body piercing and stretching

Just about 11 years ago I was sitting in the chair of a piercing parlor in Allston MA tightly gripping my friend Jacques hand as the piercing artist held a needle over my nipple and asked, “Are you ready?” I wasn’t, but of course I said, “Yes! Do it.”

If you’ve never been pierced, and I don’t mean getting your ears done with a gun at the mall, it will probably be hard to imagine the feeling of having a clamp hold you still while a long needle is pushed through rather sensitive skin. Needless to say, Jacques was there for me to have a hand to bear down on. (Ok, that’s why I wanted him there. I think he was there because I was shirtless and he could watch someone else getting their nipples pierced.) Also needless to say, it hurts. The piercer did the right nipple first then looked at me and asked if I was ready to continue. I looked at her like she was crazy. “Don’t ask me that. Just do it. Don’t give me the chance to say no.” When it was done I swore to myself that it was something I’d never do again. Then again, I also swore I’d never wear a bra again. Actually, I swore I’d never wear a shirt again, they were that sore. I nearly lived up to that. Luckily, I had been smart enough to get my nipples pierced when it was summer in Boston and, not having to worry about what the cold weather might do to freshly pierced nipples, I could easily go around topless in my apartment for a week, something for which my straight male friends and gay female friends informed me repeatedly they were thankful.

I love body piercing. Apparently I loved body piercing before I even knew about it. My senior year in high school the yearbook club decided that on the “we bequeath” page I should be bequeathed “more ears to put holes in”. They were close. At the time I had at least 9 holes in my ears. Little did I know then I didn’t have to only put holes in ears! I figured that out shortly afterwards and in the years that followed I pierced my bellybutton, my eyebrow, my lip, my tongue my nose and both nipples (not necessarily in that order). By the time I got around to piercing my nipples my boyfriend (at the time) used to affectionately refer to me as “the pin cushion”. I didn’t mind. I thought it was pretty funny. Besides, I did have a lot of holes in me. I frequently used to set off the metal detectors in airports. (The funniest/most disconcerting occurrence of this sort was in the airport in Budapest when my passport had a misprint and, not able to speak Hungarian, I could not explain to the nice machine gun bearing passport agent to look at the amendment in the back, none of which would probably have been a problem had it not been for the fact that I had set off the metal detector which summoned a large crowd of armed soldiers.)

About a year ago, with a heavy heart, I had to remove some of my piercings. Admittedly, it was for a good reason, I was 5 months pregnant and something had to give. However, I felt that removing those rings was the equivalent of sacrificing my inner punk and I went into a period of brief mourning.

Fast forward to two weeks ago. Miss MJ has been fascinated with both my eyebrow ring and my tongue ring since the day she was observant enough to notice them. She has been spending quite a bit of her quality play time trying to grab at and rip out my eyebrow ring. Two weeks ago she nearly succeeded. Luckily for me she did not rip it out. Unfortunately she did manage to pop the bottom ball off of the barbell. Luckily for both of us, she did not swallow it (trust me. I studiously inspected her diaper for days after I discovered it was missing.) Unfortunately, the day this took place was a Tuesday and Tuesday is vacuum day. The ball was gone for good. This has caused a goo deal of hassle for me the past few days since the barbell in my eyebrow kept trying to slide out in the middle of the night without two ends to hold it in place. That in itself wouldn’t be a problem, but the threads kept tearing up the soft tissue on the inside of the piercing making me wake up many mornings with a bit of blood on my pillow. Not too much fun.

This past weekend, on our baby free adventured CableDad and I went into a piercing parlor so I could get a replacement barbell for my eyebrow. I was getting sick of it sliding around in there. When we walked through the door the spirit of my inner punk started screaming out for attention. What could I do but heed her? As I sat looking for the right replacement jewelery I knew what I had to do. I wanted my piercings back.

Thankfully since I have been pierced for so long, having the jewelery out for a year did not mean the holes were closed up. They did, however, have to be stretched. Now, I had never had a piercing stretched before. It just wasn’t something I had ever really thought about. Yeah, I think that stretched holes on earlobes can look cool, it just wasn’t my look. The piercer was awesome (and I’m kicking myself right now for not remembering his name, because I really did like him and I’d love to recommend him to anyone in Miami who wants to get some jewelery. The best I can do is say that the parlor is called New Age and is on Grand in the Grove. Also a note to anyone in Miami looking to get a tat: go talk to Alice at Tattoo’s by Lou in Kendall. She kicked ass on my new one and I’d totally go back to her in a heartbeat.) and we chatted while he put the taper in through my belly button. He warned me that the belly button was likely to be the worst of the bunch since it had accumulated quite a bit of scar tissue through being stretched out by my big pregnant belly. Yeah, that one did not feel so good. Actually, come to think of it, it sort of felt like a hole in my belly was being stretched. Imagine that. Then he got around to the nipples. The left was a breeze; it hadn’t closed up at all. The right on the other hand…. well, yeah, not so pleasant. I would say that the pain of stretching out the hole on the right was equivalent to the pain of initially getting it pierced, but that would be a lie. When you get pierced for the first time, it is a quick process. They clamp the area and in one swift movement push the needle through and put in the jewelery. Not so with a stretching. The piercer (man, I wish I remembered his name) had to slowly push the taper through to see how closed up the hole actually way. In fact, he had to take it out once and start over again. CableDad said he knew it was bad when he heard me yelp from the other room. Yeah, not an experience I really wish to repeat. The good news is that a stretching seems to take a hell of a lot less time to heal than a fresh piercing. I had the old holes stretched yesterday and an hour afterwards I felt like they had never been removed.

I walked around all day yesterday with an extra spring in my step. I finally feel like the old me is returning. I’ve got my rings back and I am wicked happy about it. I love being a mom, but I need to be me as well.


~ by CableGirl on Sunday, June 17, 2007.

6 Responses to “body piercing and stretching”

  1. It’s difficult for a mother to accept a child’s choices. You’ve always been a challenge and I LOVE YOU!
    BTW, having MJ this weekend was a wonderful experience for Bruce and me. Hugs,

  2. I don’t even have my ears pierced anymore…or, I’m pretty sure the holes have closed up…I used to have two in each ear but they kept getting infected too easily so I said, screw this, and stopped wearing earrings.

  3. it sounds so painfull

  4. Um… the word “ouch” is the only thing that comes to mind–and it came to mind over and over again as I read this post. hahaha. I loved: “Actually, come to think of it, it sort of felt like a hole in my belly was being stretched. Imagine that.”

  5. Ummm. I read this whole thing first on the reader and then here at your blog with my face scrunched up as if it were me writhing in pain….
    I went with my girlfriend when she got her belly button pierced a few years ago. Any thoughts I had entertaining such a notion for myself quickly vanished as I watched her wince and writhe under the clamp and the needle. While we waited for her appointment I chatted with a guy who was pierced multiple times and I have to say it was extremely eye opening to me to hear him talk about the why’s and the wherefore’s of getting body piercings. I still feel like a fuddy duddy from another generation but I think I understood just a little.
    I definitely understand the “need to be me” you mentioned and I commend you for noting that need and acting on it. Mommy’s sometimes forget to do just that.

  6. I was ok until you got to the part about stretching and then I couldn’t read any further. I was squirming a bit too much. AYYYYYYYY!

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