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The Symbolism Of Male Ear Piercing

How To Pick The Right Patch Of Skin

The Symbolism Of Male Ear PiercingUsually somewhere around junior high school most of us remember hearing how which ear you had pierced could identify your sexual preference as well as a host of other things. Has that perception survived?

 

In part, yes, because all those guys from your junior high gym class are still alive and kicking. But in society as a whole, the symbolism behind a lot of things has vanished in the name of fashion.

 

So too has gone the symbolism of male ear piercing.

 

A Brief History Of Piercing

The ear lobe was probably our first attempt at body piercing – it’s easy, relatively pain-free and it heals quickly. In fact, the oldest mummified body in the world was found frozen in an Austrian glacier in 1991 with pierced holes in the ears that had been enlarged to 7-11mm in diameter.

 

Early on, primitive tribes probably pierced their ears for magical purposes. Many of these tribes believed that demons entered the body through the ears, so earrings were worn to ward off these spirits. Later on, sailors began piercing their ears, some believing it would increase their eyesight. The other bonus was that if their bodies washed up on shore, the earring could be sold to finance a Christian burial.

 

So will someone think you’re a demon-fearing sailor if you have your ear pierced? Probably not. Unless, of course you are a demon-fearing sailor – in which case that earring better have some big diamonds in it if you’re really hoping for a nice send-off.

 

Which Ear and Where?

Back in the 1980s, when all those junior high school rumors were flying around, there was some truth to the fact that men in the gay community would often wear an earring in their right ear. But even then it wasn’t their only means of identification, so almost as soon as it became widely known, it ceased to be symbolic and became more of a fashion statement than anything else – which is really where it was before and has continued to be today. For instance, Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Raleigh and Francis Drake all wore earrings as do Dennis Rodman, John Rzeznik and more NFL players than you can count (incidentally in the sports world, male ear piercing has become a status symbol based on the size of the diamond studs in the ear).

 

So if you’re interested in getting one or more of your ears pierced, take a look in the mirror. What will look best on you? Any symbolism associated with piercings seems to have vaporized as body piercings and tattoos became mainstream pop culture fixtures. The sky’s the limit. Get both lobes. One lobe. Cartilage. Whatever. Don’t worry – you’re not going to offend anyone or attract anyone based on your earring(s) alone.

 

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