One of things that teenagers do that most irritate their parents is sloping off and getting their ears pierced. The parents frown on it, and the kids do it because the “old man” doesn’t like it. And not so many years ago it was unheard of for guys to wear earrings, but it is well documented that mens earrings have been around at least as long as the pretty feminine ones. Earrings were worn as status symbols, especially for signifying religious importance in early pre-Christian religions. They were worn as symbols of power by the Pharaohs and by men and women from various eras and regions of the world as signs of wealth, elevating them above the poorer classes. It has even been reported that the mummified 5000 year old remains of the oldest human ever excavated, Ötzi the Iceman, had very obviously pierced ears. Well I wasn’t there, so I can’t say, but I do know that men during the Elizabethan period, such as Shakespeare and Francis Drake, wore very ornate gold earrings. So mens earrings disappearing off the acceptable fashion radar was a more recent development. One which allowed the girls to take over, and make earrings their own!
Mens earrings reappeared during the 1960’s, especially with the emergence of the punk movement, as such male jewelry became a fashion statement linked to music rather than religion or financial status; and linked to rebellious confrontation against “the Establishment”. In keeping up such tough appearances, the mens earrings of this period had very unfeminine designs, some little more that pieces of metal chain, or zipper parts, or safety pins – all worn after self-piercing. The general progression of men wearing earrings has continued to the present day, but the styles are far more refined. They are worn more widely now than at any time during the twentieth century.
Modern Punk Style Mens Earrings
The punks are still here, even in the twenty-first century, and the styles of mens earrings in this genre have evolved, although the counter-culture theme is still all pervasive. Some of today’s designs include: skull and crossbones, shark tooth, dagger, silver crosses, and a whole variety of others as long as they conform to the theme of rebellion in some way.
Gothic Style Mens Earrings
The other main style of mens earrings on show in recent years is the gothic style. This fashion involves black clothing and all things dark and deathly. The earrings tend to be skeleton-related, many being simple skull designs, or even coffin designs.
So over the last several years, the punks and the goths have allowed men to start wearing earrings again, and this trend, like so many others, eventually leaks into the mainstream. The black music scene, especially many of the high-profile rappers, certainly like to get blinged up, and stud earrings are common for men now. These, and hoop earrings are becoming far more commonly seen, worn by men. The outlandish or rebellious goth and punk styles tend to be the more dangly type ones.
In the past it was dad getting upset about his teenage son wearing an earring, and worrying that his offspring was a little effeminate, or even (dare I say it) gay. But now it’s all okay. And eventually teenage sons will not be embarrassed by seeing dad in mens earrings, wearing a hoodie and trying to rap! Hmmm, yeeeeess. Was that a pig flying by?