My niece is turning 18 today. Which is wild – more so for my sister, I’m sure. The age difference between me, my niece and sister is exactly the same. I’m smack in the middle of a fierce 40+ and a smart and grounded 18 year old. I of course asked my niece what 18 year olds these days are doing to celebrate their new found legality. For me, it was getting my belly button pierced. But that was ’99-2000 and Britney Spears was my role model. The Britney influence was very real. However, the mere suggestion of a belly piercing to today’s Midwestern teenager elicited a firm, almost repulsed, “I don’t want that done.” And to counter, if she did, I would probably advise against. Does anyone really want a belly ring, banging bod or not? It’s been nearly a decade since I’ve even worn mine (though, the proof of its existence never really goes away, #truth). Which really brings me to a question that has been on my mind for a few months now. If belly button rings aren’t happening, why is Maria Menonous so obsessed with hers? A shiny gold star, no less. I see this thing everywhere and it jumps (no, shoots!) out at me. She can be seen bare midriffing on the cover of her new fitness book. In a massive spread in the October issue of Shape. She looks incredible and fit, for sure, but I’m puzzled by the belly jewels. I really truly am. She’s professional, in her mid-30s and wearing a belly ring. All things that, for me, don’t naturally go together. I’m genuinely tripped up by this and more curious than anything on how long she’s been with piercing. Because if it was around the time of the Britney effect, then she deserves some sort of lifetime achievement award.
And, as it turns out, my niece would like to gamble. To that, I say, girl, go buy yourself a scratch off on the way to school.