I begged and begged to have my ears pierced. I remember it very clearly, the pediatrician with a walrus-like moustache, the clear piercing gun, the shiny orange Naugahyde of the exam table. I was four years old, and I was dying to wear the tiny Minnie Mouse post earrings someone had gotten me as a present. Now, over twenty years later, the holes in my earlobes are pretty decimated.
It’s not even accurate to call them holes; they’re basically lines, completely stretched out. The left one has just the tiniest pinprick of skin before any dangly earring completely rips through and leaves me essentially lobe-less. Post earrings won’t stay in my ears at all, and when I want to wear danglers, I usually wear these clear stickers called Ear Lift (which actually work pretty well, despite the fact that I forget they’re there and then they come off in the shower, all gummy and gross).
Part of the reason this happened is that I have seriously, freakishly stretchy skin, like my grandmother and mother before me. My grandmother actually got a second set of holes pierced in her ears when she was well into her 70s; she wasn’t about to stop wearing the large gold earrings she loved. Also, I wore all kinds of heavy and tacky earrings when I was a kid; huge dangly Christmas trees, jingle bells, wooden Easter bunnies.
My earlobes freak people out frequently, especially if I wear my hair up. I’ve gotten lots of comments on them, which means that they’re pretty noticeable, right? (Although commenting on a random girl’s earring holes…not the best manners, I think we can all agree.) To be honest, I’m not particularly bothered by them. Months will go by when I pretty much ignore the fact that my earlobe is about one centimeter from being completely torn through. They definitely look weird, but they’ve been stretched out for so long (since I was in high school, at least) that I just sort of ignore them, at least cosmetically. Physically, I’ve started to get a little worried.
Inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, Holly Burns, I decided to look into how this little problem of mine could be fixed. One of my friends works in a plastic surgeon’s office, and she said that I could get my ears stitched up by the doctor she works for, no problem. Apparently earlobe repair is a pretty common procedure for both plastic surgeons and dermatologists; some doctors will even inject Restylane into your ear to make it stronger.
But I’m weirdly hesitant. Why? Well, for one thing I don’t have insurance, so the procedure would be “under the table,” even though it’s with a doctor I would probably have confidence in. Still, minor surgery without insurance kind of freaks me out. Plus, the procedure isn’t strictly necessary; this is a purely cosmetic problem, it doesn’t cause me pain, and like I mentioned before, I’m not crazy self-conscious about them. I might even feel more self-conscious about wanting to get them stitched up. Sure, it’s not liposuction or breast augmentation, but it’s still plastic surgery, to some extent. And I’m a little uncomfortable with plastic surgery that isn’t medically needed, at least for myself.
But on the other hand, I want to get them fixed before they get worse and streeeetch out even more. I want to wear pretty earrings without worrying that I’ll lose one. I’m leaning towards having the piercings stitched up, but I’m still undecided. I’d have to wait a while before I could get them pierced again, but at least I’d have another decade or so before my earrings are hanging to the middle of my neck.
What do you think? Have you experienced this problem? Have you gotten your earlobes repaired? Do you think I’m crazy to even debate a procedure so small?