JR'S BRIDGE EXPERIENCE AT NOMAD
Back in September of 1997 I found myself in San Francisco after a few weeks of crossing the US and swinging through Mexico. A lot of my friends back home are heavily pierced, but this was the first time I had been in a town where piercing was really common to see. You saw business-women in suits with pierced nostrils and even cops with a few cartilage pierces. So being there, and knowing I was going to be there for a while, I decided to continue with my body modification 'project' that I had started a year before when I got my first pierce, a septum.
Since that time, I had gotten my septum repierced (by someone with a little talent this time), my tongue done, my lobes pierced at 6 gauge, and a 14 gauge labret (All by Aric of Crystal Rainbow in Grand Rapids Michigan, who I highly recommend to anyone in the area). There were lots of piercing and tattoo shops there, and the first one that came to mind was Gauntlet. I was all excited on the way there, because I thought I was on my way to meet some really professional and interesting people. I'm not going to talk trash, but I'll say that I found them to be quite rude, over priced, and not even that knowledgeable about their work.
Eventually I ended up at Anubis Warpus on Haight St. I was initially not very impressed, because it was the trendiest place I've ever been in, and it was primarily a raver clothing store with a small piercing and tattoo section in the back. But I found their jewelry to be good quality and decently priced, and their staff was friendly and informative. Because their jewelry was cheap, I decided to do some stretching (The staff seemed to know what they were doing but since my incident with my first septum I avoid getting pierced by people with no visible piercings...it makes you wonder, ya know?). So I stretched my septum to a 12 gauge and my ears to 4, and I found both to be very painful but not unbearable (it was my first experience with stretching).
Then the next time I was in there looking at jewelry I overheard them talking about NOMAD's new shop on McAllister, and I knew where I'd be getting the rest of my work done at. I am very into the primitive/tribal/ritual aspect of body modification, and I nearly slapped myself for forgetting that NOMAD was in SF, and I lived only 4 blocks away! I went there the next morning.
The first person I met there was the (legendary?) Kristian White. I looked through their portfolio and scanned their incredible jewelry case, and decided I would definitely come back for my next piercing. The only problem was, I didn't know what I wanted; I just knew that I had to get something done at NOMAD (just so I could say I got it done at Nomad...). The problem was, the only piercings I wanted to get were genital pierces (PA and a scrotum ladder), but I was a homeless traveler at the time and I didn't think I'd be able to keep them clean enough. The next day I went back with my friend Ascyltus and talked to Kristian for a while. We left the shop and walked about 10 feet and then it struck me: the bridge! I had always thought bridge piercings were great but I thought they were only for hardcore body mod enthusiasts. Oh well, I thought, I guess it's time to take that final step. Unfortunately they told me that their bridge expert, Eric, was out for the day. They offered to still do it, but I said I'd wait, and I was really impressed by their professionalism by suggesting that I wait for the best piercer, instead of begging for work like most commissioned piercers do. They told me to come back tomorrow with $50 and I'd be all set.
I was incredibly nervous walking there the next morning. I had no idea what the pain would be like (why aren't there any bridge experiences on BME?), or how difficult healing would be. I went in and met Eric, who would be doing the pierce, and told him that we were going to get some food before I went through with it, because I hadn't eaten since 2 PM the previous day and I didn't want to pass out in his arms.
Ten minutes later I was back and ready to go. It was an odd coincidence because there was another girl in there asking all about getting her bridge done, and another customer who had had his bridge done by Eric. So I got to hear the explanation given to the girl, as well as the 'real story' from someone who knew all about it. I was told that there would be absolutely no pain and it wouldn't be sore during the healing. Eric told me I might get a headache a few hours later but some aspirin or pot would take care of that. He told me to clean it twice a day with Bactine (which I used for all my other pierces which all healed fast and easy). Now it was time.
I sat on the table nervously as Eric got out the tools of the trade, and Ascyltus and the older gentleman watched from the doorway (he asked if he could watch and I had no objections; I love to watch people getting piercings done myself so...). The first thing he did was make me hold my head straight, while he held a Q-Tip across my nose to find the proper placement. He was very careful about it, and eventually put a small mark on each side of my nose. Then he had me lay back with my head over the edge of the table and got the needle ready (fresh out the package, of course). I can't accurately describe what he did because it is hard to see what is going on directly between your eyes. Tribal music was pumping out of the stereo and my breathing started flowing with the music. I was fully conscious, but I felt incredibly relaxed, and when the needle went through I didn't feel a thing, not even pressure or pinching.
With the needle still through, he took a step back to admire his work. He let me sit up and look in the mirror to see this huge needle going through my nose, but I was in 'the zone' so I don't really remember what my reaction was. Ascyltus took a picture and I laid back down so he could put the jewelry in. It was equally sensation-less for the jewelry to slide through, and I was immediately able to stand up and admire my new pierce. I was satisfied. I paid him $53; he said it was supposed to be $60 but since I had been told 50 (and I didn't have a penny more) he said he didn't mind taking whatever I could pay.
The first few hours were no problem. I did get a headache but it was nothing major. The next day I left on a Greyhound bus for Portland, Oregon, where I was going to see the Jim Rose Show. It was a 24 hour bus ride, so I slept through the night. I woke up with an odd sensation around the holes to my bridge. At the next rest stop I went into the bathroom to have a look and discovered that there were large blood clots on each side, where blood had seeped out and hardened. It came off easily with a damp Q-Tip, and was still completely painless. The next morning when I woke up I couldn't open my left eye because the blood had ran out over my eye lashes and crusted them together! Once again though, it was easy to remove, and after one more minor clotting the next morning, I never had a problem again. I continued to clean it daily with soap and water and Bactine, and it healed perfectly straight.
Exactly one month later I went back to NOMAD and asked if I could get the barbell downsized, because it stuck out a bit on one side. Eric said it was too soon, and I couldn't do it yet. Then I told him that I was moving back to Michigan the next day. "Oh, nevermind then" he said as he immediately headed in the back to get a smaller barbell. I didn't feel a thing when he slipped the new barbell in, and there was no charge for the standard replacement.
During my stay in San Francisco I also had my ears stretched up to 0 gauge at NOMAD (by the younger guy with a shaved head; sorry, you never told me your name!). That was definitely much more painful than my bridge but I was satisfied with the work.
To anyone in San Francisco, or even if you live a few hours away, I would recommend NOMAD 100%. They are all very talented, the shop is beautifully decorated and has a huge selection of all kinds of jewelry, and their prices are reasonable. The staff is friendly and informative, and willing to do work that is kind of bizarre (Kristian pierced Ascy's nostrils 3 times each, and he wear 16 gauge fishing line "whiskers" in them. This is practiced by a Peruvian tribe who wear actual jaguar whiskers in their pierces; Kristian told us all about them). I would also recommend to anyone interested to get their bridge pierced. It is painless, easy to take care of, and very attractive (plus you can call it by such cool names like 'Assyrian' or 'Nasian', or 'Earl' but I hate that one). I've also found that I can conceal it with my glasses when I need to, so don't let work or family stop you from getting one (and if you don't wear glasses just get some frames without lenses in them!)
I wrote this experience because there are no other bridge experiences on BME and I hope that this will answer anyone's questions that they might have had about bridges. If not feel free to email me. Thanks for reading and remember that piercing is more than just a trend, so don't be afraid to commit to a modified lifestyle!
JR Langworthy firstname.lastname@example.org
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 April 1998
in Eyebrow Piercing