The boy came in wearing a nose ring. His teacher reminded him to remove it as it was against the dress code. (The teacher was on his way out of the room at the time, leaving me to cover his classes.) Then the teacher explained to me that the boy was enjoying setting off metal detectors while he still could.
"When do you go in [to the army]?"
The boy dressed like a stereotypical punk rocker. He wore the jeans vest with band fabric "patches" safety pinned and clearly hand stitched to it. He wore the fraying jeans. He had the standard Dr. Martens. His hair was short and spiky. The nose ring completed the look.
The one thing he didn't have was the gauged ears. So I asked him about them.
He used to have them. Apparently, army code prohibits piercings where one can see through a person's ears. So, the boy had surgery to close his up.
I did not know you could have gauged ears closed up.
He must really want to be in the army if he's willing to de-pierce himself.
We talked of various things that period. (He was the TA, and the rest of the class was testing, so it was just him and me.) I asked about his army plans. Where he'd be doing boot camp. What he wanted to do after.
There's a reason I try not to prejudge students based on their appearance. When I don't, it leaves me open to hearing the real story.