Saturday, August 19, 2006

Earrings on Male Clergy

Peregrinato, bless his heart, changes the subject by asking me what I think of earrings on male clergy.

I think earrings are cute on men.
I am always a little bit surprised when I see a man wearing earrings in both ears, but it can still look good on some guys. I mean, nothing too big and drag queenish, of course. Don't even think of going Jack Sparrow on me. Put away that puffy shirt and smoky eye shadow immediately, if that's what you were thinking.

I don't like that multiple-piercings look, because it always looks painful and S&M to me, and draws too much attention to the ear and away from the face. I don't like it on women, either. Like, "Stop puncturing yourself! Ouch!"

Some of my friends have nose piercings. I think they look good on a select few, like L'il Flava, who rocks a little diamond thing in her nose.

Pierced tongues, no. It can interfere with good diction, and the flash of metal is super distracting when you're talking to people.

I think any earring-wearing male minister is going to have to be realistic about the fact that lots of people will assume he's gay just for wearing an earring?").
But since you're gay, darling inquirer, I doubt that much matters to you.

As far as ears go, just keep 'em CLEAN! We don't want to see no taters growing in there, and as I've said before, the Norelco Nose and Ear Hair Trimmer is your friend!

P.S. As you know, Peregrinato, you are welcome to borrow my earrings any time.

jack sparrow


Blogger Peregrinato said...

For what it's worth, I have stainles steel circular barbells. They're slightly thicker than standard piercing gauge (I believe they're 8 or 10 gauge) but not so overly large. At this point, probably the only people who notice them are my parents! Some people who haven't seen me in a while might proclaim, "You got your ears pierced!" without realizing that I had the piercings in earlier.

I've had piercings below the neck. No more. Enough said.

I did consider other facial piercings when I was younger, namely the eyebrow. But I was entering clinical work then, and I decided that (here we see relativism and a sliding bar) that it would be too in your face for some clients, while earrings would be fine.

I tend to not ever take them out. They're a pain to mess with. I was pierced (and then repierced years later after the holes closed) at Black Sun in Montreal. So I take my piercings somewhat seriously. But I do wonder sometimes how people will react to them in a pastoral setting.

Also for what it's worth, I never had a single comment uttered my way in seminary, even when I was around very theologically and culturally conservative folk.

2:31 AM  
Blogger LaReinaCobre said...

If they get too much flack here they can move to Scotland! I saw lots of men in the UK (and young boys) with earrings in both ears there. Maybe it was just a trend at the time.

It's funny how one man wearing earrings in both ears can be perceived as effeminate, and another man wearing earrings in both ears can be perceived as ultra masculine. There doesn't seem to be much in between.

2:59 AM  
Blogger rachel said...

the only man i know who looks truly ridiculous with earrings is harrison ford. i mean, come on! i did very much appreciate the pic of the fine, fine, fine johnny depp!

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gay male cleric here. Thanks for discussing this. I was wondering if my piercings were too much.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Jamie Goodwin said...

OK I am totally changing the subject but..

I am preaching tomorrow, right now I am on the way to the closest Marshalls to buy a new outfit.

Actually I find mens fasion pretty boring but I dress pretty conservativly anyways so it is not big deal.

I will give you an update with my choices, but without actually seeing the selection I am thinking a light natural color shirt (my face is pretty tan right now so i want to show it off) and a dark red or burgundy tie.

I don't do sports jackets, as a big fella i find they make me too hot, especially in an un-air conditioned sanctuary.

Anywho.. this is the first time I intend on wearing a tie to preach.. so I wanted you to know that your testimony on actually caring what you look like when giving a sermon has indeed paid off.. at least for one person, this one time.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Katherine said...

I have a tiny nose piercing. I worried about it before I got my job as a pastor, but people seem to be too polite to comment. If they do, they tend to recognize that it's a generational thing.

The few times I've been asked about my nose piercing by people using a less-than-warm tone, I've disarmed them with my copious charm. "What's that thing in your nose?" .... "Oh, it's just a little nose piercing. Why, are you thinking of getting yours done?!" Does the trick every time.

6:01 PM  
Blogger NotShyChiRev said...

The only male pastoral piercing that I ever thought was obtrusive was a pal who had the rubber rings put in, and the opening was just less than a half inch....THAT you noticed.

I've had people who asked me why, as an opening gay minister who likes flashy things, I've never had an ear, or two, pierced.

I honestly don't know.

Perigrinato, I think circular barbells are ideal for, but not so sexy that they are inappropriate in more formal settings...noticeable, but not too obtrusive, and one can go large or small, stainless or gold or what have you.

Harrison's biggest problem was that the adornment must match the personality of the man...and that one just screamed "a girl made me do this" not "I'm secure in who I am and I think this looks good on me."

6:32 PM  
Blogger Padre G said...

Not that it should matter but hetero cleric here, with multiple pairs of piercings on both ears, etc., acquired in the course of my secular career in the music industry.

IMHO piercings are most unbecoming on any person wearing vestments. On a minister who wears street clothes they work only if they are precious stones and not on a man, but of course that's my opnion...

7:29 PM  
Blogger Caroline Divine said...

I'm going to sound old, Boomer that I am, but barbells seem too big to me for clergy. I confess that they make me really uncomfortable. When I see them in someone's ears I always internally scream "ow!" It's worse of course when I see rubber rings. Seeing them makes me slightly ill. I never had my own ears pierced (I wear earrings almost all the time though; I'm a woman) so maybe it's related. But I very much like small earrings on men, one or two hoops or studs, doesn't matter, in fact I think a nice small earring is rather tasteful. But really small. I think it's the drive-a-stake-through-flesh thing that gets to me.

I know Lil' Flava and agree that the little diamond in her nose is fab and very classy and very her.

So for me it's a size thing. (!! In the case of earrings, small...) Anything that looks like it involved mutilation or seriously modifies a body part is I guess what disturbs me. To look at, I mean. It doesn't make me judge the person as being unqualified to minister or sick in the head, but it really does bother me. So I'm not completely peaceful and calm when I am looking at that person because I have a visceral reaction.

Maybe it's an age thing? I've reached the half-century mark so maybe it has to do with what I grew up with. Though when I have a student with purple hair it doesn't bother me in the least. (A bad purple dye job on a clergymember, however, would be a touch distracting.)

Perhaps, even with a congregation or audience or set of counselees who are not as squeamish as I (though how does one know for sure?) the operative word should be "discreet."

I love big earrings but I don't wear them in the pulpit or at the altar, only small or medium ones and nothing dangly.

I'm sorry to say all this, I'm sure you look very good in your earrings. I'm just saying if you're in congregational ministry or chaplaincy, especially chaplaincy, they might give other people the gut reaction I have. If you're in campus ministry, it's a whole other story.

Oh, and for what it's worth, I think Johnny Depp in pirate mode is HOT.

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Jay said...

In my little part of the world, gay men, including me, stopped wearing earrings about 15 years ago--when all the straight boys started wearing them. So Peregrinato's being an earring-wearer has me all discombobulated. Well, not really discombobulated, actually...but I do tend to assume that a male earring-wearer about my age (39) is (a) straight and (b) trying desperately to look young and cool. And if I thought my minister was obsessed with "looking cool," that would be something we'd have to get over....

Somewhere in this story, I hope, is the explanation for my unthinking, gut (i.e., irrationally judgmental?) reaction to all this. As embarrassed as I am to write this, and I am, I just wouldn't want the male minister at my own commitment ceremony or at my parent's funeral to be an earring-wearer. I'm sure if I had an existing minister-parishioner relationship with Rev. EarringWearer that I'd actually be fine with it. But here in the abstract, I'm wrinkling my nose a little bit. And not in a good way. I'd want to tell Rev. EarringWearer that this moment is not about him and his need to look cool.

I feel so shallow now.

10:53 PM  
Blogger Chelle said...

Didn't the idea of men wearing earrings being gay go out the window when Michael Jordan started sporting them?

But then again....the men I'm most attracted to tend to sport bald heads and wear earrings, so my opinion might be a little weighted. :-)

12:31 AM  
Blogger Peregrinato said...

Also for what it's worth, I'm 39 years old, and I've had ear piercings since I was 18. I've had a variety (two in one ear, etc.) over time, but for the better part of the past decade it has been a single piercing per ear.

When I got them, it was to be counter-cultural. Now I simply like them for aesthetics. As I mentioned, I've never encountered any problems in clinical settings (with a variety of people of different backgrounds), but I've basically worked under the assumption--learned from supervisors--that what I do there is given more attention than a few pieces of metal, particularly since earrings-on-men are no longer the "in-your-face" gender statement they used to be.

12:54 AM  
Blogger Caroline Divine said...

Speaking of "Pirates of the Caribbean" -- Sunday's PreTeena comic striP:

9:57 AM  
Anonymous jinnis said...

Sorry to be so late to the conversation, but yes, the one bathroom in the house during div school was that big. The bathtub alone had room enough for a tea party. Not a bad asset when in need of sitz baths for tending to certain sensitive piercings.

11:42 PM  

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