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Catherine gets some nose fangs

lly in payment for those fine individuals to whom I owe for experiences shared, and partially just because I am one of those ego-centric types who gets a kick from seeing their own name in print, I have decided to submit to BME my fine septum piercing experience. Although this particular hole is but three weeks old at this moment, I feel that we shall have many enjoyable years together. I shall start at the very beginning (a very good place to start). Before even considering a septum piercing, I was something of an aspiring piercing fanatic. With two (unfortunately gun-pierced) cartilage holes, two self-done lobe piercings (and a few more attempts), and one eyebrow ring, I found myself busily plotting for more, while perusing the fine pages of BME. Apart from a few sacks of pus taking the place of once-perfect cartilage piercings and a botched attempt at a self-done navel piercing, my piercings to date had all been fairly non-eventful. I have grand plans for ten piercings, an arbitrary number, to be spread out over the course of the next ten years or so. What is the point of all this information? I don't know. But, for the sake of the narrative, assume that, while a lover of piercings, I had never before considered the humble septum piercing as a viable option in my hole-poking conquest. Quoth I, while reading through sundry piercing experiences: "Ooh, septum piercings. What in hell is a septum?" And so begins my foray into the world of the septum piercing. The appeals of a septum piercing are, for me, many. To begin with, it is a piercing of a part of the body of which there is only one, making it fairly unique and symmetrical. It also strikes me as something which makes perhaps more of a statement than an eyebrow piercing. I'm not talking about statements in terms of "Look at me, I have lots of holes, give me controversy", but rather a statement in terms of a singular decision that is made about your body image. For whatever reason, I cannot really imagine septum piercings to take a place as a great "fashion piercing", given its bull/tribal connotations. There is always something a little misgiving when my love of piercings is misconstrued as (solely being) some sort of fashion statement, rather than just a love of the concepts involved with piercing as an art in itself. To add to this list of the septum's appeal is the concept of what I believe is termed as the piercing's "flexibility": meaning, that due to its ease of invisibility, my statement has the option of being retracted. To top all of this off, I just love the look of the damned things. So, the process of the septum piercing moves into stage two: Convincing My Mother. This was long and tedious. It should be added here that one of my fortes in life is that of hassling people. Specifically family members. For weeks, I traipsed around behind my mother, spouting the benefits of retainers and quadrangular cartilages, epithelial layers and butter spots, until at last my mother relented. Or rather, until at last my mother recognised this as a viable bargaining opportunity in the perennial struggle to get me to clean my room, and made a deal. After some more hassling, my local, friendly piercing venue, The Piercing Urge, was contacted, and an appointment was made. As I considered this to be a significant event, I invited some of my closest (and, as I discovered, more squeamish) friends along for the occasion. To my delight, another friend decided to carry out a long-planned second navel piercing in the same sitting, and so a shared experience was organised. I also have plans with this friend for a simultaneous nipple piercing at the end of school, making this experience all the more significant. My dear mother and sister were also invited , so as to sign all the legal bits and pieces involved with piercing a minor. And so... the big day arrived. To one of my friends' surprise, I was not at all nervous about this piercing. Quite the opposite, in fact: I was looking forward to everything from selecting the jewellery to the poking itself - particularly the poking. After all, perhaps the most central part of the piercing concept is the experience of getting pierced in itself. Thanks to seven self-piercing experiences (of which only two have lasted for any significant period of time), I am fairly well-acquainted with the experience of getting pierced. I enjoy the experience, as it presents one with the need to ask why pain is unpleasant. As I discovered while piercing my ear for the first time, pain can be viewed as just another experience, if in the right frame of mind. This is, of course, a little hard to explain to one with a set view of what pain is: something I realised when trying to explain my notions of piercing to some friends. I remember the time that, while talking about my botched attempt at a navel experience, I described the hour-long process of putting the needle through as the "fun part": never before or since have I had a large group of people actually walk away from me in mid-anecdote. But back to my septum piercing. Given my persistent hovering around The Piercing Urge, I am a little acquainted with some of the piercers there. After introducing myself to Sam, the incredibly considerate apprentice who changed my eyebrow ring, I informed her that I was here for my septum piercing appointment. She grabbed Leah, who was to be my piercer for the day. First, we ran through jewellery, with my mother hovering unobtrusively over my shoulder. Her response when asked what sort of retainer I was after, "Something hideable", gave Leah some idea of what would be the best jewellery for the situation. I selected a 14 gauge Stainless Steel retainer of a style slightly different from that in the display, and was presented with the forms. I set about filling out the forms while the piercing area was prepared. The waiting area in The Piercing Urge is a well-lit room, adorned with various arty-farty-black-and-white photos of pierced bits. With some couches, a table with issues of Modern Primitive and a lovely sort of clean smell, the atmosphere of the place is most relaxing. My squeamish friend asked again if I was nervous, to which I again replied no. Then, the call came: it was time. I hopped out of my couch and slipped inside the cubicle, partitioned by a curtain from the rest of the room. I sat upright on what appeared to be a sort of dentist's chair, while Leah set about preparing my septum. While cleansing my nose with some (not entirely bad-smelling) Betadine, I informed Leah that I had taken extra care in the shower to ensure my nostrils were snot-free, of which she was most appreciative. Leah informed me that septum piercings are what are known as "blind piercings", that is, that it is not possible for the piercer to see the needle going in as the piercing takes place. In carrying out the piercing, she used a purpose-designed pair of forceps which, instead of flat ends, have two tubes. She put an elastic band around the forceps and then hung them from my septum. This meant that the tubes were gripping onto my septum, into which the needle would be poked. To ensure that the piercing would be straight, Leah hung the forceps from my nose while checking the alignment from all angles. Making sure that I was comfortable with the placing, she told me to close my eyes, so I wouldn't see her coming at me, Psycho-esque, with the needle. I did so, and took some deep breaths. My heart was beating quite fast, the adrenaline was flowing, and I was feeling oddly calm. Pop. The needle was through. I flinched a little, involuntarily, and my eyes watered immediately. Leah passed me some tissues, and told me not to touch my face, as there was a corked needle sitting through my septum. In one movement, she pulled out the needle and pushed through the retainer, and I was done. While cleaning up a little with a cotton bud, she told me to warn her to get out of the way if I needed to sneeze. Oddly enough, we'd been talking and laughing throughout the whole procedure, but due to the effect of the piercing on my nose and eyes, I felt as if I had been crying. I was anything but sad, however, when she passed me the mirror: it was absolutely perfect, in placement and effect. Before turning up the retainer, I went out to the waiting area and showed my friends and family. My squeamish friend looked as if she was trying to push herself backwards through the wall. (I was later informed that even my talking and laughing with Leah prior to the piercing had freaked her out, with my friend muttering things such as "Come on... stop laughing and get it over with... oh God...") The overall reception was good, however, with my mother not being at ease with the situation until I went back inside the cubicle and had the retainer turned up. The retainer needed a little adjusting with some pliers to fit my nose before it could be turned up, but, otherwise, everything was fine. My mother was put at ease after I walked back out, apparently the same as I had been ten minutes previous. After running through aftercare and discussing the possibility of myself taking up an apprenticeship at The Piercing Urge in a few years, I was done. It was now my friend's turn to get her navel pierced by the quiet Jason, the piercer responsible for my eyebrow ring. Oddly enough, after discussing with my friends, it was agreed that he bears an uncanny resemblance to our history teacher. Comforted by the lack of screams and wails of pain being emitted from the cubicle, I lay back in the couch, closed my eyes and paid attention to my septum. It had a very definite presence, to be sure. I munched on some milk bottles, bought by my squeamish friend, and relaxed. My friend soon emerged, sporting a fine, new navel piercing, and there was much oohing and aahing. Seeing that my nose was still attached, my mother decided that it was probably safe to leave. We paid up, thanked Jason, Leah and Sam, then decided to head out onto trendy Chapel Street, in search of the perfect fruit smoothie. I breathed very deeply that day, enjoying the new sensation in my nose. The piercing is entirely invisible when flipped up. Apart from occasionally bumping my nose while sleeping or eating (yes, eating), the healing has been smooth and non-eventful, although blowing my nose in the shower on the second day took close to twenty minutes. While on holidays I wore it flipped down while out of the house, and quickly hidden while in the vicinity of my father. The general consensus from friends is that the retainer looks like either a tuning fork or nose fangs. There have been a few embarrassing situations where I have flipped it down while not being aware of dried snot on the ends - this may have disgusted people more than the actual piercing itself. Back at school, no one has noticed. The number of people attempting to look up my nose has been a little disconcerting, but I suspect I shall get used to it. I am now, officially, on the lookout for the perfect nose jewellery. So that is the story of my septum. I hope you find useful this somewhat verbose recounting: I also have a rather more pessimistic tale in the ear-piercing section, entitled 'now, where can i find a safety pin?', which may be vaguely interesting. Other than that, I would be interested to share any correspondence you may wish to have with me. Thank you for your time!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 07 May 2000
in Nose Piercing

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Artist: Leah
Studio: The+Piercing+Urge
Location: Prahran%2C+Melbourne%2C+Australia

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