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Second Nostril Piercing or "See, It's Not That Bad!"

I suppose I should start this off by explaining why I've opted to write about a nostril piercing today instead of one of the more harrowing and interesting ones I've had done. I guess the best reason is probably just because as I had it done yesterday, it's easily the freshest experience in my mind.

The other thing I feel deserves some explanation is that after a reasonably thorough search of the site, nobody's said anything about Dan at Stigmata and I feel the guy deserves some (virtual) ink.

Now that that's out of the way – on with the story.

I'd been toying with the idea of getting another facial piercing after taking out my lip ring a year ago, but couldn't quite decide what I wanted to do. I'd seen some eyebrow rings go pretty bad, and didn't really think that I was feeling the commitment an oral piercing takes to heal properly. I'd been into Stigmata a few times over the past few weeks to check out what was available, but was feeling pretty indecisive so I'd just kept putting it off.

Cut to yesterday when I was lunching at a diner near the shop with a friend of mine who was talking about how much she liked my nose ring, but feared parental rejection and the pain. I responded by telling her that I couldn't say much about the parental rejection, other than the fact that my mother liked mine despite the fact that it took her about six months to admit it, but I could promise that it wasn't any more painful than getting your ears pierced. However, she definitely didn't believe me. In an effort to prove to her that it really wasn't as bad as she thought it was, I suggested we bomb over to the shop after we were done eating, and I'd get another nose ring so she could see how it was done and also see that I didn't pass out/cry/vomit during the procedure. She quite happily agreed to accompany me, but said that if it was really bad, she'd be leaving and waiting for me in the car.

We got to the shop and luckily Dan was hanging out at the front with seemingly little to do, as it was three in the afternoon on a Wednesday in Guelph. We exchanged the "Hey, how's it going?"s and I told him that I was interested in getting my left nostril done so that my face would finally be symmetrical and my friend could see that it wasn't a horrible thing. The only kink in the whole plan happened next, which was that he was unable to find a stud that matched the one I already had. Since I had that done probably four years ago, I shouldn't have been surprised really. I didn't want two different ones, so after looking through the options, I elected to give up my iridescent round jewel in favour of two black studs with clear flat stones. I wasn't thrilled at the prospect of shelling out 35.00 a piece for the new studs, plus the piercing fee, as it just wasn't in my budget, but figured that that's why I have a credit card – for emergencies! Luckily, it didn't come to that, as I'm apparently in there "every week" so after some creative mathematics, the two new pieces and the piercing fee came to significantly less than that. This is one of the many reasons I'm a fiercely loyal Stigmata customer, in addition to the great experiences I've had over the past 6 years I've been visiting them. I pulled out the card, filled out the waiver not bothering to read it again, and headed to the back room. (After sanitizing my hands, and insisting my friend do the same).

I hopped up on the chair while Dan pulled out the gloves, clamp, receiving tube, needle and sterilizer and my friend took a seat on the bench in the room. I started to pull out my existing nose ring to make room for the new one, but Dan explained that he could easily do that, and we briefly discussed how I hated people's fingers in my nose or ears and that he was probably the only person I'd let stick his in mine, significant others and family included. Once the new one was in, he gave me a mirror to make sure I actually liked it and wanted a second one. I was worried the black metal would make me look like I had permanent blackheads, but you couldn't see as much of the black as I thought you'd be able to. I okayed the stud, and he sanitized my other nostril in preparation for the marking of the new hole. I got to feel all knowledgeable here as I explained the sanitation and iodine procedure to my friend, and it was good times.

Dan explained that he subscribed to the theory of "measure twice, cut once" when it came to piercing, especially on noses as when you're trying to match up two holes on an imperfect canvas like a nose, it's hard to make sure that both holes are exactly the same distance away from the tip of your nose, as well as the same height up from the bottom of your nostrils. Then he explained that rather than "measure twice, cut once", it actually usually turned out to be a "mark 15 times, pierce once". He had me tilt my chin down and marked the first potential spot. Once I lifted my head up and checked the mirror, we realized that it wasn't quite right and repeated the process about three more times until he was sure that the two holes would be as matched up as possible. Apparently this process can take half an hour sometimes, and I'm quite glad it didn't or I would've been late for work.

Next came the clamps, which must've been rather funny looking because my friend got the giggles. Dan picked up the needle with the jewellery in it, slid the receiving tube up my nose (which felt rather strange), said that he was ready if I was and started to do what I refer to as his labour coaching act – "Now big breath in...and out...and in...and" in it went. For some reason I always hold my breath when I know it's coming and have to consciously breathe out once it's through, lest I turn blue. It was just as I remembered my other nostril being – sort of a sharp, fairly intense pain that was gone the minute the needle was through. I have very little cartilage in my nose and apparently it pierces like a "hot knife through butter" which I guess makes up for being called "squish nose" by family members. I assured my friend that it wasn't that bad, and then Dan pulled the needle out. For some reason, this part is always more painful than the actual piercing, so he did the labour coaching again, this time pulling the jewellery through after the first "big breath in and...". I guess the adrenaline took over, because once it was done, it was absolutely painless, almost as if nothing had happened.

I jumped down from the chair, asked my friend what she thought and checked the new nostril adornment out in the mirror. Since it was already done, I could admit that I wasn't too sure it would work with my face, but I was really happy with it. As it was a nose piercing, my left eye was watering like crazy, so Dan handed me a tissue to take care of the mascara running down my cheek. (Note to self: If you might be getting a piercing, rock the waterproof stuff). Dan then reminded me of the aftercare requirements – soak with hot water, Spectrogel on the outside, work it in, good rinse, don't stick your fingers up there, 8 to 10 weeks – I tipped and thanked him, and we left.

About 15 minutes after we left the shop, the adrenaline wore off and the pain started. It wasn't anything unbearable, more discomfort when I scrunched my nose up and a few Advil took care of that. There was also very little redness and swelling to the point where the people I work with couldn't tell which nose ring was the new one. It was also very easy to clean the first night and I could move the jewellery around to make sure it got nice and clean without any agony.

Overall, an excellent experience for me with Dan and Stigmata, as usual and I think an excellent experience for my friend, as she realized that if she took the plunge and got her nose pierced, she wouldn't land up a blubbering mess on the floor!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 May 2008
in Nose Piercing

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Artist: Dan
Studio: Stigmata
Location: Guelph%2C+Ontario

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