On the manly art of choosing correct earrings

All right, men, enough with the earrings already.

It seems like anywhere you go, your eyes can't help catching the glint off some guy's ear. Or ears.


At the commuter train station. At the coffee counter, where a guy is wearing five earrings, two in one ear, three in the other. Stand at the curb and wait for the light to change. The nearby bike messenger has a giant hoop that could double as a canary perch. How about a bite to eat? Whoa, three short-order cooks have eight earrings among them.

Your office is no different. The guys in the mailroom have them. And because you work in a place with a fairly laissez faire dress code, a few colleagues sport them.


At the newsstand, Air Jordan cum earring smiles out from the latest issue of Ebony. Turn on the TV for some football and spot studs with studs.

Did I miss something, fellas? Was there an announcement at our annual male convention a few years ago that no one told me about? I must've been in the restroom.

This whole crazy fad, the piercing of male America, has gone ballistic. It has simply gotten out of hand.

It's hard to remember when it really took off. Sure, there were those very public emblems of maleness during the '80s who took to wearing earrings: Phillip Michael Thomas of "Miami Vice," Mr. T and pop icon George Michael. Maybe they're to blame for all of this.

But remember Boy George? He wore dresses, but we didn't go running off to The Limited looking for nice, conservative, below-the-knee numbers. At least most of us didn't. And at the last MTV awards, Prince wore his indecent exposure pants, the ones with the see-through rear panels. But Levi Strauss has probably heard little or no demand from men for those.

It seems like one night we went to bed and male earrings were for entertainers, bondservants, pirates, Mr. Clean, Hell's Angels and men who preferred men. Then we woke up and every other guy was wearing them.

It's a mystery why so many men would want to wear earrings, especially the big loopy ones (the earrings, that is, although it could apply equally to the men) and the ones that dangle down from the ear and look like fishing lures.

Earrings can be dangerous. Have you ever seen the look of panic on the face of a woman whose earring is in the firm grip of a 1-year-old who wants to yank it out like the ring on a grenade pin? It's not a pretty sight.


Gentlemen, consider the advantage your opponent in a bar fight or in hand-to-hand, or better yet, hand-to-ear combat could gain by merely grabbing your loop? Chilling, isn't it?

Women are partly to blame for encouraging this sad situation. Many of them think it's "cute" (their word, not mine) to see a guy with an earring. "So long as it's not big and hanging, there's only one and it's in the appropriate ear," says one woman, alluding no doubt to the urban lore that some gay men indicate same with a single earring in the right ear.

Poodles in tutus are cute, too, but most of us wouldn't want to be one if that's what it took to get a woman's attention. And I've seen guys with earrings who will never, ever be cute, no matter how many earrings they have.

So brothers, remove your earrings. This madness isn't irreversible (or ear-reversible, for that matter). And, for heaven's sake, let's not even think about lipstick.