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The life, death, and resurrection of my nose ring

What an exciting weekend I had! I finally got my nostril re-pierced!

A little history: This is my 12th piercing; it's a redo. I had my left nostril pierced a few months after I turned 18. I was all, "Like omg I want my nose pierced, so like totally cute!" and made a pact with my friend at the time to get ours together. Well, she got hers without me, but I still wanted it so I braved the needle for the very first time. That's right, folks, first ever real needle piercing! (I had both my lobes twice and cartilage once- all with a gun- I shudder, thinking of what I know now.) The studio of my choice wasn't open, so I went down the street to the only other one I'm familiar with. Mary, the piercer there, put a cute little blue stud in my nose and I was good to go! Unfortunately, this particular piercing was ill-fated. In the first couple weeks I had it, I pulled it out twice- once in bed, once when drying my face.. when I was on a service trip.. With no hot water OR soap to clean it before putting it back in. Disgusting. It was bumped and jostled a nd taken out in my vain attempts to fix it, multiple times, but to no avail (that's what not researching something even as simple as a nostril piercing will get you!). It never healed quite correctly; it was always a little sore and finicky. The end finally came last summer. I worked for a mass retail store... I hated every second of it, it went against my principles and inclination, but I had to have book money for the fall.

The worst day was the day I had to take my nose piercing out. I know it was just a silly whim when I got it, but over two years it really became a part of me. I loved and adored it; it seemed to fit so well with my face, it was like it was always there. We weren't allowed facial piercings (but mind you, the 11 others in my ears, which I consider less tame than a nostril stud, were totally fine... of course), but only one manager would make me take it out, so I lasted a couple weeks ignoring the rule. Finally, she caught on and I put a retainer in (which technically wasn't allowed either but I wasn't sacrificing part of my identity to some stupid chain store that easily!). The fateful day finally came: I was at work for eight hours straight without a retainer (I lost it on the way there), and by the time I got off and rushed to the piercing parlor, it had begun to close. After a long and painful struggle, which involved a taper, a CBR, and a solid twenty minutes trying to wiggle it back through, the verdict was in: there was no hope but to repierce it. And that, my piercer Jeff told me, would "irritate the shit out of it" if I had to continually take it in and out for work. Dejected, I decided to wait until the end of the summer to revive it rather than risk messing it up even worse.

THE PIERCING STORY: (drumroll please!)

Well, it's been a long wait, since I was too rushed at the end of summer to get it done, plus I don't often make it home from school and I'm too loyal to Jeff to get it done anywhere else. I don't trust anyone else to pierce me. I finally went home last weekend, "to see my boyfriend," but I was really more interested in visiting Jeff. I lured a faithful comrade into coming with me, despite how squeamish she is and how out of place she feels in piercing/tattoo parlors. She described to me at length and with great humor how clear it is to her that she doesn't fit there and is rather scared of it: the flash, the heavily tattooed workers, the whole idea of needles and pain...everything. (Also: "Are you going to cry? I won't be able to handle it if you cry!") She's funny. Anyway, with promises of Chinese food, I drove her to my parlor of choice. It was rainy and around 6:00, both of which (in my experience) tend to make more people flock to shops, but when I walked in it was just
me, my friend, and Jeff and a tattoo artist playing video games in the lobby. Handy Helper Trevor gave me a "What do you want?" look and I grinned, "I want my nose pierced!" Jeff finished whatever he was playing and greeted me with his usual "Hey girly," and went to clean up while Trevor took me through the paperwork and payment. I filled out the form on autopilot (no hemophilia, no baby growing, etc), signed myself away, and paid (only $30- they were having a winter special! Woo!) Trevor asked me if I wanted a clear, blue, or pink stud. I am no girly girl, so pink was out; clear is boring; blue it was! Perfect, I would have picked it anyway for old time's sake. I was hopping around with a grin waiting for everything to be ready. FINALLY (after like two minutes) Jeff called me back, but then I realized I had to go the bathroom so I did and then scurried on back and hopped up on my favorite big black chair.

Jeff swabbed the outside of my nose with a cleaning something or other, and out came that lovely purple pen. He asked which side, and I told him left- I loved where it was before and I wanted it pretty much just the same. I also reminded him that I had had it pierced before (I'm sure he remembered but I wanted to check) so I didn't know if there was scar tissue. He asked if I had liked where it was before, and I told him I wanted it just a touch higher because the end of the screw used to stick out the bottom of my nose when it turned a certain way and it looked stupid. There's still a little dimple from where my old piercing was, so he marked just above that and told me take a look. I did, but I couldn't really decide whether I liked it... it looked a little high, but then again I still picture myself with it where it used to be. I called back my friend, who was still in the lobby idly looking at flash of butterflies and things, to ask if she liked it. She said she thought it
would look fine, so I decided to trust her. I then remembered that I wanted to be able to change it to a ring easily, without the diameter being huge outside my nose, so I asked Jeff if that placement would allow that. He said he'd have to do it just a hair lower, which was absolutely perfect with me!

At last, the real part! Jeff swabbed my nose on the inside with a cleaning q-tip or whatever they use; I wasn't paying very close attention (it's awkward having someone else's finger in your nose). I saw him pick up the needle (no clamps!) and start to aim it. I always get this second of REALLY REALLY NERVOUS the millisecond before I actually get pierced, and this was no exception. I think I just hate knowing what's coming- the anticipation kills me! I felt Jeff put the point of the needle on the mark. Nervous nervous nervous! He told me to take a deep breath in- and out- and done! All I felt was a little pinch, some pressure, and then it was through. It was a lot easier than I remembered. I was expecting it not to be bad, but it really was pretty much nothing. After wiping my (as expected) suddenly weepy left eye, I looked cross eyed at the needle in my face and turned to grin at my friend, who had turned her back for a second and missed the actual moment. "That's it?! That
was so fast!" she gawked. "I know!" I said, grinning ear to ear. I turned back to Jeff so he could put the jewelry in. One split second of pressure, no pain, and that was done. He wiped it inside and out with a few (sterile, I'm guessing- they looked like the original cleaning ones) swabs to clean the blood off, and then told me to check it out. It was perfect. I wanted to hug him. He gave me a couple more swabs to take with me in case it kept bleeding, reminded me about how to clean it (soap and water three times a day, as much Bactine as I want), I thanked him about eight hundred times and then danced on out! I was so excited I forgot to tip. Oops.

My friend and I walked two doors down to the Chinese restaurant and sat for a while, waiting for another friend to join us. I gazed at my reflection in the dark window pretty much the whole time, loving the feeling of finally being wholly myself again. It did actually bleed more than I was expecting, especially on the inside. I used all three little swabs and still had to clean some dried blood off it when I got home. It didn't hurt, though; it was just a bit sore. Smiling and laughing were fine, except sometimes when I make faces I wrinkle my nose or twist my mouth, and it scrunches up my nose and then I could feel it was a little sore. Besides that, it was hardly noticeable.


Day 1: No problems at all. I made sure to clean it religiously- no repeats of last time! I wash my hands with antibacterial soap and hot water, run a cotton swab under hot water, put a dab of soap on it and gently rub that around my nose stud on the inside and outside. I make sure to get all around the gem as well as underneath, and around the screw on the inside, all while trying not to twist it. To rinse the inside and get the soap off, I soak the end of a cotton swab in warm water and rub it around the same way I clean it. I do that twice just to make sure. I just rinse my face to get the soap off the outside. Then I spray Bactine, just so it's thorough, and also because it has a pain reliever in it. The piercing is just a tiny bit sore, and only when I touch that side of my nose, but Bactine can't hurt. This happens three times a day. Okay, sometimes two, but really it depends on your definition of 'day'... noon, ten pm, and 2 am... that counts, right? Regardless, I know it's early but it seems to be doing fine. I have high hopes!

Day 2: More of the same, a little less sore, a little less red. It was Monday, people noticed! My roommate: "You're you again!"

Day 5: I can't feel it unless I fiddle, which I'm desperately trying not to. I am getting a cold though, so I'm a mite worried about the sniffling and wiping and so forth... but so far it hasn't proved irritating. I'm optimistic! And happy! It feels great!

Day 9: Soreness is pretty much gone. But, it's started to get really dry right around the piercing and that side of my nose. I blame it on: a)winter- bad timing on my part; and b)frequent Bactine/soap usage. I'll try a hot compress later (soak a paper towel in hot water, so it's wet but not dripping, and hold it on there for 15 seconds or so... usually works pretty well to get your skin to absorb moisture. It's especially handy because I don't want lotion or moisturizer that close to a new piercing). I'm getting used to the sparkle when I look a certain way! The only thing is, all you nose pickers, you can't do that with a screw in the way, so you have to clean out the extra goo with a q-tip during the normal cleaning regimen. I feel this is important, if there are boogers it clogs up the piercing, right?

Day 31: Nothing eventful has happened. I will admit I don't know the exact definition of "leave it the hell alone," but I have been doing just that for the past couple of weeks. That includes cleaning it (or not...)- don't necessarily follow my lead! But it is doing just splendidly all the same. It's not sore at all; if it feels like it might be getting a little irritated, from too much pushing or pulling (I'm blowing my nose a lot; it got caught on a pillowcase the other night; etc) I make sure to pick up the cleaning regimen again and it does the trick. I'm being very, very careful not to touch it more than I have to (okay, feel compelled to, to make sure it's still there and not hanging out or something!) and keep an eye on it. I know my body and when it needs tending, and when it does, soap and water and Q-tips are my friends and keep everything hunky-dory.

At any rate, this is definitely something I would recommend to anyone. I've toyed with getting the other side done, or possibly this side again... but for now I'm thrilled to have my piercing back, and to have that old familiar glitter in the corner of my eye once more!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 21 Dec. 2008
in Nose Piercing

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Artist: Jeff
Studio: Explosive+Tattoo
Location: Salisbury%2C+MD

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