"Sometimes I wonder what God is like. We picture God to look like us. Not exactly. I mean, I don't think we picture God to look like Wink Martindale, for instance. More like Bob Barker."
--- Ellen DeGeneres, "My Point... and I Do Have One"
Last November, I got my left ear pierced. Yes, this does have something to do with the quote above.
It was something that I've wanted to do for a while, just to see how it would look. I figured that if I didn't like it, I could take it out. I didn't get it pierced as an "I'm gay" signal, because hell, people have so many piercings nowadays that there's no such thing as a "gay ear" anymore. I like the thing. I've only taken it out twice: once for a play last December (although it was a bitch to get back in, and I didn't take it out for the rest of the run of the play to make sure I didn't get my ear infected) and last month when I was an usher for a friend's wedding (hey, if they think enough of me to include me in the wedding, I don't mind).
Most everybody I know thinks the thing looks nice, although I've had a couple of run-ins about it. One was with a friend of mine back in January, who, when he saw it, pretty much had a epileptic fit and would've probably screamed out loud if we weren't in a public place. The same was true for my Mom, and both cited the same reason: the earring was the mark of the devil.
Apart from the fact that I didn't have my ear pierced to signify anything at all (except maybe that I have some fashion sense), I kind of had doubts about the religious backgrounds of what they were saying. My friend, who is also Catholic, kept going on about the "wrongness" of the earring. I wouldn't mind, except for the fact that at ASU's Catholic Center, where I go to mass, I've yet to have anybody gripe about the thing... hell, my priest knows I have it, and hasn't said a thing... and I'm not alone; I know of at least 2 or 3 other guys who have had their ears pierced, and I'd readily admit that they're more Christian than I am. And yes, several of the folk at the Catholic Center know I'm gay, and they honestly don't mind.
My Mom, on the other hand, is another matter. Up until a couple of years ago, Mom's idea of religion was going to mass every Sunday. Not anymore. Now, she's a devout follower of televangelist Benny Hinn. For those who've never heard of him: he's the guy that touches people, they collapse, and they wake up miraculously healed of whatever's wrong with them. Kind of reminds me of that "Speed Racer" episode where Speed finishes a race while driving totally blind: it makes a good show, but it's totally unrealistic.
Anyhow, to get back on topic, Mom started harping on about how Benny Hinn says the earring is evil, how Benny Hinn heals people and makes the pierced guys throw off their earrings because they're the devil's trademarks, etc. That lasted for about 48 hours, until Mom's best friend came over and said she liked the thing. She's never given up, though; occasionally, and for no reason, she'll break into this little "Benny Hinn saved this guy who had his ear pierced" story. Usually, this happens while we're driving, allowing me to turn the radio up and sing along to whatever song's on the radio. Even the Spice Girls.
Personally, I highly doubt that when I die, God's going to say "Well, gee, I'd love to let you into heaven, but you got your ear pierced, so I can't do it." I'm hoping that when I die, God will look over my record, see that I've at least tried to do good things in my life, and take me wherever it is you go when you die. After all, God is supposed to love everyone and everything, and if that's true, then it's what's inside your heart that matters, not what's stuck in your ear.