Ears pierced after a few tears and manipulation

BECK ELEVEN
Last updated 07:58 18/08/2012
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Feminine (fem-uh-nin).

Adjective: pertaining to a woman or girl, or having qualities traditionally ascribed to women, such as sensitivity or gentleness.

Manipulate (muh-nip-yuh-leyt).

Verb: to manage or influence skilfully, especially in an unfair manner, to adapt or change to suit one's purpose or advantage.

These are the dictionary definitions. Real life is a little more complicated.

I was one of those women wandering reasonably capably around life, despite not having pierced ears. Then last week, my friend Hayley rang to say she had relaxed the family bylaw and told her 8-year-old daughter, Bella, that she could get her ears pierced.

"Wow," I said. "That's quite the U-turn."

"Yes," she said. "But Bella had to read something out at assembly and she was really nervous, so I said if she started getting scared on stage, she could think about getting her ears pierced and be brave."

I know for a fact that it is not Hayley who is terrified by public speaking, so using my brilliant armchair psychology, I suggested she had projected her deepest fears onto her daughter.

Without knowing it, she had been manipulated.

Nonetheless, it was pretty exciting. A girl who loves pink and princesses and other things lost to my girly past was off-the- chart excited about getting her ears pierced. It felt like a pivotal moment in Bella's feminine journey. I wanted to share in the moment, so I asked if I could come along and watch.

Suddenly I got excited about ear piercing and mentioned to Hayley that I would think about getting it done too.

Then the emotional manipulation increased a notch. My phone rang. It was Bella.

"Mrs Lady, can you get your ears pierced with me? Mum's made the appointment for tomorrow," she said.

The first part sounded like a question. The second part made it clear the question was rhetorical.

So by placing a young female on the end of the phone, I (aged 39 and 362 days) had been manipulated into having my ears pierced.

It got worse. The young female in question wanted me to go first. She positioned herself on a chair directly in my line of sight. The pressure was tremendous. I was a bit scared, but under no circumstances could I change my facial expression to anything other than sheer delight, even when the pharmacy assistants remarked on my grossly undersized earlobes.

Bang! Those little lobes were now home to shiny earrings.

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"Oooh, that didn't hurt. It only feels a bit hot," I said.

Either Bella couldn't be manipulated or my acting skills weren't up to much, because the minute Bella sat in the chair, her face grew redder and tears started to form.

That same invisible cord that manipulated Hayley into relaxing her age laws on ear piercing started to tug between the two again.

This time it was making Hayley feel sick. Her daughter had a loaded piercing gun aimed at each (normal sized) lobe.

The big question. Give the order to shoot or not?

So Bella was undergoing second and third thoughts about the whole situation and I was trying to talk Bella about earrings shaped like cupcakes and cats and bats and elephants.

Meanwhile, Hayley, almost against her own will, manipulated the side of her mouth and her vocal cords to whisper: "Go for it," to the girls.

The guns went bang. The crying stopped and happiness reigned. Bella and I were ear twins.

I told her we could get tattoos together some time.

Hayley says no, but I have a few years to manipulate that little outing.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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