by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
June 11, 2005
THE BEJEWELLED MAN
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- I've never been the kind of Guy to wear jewelry, at least not on a long-term basis, and only certain kinds. I've worn the occasional class ring, a gold chain for a couple months, and a nice cameo brooch when I wanted to feel pretty. And, of course, I've worn my wedding ring every day without fail for the last eleven-and-a-half years, partly because it's a symbol of my undying love for my wife, but mostly because she'd choke the life out of me if I ever left the house without it.
But I draw the line at Man Jewelry. Pinkie rings, huge gold necklaces, and the dreaded gold bracelet are strictly banned from my person.
It's not that I'm opposed to Man Jewelry, it's just that I don't think men should wear it. Ever.
Okay, that may be a little too extreme, so I'll just limit it to Guys. If it's something your wife would wear, you should not (the one exception being that cameo brooch on those special occasions).
By now, I'm sure you're asking, "What about the entertainment industry? There are all sorts of exceptions there, like Justin Timberlake and his necklace, Harrison Ford and his earring, or Brad Pitt and his multiple nipple piercings!" But you'd be wrong. None of them are Guys.
Man Jewelry does have a home in the sporting world, however. There's Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and his Super Bowl ring, Mike Tyson and his gold tooth and to-die-for face tattoo, and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and his multiple nipple piercings.
And these Guys can pull it off without question. They've already proved their strength and their ability to dish out and take a beating. That, and any one of them could pound me into a senseless lump.
However, even for these Guys there's a limit, and the question becomes "how much is too much?"
I'm the first to admit that on most Guys, a pierced ear looks pretty cool. I even had one myself. But I have to draw the line when ancient Ed Bradley from "60 Minutes" or rickety Harrison Ford show up sporting a diamond stud. I'm nearly 38, and I'm too old for one. No way a guy 20 years older than me should be wearing one. It clashes with their sock garters.
And I definitely draw the line at the whole earring/necklace/pinkie ring ensemble. It's a bit much for anyone who isn't a former boxing world champion with a well-earned reputation for savagely biting his opponents' ears off.
As luck would have it, I had a chance to see this combination a few weeks ago, when I encountered the perfect storm of money, Man Jewelry, and a mid-life crisis at an area restaurant.
My wife and I were out to dinner, and I had - wisely, I thought - called in our reservations earlier that day. As we were waiting to be seated, some guy - his outfit, his hair, and his jewelry just screaming overcompensation and Freudian envy - and his girlfriend cut in front of us.
A guy like this would usually escape my notice. But this one made himself extra special by mumbling something to the hostess, slipping her a $20 bill, and getting seated right before we did.
I was stunned partially by what I had just witnessed - we just don't do that in Indiana - but mostly because I realized this guy had to be in his late 40s, while his date was barely old enough to drink. Or be out so late on a school night.
"Oh how nice," I said to my wife. "He's taking his daughter to dinner."
I don't know if this jerk actually made a regular habit of bribing restaurant hostesses, instead of calling two hours early like the rest of us, or if he was trying to impress the young Paris Hilton wanna-be clinging to his arm. He needed to do something to compensate for the desperate look of trying to reclaim something he lost two decades earlier.
Unfortunately, the open shirt, big gold necklace, and pinkie ring just weren't cutting it. Neither was the fact that his date's mommy wanted her to be home by 11:00 or she was grounded. So my wife and I did the only thing we could do in a situation like this: we cracked jokes about them all throughout dinner.
Sure, I realize that what comes around, goes around, and that I could face my own mid-life crisis in the next 10 or 12 years. But I also realize that I won't regain it with Man Jewelry, a sports car, or a younger woman.
I'm going to do what any sensible guy should do when he starts to feel the ravages of age descend upon him: lots and lots of plastic surgery.