One day I decided to get my tragus pierced. It was the
perfect body part to do– not as risky or committal as the nipple
or clitoris, but definitely would put high-schoolers in their place
with their pink diamond studs in red-hot puffed earlobes. The place
advertised its name on the glass window in a large font that could
have been used at a haunted carnival, a font that would appeal to truckers
and their fat fake-blonde wives with skeletons on their sweatshirts, bowlegs,
and soft ass-cracks showing themselves over tight jean hems. Inside was
a tank of algae crying for fish, and a black leather couch that looked like it
belonged in a lawyer’s office. I sat down and thought about all the people
who had probably had sex on it. In the back room, a piercer with a pen-name
and her “apprentice” clamped and thrust at my poor ear while they
called me sweetheart and then it was over.
I see those women everywhere now.
In my gay waiter at Ruby Tuesdays with eyebrows plucked far apart- he had one.
The sad looking woman at the video store with makeup drawn in circles around her eyes:
her ears glinted aggressively like emergency flashers.
The work of the two omniscient artists followed me to Wal-Mart,
to the photo station. The teenage boy sighed in his blue vest and
while he asked if I wanted doubles, I noticed the studded swirl of a conch
shell where his right ear once was. These piercers who masquerade as pinup
girls are poking holes right in this very town. I gotta get out of here before they
get me for real next time.
Annie H. is a junior in college.