Saturday, May 14, 2016

To Pierce or Not to Pierce.

After my last post about the mini vaca I spent alone in St. George, UT, I received an e-mail from a reader I'll call Joan.  Joan took the time to share a bit about herself and her life, including her desire, and reservations about getting her nose pierced.  She had quite a few questions for me about my experience with it so I thought perhaps I should elaborate a tad more than "I went to St. George and went shopping and pierced my nose.  The End".

First of all, I'll start with my mindset while there.  I've recently had some major things happening in my life that have temporarily derailed me mentally.  A lot of life changing decisions to be made that I didn't necessarily even want to think about so I was feeling mixtures of anger, sadness, excitement and a little self-destruction thrown in for good measure.  I've never been the type of person to sit and agonize over a decision and whether or not it's a good idea.  Which is why I bought a Jeep with a 21% interest rate.  Or why I have a tattoo of a Chinese kanji that probably means I Love Sushi.  I hate sushi and the tattoo is garbage.  But, I am who I am and I usually like myself.  Bad life choices and all.

I'm honestly not even sure what sparked the idea while I was there.  I remember wanting to get my nose pierced when I was in my 20's but can't remember why I never did.  I probably walked by the tattoo studio on my way to get pierced and took a detour for something more permanent.

So, the idea popped into my head and I flipped open my laptop to do some research.  I'm not completely irresponsible guys!  I watched a few videos of people getting it done and while it wasn't pleasant to watch, (one girl was a bleeder and it would. not. stop.) I figured, easy peasy.  I've had my ears gauged and my tongue pierced.  How much worse could this be?

During my impromptu research while hunched over my laptop on the hotel bed, here's what I learned that I considered to be pretty damn important if you're going to put holes in your face.  YOUR FACE!  If things go awry, Phantom of the Opera masks are probably less socially acceptable than an oozing face wound.

  • Make sure your piercer and studio you choose are licensed, professional and clean.
  • Stay away from piercing guns!!  They are unregulated and aren't precise.  When you use a piercing gun, the stud is what is doing the piercing.  The stud is not as sharp as a hollow needle and actually displaces your tissue which makes is more likely you'll develop scar tissue and almost impossible to avoid damage.  Guns are harder to sterilize between uses which make you more susceptible to infection.   
  • "When a hollow needle is used, it removes a piece of flesh with precision because a hand is in control and able to guide it more steadily."
  •  When you go to a professional, it's going to cost more than if you headed off to Claire's at the mall.  You're paying for their expertise and quality.  It is worth it!  I just checked my bank statement and I paid $15 for the wound wash after care, $55 for the piercing and jewelry and $20 tip.
  • Once you've done the deed, DON'T TOUCH IT.  No twisting, poking or even washing it.  Seriously.  Just leave it alone.  A new piercing can take anywhere from 3-9 months or longer to completely heal.
Just say NO to the piercing gun!  Put it down and back away.

There were exactly three studio options for me to choose from in St. George and after reading all the reviews, I went with Mandy from Lotus Body Adornment.  She was already closed for the night so I left a message and was thrilled to receive a text from her the next morning scheduling my appointment for that day.

When the time arrived, I jumped in my rental and off I merrily went to the address she'd texted me.  After driving around the parking lot a few times at what I thought was the destination and being utterly confused by the absolute lack of piercing studios, I then get another text from her apologizing because they'd moved and she had sent me the old address.


I don't know how busy she is and don't want to miss my opening so I hop on the freeway and head to the new location.  As I come careening into the empty parking lot, I accidentally take up two spots while parking in front of the joint.  On the curb right outside the place sit three heavily tattooed and pierced guys in their early 20's and one woman with bright magenta hair.  I'm flustered because I'm late and just parked like an asshole.  I ask, "Is it okay to park like this since the lot's empty?"  Before I can get an answer I ask a second question.  "Is this car still running?"

My rental was one of those fancy rigs where the key just needs to be in the vehicle and you push a little button to turn the car off and on.  In my flustered rush, I'd forgotten to turn it off.
I reach in, turn it off, and slam the door shut while looking at the group and saying "Rental" while shrugging.

They turn to each other giving that look that clearly states they think I'm a moronic idiot who is not even remotely cool enough to even peer in their window, let alone set foot inside.
One of the prick posse pipes up with "The color of that car sucks".
I squint at him for a second then head inside without responding.

I wander around looking at the jewelry and wait for someone to appear.  From outside, in walks Ms. Magenta who is actually Mandy, the owner.  I found it odd she didn't introduce herself while I was outside feeling like an ass, but that was the only negative about her.  She was fantastic at her job.  She explained the different types of jewelry and how the procedure was going to happen.

I sat on the edge of the bench in her private piercing room and after she cleaned the area, marked my nose and had me approve the placement, she asked if I was ready.  She told me to take a deep breath in and on the exhale, she pushed the needle through. I went cross-eyed trying to follow it's progress through my nose.  While it didn't exactly feel good, it was less painful than I expected.  I chose the left nostril and while there was no bleeding, my left eye did water for a second.  Easy peasy.

The jewelry I chose is made of titanium and it's a 2mm white cubic zirconia.  It's 18g and 5/16" threadless (meaning pull apart, like a typical earring) post which I can downsize after 4-8 weeks after any swelling has gone down.   I plan to switch out to a small gold hoop once it's healed enough.

I purchased NeilMed wound wash piercing aftercare which is still sealed on my bathroom shelf.  I've been using hot water soaks to clean it and it hasn't been irritated or even red.  Tomorrow will be two weeks since I had it done and so far no issues whatsoever.

Thousands, if not millions of people are taking selfies every day.  Why are they so damn hard!?  Anyone else feel like an absolute idiot?  I'm either grinning like a maniacal maniac or angry.  Like angry um, angry person. 

I think I covered most of the questions Joan had other than the few left that I'll bust through now but if anyone has any that I didn't already touch on in my piercing novella, hit me up either in comments or e-mail.

 How did you decide left or right?
"Often times, the left side of the nose is the most preferred side for piercing. According to Ayurveda, the left side of the women's nose corresponds with their reproductive organs. When the nose is pierced, it helps in reducing the pain during childbirth and may have some positive effects on conditions like endometriosis." Source.
Whether or not this is true, I don't know or care.  I just liked the idea of it.
Were friends and family supportive when you returned?  Did you have a lot of other women compliment you on how cute it looks and want one too?
The boyfriend really likes it.  Which is odd because he normally gives zero shits about my appearance. One of my best friends who I see numerous times a week just barely noticed it yesterday.  My Dad asked why.  My Sister asked if it hurt.  My boss, who is ultra conservative hasn't mentioned it at all though I think it's a simple case of denial.  If she doesn't say anything it doesn't exist.  That's literally been the extent of the reactions.  
Would you do it again?
In a heartbeat.  Only this time I'd be ready and armed with a witty retort for the curbside prick posse.
Am I crazy at 40 for wanting my nose pierced?
I'll be 40 in October so if you are, you're in good company.  Or at the very least, equally demented company.


  1. Are there any restrictions on blowing your nose? Does it feel funnier when you sneeze? Inquiring minds want to know.

    1. It took me a week to finally rid my head of all the accumulated snot in there. I was certain once I blew, there would be dangling nose nuggets getting caught in the paraphernalia that I'd be forced to dig out and just thinking about that is making me gaggy all over again. I just can't.
      But no, luckily nothing out of the ordinary happens when I blow my nose or sneeze.

  2. Whoa, two posts in a single calendar year!?! You must be having some sort of crisis and I wish you well as you navigate those corridors.
    Now, I did get my piercing done by hand, but I think it was a mistake to get a Prince Albert piercing done by a guy named Parkinson's Pete.

    1. Three in the month of May but who's counting? Other than you.
      I'm trying to picture where, exactly, this Prince Albert would have happened on such a svelte pickle bod as yours. Fictitious or not, the thought made me cringe.

  3. I got my nose pierced in college... with the piercing gun, and I had no problems with that at all. Because back then it was more controversial, I even made a neutral, tiny little stud that lay almost totally flat for occasions when I'd be frowned upon for having a facial piercing. (I think I took a straight pin from a sewing kit, cut it shorter, and bent it so it would lie flat inside my nostril. I don't recommend making your own jewelry, but I still didn't get infected. I think I'm blessed.)

    1. I feel like you would have done really well during the punk era of the 80's. I always wanted safety pin earrings but was too Mormon.

  4. I look back and wish that I had done more things like this. I was trying to be "acceptable". I felt the need to always do the right thing. As it turns out, that was debatable. Be You. Hugs.

  5. Love it, totally acceptable, wish I had the guts to join you.

    1. Guts or lack of foresight? ;)

    2. Jessica B, go ahead and follow your dreams and heart, and reach down since you want it done and the courage is there for you if you're ready to look cute too with a little sparkle in your life. Honestly, as you said, "...Love it, totally acceptable, wish I had the guts to join you." You do and obviously secretly want it done too.

      V.V's words of encouragement are worth more than you think and priceless in my book. Hope her lovely story will slowly help remove those barriers and obstacles from you reaching a little happiness and the lost dream of finally getting your nose pierced like Joan.

      Had mine done recently for my big 3-0 birthday and had many of the same reasons for doing it. Admire those women (especially V.V.) with a cute little nose piercing because she had courage to look the way she wanted to see herself.

      Know you'll be happy getting up in the morning,looking in the mirror, and promise a little sparkle in your nose will put a smile on your face all day long!


  6. Love it! And yes, selfies are awkward, but you look beautiful!

  7. I have always found those little nose peircings to be very attractive! I like it!

  8. My wife got that done about a year ago, and it turned out really well. She was worried about it hurting, until she saw the guy that ended up doing it. He had tattoos from head to foot and his eyeballs were dyed jet black. She reasoned that if a man can get his own eyeballs tattooed then she could get a tiny needle in her nose.

  9. I think it looks GOOD on you! I have read that it is much better to get piercings done by hand than the gun but back when I was a kid that wasn't a thing. My hairdresser had the gun so that's how I got my ears pierced. If I were to ever pierce anything ever again I would definitely go to an expert.

  10. Looks good! I should do something rebellious before I turn 40 also. Any ideas?