Not having my ears pierced doesn't make me any less Latina!
I'm 22 and I don't have (or have ever had) my ears pierced. That's pretty rare in general, but it's basically unheard of in the Latin community. Most Hispanic parents pierce their kids' ears when they're still very young….which is why people, especially fellow Latinos, are always SHOCKED to know that I never got mine done.
So why exactly am I an exception to this tradition? Well, it could be because I was a preemie so I had to spend a few extra weeks in the hospital or because my parents just plain forgot (although--AHEM, they did remember to get my sister's ears pierced!), but really it's because I don't get what the big deal is about not having it done!
I'll be honest--I am not a big fan of needles or really of anything sharp and potentially painful close to my body, so the thought of a stranger using a gun (or whatever they use) to pierce holes in my ears is not all that attractive to me. Plus, I'm not an extravagant jewelry person. I only really wear necklaces, rings and watches and almost never more than two pieces at a time.
But even more importantly than that, I've just never had a particularly strong desire to wear earrings nor do I think doing so will make me feel any more feminine or more Latina or different at all than I do now. It would be one thing if I had been one of those girls who begged their moms to get their ears pierced, but never once in my life have I looked in the mirror and thought "Gosh, if only I could wear earrings."
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That's why I never understand people's super surprised reactions when my lack of piercings comes up in conversation or if by chance, they notice it themselves (which I'm pretty sure has only happened twice by the way). Everyone--including my own family members--always assaults me with questions, like, "What? I don't get it. Why don't you get them pierced?" To which my response is always: "Why do I have to?" When I have kids, I'm planning on doing the exact same thing my parents did for me, which was to basically let me decide for myself.
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The truth is I grew up in a Latin family with almost all of the typical traditions passed on--or sometimes imposed--on me. I spoke Spanish before I spoke English (although I'm not as comfortable with the language now), I am super close with my relatives, I think my abuela and my mom are two of the best cooks on the planet and value their advice more than anyone else's, and I eat beans and rice like it's my job. So at the end of the day, who really cares if I don't have my ears pierced? I don't think anyone can tell me I don't embrace my culture.
Did you get your kids' ear pierced when they were babies? Were your own ears pierced early on? Tell us in the comments below!
Image via javaturtle/flickr