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Ellen's double piercing (including TONGUE) at MetalMorphosis, London

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I am 20 years old, and I'd been thinking about getting my tongue done for about a year. I'm a bit paranoid about this kind of thing, so I spent a long time reading up on it, particularly on this site, before plucking up the courage to go ahead.

I first saw a pierced tongue about four or five years ago and didn't like it at all. Maybe it had something to do with the tacky jewellery -- a pink spiky rubber ball! I think the stainless steel look is far more sexy, and when I started seeing people with this I liked it more and more.

I've always been regarded as the sensible type, but when I left secondary school, age 16, and went to Richmond college where anything goes, I started straying a little from this. I got into metal and alternative music more, I bleached streaks in my hair and dyed them purple or red, or pink.

It's amazing that I didn't even get my ears pierced until I was 16! I've always liked it, but when you find yourself with money and free time that you never had before you can't put off stuff like this. Although I like the pierced look (not too many please!) I don't like the idea of eyebrow, lip and nose piercings on me! I'd be scared of them getting bashed at rough gigs or if I go horseriding. The tongue seemed perfect -- I want to be able to look normal enough to do office work to earn money during my university holidays, but the fun is lurking just behind normality!

I got my piercing done almost two weeks ago now, so it's all still fresh in my mind and my mouth!

I waited until my last exam for my first year psychology degree was over -- I have a few weeks at least to let my tongue heal before I assume my 'office chick' persona for the summer.

My parents, who I live with, were going to know nothing if possible, so I told them I was clearing off to my boyfriend's house for the next week or two. I didn't really tell anyone except my boyfriend and his flatmate. I was having visions of me not being able to cope, developing some ridiculous speech impediment and having to take it out.

I packed my bags and headed off to MetalMorphosis, Soho, London, feeling very nervous. I went alone, which turned out to be a big mistake.

When I got there I nearly chickened out, but something led me down those stairs to meet the nice friendly people and the man with the big needle that I never even saw.

After much inspecting of jewellery to bide my time, I expressed interest, but no commitment, in getting my tongue and my belly button pierced.

The belly button was of so little significance in comparison to the tongue that I don't have much to report -- it hurt while the needle was in but I haven't heard a peep out of it since.

I had my tongue inspected to check that my veins and arteries and things weren't too near to where the hole should go and was told it was all ok to go ahead. They now gave me a second chance to escape -- they sent me out to get something to eat as I hadn't really eaten all day and it was now 4pm. So, one chicken burger (and with a cup full of ice from McDonald's) later I went back down those stairs and signed a consent form to permit them to skewer me twice.

I elected to get the tongue piercing 'out of the way' first. He held a barbell up and looked at my tongue to get the right size to allow for swelling.

The big man with the stainless steel salad tossers and rubber gloves marked my tongue and got me to lie down on what looked like a gurney -- it was like being at the dentist (which I'm actually not afraid of at all -- yet). He put the salad tosser things on my tongue and clicked them shut around the tip -- this hurt a little. Then he got me to hold them and pull my tongue forward while he got the needle ready. He took them back off me and then there was immense pain for about five seconds followed by almost as immense a pain for…about the next three days! The tip of my tongue that was in the forceps actually hurt more than the piercing after a few days -- it felt like it was a bit burnt. Some people say it hurts and unfortunately I was one of them. The belly button came next and was no trouble -- I'm convinced it wasn't just because my tongue pain disguised it!

I took a few minutes to rest while he explained a few things on cleaning and gave me a slip to come back three weeks later for the smaller barbell to be fitted. He also said he thought I'd live.

I went out and started to make my way home. This was where I learnt it was a big mistake going alone. After a few minutes of walking I began to feel faint. After another few minutes on the hot, crowded tube train I was ready to pass out. I got off the train and sat on the platform with my head down, sipping the melting ice for about 20 mins until I felt conscious enough to carry on, but had to stop again a few stops later to do the same again. Anyway, after an hour and a half journey I got to my boyfriends and took painkillers and slept, so the pain wasn't bad enough to keep me awake.

The next day it was starting to swell, and I could only gulp Nurishment drink and water. I got pierced on Monday and by Thursday I had only had one can of drink and two pieces of pasta. I was feeling pretty low -- slightly sore throat and glands and of course my tongue felt sore and there was a drop of blood on the piercing for a few hours on Wednesday. I went back to the studio to get it checked and probably taken out. I spoke to a receptionist and a piercer and they both said it was normal, but said I had to get some food in me or I wouldn't be getting the energy and nutrients I needed to heal. After her pep talk and reassurance that everything was ok I felt better and went out to make myself eat something using her 'pelican' method -- put something in your mouth and shake it to the back to swallow it!

Things have been progressing steadily since then -- I can eat most foods, but slightly slower and therefore I get filled up quickly. I've lost half a stone in the past two weeks.

I'm going through the pus stage now, excreting constantly -- yukk!! But my tongue isn't swollen and is only slightly painful when I'm eating. I'm looking forward to the short barbell because the long one is what's causing these problems. It's all totally bearable though and I'm starting to enjoy playing about with it. My speech is much better -- my parents didn't notice when I spoke to them on the phone on the sixth day after, but i decided to come clean when i went home the other day as they'll notice my eating style and the decrease in appetite! They said I'll get some disease in my mouth but are getting used to it now.

I still follow websites for news about piercing problems as I'm a little worried about my teeth and any other problems that come up. I'd like to see more professional opinions on longer term problems with piercing, from people both connected with piercing and not.

Finally, here's my little list of tips on tongue piercing:

try not to stop eating -- you need the food to help you heal. It might be a good idea to increase your food intake for the last few days or even a week before you get it done if you're really skinny!

you MUST eat if you're going to take painkillers, anyway. eat within the hour before you get it done, it IS supposed to stop you feeling so faint even if it didn't really work for me.

Burger King does good ice -- it's chipped up quite small so you can put it in your mouth without squashing or bashing your barbell. (it's free!) use ice EVERY day plastic spoons are good for when you first start eating -- they don't hurt as much as a fork if you touch your tongue, and they aren't as heavy as a metal spoon which can hurt if you tap the barbell with it.

if you use a straw, hold it between your back teeth or it can scratch your tongue.

keep yourself occupied if it's hurting -- don't mope about! don't be afraid to ask lots of questions, and research your piercing by reading stuff on the net.

time your piercing well -- you need to allow yourself time to rest and heal without pressure to talk or disguise it if you have a long term partner, consider their feelings -- they may need a little time to adjust to the prospect of not having oral sex for up to 6 weeks!!! After 2 days my boyfriend was sulking and complaining that our sex life had died.

if you want it get it done! I told myself if I didn't do it I'd always be wondering if I should. Plus the chances are it won't hurt as much as me -- I am a bit of a baby.

Good luck! Ellen

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 15 June 1999
in Tongue Piercing

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