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"It's the Nipples"

ef = "/cgi-bin/vote/votec.cgi?/pierce/08-nipple/990415/itsnips.html"> "It's the Nipples"

So I thought these two would go in like the first two, but they didn't.

Which is both good and bad. How Zen.

I got ready by stopping by Piercing Experience on Friday and making an appointment to get pierced Monday night. I'd go in after Tai Chi, which I thought would be good preparation for going to get stuck again. The first time I just went in, decided where to get stuck and what jewelry to put in, went home, put on a pot of chili(!?), took a shower, then went and did it. Surely we're headed for a much more spiritual experience, got your chi settled down and all that.

This time I had a whole weekend for anticipation, feeling sorta excited, like being up to something devilish and liking it. And there was lots of time for remembering what the first go 'round went like and getting psyched-up for this time to be the same. I've put off doing this for at least a month. My mate doesn't want me to get nipples pierced. I want to do it, so decide to go ahead and do it anyway. "Easier to beg forgiveness than to seek permission." I see some pierced nipples around the neighborhood. Alot of them look pinched and painful with jewelry that looks too small, too "wiry", like it might pull through the skin. But there was this one guy, the first summer we lived in the neighborhood. He lived near where we do, at the Earl or somewhere. We know him from the Laundromat and pizza place. Don't know his name. Just a small talk acquaintance. Nice looking guy, kind of self-possessed, not trying to achieve the same-different look other kids need. He has a big compass rose tattoo square over his solar plexus -- (knows the direction he's going, maybe?) Anyway, one day in Spring, when it's finally warm enough to shed some clothes, I'm sitting at Mola's drinking coffee and watching the passing show. The compass-rose guy comes striding down the walk between Mola's and the Point. No shirt, so you can see now, in addition to the tattoo, over the winter he's added two nipple rings.big, heavy ones. He's striding along, heels hitting the pavement hard, so that the nipple rings jounce -- pull down -- bounce back up. And I think, "Damn! That's gotta feel good -- and every step too."

Then of course they're Brian's -- the guy who's going to pierce mine. I don't think I aspire to doing anything like what he's done. He's got his nipples really stretched out now. The first time I saw them he had these two industrial-strength metal "chopsticks" hanging in them. Friday I asked what he had in them, and he pulled up his Tee and showed me these two really big lucite rings he'd had made. (Maybe he could get three more, in appropriate colors, and be the unofficial piercer of the Olympic games? "A logo on your Tee-shirt's just a purchase, but this, this is commitment to the Olympic ideal!" Billy would be Payned!) At the very least, he'll always have somewhere to hang a towel.

But all in all, I don't know why it's time to do this. Just that after the guiche and the scrotum, this is the next thing to get done. Can't say anymore now than why I did the first two. Nary a logical, intellectual explanation. Just want to. Think it's time to. Must be something in the bones. So go do it.

I've been trying to think about getting pierced, planning about tattoos, too. Maybe it's something to do with "self discovery". It's consistent- Who I am is someone who does things like this. And maybe it's got to do with age. Not the part about being an old-fart doing something that kids are doing, having to go to a "twenty-one and a half" year-old kid to get it done (what my piercer told me, when I asked him his age.) That's been an issue, but not the big one. That issue's settled with a quick, "Oh, get over it!" Instead it's about stuff that happens to you this time of life, sooner or later. I've had so much middle-aged angst stuff to deal with in the last three years -- parents dying, surgery to overcome the sag of fifty years of gravity, losing a job I was good at, etc. So much of it -- all of it really -- out of my control. Things happening to me. Things I've had to deal with, whether I wanted to or not, cause it was happening. But getting pierced or getting a picture put on my hide, stuff like that I get decide. Do it or don't do it. It's my choice. It's not about changing my image. So far, and I think probably always, everything I've had done is in private places. You can't see it unless I want you to see it. The secret is part of the fun. But I think modifying your body is tied up with modifying your mind. Stick a piece of steel down there and its going to do something in your head as well. Get a picture put on your skin, and maybe the whole world's going to look different. It's going to alter your outlook on life. And it's different from someone dying on you, or going Alzheimery on you or having your body cut on and stitched back to fix something broken. All those just happen, completely out of your control. A piercing or a tattoo is completely optional. It happens when you want. You put it where you want. You're in control. Having that control, after alot of stuff just happens to you, like it or not, that's nice! That's a point that even old-farts with secrets-in-their-skivvies and kids with tattooed faces and rings hanging everywhere have in common. It's the control thing. Maybe the kids take it farther, or maybe they're just dealing with something different. But it's about who's in control. You won't see a guy with a tennis ball sized hole in his ear in the elevator going up to the Wachovia Bank management trainee program. The hand with "FUCK" tattooed in block letters on the knuckles ain't gonna be handing you your change at the K-Mart. I don't know what they will be doing, but at least they're saved from that. Won't it be interesting to see? These guys have taken control with all their in-your-face, on-their-face and god-knows-where-else-place piercings and tattoos. You want me to do THAT? Well HERE! Won't be doing THAT anymore, will we? My generation tried the same thing with clothes and the long hair. But we know how most of those folks just got cleaned up and then gobbled up. Hmmm? Let's try it again, only with permanent marker this time. "Good-on-yuh!" I say. Make it happen. Otherwise it's just going to happen to you. It's the difference between the package tour -- where you're told where to go, what to see, where eat, where to stay -- and striking out on your own -- deciding where to go and figuring how you get there and discovering and experiencing all the adventures and disasters because you caused it to happen. That's the way I always travel. No reason to get on the bus and just accept the guided tour to old age at this point, ne c'est pas?

Excuse that philosophical cadenza. What were we talking about? Oh yeah, "How it happened this time." I got ready in my head for how I wanted things to be. Not much worked out like I thought it would. First time was very quiet, late night and personal. I went the same time, even a bit later, but now there were lots of people around. Sure, I'm glad Brian has the business to keep all his business stuff going. Can't stay open with the little bit of stuff I'll ever have done. Still. When it's my turn, I'd just as soon have undivided attention, Thank-you-very-much! "Clear the place out now! It's me that's getting stuck in here now. Don't even think of anything except what you're gonna do to me!" That's pretty much how it seemed the first time. This time I'm just the one after whoever got stuck before I got there; the one before whatever he did after I left. Too bad. But while it was my turn, I did have undivided attention. Brian's good that way. For all the other business -- customers, calls, questions coming at him -- when you go into the room for your piercing, it's just you and him and what you're there to do.

I knew about how things were going to go from the first time, so wasn't too anxious. Brian's good -- competent, confidence inspiring. He has, after all, stuck me twice before, below-the-belt, and here I am back for more. It was nice even. It was nipples after all, and all the washing, tugging, cleansing was nice. ("Ooh! I'll give you exactly thirty minutes to stop that, young man!") And funny. While he was getting stuff ready his back was turned to me for a good while. After I'd checked out the exotic coif, there was nothing to do but consider the pattern on his shirt, which was all over these tiny cows. ("Christ! I'm about to get stuck in the nipples by someone wearing thousands of tiny cows!") The needle part got less funny pretty quick. I've lost some of what happened, what was said, before I could get it down on paper. I remember there was some kind of mis-start. He started into saying something. Stopped. Said, "Sorry! I'm flashing," or something like that. Maybe he even turned away again, got himself focused, then started in again, saying the same sentence. I don't remember at all what it was what he said. Do remember how it felt. It felt much different from the guiche and scrotum sticks, which went stick -- through -- done! This seemed to go on longer and hurt more intensely. First the hurt of being inside and a sense of being in there, needing out, taking a long, long time to get through. Then there was a hurt from the inside coming on out and finally through. Brian was talking, soothing while he did it. "Let it through." Did he say "give it permission," even? Then he's congratulating, which I accept with pleasure, with relief. That one, left one's, done. Quickly, he goes on to the right one. The first time, the second stick hurt less than the first. I thought it might be endorphins kicking in. You read about endorphins. Whatever it was I'll take it, and was fully expecting it this time. But it must have been location and the nerve ends. It hurt the same, worse even if you count the disappointment that the second wasn't easier. Again there was that "full" feeling like the needle's inside, needing out, wanting out. It's like a hot coal's inside your skin and it's trying to expand. I tried alot of deep breathing, trying to relax that spot, but felt like I was so tensed up I was only making it harder to get through. Brian seemed to be exerting alot of muscle. (Later I'd think about how nasty that much pushing could be if it went off in the wrong direction -- stab through some muscle mass or nick a rib. Glad this guy's so good at his work.) Again, the same words, deliberate and soothing, "let it through," and "Congratulations!" This time I felt the steel slide when he put the jewelry in and knew that he was through.

Afterwards it's more of a really sharp sting than the hurt of the needle going through. Both my nipples were like little bunched, cramping fists grabbed around the barbells, refusing to put down what was hurting them so bad. I told Brian they felt "insulted"", medical jargon he didn't know, but liked and laughed at. Then I got up and checked the new jewelry in the wall mirror. Even if not as young and cute as the guy with the compass rose and rings, I thought they looked good, looked hot. And there was a weight to them. Small as the barbells were, when I first stood up I could feel gravity and momentum tugging on them. "Awright! What I had in mind." But shit! Serious pain to get there.

Then you gotta leave. It's fun emerging from the room. There's a couple waiting in the waiting-chairs. They look up anxiously to see if I've survived. (Maybe a groan of pain and flop on the floor would be fun about now.) Haven't a clue if they are there for something seriously painful or just a shot through the earlobe, but I felt cocky and smug-as-shit for what I'd just done. I'd made Brian a "tip", sort of a fetish, out of some porcupine hair and needles I got in Alaska. Seemed an appropriate gift for a piercer friend. There were a couple of jock looking guys waiting too, needing to ask about jewelry. So there was nothing for me to do but take off out the door. Didn't particularly want to. Kinda lonely, Christmas-is-over feeling. Nothing else to be looking forward to now. Maybe I shouldn't do this in secret from my mate so that I'd have somebody to talk about it with later. I will have to talk about it with later, show what I've done, however that's gonna go. Get around to that later. What's the equivalent of a cigarette and a snuggle after all this intensity? That's what you feel like you need. But you did what you came to do, so take off.

Later, sitting around the house, I feel the trickle of blood out of my right nipple. The bleeder bleeds again. I go and wipe it off and see there's a good clot formed on the outside and it stops. Later I give them both a good salt-water soak and my right one bleeds again, a nice little St. Sebastian trail of blood down the chest.

I take a picture.

What is all this?

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 15 April 1999
in Nipple Piercing

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