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It was more simple than I thought it would be (my nape)

decided to have my nape pierced, I knew that Body Rites would be the place to go; Ron Garza and Chris Kane both have experience with unusual piercings. I've had work done by three of the four piercers on staff, and I trust everyone at their shop. The night I stopped by, Ron happened to be working, so he would be the one to do it. I asked Ron if he would be willing to do the piercing with tygon, and he said he would. Piercers in Texas generally prefer using tygon to surface bars; before I got it done I spoke to several piercers across the state (including Obscurities, the well-known studio in Dallas), and all of them felt that tygon was the best choice. While BME generally advocates surface bars, I tend to take things like that with a grain of salt — I don't like the attitude that there's only one "right" way to do things. (The prevalence of different successful aftercare methods attests to that; after all, some people pierce themselves with safety pins and use Bactine for cleaning, and heal fine.) After conferring with Chris (who was about to leave for the night), Ron decided to use 10ga tygon; tygon is a type of flexible plastic tubing, often used for medical supplies. For a year or so, my father had a tygon feeding tube that led from his stomach to an opening in his skin, so that enteral feeding solution could be pumped into his stomach. So I was already familiar with the material and had seen someone firsthand heal a wound with tygon in it. Using it for a surface piercing made perfect sense; it would move with the skin as my neck twisted and turned. Ron showed me how tightly the balls stay in the tubing, convincing me there was no chance of losing one. While the jewelry was in the autoclave, Ron began to work on marking the placement. When healed, the only thing visible would be the balls; the tygon would be inside the piercing. However, the shaft needed to be a little long to account for the initial swelling. Ron marked the placement so it would be properly centered and level; he had one of the tattoo artists in the shop look at it to confirm the placement. I wasn't really nervous; I've been pierced by Ron several times, and I trust his skill. But I didn't know how the piercing was going to feel. It never really hurts per se, it's always been more like pressure. This was going to be my first surface piercing, so I didn't know what to expect. When the jewelry and tools were finished in the autoclave and the piercing room was prepped, Ron had me lay on my stomach and get ready for the piercing. (Amusement: a few days earlier a mutual friend of ours had been in the exact same place getting a meatomy, so my head was right where his bloody penis had been. Well, it amused me, anyway.) As usual, I did the "take a deep breath ... hold it ... exhale slowly." I felt the needle enter my skin and it stop. Ron had only gotten it partway through; evidently my skin was abnormally tough. He told me to get ready, because he was going to give it a big push to get it all the way through. I felt the skin pop apart when the needle exited my nape, which was a pretty unique sensation. It felt strange, because the needle went through so much skin. I could feel every bit of the needle passing through me. Ron then slid the tygon in, which I could also feel; it was incredibly smooth insertion, but I felt it more than I do with metal (perhaps it was just the location). It was like I could feel the tygon glide across the inside of my skin. Ron secured the balls, and we were done! He told me that I'd need to have the barbell shortened a little when the swelling went down; he also wanted to keep an eye on it in case there was a problem with having a larger gauge in such a non-fleshy area. I used minimal aftercare with it; I did warm saltwater soaks (using regular table salt) and cold water soaks to reduce the swelling, and washed it with Provon once a day for the first two or three days. Then I did the warm saltwater soaks for a few more days. Once crusties started appearing, I stopped doing anything. (I don't know if it's the jewelry material or not, but crusties just slide right off the shaft of the barbell.) The piercing area was slightly sore for the first few days, but I couldn't really feel the jewelry in my body unless I slid it back and forth. I would forget I had it; in fact, I reached up to scratch an itch on the back of my neck and snagged one of the balls with my fingernail. No tearing or anything resulted, as it seems to be a fairly sturdy piercing. It's a little strange being unable to see it myself; I relied on mirrors and a friend to keep me updated of its appearance. Since I often wear my hair up (it's getting too long and it bugs me to have it down), the piercing is usually visible when I'm out and about. I get a lot of comments, usually about how it's unusual or that it looks nice, but people also get squicked by it sometimes. Sometimes I hear people who are walking or standing behind me gasp, or whisper comments to someone with them. But for the most part, the reactions to it are neutral curiosity or positive. I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy that this piercing is unusual, but I really like the pure aesthetic of it as well — I wouldn't have done it just for shock value, that would be idiotic. If I get too many dumb comments ("does that go all the way through, or are those balls glued on your skin?"), I can always take my hair down and hide it. If I ever need to hide it for a job, I can take my hair down or even just remove the balls. I think the ease with which I've healed this piercing is due in large part to the choice of jewelry. Contrary to what dissenters say, there isn't any upward pressure which would promote migration or the development of scar tissue. The material is incredibly smooth and easy to wear; I can't imagine having a rigid metal bar would be nearly as comfortable. In fact, even putting direct pressure on the shaft was comfortable, as it yielded to the touch. All in all it was a great experience: non-traumatic procedure, easy healing, interesting and attractive piercing. What more could a girl want? For more information about my body project and Austin piercers, visit my bodyart site: http://www.bmeworld.com/meghan

Details

submitted by: Meghan
on: 01 Jan. 2001
in Surface & Unusual Piercing

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Artist: Ron+Garza
Studio: Body+Rites
Location: Austin%2C+TX

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