The Italian Ear Piercing Adventure

My daughter has been begging to get her ears pierced since she was old enough to talk. We always told her that she could have them done when she turned 12. That seemed like a good age – responsible enough to keep them nice and clean, mature enough to enjoy a little adornment. As the time got closer, I even told her that we could do it a few months early, if she proved she was ready by keeping her room nice, clean and well cared for.

So last weekend, two and a half months before her 12th birthday, we found ourselves at the Florence Mall where, low and behold, we discovered a Claire’s.

I had already reconciled myself to the fact that since we live in Italy now, I’d have to find somewhere local to get her ears pierced – even though I had no idea where that was or how to navigate it. “Hello! Can you please put needles in my daughter’s ears?”

But here we’d stumbled across a little piece of home 6,000 miles away, complete with the cute little purple piercing stand and everything. My daughter looked at me with all the hope in the world welling in her eyes and asked, “Can I get my ears pierced?” for the 1,383,938th time.

And on that day, unlike all the days before, the answer was yes.

Well, we took a lap around the mall first to think about it – and then the answer was yes. And then we walked a little more to give her time to really be sure she wanted to go through with it (a mere formality, really) and then we went back to the Italian Claire’s.

We still had to navigate the whole transaction in Italian, but it was surprisingly easy. After all, the piercing stand was right there and I had a child with unpierced ears. It wasn’t hard for the staff to put two and two together. Plus, we won the jackpot because the saleswomen on shift that day were the most enthusiastic proponents of ear piercing I’ve ever met. You’d have thought they were my daughter’s aunties and we were celebrating her Quinceañera and Sweet Sixteen at the same time, right there in the shop. I don’t think any customer has ever been more fawned over.

And it wasn’t just the staff – as my daughter sat in the special piercing chair waiting for the big moment, no less than four Italian women stopped to encourage her. One even said a version of this in Italian: “Don’t worry – look at all the piercings I have.” Then she traced her finger down both ears which were lined with piercings, stuck out her tongue to reveal another, and laughed.

My daughter was delighted. She didn’t understand the Italian part, but the signing was unmistakable.

When the time came, both of the saleswomen took a piercing gun and stood on either side of my daughter while I held her hands in front and did my best to translate what they were saying. My daughter was just a little shaky, but then, “Uno, due, tre!” And it was over – both ears at the same time – just like that. She was the proud owner of two beautiful, sparkling earrings. I don’t think the adrenaline has fully subsided yet.

It was a wonderful moment.

Two days later, she accidentally hooked one of those sparkly studs on a seat belt and her earlobe swelled up so big it enveloped the entire front of the earring. For a moment, there was regret and not a small amount of sorrow that the long-awaited earrings had betrayed her. I was more than a little concerned as well. (Seriously, the earring was completely gone!) Fortunately, a marathon of icing and cleaning brought the angry earlobe back to size – and the earring re-emerged good as new, if with a slightly pinkish hue (our very own blood diamond … lol).  

Now all is well and she’s eagerly awaiting that three-week mark when she’ll be able to swap out her piercing earrings for new ones. It looks like another trip to the Italian Claire’s is on our horizon and I can’t wait. Life’s pretty great sometimes – especially when you’ve got kick-ass Italian ladies cheering you on.

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