Is it fashionable for men to wear earrings?

Written by ryn gargulinski
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Is it fashionable for men to wear earrings?
(Ryn Gargulinski)

Gone are the days of men getting beat up, harassed or thrown in the gutter just because they wear an earring. The trend of men's earrings in America has finally hit the mainstream, especially for the younger generation, and it isn't going to disappear anytime soon.

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History

Men were always wearing earrings if they happened to be pirates so they could better display their bounteous booty. Men in India and on the American rock scene have thrived with earrings for many years. Punk rockers of both sexes, who hit the scene in the 1960s and 1970s, were also known to adorn their ears. Theyoften used safety pins, metal spikes and anything else that could fit through a hole. Men's earrings became more mainstream in the 1980s, the same decade that featured the mullet haircut. Thankfully, the mullet went by the wayside, but men wearing earrings are here to stay. Earrings for men continue to flourish, especially with the surging popularity of tattoos, body piercings and other body art. Young men, especially, are drawn to the trend.

Significance

In American culture, a man wearing an earring used to signify that he was gay. It was later thought that if a man wore an earring on his left ear he was gay, while if the earring was on his right ear, he was straight. This rule of thumb was jumbled and others thought just the opposite. Men wearing earrings have since lost these false distinctions and now largely have the freedom to wear one, two or several earring if they wish without getting ridiculed.

Function

Earrings on men can be looked at as an extension of the man's personality, style or willingness to make a statement. As earrings have lost their false distinctions, the sight of a man with an earring has also lost a lot of its shock value. Ear plugs have become popular, either as round disk or a hollow outer rim. They are used to increase the size of an ear piercing. While this is somewhat new in American culture, African tribes and other cultures have been doing this for ages.

Types

Men are no longer limited to the small, subtle studs or hoops. More conservative men may still don these styles, but the body adornment trend has made so many more options easily available. Men no longer have to reach for the safety pin, metal spike or whatever else is laying around the garage to get a hefty chunk of jewellery in their ear. Much of today's body jewellery is made to resemble such things. They are also made of sterling silver, gold or other materials that are less likely to cause an infection. A wide variety of ear plugs, chains, charms and just about anything else one could imagine is probably out there for the taking.

Warning

Increasing the size of an ear piercing hurts. As with any type of body modification, it should be done slowly and methodically for the least amount of pain and threat of infection or injury. The size of the ear plug should be gradually increased, only going larger once the smaller size has been firmly established for several weeks. Otherwise the skin can crack, bleed, turn black or blue and become infected. While earrings for men have become more widespread, accepted and fashionable, some stuffy workplaces may still frown upon them. Any place that would scowl at a bright tie or tattoo is most likely going to scowl at a man with an earring.

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