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"Hey girl! Did that hurt?" My nostril piercing.

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I had wanted a nostril piercing for probably years, I don't remember.

I decided to get it done in my sophomore year. There were two things that held me back, though: I play sports school-year-round and I didn't want to play in games with a bandaid on my nose while I waited for it to heal. Also, there was the matter of convincing my mom. I worked on her for probably one year. During that time I bought a clip on nose ring on Haight Street and wore it to school once when I dressed up as "Invisigoth" from the X-Files on Halloween. Everone at school thought it was real and told me it really became me. I loved the way it looked, but it actually had begun to punch a hole in my nose by the end of the day, which hurt like hell, and I knew that this clip-on wouldn't do.

Throughout the year I did research for the argument with my mom. A

girl on my basketball team had had her nose pierced with a gun, and advised me to have it done with a needle, which left less of a scar. I quickly presented this to mom, who was dead set against her baby intentionally scarring her body. Another argument I used was that I would have so many scars anyway from zits and cuts and scrapes by the time I die, that what's one more little one when it's only at the expense of having a beautiful decoration on my face.

I don't think she bought this at all, but luckily, by the time the

end of the spring soccer season rolled around she was leaning towards letting me do it. I could tell I was getting somewhere when she said that if I did it would be conditional, like I would always have to keep my bathroom clean. She had not given a definite answer, and there was no use waiting, so I took the initiative and made the appointment. It worked; she didn't try to stop me after that. It was at a studio not far from my house called Proud Flesh, which apparently is some sort of horrible disease, and that must have disquieted mom even more.

I had to bring my driver's license and a copy of my birth

certificate, since I am under 18, and my mom had to bring her driver's license. Incidentally, on the way there, we got in a little accident (the other jerk was at fault; he was speeding) so we were a little shooken up, but personally, I was too excited about the piercing, so I kind of forgot the accident. The studio was the kitchen of the piercer's house, to my surprise. When we got there he was smoking on his porch, which, again, I am sure must have worried my mom. I decided that he must not have had any recent piercings, right? His name was Jason and he was very nice. When my friend met him a week later, we decided he was not the kind of guy you would be uncomfortable having pierce anything down there. He asked what kind of music I wanted to listen to and my mom immediately shouted out "classical!" I didn't really care, but said Punk. He put on Sound Garden, if which is punk it's news to me, but it was fine. It was pretty calming, along with the faint smell of insense.

We had to fill out consent forms, and he had horrible spelling, so my

mom and I had to correct it. He asked if I had had any kind of drugs or medicine, and if I had eaten anything in the last 4 hours. I realized I hadn't, so he gave me a Capri Sun. I assume this is so I didn't faint. He described to me how to take care of the piercing: soak in salt water for five minutes, clean with antibacterial soap, rotate the jewelry, and put bactine on the opening. This was to be done twice a day. Then I picked the jewelry. I picked a 1/2 inch ring, I think the gauge was 16.

Oh yeah, his apprentice was there, too, to watch and learn, I guess.

And help hand him the equipment. I hopped up on the table that was like a doctor's table, complete with sanitary paper covering. Jason wiped Iodine on my nose, and inside. I assume that's what it was. It was orange like the sauce on buffalo wings. Then he drew a purple dot where the needle would go. He asked if that was where I wanted it and I didn't know; it looked good to me. He also asked if I wanted the ring more back against my face, or more out in front. He added that back against the face looked better on females, so I went for that. I had also decided to get it done on the left side, because Invisigoth had it on that side. Then he stuck a hollow tube up my nostril, and explained how the needle would go into that, so it didn't hit my septum.

He had me take 3 deep breaths, explaining that the needle would go

through on the third exhalation. I was nervous by this time, but couldn't stop myself from taking the breaths, as I was sure I wanted this done. I remember my mom grabbing my hand. All it was was a pinch, like a needle going through one's skin of course, much like when I got my ears pierced 6 years ago, as far as I remember. But this time there was a needle hanging out of my nose and across my lips. It seemed to stay there for an unneccessarily long time, while they got the ring out of the sterilizing solution. He pushed the ring through, which wasn't so hard, but to put the bead on I had to lie down. I closed my eyes on reflex, but they said the whole time how well I was handling it. Finally, I looked at myself in the mirror. There wasn't a lot of blood, but the ring was too big!

I complained, and he said I could have a smaller one, but I would

have to pay for the old one, since it couldn't be sterilized again or something. I didn't care. I got the same ring, only 7/8 inch and I think 18 gauge, or whatever the next smallest is. He needed some tool or other to make the new one follow the old one in succession, without poking a new hole, but he couldn't find it, so he just took out the old one and put the new one in himself. I guess it didn't start any problems, but it bled a hell of a lot. It can only be paralleled to the inconvenience of a nose bleed, except with a big piece of metal to clean around. He happened to have forgotten to take my picture, but I'm glad because there was an awful lot of blood that I couldn't clean off my nose and chin at once.

I paid  $32.85, including the two rings, which wasn't so bad. I was

just so excited. Mom was not. I left with some sea salt and another Capri Sun. Then it was off to my orchestra concert, without having lost the adrenaline. That night I had to go out to Walgreen's and get some q-tips and antibacterial face soap, to begin my cleaning regimen. I first soak my nose in a plastic cup full of salt water for 5 minutes. I usually turn on the TV and have my dad or my sister watch the clock. It's very inconvenient to sit bent over, squeezing the cup so that the water covers my nose, unable to do anything but look at the table, while asking someone for the time every 20 seconds. Twice a day! Then I get a q-tip and put a drop of antibacterial soap on it and clean off the softened up crusty stuff, inside and out. At first there was a lot of dried blood in my snot, but it's gotten better. Then I rotate the ring a few times. Then I wash the rest of my face, and when it's dry I put Bactine on the other end of the q-tip and put that around the opening. It seems to be doing fine with this process. I only have to do it for a couple more weeks, or less! I just have to remember not to touch it.

At school most people don't notice, but I do get "Is that real?",

"did that hurt?" and only one friend has remarked, "You got guts!" I'm damn glad I have it, after waiting so long. My friend is getting hers done next :( After this experience, I am left satisfied, but am sure that all that whining is not worth getting another piercing before I'm eighteen!

Catherine

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 15 June 1999
in Nose Piercing

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