signal and an earring on the right was a thing a lot of musicians wore, it was the other way around in Boston. My solution was simple, I got a hole in my left ear as well and started wearing two earrings.

The two gold earrings I have worn since 1990 were custom-made since I couldn’t find anything I liked. I wanted simple earRINGs and the solution was to buy two wedding bands and modify them by removing a small section and adding a hinged back to each.

1 Comment

  1. J Michael Vidal

    Okay! Joke time…..So does this makes you a Gay Musician in Boston (Right and Left ear piercing.)

    You took a big risk piercing your ears in the first place. What if an infection would have cause you “Hearing loss.” Glad everything worked out. Can you imaging not been able to “TUNE” your guitar or listen to your own music.


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