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Matthew Girard column: Throwback trends return to haunt me

Matthew Girard
More Content Now
Cheboygan Daily Tribune

Columns share an author’s personal perspective.

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Being a child of the late 1990s and early 2000s, I fell victim to many questionable fashion trends.

In my early teens I nearly lost an eye to a free-flying overall strap on more than one occasion, developed a rash from wearing button-up silk shirts every day of the school week and tight-rolled my jeans so tight I couldn’t wiggle my toes by the end of the day. In my late teens there were the unbuttoned flannel shirts being caught in (moving) car doors and days of coming close to hypothermia after walking around in baggy jeans that acted like a mop being dragged along a snow-covered sidewalk.

Other than getting a sarcastic “What are your wearing?” comment and an eye roll from my 7-year-old daughter when she comes across old photos of me, my fashion choices haven’t haunted me later in life as a 40-year-old dad.

That changed the day after Christmas.

Along with streaky hair highlights and cargo pockets on everything, I also joined the body piercing craze of the early 2000s while in my early 20’s. While I didn’t go down the extreme body piercing path like many of that era, I went and got both my right and left ears pierced with small hoops. I wore the hoops for a couple of years, but eventually the fad wore off and I quit wearing earrings altogether by the time I had returned to college.

Prior to my daughter’s 7th birthday in November this year, one of her primary requests was to get her ears pierced. On her birthday, we donned our masks and headed to a local shop. On the way, her mother and I explained the importance of taking care of the piercings, and we each told her about our memories and experiences of getting our ears pierced. While she was confident going in, once the needle pierced her skin on the first ear, it took some convincing and a few tears to get the second one pierced.

On the ride home my daughter informed us she would never be piercing anything again.

A few weeks later, with her ears healed, my daughter was enamored with the prospect of getting new earrings for Christmas and had seemingly forgotten about the initial few days after getting her ears pierced.

Sure enough, on Christmas morning my daughter opened a gift containing several sheets of different earrings. Enough pairs of earrings to not wear the same pair twice for at least a full-calendar year. From unicorns to rainbows to hearts to stars, she now had “pretty” earrings to go with all her outfits. After celebrating Christmas and cleaning up the aftermath, we finally got around to putting in her first real earrings the next evening.

After picking out the “perfect” pair, her mother removed the back of the starter earring and then pulled the post out of ear. Instantly, you could see she remembered the initial piercing as eyes became wider and the tears began running down her cheeks. As we calmed her down, we explained that putting a new earring in won’t feel like the first time and reassured her that her ear had healed.

Eventually she was ready to try again, but still wasn’t convinced that her ear was healed. Then she looked at me, with tears still on her face, and said, “Daddy, will you put this one in your ear? I want to see if your piercing is still open.”

Wanting to prove to my daughter that she could trust me and that I would make sure everything was OK, I grabbed that heart-shaped earring etched with the world “Love” and put it in my ear.

“See! I haven’t worn earrings in years, and I still could if I wanted to,” I said.

A week later, I’ve had everything from unicorns to rainbows to hearts to stars in my ears to match her every outfit.

Matthew Girard is a columnist for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc. Contact him at mgirard@gannett.com.