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Big nosed girls of the world unite! You CAN get a nostril piercing!

I will NEVER get my nose pierced.

At least, that's what I always used to tell everyone. Ever since I was in Junior High School, I've known that my nose is big. It's not gigantic, but it's definitely larger than what is considered aesthetically pleasing by society's standards today. It looks alright from the front, but from the side it stands out and the shape of the bone gives it a bit of a bump. You can easily see that it is a detriment to my profile. I just wasn't blessed with one of those cute little button noses that sat so adorably on the faces of all the pretty, popular girls in school. And trust me, I wasn't the only one to think my nose was too big. People made a point of telling me.

I remember one summer when I was about 14 years old, I went camping with my friend Alex and her family. She had an older cousin who enjoyed being particularly cruel to people, and he quickly made me a target. I ignored most of his taunting, until one night he turned to me and said "So what's wrong with your nose?"

"What do you mean?" I asked, knowing perfectly well what he was talking about.

"It's so big!" he laughed. "And it has a bump. Did you break it before or something?"

"No," I spluttered. "That's just how it is. And it's actually kind of cute from the front."

He snorted with laugher. "Trust me," he hooted, "it's not!"

I felt like I'd been kicked in the stomach. My eyes welled up with tears and I ran back to my tent where I cried for hours. I knew my nose was big. Did he need to point it out and make me feel like such a freak?

I carried this feeling of freakishness with me as I got older. I didn't mind looking at people directly, but I tried to avoid letting people see me from the side. I always kept my hair long and wore it down so that it would fall in front of my face and block the view of my nose. I would only be seen in pictures facing completely forward. To this day, most of the pictures I'm in show me facing forward, because I am too embarrassed to show my big nose from the side.

When I got into piercing a little while ago, I stuck to having my ears done, even though I always covered the sides of my head with my hair anyway. I got a bunch of random cartilage piercings, and once even opted for my navel. But I always swore to people that I would never, EVER pierce my nose. There was no way I wanted to draw attention to such an unsightly blob on my face.

Still, I felt like crying every time I saw some little, button-nosed girl with a nostril stud. It made me feel terrible. Why did they get to be blessed with such beautiful, tiny noses? Why was I suffering with this giant schnoz? I didn't even care much for the look of nostril studs, I was just jealous that they had noses small enough to wear them.

But then one day, about two weeks ago, I decided that the years of self pity needed to end. Why was I sitting around crying about my stupid nose? It's not like I could do anything about it anyway. I suppose plastic surgery was an option, but I was several thousand dollars too poor for something like that, and besides... I've always sort of felt that plastic surgery wouldn't help anyway. If I don't love myself now, I probably won't love myself after surgery, either. I think this hatred of my big nose probably stems from a lack of self esteem, and while plastic surgery could give me a pretty nose, it couldn't give me self confidence.

So I sucked it up. I thought to myself, "You know what? To hell with this. I don't care if my nose is big. SO WHAT? I shouldn't have to live my life feeling inferior just because my nose is bigger than most people's!" And then I made a crazy, spur of the moment decision. I was going to pierce my nose. Not because I thought it looked that great (I think it depends on the person), and not because I've wanted it for a long time... but just because I COULD. I realized that I was only limiting myself. A big nose was really a pretty lame thing to worry about.

So the next day, I made my way downtown to Living Colour, my favorite tattoo/piercing place in Ottawa. I met my boyfriend there, because he needed to ask the piercer something about stretching his conch piercing. I looked around at the nostril screws in the case, as well as the rings. I didn't know whether or not to get a screw or a ring. The screw is more typical, but I kind of preferred the look of the rings. Anyway, my boyfriend didn't pay for enough parking time, so I didn't have time to do the piercing that day anyway. On top of that, he thought I should take some time to think it over instead of getting a nostril piercing (something I had sworn never to get) right away.

But the next day, it was still on my mind. My boyfriend knew it, so he picked me up from work, told me "We're getting your nose pierced!" and drove me downtown. Now that I knew I actually had time to go through with it, I started to freak out. I don't generally get nervous about piercings, but this one was making me panic. Did I REALLY want to do this? Did I REALLY want to draw attention to my giant nose? I needed to do a test run. I pulled an open 14ga CBR from my purse, clipped it onto my nose, and looked in the car mirror behind the sun visor.

"I look like a cow," I wailed.

"So get a stud then," my boyfriend rolled his eyes at me.

I made the decision to go for a screw instead of a ring. Because if I was going to do something as drastic (for me!) as a nose piercing, it might be better to start small. We got to Living Colour, and my boyfriend dropped me off outside. He had to go pick up another friend of ours from work, then he was coming back. I went in alone and stared at the nostril jewelry in the glass case. Finally I got up enough nerve to go up to the counter. I asked if Stacy, my usual piercer, was in that day. To my dismay, I was told that she had left two weeks earlier. She no longer worked there. I was really upset! Their new piercer was Andre, the counter guy told me.

I remembered Andre from the time I had gotten my snug piercing done a couple months ago. He was Stacy's apprentice. I was a bit worried because I trusted Stacy and I wasn't expecting to have someone new, but I figured that if Stacy had trained him, then I would probably like him too, and I was sure he'd know what he was doing. (Besides, from my experience, length of time as a piercer isn't everything. I was pierced once by a guy who bragged of ten years experience, then gave me a pitifully crooked navel piercing.) Andre was available right away, so I told the counter guy that I would be getting my nose pierced with a screw, and I filled out the forms and paid and everything. At first I was just getting the cheapest screw, but then I decided to pay a little more money and get the screw that had the sparkly little diamond on the end. It was just as small, but with more sparkle. So I paid the difference, and sat down to wait until Andre was ready for me.

He was ready pretty quickly, so there wasn't alot of time for me to sit there and continue panicking about things. I know people get nostril piercings all the time, but not people with such big noses! It was a big deal for me. I went into the piercing room with Andre, and sat down. Let me say now, Andre was GREAT. He made me feel SO comfortable. He was totally friendly and reassuring and he joked around with me. It made me feel so relaxed. Sometimes piercers tend to act superior around you, or cocky, or bored... but Andre just made it seem like we were friends hanging out or something. He even complimented me on my purse!

He took his time with me, going over after care and just generally chatting about things. I told him that I hated my big nose and I figured if I pierced it, maybe I'd like it better. He said he tried out the same theory with his face, but it didn't work. It was pretty funny... his facial piercings looked quite good though! He was also kind enough to tell me that he didn't think I had a big nose at all. Which was undoubtedly a lie, but a comforting one nonetheless!

He was patient with me while I stared in the mirror deciding which side of my nose to pierce. I just couldn't choose! In the end I picked my right side, because I feel that it's my "better side". (I can't really explain that... you know when you just like one side better?) Then Andre took his time getting the placement just right. I didn't quite like the first placement he did. I wanted it in the little crease of my nose, but he explained that he wouldn't put it there because that's where my nose had to bend, and it wouldn't be comfortable. Or something like that... I can't remember the exact reason for it. I was too nervous to pay attention! Anyhow, he marked it a second time, and I decided that it was just right.

So then Andre had me lie down on the bed with my head pointing toward him. (He sterilized, wash his hands, etc. before all this of course. I'm just skipping that part because it's not that interesting.) He got everything ready and told me to breathe. He told me my eyes might water a bit as well. I was ready to do it.

I took a deep breath, and he pushed the needle through my nose. It was a sharp pinch of pain, and my eyes immediately flooded with water. Drops of warm liquid splashed my lips and chin, but it wasn't the water from my eyes. It felt like blood. I clenched my eyes shut.

"Um... did I just spurt blood everywhere?" I asked Andre.

"Yeah," he said. "No big deal."

I apologized, for some reason. (As if it was my fault for bleeding so much! I was just still nervous!) He laughed it off as he put the nostril screw into my nose (which pinched a bit too) and then cleaned off my face for me.

"Does that happen alot?" I asked him, referring to the blood spurting.

"It happens sometimes," he told me.

"Be honest," I said. "Has that ever happened to you before?"

"Uh, no..." he laughed. "Not to me. But I've heard of it happening!"

As gross as it was, I suppose it made for a good learning experience for him. I got to be the first person whose nostril ever spurted blood at him during a piercing. (I'm a big bleeder anyway though, so it really wasn't that surprising.) Once I was all cleaned up, I checked it out in the mirror. I was shocked. It actually looked... good! Here was my big nose that I swore I'd never pierce if my life depended on it, freshly pierced with a nice little screw and it actually looked good! I felt happy! I thanked Andre and tipped him, and he told me to come back anytime and hang out.

I went outside and met my boyfriend, and he said it looked good! A couple of my friends were in the car and they said it looked good as well. I was pleased with it, though I couldn't tell if they actually liked it or if they were just humoring me.

Later that night, my boyfriend said to me, "You know what? I honestly thought your nose would be too big for something like that, but it actually looks really good on you." (He wasn't trying to be mean about saying my nose was big, he was just being honest about it!) I totally agreed with him. Later, when a few more people saw it, the general reaction was, "Wow, that's so subtle." Subtle is definitely the word for it. It doesn't draw attention to my big nose at all, it just accentuates it. And the sparkly jewel adds femininity, something I had previously felt my nose lacked, being so big.

I actually like my nose piercing better on my big nose than on some of the small noses I see pierced. The jewelry is very subtle on my nose, more so than on smaller noses, and it makes me feel girly and cute. I'm proud of myself for standing up for my big nose. I actually do like it better now! I don't love it... but I feel alot better about the fact that it isn't the perfect button nose. I don't NEED to have a button nose though, because I'm capable of looking good without one. The piercing was a definite self confidence boost!

On a negative note, three days after I got the piercing, I came down with a nasty cold and had a runny nose for a week straight. The piercing made blowing my nose a little bit more complicated, but of all the piercings I've ever had, this one is healing the fastest and is the most comfortable. I don't notice it or feel it at all. I clean it with Bactine and a Q-tip every night before bed, and it's still looking great! The only real complications that came up were the night after the piercing. I was lying on my bed talking on the phone, and it continued to bleed a little bit, and formed a bloody crust over the jewel. However, I cleaned it off and haven't had a problem since.

And that was my nostril experience. I'm sorry to have turned such a typical piercing experience into something so huge and drawn out, but out of all my piercings thus far, this one was actually the scariest and most important for me. I had to face down alot of self-image issues, and it was very beneficial to me.

So my message to all you big-nosed girls out there: Just because you have a big nose doesn't mean you can't pierce it! Don't let cute button-nosed girls get you down! Everyone is beautiful in their own way, and don't be afraid to show off your own unique features. Besides... nostril piercings look much cuter on big nosed girls anyway! ;) Go for it!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 18 June 2004
in Nose Piercing

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Artist: Andre
Studio: Living+Colour
Location: Ottawa%2C+ON

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