Piercings, the less troublesome but more promiscuous sibling of tattoos, are spiking in popularity. They’re customizable, significantly less painful and sometimes temporary — all their attracting factors. From tame piercings such as ear, septum and belly button piercings to more risqué ones, such as tongue and nipple, there is a piercing to fall in line with everyone’s preference and personal style.
For a lot of people, piercings are a form of self-expression, and a way to show unique style. However, not everyone is always accepting of piercings for a variety of cultural, religious or social reasons.
A lack of parental support did not discourage Remi Turner, junior at the University of Miami, from jumping the gun and getting a piercing. She went against her parents’ wishes and, luckily enough, they didn’t find out until she decided years later to reveal her secret.
“I have two piercings. My first was my septum, and I got that when I was 17,” she said.
Turner went to a Catholic private school and would often push the limits of student dress codes by openly flaunting her pierced septum. But whenever she feared formal disciplinary action for wearing the septum piercing, the well-known trick of flipping a septum piercing up into the nose always came in handy. Unfortunately, her parents told her to take it out. That wasn’t too successful, as she now has a second nose piercing and hopes to get more.
While a lot of older generations still have an aversion to all piercings, students at UM are starting to push the limits even further.
In the depths of the piercing world are the risqué piercings. An anonymous female UM student, not wanting everyone to know the surprise she has under her shirt, spoke on her recent experience getting her nipples pierced.
“I just woke up one day and decided just to do it. I didn’t think about it too much — I just called a local piercing place, hopped in the Uber and got it done,” said the anonymous student.
“The only circumstance where someone should get a nipple piercing is if they in general have a high pain tolerance. Highly recommend taking a Xanax before and definitely don’t smoke [weed] before, as it will amplify the sensation,” said the anonymous student.
Read that carefully. Do not “sesh” before a piercing. The anonymous student explained that she had a horrible experience when getting her nipples pierced when she was stoned. She admitted to taking 500 mg of marijuana edibles and recalled that the anxiety was overwhelming — not just from the needle but also from the piercers knowing that you’re under the influence.
When you go into a piercing shop, they will scan your ID to make sure you are over 18 and make you fill out a consent form to make sure you aren’t under the influence. Otherwise, they cannot provide you with their piercing services. Using a fake ID or being under the influence can be risky, so take that as a sign to go in honest and sober.
The anonymous student described in-detail the actual process of piercing her nipple. Fair warning: graphic imagery lies ahead.
First off, she advised that you need to be aware that your piercer, especially if you are getting something done on an intimate body part, may not be the same gender as you.
She then explained how after her piercer made the marks of where the barbell would go, her piercer had her lie down. After telling her piercer she was nervous, he simply responded: “If you’re going to be scared of anything, be scared of the nipple clamps.” Cue the shudders. “As soon as he pulled them out, I almost passed out,” said the anonymous student.
As for the actual piercing process, the anonymous student recalls it being an extremely painful experience, but the pain only lasted for a few minutes.
A body piercing takes around nine months to heal, and it will likely be a bit of a bloody sight. A couple rules of thumb: don’t touch or pick at the scab and be sure clean the wound every day.
For inexperienced people looking into getting a piercing, speaking with a wide variety of piercers helped shed some light on what the best way is to get one. If you can cough up the money for a professional piercer, do not go to Claire’s. Instead, go to a consulting session from a well-researched piercer to get the feel of the shop, the procedures and equipment they use and the hygiene of the shop.
A professional piercer, explained that it is very important that everything is sterile and the aftercare is communicated properly. When asked what the problem with places like Claire’s is, he responded with a sigh.
“[Their piercers] are undertrained; the piercings are also prone to infection and are overpriced,” he said.
We’ve all seen the “Parent Trap” scene where Lindsay Lohan A pierces Lindsay Lohan B’s ear with just a hot safety pin and an apple, but DIY methods like that can quickly lead to infection — sometimes even hepatitis. Luckily, infection is unlikely to be fatal, and the best option is to disinfect and take some antibiotics.
In short, don’t try this at home, don’t get stoned before you get pierced, and smile through the pain of the nipple clamps or the piercing gun. After all, piercings might add a little shine to your appearance.
Take a Stab at It
Standard lobe: The standard lobe piercing is usually the first piercing people get, and definitly the least scary. e first piercing most people get, and definitely the least scary. As the name suggests, this piercing goes through your earlobes, the squishy, fatty part that hangs from the ear. Prices range from $20–80.
Navel: Commonly referred to as the belly button piercing, this style was all the craze in the early aughts, but has recently experienced a comeback. The piercing usually goes through the upper fold of skin on the belly button, but can also be done underneath or on the edges of the navel. Prices range from $40–55.
Nipple: Make sure you wear a top that can easily be pulled down, up or unbuttoned for the piercer to have access to the nipple. Most piercers will also recommend a 14-gauge straight barbell, as it pulls less on new piercings and allows for a better healing experience. Prices range from $40–100 per nipple.
Viper bite: Popular in the alternative scenes in the 2000s and early 2010s viper bite piercings — also known as a snake bite — are located on the bottom lip. The piercing takes only six–eight weeks to heal, but you will need to be careful while eating during the healing process. Prices range from $80–120.
words_veronika valia. photo_reese putnam. design_gaelle charlet.
This article was published in Distraction’s Winter 2023 print issue.
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