It all started with an infatuation with the fact that I was going to college and could finally get the piercing I had always wanted to get. Namely, an eyebrow ring. I had just moved to New Orleans to begin school and I wanted something to commemorate this new found freedom. I asked around and talked with a few locals, and was steered in the direction of Crescent City Tattoo. I walked into the shop, it is on a fairly popular street, and is an eye catching building with bright blue walls with red letters proclaiming the name. As soon as I walked inside I was greeted by one of the tattoo artists, I later found out his name is Cornbread, who was extraordinarily helpful. He said that Eric was in the back with another client and that he'd be right out. I knew right away that I had chosen the right place. All three of the artists on the floor were covered in tattoos and piercings and were more than happy to explain what they all meant, and who had done them. Most had been done in the shop by their fellow artists and all of the piercings had been done by Eric or the previous piercer, and did everything they could to make me feel welcome and assuage my nerves.
Eric came out from the back with a huge grin and asked me my name, he took me in the back, and I was amazed. I had never been in a cleaner area in my life, outside of the hospital. He sat down with me on the bench and went over the required questions (am I a hemophiliac, anemic, pregnant, 18 etc.) took my id and copied it for his files. He then went through the process of showing me what all he was going to do. Eric took out the jewelry and sanitized them in alcohol right in front of me, while wearing a pair of gloves. When he had set them upon a metal plate that had what looked like one of those dentist's bibs, he took off the gloves and put on a new pair to open the vacuum packed needle and associated gear. With the blue bib and everything I started to feel like I was getting a cavity or something, everything was packaged and cleaned like most of the medical facilities I had visited.
He then cleaned the eyebrow that I wanted pierced with alcohol, and took his time drawing two dots in the place he thought the bar should go, after having me smile and frown and move my face muscles around. . I looked in the mirror and nodded. He noticed that my hands were shaking and gave me a quick hug, and told me that it was ok, that I was going to be alright. I sat up straight and after he put the pincers on to hold the skin in place he coached my breathing, calming me down. I closed my eyes and on an exhale he put the needle through, then the jewelry. It was a relatively painless process, and I was lucky that I did not bleed very much. I sat there on the couch, and Eric brought me a glass of water. I thought I was ok and that the shakiness I felt was the adrenaline rush, all of a sudden I started to feel myself go. I said to Eric "oh no, you are going to lose me". Right after that he stepped right next to me and I promptly passed out.
He made sure that I lay down on the bench, and brought me out, very gently. He brought a cold towel for my brow and let me sit up very slowly, again bringing me a glass of water. He sat there with me for about 15 minutes to make sure that I was going to be ok, and that it was not going to happen again, before he even let me stand. While we were sitting there, he told me that usually it was the big burly guys who passed out, and that I should not feel too badly about it. He made me laugh, and not feel stupid about what I perceived as being a baby. He explained the procedure for cleaning and told me where the best place to get sea salt was and to come back in 2 weeks to check on it. I paid, and he again gave me a big hug and made sure I was able to walk out the door on my own, and waited with me until my friend got there to take me back to campus.
Two weeks later, I was back. The piercing was still sore and a little red, even though I was soaking it a few times a day. He said that this was fairly common and that it did not look as if it was rejecting yet, but to come back in a week to make sure. Again, I checked in, and it was starting to heal. He seemed happy with how it was going, and again reminded me to keep soaking it and to not play with it. I have to say, I did play with it, and that was bad. Though the worst was when I was half asleep and getting dressed for class, pulling the shirt over my head and catching it. It took me a few days to learn how to avoid it.
A few weeks later I noticed that the piercing had turned red and irritated, and was sore again. I went back to Eric, who said that it looked like an abscess and to put tea tree oil on it. If it did not get better within a week or so I was to come back and let him look at it again. Of course, I got caught up in midterms and by the time I went back to Eric, it had gotten pretty bad. It was sore and red all the time and had started to get crusty and a little bloody. He took one look at it and scolded me for waiting too long. He said that it was, in fact, rejecting. So, He took the bar out and cleaned up my eyebrow for me and told me to come back yet again, to make sure that it was healing closed correctly. It did and I went back, and he was satisfied with how it had healed. He said that since it had not worked the first time, if I wanted, he would pierce it again for free in a few weeks, just to make sure everything was healed first.
I went back, naturally, and by now I had become a regular there, so if there were a few people ahead of me, I could sit at the counter and talk to Cornbread and everyone else and not feel awkward. I think what made me feel the most comfortable was the level of care that Eric had shown for my concerns, and how welcome everyone made me feel. I could, and still can, ask them just about anything and they would answer to the best of their abilities be it about piercing, tattoos or random social things going on at the time.
I went into the back again, with Eric, and he again went over the usual protocol. He looked at my eyebrow, was satisfied with how it looked (there was barely a scar), made me do the face movements again and looked at me pensively. All of a sudden a huge grin split across his face and he said, "I know, let's try a horizontal bar". I looked at him blankly, and he explained that essentially it is the same piercing, but it just goes along the line of the brow instead of through it. He said that for some people those had a better chance of healing, and as a plus they are not very popular. He had me sold on the better healing bit. He went through the same sterilization procedure and explanation as he had before. I swear that man goes through a box of gloves in a day. This time, the piercing went perfectly. We did the breathing exercises again, though I was far less nervous this time than the time previous, as we now had a sort of rapport. The pincers went on, the needle and jewelry went through, and I did not faint. We both waited a few minutes in silence, and then laughed because we both realized the other was holding their breath.
I washed the piercing the same way I had the other, taking more care this time to not play with it, and it healed within a matter of a week and a half. When I went back at the two week mark Eric was surprised at how well it was doing, considering the problems we had faced before. This time I was not as distracted by the piercing as I had with the previous one. Before when it hung down I could see the glint when the sun shone off the jewelry and, being the five year old at heart I would immediately get distracted and would often remark on 'the shiny' that I now had, much to the amusement of my friends.
Everything was going fantastically with the piercing when I left school 6 months later to go home for summer. I checked in with Eric before I left again, just to make sure, and nothing was wrong. So, I went home and about a month and a half later I went to Nebraska for an archaeological dig. About a week into the dig, my eyebrow started to get irritated. I figured it was just from the dust and sweat and sunscreen that were around it just about all the time. I managed to get some sea salt, which let me tell you was actually hard to find in a town of less than eight-hundred in the middle of nowhere Nebraska. I cleaned it pretty religiously for another week and a half and it was only getting redder and sorer, and was starting to crust up like the previous one had. In fact the symptoms were nearly identical. At the end of the third week I gave up and resigned myself to the fact that yes, it was indeed rejecting yet again. Needless to say I was disappointed, I really liked the piercing.
The healing this time was a bit more complicated than the last, because of the environment I was in. It was constantly getting irritated from the sweat and the dirt, and took far longer to heal than the last time. I think the wound got infected, as I did have to press puss out at one point, but after that it only bled, which I took to be a good sign, as blood cleans. It took a good two weeks or so for it to stop being red and sore, and it is now just a little scar on my eyebrow. I was going to go back to Eric and see what he had to say about it, whether or not I should try it again. I still am not sure at this point, as Hurricane Katrina has sent us all across the U.S, so I will just have to wait until January to decide whether or not I can teach my body to not reject the bar. I have a feeling I should just leave it as is, but I am very stubborn. So, we shall see.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 06 Oct. 2005
in Eyebrow Piercing