Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Ear Bling 

I pierced my ear in early 1984. It was kind of a kooky thing at my high school. There was this tradition that only upperclassman were supposed to pierce their ears. Somehow it was disrespectful to do it before you were a junior. Don't ask me why. If I ever knew, I've certainly forgotten by now.

I waited my turn then. And in junior year, I began seriously considering when and how to get it done. I mulled and mulled and finally a went into a classroom with some friends and one of the girls (Laura?) pierced it by hand. Using a safety pin as I recall.

Somehow, I neglected to mention this fact to my parents. When my father met me at the train station at my next vacation break, we hopped into a cab together and he was seated on my left side. "I see you've pierced your ear," he commented drolly. I kicked myself silently. I knew I had forgotten something.

I have to say, all in all my parents handled it quite well. Certainly better the mother of one my best friends who refused to actually speak to me for several years until the fact that we were roommates freshman year in college made it impossible to keep the cold war going.

I suppose I have to give her a break on that one. It was a bedroom community in Westchester County, NY in the early 80's and I was the first and only one of my immediate crowd from home to grow a tail and pierce an ear; then cut the tail and spike my hair. And finally to add the de rigeur leather and spikes. Damn I wanted to be Adam Ant. And then Billy Idol. And then Prince. But perhaps that's another post.

In any case, my earrings kept pace with my evolving style - from my original Idol-style dangling silver cross through a thousand different shapes, sizes and stone colors...that is up until about 10 years ago.

Sometime around 1995 - as I entered the corporate world - I gave up and went to one of three choices: nothing (i.e., the weekday choice since the bursting of the Internet bubble), a diamond stud Laura gave me (a year following the piercing ritual), or a small silver hoop. Recently, I decided that I wanted to investigate getting some groovier ear wear. But where to start? I'm not looking for a rock 'n roll style so the racks of cheap-o earrings on St. Marks street no longer hold any attraction.

Not surprisingly, I started with Google. But the vast majority of what I found was pretty similar to the generic silver stuff you find on the street. The only stuff I found in the "serious" ear wear for men category was in the U.K. Hmmmmm...

So then I thought to myself, "I know! I'll ask some cool hunters." So I pinged Josh and Josh. No dice.

Having failed online, K. and I went to 47th Street (The City's diamond/jewelry district) to saunter about and see what we could find. I found nifty single white gold hoop with diamonds up the front. Turns out that another guy had bought the first one, breaking the pair. I guess there are some guys are out there buying serious earrings besides P. Diddy. So that was officially Purchase #1 of the New Collection.

During our recent vacation on Mt. Desert we chanced into the Shaw Gallery where I snagged some more nifty earrings. Purchase #2 of the New Collection is actually a full pair that I can use - one shaped as an "X" and one as an "O". They are made with black diamonds and one single white accent diamond. So Purchase #2 of the New Collection therefore gives me two new earrings without having to break a set.

Purchase #3 of the New Collection is a small silver pair which is hard to describe - basically a medium weight silver disk with CZ's in the center. K. took a liking to those, however, and I've not had a chance to wear one yet. A hidden danger with pairs. Must play with with (Significant) Other.

One of the jewelers at Shaw is a guy named Chris who has pierced ears himself. So I took the opportunity to discuss potential designs for an earring I'd like. We'll see what he comes up with. He's anti-computer, so I have to wait for something sent via the actual US POSTAL SERVICE to see what his design suggestions are. That's like so...1993, right?

This past weekend, the hunt continued. And up at the Lyndhurst craft fair in Westchester, I ran into one of my favorite jewelers, Michael Alexander. If you're on the east coast, attend any of the major fairs, and you haven't met Michael and Andrea, you're in for a treat. They're so much fun to hang out with and Michael is incredibly talented. (The link above does not do his portfolio justice. But he's got to keep his most brilliant work on the down low lest others pilfer his best designs.) For those of you familiar with my "seven year ring" with the spinning, ladder-like center that I'm always playing with, that's Michael's craftsmanship you're admiring.

Being that I was on a mission of sorts, I seized the opportunity to ask Michael if he does men's earrings and he said he does. We looked at a few different options and now he's now busy crafting a groovy, industrial/mechanical-flavored earring somewhat reminiscent of an art deco ship's propeller with a sapphire in the middle. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

I will leave off with two questions for Evangelistas and Evangelistos who may feel like sharing:
1) Do you have any good sources of men's earrings?

2) What sorts of unlikely interests or obsessions have resurfaced in your life of late?

Just for the record, if you took TWO Princes and stood one on the other, you'd still be taller... (BIB)
If that were true I'd be 10 feet, five inches tall!
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