By: Conrad Clemens
“Watch that earring, Clemens!” has been the phrase that summarized September for me. Last year, hair covered my earring the whole year, but after cutting the dye out of my hair at the end of this summer (complying with the deans previous requests), my earring was visible.
On the second day of school I came, wearing my earring, wondering how our deans would react. After being told I needed to hide it or take it out, I wondered, “Why is ‘None of the following is permitted: earrings, sandals, sunglasses, headgear (except for religious reasons)’ a rule?” Bryn Mawr and Roland Park girls are allowed to wear earrings to school, and they don’t have to take them out on Gilman’s campus, so it seemed to me like a sexist gender-defining rule. I decided to investigate why the Administration concerned themselves with my ear’s cartilage.
Asking Mr. Boo Smith directly why we are not allowed to wear piercings, I was hoping he would admit that it was because men wearing earrings is not “professional.” He, however, explained quite logically to me that the rule exists because it would be too hard to regulate. In essence the rule exists because he didn’t want to have to individually define which earrings would be acceptable or not.
I agreed that the rule made sense, but I then thought about the “extreme hair” rule and how that is intertwined with the piercing rule. After talking to Mr. Brian Ledyard, however, I realized that piercings are optional and controllable, but hair is universal.
Originally I assumed that there was a rule that would allow me to put a Band-Aid over my piercing during the day to hide it, however, it turns out that as of this year, that is no longer permitted. Dean Smith stated that the rule “was being abused, and therefore [is] no longer an option.” Mr. Smith meant that boys would wear the Band-Aids inconsistently, causing the deans to have to persistently threaten detentions.
Discovering that this loophole was no longer valid limited my remaining options. I bought a clear plastic retainer earring and faced defeat. The deans were clear on their expectations and I now understand why the rule exists.