As the new generation is becoming more comfortable with displaying their individual tastes, there seems to be a constant struggle to show the world how much of an individual they are. Nipple piercings, tattoos and dropping out of college are the old fashioned way to rebel against what society deems to be appropriate behaviors for its youth.
How can I be different? That’s a hard question for many. In case you haven’t noticed, long gone are the days when a simple ear piercing was enough to show you’re cool. These days you must demonstrate your individuality and disdain for the mainstream by stretching your earlobes so wide that you can fit a pencil through them.
Wondering what the inspiration behind the new stretched earlobe trend is? We were too. We decided to have a chat with Issa Waters, the beautiful spirit behind the blog LoveLiveGrow to see what she thinks about it.
MSS: Who was it that inspired you to stretch your earlobes?
Issa: I don’t know who I first saw with stretched earlobes. I’m a Burning Man participant – a burner – and many burners have stretched earlobes, and lots of my friends and acquaintances do, so I see them all the time. I love other body modifications like tattoos and piercings, so I view stretching a piercing as just one more neat thing that can be done to the body.
I regularly have the urge to do something different to my body like get a tattoo or dye my hair. This urge hit me once at a time when I wasn’t in the mood for a new tattoo, and had two roommates with stretched earlobes, so on a whim I decided to go for it.
MSS:What did you do to prepare to alter your body in this way?
Issa: I didn’t do a lot of research at first. I relied on my roommates to guide me along the process, although I’ve read more about it since then. It’s just called “stretching”. Some people call it “gauging,” but that’s grammatically incorrect since gauge is a unit of measurement, not a verb. Getting your ears pierced is the only part of the process that requires a professional. After that you can just gradually work in larger sized jewelry to stretch the piercing. And I do mean gradually! I would stretch the next size, then wait for the stretch to heal completely before stretching again. It took months to go from a standard ear piercing, around 18 gauge, to the size I have now at 00 gauge.
MSS:Why do you believe this is such a hot trend these days?
I don’t really follow the “hot trends”. Is it one? If so, I guess it would be because tattoos have become relatively mainstream, so in order to be different you have to try something else. I’ve seen a lot of really creative work in the areas of piercings and stretching, so there’s plenty of room there to be unique. My social group is mostly burners, so that’s who I see with stretched earlobes, along with lots of other body modifications.
MSS: Does this piercing style affect your family or work?
Issa: I’m not sure my childhood family really noticed. The last time I saw them I had bright pink hair, so I doubt my earlobes really stood out. I don’t expect my earlobes to impact my future at all. With the people I hang out with, the jobs I have, and the activities I pursue, stretched earlobes are nothing too exciting. My grandkids will probably think it’s totally boring, since they’ll have moved on to something else.
My ears aren’t usually the most interesting or obviously weird thing about me, so, honestly, they hardly ever come up. I do like wearing flesh tunnels – the jewelry that lets you see right through my earlobe so that it’s most obvious that they’re stretched. If I’m really looking for attention, I can stick something through there. If I’m at a restaurant, I can stick my straw through one earlobe to entertain the kid the next table over. Unless I do something like that to call attention to them, though, most people won’t even notice.
MSS: So much for being different.