"Let me see your ear." It would have been an innocent request from a curious guest had it come from anyone else in my line that day. But it didn't. It came from her–the pinched face, scraggly haired, middle aged woman who must have earned her wrinkles from constant frowns and endless criticism. I'd seen her, and others like her, in the lines at Meijer before, more often than not complaining about the trivial...and today it was my turn to listen to her sound off like the broadcaster of mental rot that she is.
At A Glance Contact email@example.com IAM gothicphoenixx When It just happened
I knew from the fact that she emphasized and drew out the word "your" that she'd seen pierced ears before. I knew by the rolling eyes and sneer that she hadn't then, and didn't now, approve of them. However, I turned my left ear with custom curved industrial, tragus, anti tragus, and ten gauge lobe her way, in order she should get a better look at the objects of her distaste. I found out, then, where her disgust–and I say disgust because she wrinkled her nose and pinched her lips like I'd let loose my bowels on the floor before her—came from. "My daughter got one of those," she said, rolling her eyes again. A woman next to her, I'm assuming a friend or relative, nodded her head and scowled. The first woman spoke again, her tone so low it was nearly a growl, "I could have killed her."
I nodded once, not because I thought she was right, but because I didn't know where to start with my words. More importantly, I knew exactly where they'd end if I began. Though sometimes I'd risk it, and generally they aren't a big deal, a guest complaint isn't the way to go when a new store director is poking around, particularly when that store director isn't a fan of mods and could rewrite the dress code to say 'single' ear piercings approved on the basis that anything else detracts from the ability to work. (And sadly enough, if it was causing a commotion with a guest...it might work...not without a fight from many of us and the Union, but might. Already, facial piercings have been banned for the same reason).
But I digress...forgive me...or don't, but I continue...and so did she, "Hers is straight though," and demonstrated with her hand how a normal industrial goes. I nodded and said that most people's industrials are that way. Though I've no particular taste for regular industrials, I didn't say so. I wouldn't have wanted her to think I agreed with her that her daughter was wrong. However, my face must have seemed to show that I didn't like them, or somehow thought mine was better (which it is, but only for me, not in general) because her friend, who'd stood nodding like a faithful yes (wo)man till that point, spoke up. Her tone was that of mockery at high pitch, drawn out and irritating as crows cawing while one's trying to nap. Ooooh....sheee's different because herrrs is crooked." Curved, not crooked, but again I didn't speak, literally biting my tongue. It still hurts, actually.
At this point, I was done ringing the order, more cheesed than crackers, and ready to be rid of them. I still could have interjected a defense of my industrial. I could have explained that I got it because my boyfriend and I wanted to get matching piercings that weren't off the wall, but was a little different than normal. I could have defended piercing in general, telling her that our bodies are our own to do with as we please; everyone, including her daughter gets them for personal reasons, all different, but all valid. Certainly, I could have asked, "By the way, how old is your daughter?" I got the impression she was around my age (which is 19 by the way), at the very least 18, and possibly 20 or more, any of the ages of which I could have said that she's plenty old enough to decide what's right for her body. I'd have liked especially to ask where one or both of the ladies before me work. Since people seem to think it's okay to demean a cashier or waitress in their place of business, I should be able to return the favor in their own.
But of course, I pulled out her receipt and coupons, neatly folded and handed them to her, and smiled before and after saying, "Thank you, and have a nice night." By her 'harumph,' and squinty glare, I think that not saying any of what came to mind might have been more effective at shutting her up than any explanation she might have ignored.
"What did you do?" I looked behind me and the cashier who'd spoken. She explained to me that the lady had been glaring at me pretty badly, and she wondered if I'd done or said something offensive. I looked back at the woman, and knew by the fact she was standing clenching her shopping bags like a stress ball that she had heard the other cashier.
I turned back to the other cashier, smiled, and said, "Apparently the same thing as her daughter...exercised my right to modify my body."
Return to Editorial / Article