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December 3, 2003
Today I showed a friend a school photo of my handsome 17-year-old nephew. The first thing she said was, "Oh god, what's up with the earrings?" My nephew has two small hoop earrings in his left earlobe.

Not "What a good-looking kid" or "What fantastic eyes". No. Instead, she focused on the earrings, which are about as noteworthy and outlandish as a stripe on someone's shirt. As if this were 1952 and the earrings were a symbol of my nephew's induction into a super-secret cult where the members all wear hooded robes as they perform ritualistic candlelit blood-letting.

Please!