Stretching vs. Gauging
Gauge (transitive verb) / Gauging – to measure precisely the size, dimensions, or other measurable quantity of
Now that the nerd stuff is out of the way, let’s look into this a little further. Everyday I get asked “what gauge are your gauges?” and it drives me bonkers! Why you ask? Asking what gauge someone’s ears are is a valid question…unless their ears are bigger than what the gauge system actually measures. In the typical body jewelry sizes, the gauge system stops measuring at 00g. After 00g, the sizes switch to the imperial standard of measurement, the next size being 7/16″. From there on up, sizes move progressively at 1/16″.
I’m sure you are asking, “if I shouldn’t call them ‘gauges’, what are they called?” …. My favorite is simple: earrings. But ‘plugs’ is the most common and has been used for decades. If you really want to call them something silly, call them “imperials” since that’s the measurement system we actually use to measure them!
I also get a lot of people asking about “gauging” their ears. Although the gauge may be used as a verb, it just doesn’t make sense when talking about stretching a piercing. Gauging means to measure, not to stretch…and stretching is what we are doing when going up in size on a piercing!
Why do I rant about all of this? Simple. Most of the world has a negative view on piercings in general. I want the public to be well informed and take stretched earlobes as something normal. But when improper terms are used to describe these things, it makes everyone with stretched piercings look ignorant. So, please, for the greater good, please use the correct terms!