Piercing is the new black. Okay, maybe it’s the old black. I know, I know, piercings became cheesy and cliché the minute AJ from the Backstreet Boys paired up a couple silver lobe-loops with some medium-hold/high-shine hair gel and a fedora for the “I Want It That Way” video (dope pants, btw…I digress.) Maybe the 90’s eye-brow rings stay there with the Backstreet Boys (though I think we agree wall-ball needs to make a comeback) but people, I promise you a well-placed piece of metal can be the most fun you’ve had since your first pair of pumped-up kicks.
This is the first installment of a two-part piece (or more if I feel like it) on piercings, with more fun body-mod posts to follow. Today I’m going to throw down some things to watch for when getting more common piercings. At a later date I will explore (and it IS exploring) some features of the not-so-mainstream bedazzlements, i.e. the good shit.
Just so you know, I’ve actually done some “real-world” piercing (I briefly considered it as a career) and I certainly have had plenty of “real-world” experience on the receiving end. Ultimately, I decided I’m better as a bottom [winky face.] Here are the basics:
One common misfortune of piercings is rejection. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Usually it happens because the piercing was done too shallow or the jewelry didn’t fit right. Your body will react by slowly pushing the jewelry out (it’s called migrating) like a splinter. Once migration starts, it’s very hard to stop, and in a few weeks or months you will probably just have to take the piercing out. It really is like getting rejected by your high-school crush because you will want so badly to have that thing inside you and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. He’s gone, honey. I’m sorry… I’m so sorry.
Rejection is preventable to a large extent. Some piercings (like people) are more prone to get rejected. Ones that go across relatively flat areas or ones that get agitated by clothes tend to get rejected more. The best thing you can do is go to a good piercer for those tricky buggers. A well-placed bar has a very good chance of staying in, and an educated piercer will know where to lay it down. I wasn’t kidding about people either, some individuals reject piercings more often than others. It’s just one of those things. But keep trying, there’s someone for everyone. Piercings that go through flaps of skin usually don’t reject, so if you’re one of those highly reject-able people, maybe stick to things like ear-lobes, lips, the tongue, etc. Hey, remind me to tell about split tongues later.
Infections. Do I need to say more? Infections are bad. Infections are really bad. On one occasion, I had an ear-lobe piercing that got red, swollen and pussy (no, not good pussy; pussy as in the gross stuff). The lobe swelled so much that the ball and backing of the earring popped inside the piercing while I was asleep. Are you picturing this? THE WHOLE THING WAS IN-FREAKING-SIDE MY SWOLLEN EARLOBE. Not good. Hospitals, medicine, other unhappy shit ensued.
First of all, don’t get paranoid. All piercings can get a little red and have some funky discharge during healing, even when they’re not infected. Don’t freak out. Just make sure you follow your piercer’s instructions for after-care. Clean the wound regularly with saline or an appropriate solution. If you have allergies to certain metals, make damn sure you know what the jewelry is made of before you put it in. It’s like sex: you should at least kind of know what is penetrating you. Also, don’t get pierced when you’re sick or exhausted. Your immune system has to be primed and ready if you’re going to slam a steel rod through your face or whatever.
Piercings, like tattoos, seem like a lot of money for a pretty short event. One good stab could run you upwards of $80, not including tip. A local shop I just checked charges $100 for a pair of nipple piercings. This does not mean that you get better value by doing it at home, because, well, you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing. You want to pay a good piercer. Trust me. Besides, a lot of that cost is for the piece of jewelry, and you want a quality piece in there. There are advantages to different materials like titanium (it’s light,) or gold, silver, and surgical steel (hypoallergenic). Don’t use porous materials like wood, bone, acrylic, or plastic. Anything with pores, even microscopic ones, increases the risk of infection because bacteria have someplace to hide and jump out and scare you. Good stuff is pricey, but worth it. I got my nipples done 10 years ago for a hundred bucks and I still got ‘em so…good investment.
A good piercer and quality jewelry make a world of difference. Try to find a piercer who is experienced and comes recommended by someone with a lot of holes in them. A well-done piercing is a work of art, as Elayne Angel’s “The Piercing Bible” will show you. This book is so effing rad and is the textbook for information on piercing. She is a pioneer in the field. Without her, you wouldn’t even know this shit existed. While we’re on the subject of references, check out the online Body Modification Ezine to amp your stoke about all this and more. Much more.
Here is my final word to the wise, as well as my disclaimer. Your piercer should know exactly what you’re talking about if you ask her or him about infection, metals, placement, rejection—all of this stuff; make sure your piercer marks the skin first and uses sterile, packaged instruments and single-use hypodermic needles; never trust a jabroni who doesn’t wear gloves, or any old Johnson who looks like A.J. from the Backstreet Boys. Is it Back Street Boys? Finally, I can’t officially endorse DIY body-mods. I’m not saying go pierce yourself or your friends, I’m just saying that piercing yourself and your friends is really, really, really fun… usually… sometimes…certainly not always.
P.S. “My guy” who did several of mine was named Chuck, and worked out of the Purple Lotus in Frisco, CO. I have no idea what happened to him. I heard he died in a plane crash in Miami like he was supposed to all those years ago…does anyone even know what I’m talking about?