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My Shiny Souvenirs from Ithaca

My interest in piercing started out involving strictly the face. However, while researching various facial piercings that I wished to attain, my intrigue quickly began to grow for a diversity of body piercings, including the nipples. Initially, it was one of the piercings that I thought would be impractical, and would never actually get. I worried about the difficulty of healing them, not to mention the various horror stories of severe infections. And being a severe hypochondriac, I knew that I wouldn't be able to go a day without worrying that I would wake up with my boobs reduced to mounds of useless necrotic tissue. However, as I began to feel more and more top-heavy concerning my piercings, and my current relationship began to fail, piercing my nipples began to seem more and more appealing. I would not have to worry about defending them from an over-zealous partner as they healed! The more I thought about them, the more I wanted them. I began setting aside my tips from my job at a coffee house. It would take several months, but by the time I began talking with my friend about visiting her in Ithaca, I would have enough saved.

The next challenge was to find a piercer in front of whom I'd be comfortable taking off my shirt. When I finally solidified my plans with my friend, I did a little searching for piercers in Ithaca to see whom I could find. After all, what better souvenir to bring back than something small and shiny? I ran across Stiehls Body Modification, and decided based on glowing reviews on BME that this would be the place. I made sure to let my friend know ahead of time, and while a little apprehensive of my plans, she kindly agreed to drop me off there before I left Ithaca. I spent the week before my travel paying close attention to my body, familiarizing myself with the aches and pains that occurred on a regular basis, as well as the way my anatomy was beforehand, so that if anything did go terribly wrong I could recognize it.

So the day finally came when my friend agreed to drive me to the studio. We had a generous meal of Thai food beforehand, so that I wouldn't be getting pierced on an empty stomach. First of all, I was impressed with how clean and organized everything at Stiehls was when I first walked in. The wait was short, since it was early in the day. The atmosphere was extremely friendly; before I went back, the guy at the front desk explained everything to me about the process, and showed me the selection of jewelry I could choose from. I waited for the jittery nervousness to begin that I had experienced with other piercings, but it never came, even when Ron lead me to the room where I would be pierced.

I felt completely at ease during the whole process. Ron is amiable and easy to talk to, and with body modification artists, I feel that this is an important quality that contributes to a good experience. It was also very informative talking to someone who had pierced thousands of people, who really knows his art. To actually learn something important that can help one to make decisions with future piercings is also a powerful thing. He pointed out to me how I could tell whether or not the jewelry and needles are sterile.

After a little bit of consideration, I selected 12 gauge curved barbells. He marked the entry and exit points on both nipples, and after I approved of the placement he went about setting everything out the tray, and cleaned me off in preparation for the piercing. All the time we still talked casually, about my other piercing experiences, the Ithaca farmer's market, etc. At no point did I even feel nervous or uneasy, even when he was clamping my left nipple. He asked me to close my eyes, but I kept them open since closing them actually heightens all of my other senses, and I just wanted to watch. I felt a slight pain as he lined the needle up, and asked me to take a breath in. It then occurred to me that this was going to hurt. A lot.

And it did. There is nothing quite like getting pierced, and once its over, the pain is only a vivid memory, something that can't be experienced in the same way again, and so for this reason I always try to be in a good place in my head to be receiving pain, which helps make it an even more positive experience. But this time I got to do it again! I started to feel a tad nervous, but I was so excited by the surgical grade stainless steel barbell now gracing my left nipple, I couldn't wait to see the right one join it. Time for round two! Again, I was clamped, the needle lined up. Not quite prepared this time for the mounting intensity of the pain, I let out an ear-piercing squeal. But then it was over. The sight of a needle going through my nipple was just pleasing, and I hardly felt the insertion of the jewelry. I apologized for the squeal, but Ron informed me that he'd had much worse, and that I hadn't done badly at all. He then offered to put protective gauze over the piercings for the time being, and I decided that this would be a good idea because I wasn't quite comfortable with letting my clothes touch them. Apparently, the guy at the front desk had also heard my little wail, but told me that I'd just received a very squeal-worthy piercing. They even sent me off with a little bad of sea salt for soaking after I paid.

I walked down the sidewalk to wait for my friend feeling like a million bucks, basking in the afterglow of being pierced. When I let my friend know what I'd had done, she made a scared face and crossed her arms defensively over her breasts. However, she then began to ask me questions, because she's now contemplating piercing her navel. For the rest of the day, my nipples were just a little achy, akin to the feeling of them being erect and overly sensitive when it's cold. The next day, the left one bled a tiny bit. By the second and third day, they were sensitive only to clothes brushing against them. Now, a week later, they are beginning to shed scabs and dead skin, and do not ache at all. The week before I had been in an unpleasant place in my head, and focusing on the healing of these piercings helped immensely in getting me centered again.

I also know that to heal fully, they will need about six to eight months. This will not be a problem, as I have been liberated from yet another relationship and will not have to protect them from an over-zealous significant other. It will also aid in helping me take a much-needed break from the whole 'dating' thing. It sounds like a good plan: eight months for my piercings to heal, eight months or longer being single and refreshed? Sounds good to me. Nipple piercings: my anti-relationship. I also have to say that I always loved my breasts before, and now I find them irresistible. The piercings make up a nice composition with my septum; it's almost a perfect equilateral triangle.

So in conclusion, Ithaca has the best coffee I've ever had, the best farmer's market, the best vegetarian restaurants, and the best piercing shop I've ever been too. I cannot emphasize enough what a great experience this was for me, and if you are living in or near Ithaca, checking out Stiehls Body Modification is a must. If I lived in there, I would be making regular trips to the farmer's market and to Stiehls, but I don't unfortunately, so I'll just have to wait until I visit my friend again. Maybe by then she will have decided to pierce her navel, and we can go together and both get pierced.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 22 Aug. 2007
in Nipple Piercing

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Artist: Ron+Stiehl
Studio: Stiehl%27s+Body+Modification
Location: Ithaca%2C+New+York

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