Body Modification

…multiply pierced, shiny and bristling in silvery steel. Rings through lips and nipples, nostrils and ears, long black tattoos and indelible color spiraling up arms, down bare backs and legs, bewildering visual treat but it was the metal she liked best; and beside her Bibi’s own sparkle, the flash of long silver rings, matte-studded nostrils like extruded drops of iron, flesh for the machine age.

Kathe Koja, Skin

This is my (one and only) piercing story:

I had always wanted to get my nose pierced. However, I am a world-class baby about pain, so it took quite some time to get up enough courage to have it done. Forget doing it myself or having a friend do it for me; I wanted a pro.

So, I go to the local tattoo place (the one where I had intended to have bands of Celtic knotwork tattooed around my wrists). I am sitting in one of the rooms waiting, when through the doorway comes a guy that looks amazingly like a walking penis. You know, short, soft, fat, none too bright. I figured, however, that he must know what he was doing or they wouldn’t have him working there. Wrong. (Remember what they say about what happens when you assume?)

He marked the targeted spot on my nose with a pen. Okey-dokey so far. Then he put this clamp with a hole in the ends on my nose that felt like an alligator clip on a jumper cable. I’m hurting. He pierces my nose. It hurt. This I expected, but I figured it would be over soon, and it was. He began to insert the hoop alongside the needle, which hurts a little more (everything is not so okey-dokey now, I’m loosing my smile and my happy thoughts) and then I hear him say “Shit! I dropped the hoop!”

Since it’s no longer sterile, Mr. Dickhead must go get another one. He takes the needle out of my nose, but leaves me sitting there holding the jumper cable which is still attached to my nose, and by now it hurts like a mother. He comes back with hoop #2 and REPIERCES (o my fucking god) my nose. He not only repierces it, he does it with such joyous abandon that he runs it through my nose and into my upper lip. By now I’m sweating. I am not going to cry in front of the Amazing Detachable Penis, but it hurts. Especially when he grabs my upper lip and starts yanking on it to pull it off the needle, rather than backing the needle out. I’m hoping that if I do have to vomit, I can get most of it on him.

Then I hear…you guessed it: “Omigod! I dropped the hoop!” He looks at me (white and sweating) and shamefacedly asks if I want him to try again. I decline, stand up (after having to ask for some Neosporin so my nose won’t get gangrene and fall off), turn dead white and almost faint. My boyfriend had to get my $30 back; I would have walked out without it.

It’s been a long time since that happened. And someday, I’ll have the nerve to do it again. But not by a guy who looks like Mr. Penishead.

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