Sammy Nickalls
Updated Aug 12, 2015 @ 8:03 am

Remember last week, when our minds were blown over the fact that you can actually take those plastic backings off earrings? Yeah, well, all that’s settled now. In case you didn’t hear about the whole debacle, it all started when 19-year-old Chelsea Smith tweeted a picture of her stud earrings in a sort of before-and-after pic — the former, with the plastic backing; the second, without.

Twitter proceeded to explode into a massive debate. Some were just totally shocked, others excited by Chelsea’s revelation, while others still insisted that the plastic backings had a purpose — to stabilize your earring if it’s too heavy for your ears. Well, the inventor of the plastic backing has effectively shut us all up by settling the Great Earring Debate of 2015.

Toronto’s Ira Carlin, 65, was pretty “amused” by the debate, but in an exclusive interview with The Toronto Star, he’s officially put it to rest. “You actually leave it on. Period,” he said. “Categorically, emphatically, from the expert mouth, you leave it on.”

Carlin, who now lives in Florida, owns a company called “The Earring Doctor” (also the name he gives himself). In the ’80s, he was working for a jewelry company and invented the plastic disc in 1984 when he noticed that heavy earrings pushed his wife’s earlobes forward. His first design, called “Le Disc,” was a plastic disc you could place on the back of your earring.

“If you were to hang a painting on a curtain it would tilt forward,” he explained to The Star, “[but] if you put a board behind a curtain and then hung a painting on it, it would stay stable. And that’s exactly what took place with my first item.”

He never got a patent, but he believes it could have been “easily circumvented” even if he did; after some time, someone designed a backing with the plastic disc actually attached (i.e. the one that Chelsea tweeted about), and Carlin soon followed with his own version: Le Disc Plus, which you can still buy in his store. Since then, he’s sold tens of millions of the little backings.

Well, Carlin thinks this whole thing is a “hoot,” according to The Star. He even has set a Google Alert so he can follow the story. “I’m getting so much fun out of it.”

However, he’s a little bit suspicious about Chelsea’s post, wondering if she really thought that someone would think you’re supposed to just pull it off. If he had the chance to talk to her, he’d say, “Are you serious? It’s not part of packaging. It’s part of functionality.”

Ouch. That’s cold, Ira. But either way, we’re glad this whole thing has been put to rest. Oh, Internet, how we love you.