A very good friend of mine came to me recently in a panic because of something her daughter had done. She was quite distraught and couldn’t even find the right words for several moments. She finally looked up at me, helplessly, and said, “Stephanie got her tongue pierced!”
I thought that she was being a little melodramatic about the whole situation, but I could understand where she was coming from. We come from a generation where ears were the only body part that was ever pierced, and while we had gradually learned to accept nose, navel and lip piercings, tongue piercing seemed like it was going a little too far.
One of things that I have always had a hard time understanding is the tongue piercing jewelry that young people use. It seems so bulky, and I don’t see how it keeps from getting rusty, since it is constantly covered in saliva. To be totally honest, it is sometimes difficult to understand people with tongue piercings when they speak.
“What are you going to do?” I asked my friend, really not knowing what else to say.
“I don’t know,” my friend said. “She’s 17 years old, now, and I’ve always told her she should feel free to express herself. I just didn’t know she was going to do it in this way!”
We talked for a while about it, and I asked if maybe she should look for a tongue piercing jewelry store that the two of them could hang out at together. This made her laugh, and eventually, she stopped feeling so bad about the situation.
I saw Stephanie a few weeks later and asked her how she was doing. I was really hoping to avoid the subject, but she walked right up to me and said, “Check out my new tongue ring,” as she stuck out her tongue. I really didn’t know what to day, so I just kind of grunted, and asked if she could sit down for a minute.
I asked her where a person went to get tongue piercing jewelery, and she told me at a regular jewelry store. I then asked her how it was working out for her, and she got a big smile on her face and said that she loved it, and wished that she had done it sooner.
I finally got up the courage, and asked her the question that both her mother and I wanted to ask from the very beginning. “Why did you do it?” I asked.
She shrugged and told me that she just thought it would be cool. She said that a lot of her friends had them and that she had always wanted to get one. She asked if I didn’t like it, and after a few seconds’ pause, I told her that I thought it was cool, too.
The fact of the matter is, even tough I do not see the point of tongue piercing jewelry, she certainly did. She is a great student, a very nice girl and one of the more thoughtful teenagers I have ever met. When I think back to some of the things I did to be “cool” when I was growing up, I realized that I should not be so judgmental with her.