Something people notice about me right away is how many piercings I have. As of when I’m writing this, I have nine piercings. Eight of them are on my ears and I also have a nose ring. But a couple of weeks ago, I also had a lip ring… for a couple days.
You see, my little sister had told me about how she bought some fake nose rings and I had the thought to use one as a lip ring and pull a prank on my boyfriend. I set the whole thing up to make him think it was real and even texted him about how I was planning on getting a new piercing one day before work. Then I sent him this photo and the charade began.
I wouldn’t see him for at least another 24 hours so I actually wore the ring to work and classes the next day to get used to how it felt. It took some time to realize what I couldn’t do with it in. I couldn’t laugh really big or smile wide because it would pop off. It fell off while I was eating ice cream and putting on chapstick was impossible with the position it was in. I had to learn all these things so it seemed real when my boyfriend finally saw it in person.
But the thing is, right away I noticed this was more than just a prank. It had turned into a social experiment.
From Prank to Social Experiment
First, on my co-workers. I had some who loved the new piercing and were sad when I told them it was fake. Others gave me a double take and didn’t mention it. And a few asked me about it and were so glad when I said it was fake. Whether it was because they thought it didn’t suit me, or it was just a controversial piercing? I’m not sure. But I do know a few patrons that day gave me looks like they didn’t approve. The same looks my dad and grandma gave me when they found out I pierced my nose.
And I got to thinking… why are piercings so controversial? Why does me having multiple studs in my ears, a hoop in my nose, or even a hoop in my lip, change how people think about me? I found this to be specifically heightened in the job market.
Piercings at an Interview
For example, while I was still fooling my boyfriend with the faux lip ring, I learned I got a second interview with a company. Immediately he told me I had to take the lip ring out and it wasn’t worth it. But why is that his first reaction? Even though the ring was fake, this is what I told him:
It shouldn’t matter what piercings I do or don’t have. Having a hoop in my lip doesn’t prevent me from doing my job just as good as the next person.”
And yet, he was still hesitant when I told him I wouldn’t take it out for the interview (since it was fake I didn’t actually wear it as the prank had ended by then).
Then when I actually had my interview, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I had a nose ring and it was there front and center for people to notice and judge. And then I remembered I felt the same about my nose ring in my past interviews with where I work now, and when I came back to work from vacation two years ago with a new nose ring. I felt judged. Was I actually being judged? I have absolutely no idea. No one at work has ever said anything about it so I guess I’ll never know.
I wanted to write and share this post to bring up a topic I think is very important. Being able to do to your body what you want, shouldn’t affect what jobs you can and can’t get, so long as what you do doesn’t impede with your ability to do your job.
What are your thoughts on piercings? Do you agree or disagree with me?