Tuesday, May 7, 2013

a small silver circle

So, I got my nose pierced on Friday.

Why? Because I have always wanted to. I really like the look of a small silver hoop, and decided to get one.

I had always resisted this impulse before, because I saw where it could be an impediment for me - as a Realtor, during my brief foray into politics, etc. But now my life is set up in a way that I can't imagine it really mattering at all - coaching (I don't see any of my current clients caring, and actually view it as a good filter to make sure I am working with people with more to worry about than that), race management (non-issue), speaking (the audiences I am addressing would not mind, and I can always take it out for events where it could have a negative impact). Even officiating weddings - most of the couples who use me do so because I am different. And, again, it can always come out.

Back to Friday - I was driving home to Orillia from watching Katy's soccer tournament in Alliston, and I just decided to head right past town and continue up to Gravenhurst. There, a small piercing shop called Triple Sick Skin advertises "any piercing $20". I had been there with Katy and her cousins when they got their noses and belly-buttons pierced. I walked in, was taken straight to the back, pierced, paid and was back on the road in 10 minutes.

And I loved it. It looked exactly as I expected.

My next stop was meeting in person with a coaching client. We had a great conversation and the nose ring never came up. After that, it was to Kahuna Surf Shop to watch a skateboard movie with Jack. As soon as Jack arrived he said, "Did you get your nose pierced?" When I answered, "Yep", he added "Seriously??!". And then he shrugged.

Much to my surprise, my daughter was a different story altogether. She joined us after her dinner with a friend at Brewery Bay. Noticing right away, she immediately expressed her displeasure. Quickly, she worked herself into a bit of a fit, finally asking me for the car keys so she could wait for us there (taking her tattoo and multiple piercings with her). This caught me rather off guard. I expected my parents to be marginally upset, but I have lots of practice in dealing with that over the years. Katy's reaction, though, left me unsure of what to do next. When I dropped her at her Mum's we agreed to discuss it later and I promised to remove the nose ring if it still bothered her.

Saturday was a busy day - I was in Toronto for a morning funeral. I sat beside a prominent city lawyer and we had a great conversation about the deceased, about the church, and about my godfather who, it turned out, had been recruited many years ago by this very lawyer to work in his firm. Nose ring = non-issue. Then went for a trail run with my friend Paul. Nose ring not even mentioned. Then two Hot Docs screenings, where I fit right in, and a dinner conversation with the publicist for the films. Again, it never came up.

Jump forward to Sunday. I picked up Katy and Jack to take them to Canada's Wonderland for the day. Katy was over the initial meltdown, but immediately commented, "I see you still have the nose ring." I replied that we hadn't had our discussion about it yet, and reiterated that I would remove it if she still wanted me to. We had a fun day, and I dropped the kids back to their Mum's for dinner. I then went to a friend's to lead a guided visualization. She asked "Have you always had a nose ring?" I answered that it was new, and she commented that it looked good.

Monday, I picked Katy up from school and took her to Mariposa Market for a conversation. We talked about the trials and tribulations of being a teenage girl. I noticed how very much she was no longer a kid. She is almost 5'8" tall, very poised, and speaks very well. We talked about existential things - "what IT all means". We talked about her goals for university after next year (despite my urging her to drop out and be a surf bum, her 90+ average will likely lead to scholarships and a bright future in higher education). I was reminded, yet again, why Karen and I are both so proud of our kids.

I asked what it was that upset her so much about my nose ring. She said that it was ridiculous. That it is not something that a 45 year old man should do. That she will be embarrassed in front of her friends.

I was about to launch into my justification that we should not let other people's prejudices and "hang-ups" impact what we do. That you should do what makes you happy as long as it does not hurt anyone else. That this is just a small silver circle that doesn't mean anything. That this is a great opportunity to demonstrate to her what it means to really just be yourself.

Then, in a blink, I realized that there was a far bigger opportunity for me here. The opportunity to demonstrate to my daughter that her opinion does matter to me. That if this small silver circle really doesn't mean anything, honouring her feelings and concerns does.

So, as soon as I got home, it came out. And, when I woke up this morning, the hole had already healed over.

I am very glad that I got my nose pierced on Friday. Just not for the reasons I had expected to be.


  1. Great post Johnny. As a father of a teenage girl myself I can relate. I was concerned where this was going, knowing how strong-minded teens can be. I'm glad you gave in. Who knows, 5 years from now she will probably be a much different person and the silver ring can make a comeback!

  2. Awesome advice. I know that this post will come in handy down the road with two daughters growing like weeds.

  3. What REALLY makes you happy?
    What do you VALUE most?

    Great Post Johnny. Your kids are lucky to have you.

  4. Um, that made me tear up. Thanks for sharing your story. :) C