Symbolism associated with ear piercings has all but vaporized since the close of the 20th century as body piercings have been embraced by pop culture. According to Life123.com, between 1960 and 1990, gay American men pierced their right ears as a covert signal to help them identify other homosexual males. Their European counterparts pierced their left ear. Compounding the confusion, some scenes wore earrings in both ears to signal homosexuality.
In some localities, dominant gay males pierced their left ear. Piercing the right ear was a sign of sexual submissiveness. With the onset of body piercing and modification, old prejudices and taboos started to subside, and it became fashionable for men to pierce either or both ears. Much of the earlier symbolism has taken a back seat to fashion.
In the sports world, the size of the diamond stud worn by male athletes has become a sign of status. A single, small stud in a man's ear has evolved to include plug, barbell and spacer earring styles. This is nothing new, however. In 1991, a mummified body with pierced ear holes was found embedded in an Austrian glacier, according to CareFair.com. So which ear should a straight man pierce? The one that seems best when he looks in the mirror.