Getting a handle.... or, love at first sight
I can't now really remember when I first saw them, nor how it was that I came across them. All I can say is that I first spotted them on a BME/IAM page and was instantly captivated - I'd never seen anything like them before. Intriguingly entitled 'Love Handles', they were a pair of D-rings forming two angled piercings aligned along the bottom of the rib-cage. They really suited their owner, I thought, and although at the time I had no conscious desire to try anything similar myself, I sent off a message asking him about them.
It turned out that they were among a number of experimental self-done piercings he'd performed himself. We exchanged messages a few times, but it wasn't until one day last summer when I suddenly learned he'd decided to 'retire' them, that I felt the compelling urge to carry on the tradition. While it's not generally considered to be in good taste to copy someone else's original design for a BodyMod, I was reasonably sure he'd be flattered rather than offended, and by this time his page had been deleted anyway. So, armed with a set of print-outs I'd made, I took the train down to Brighton, and presented myself at Perforations with a "Can you do something like this on me....?"
I chose Perforations partly because I'd used them before - I'd had my wrist bar done there the previous month. I'd been really impressed with their standards and their work, and felt that if anyone could pull off something a little 'unusual' they could. I actually found out later that they're quite used to clients calling in with ideas and projects culled from the pages of BME - most of which are ludicrously impracticable for one reason or another. To their credit, though, on this occasion Dom took a careful look at the pictures and at me, and announced yes - he'd give it a go. I had a bit of a wait while they popped down the street to Wildcat, got hold of a couple of 12ga D-rings and put them in the autoclave to 'cook', but in next to no time, I was making my way down the stairs to meet my fate.
Rob kindly wielded my digital camera to record the occasion for posterity. Much sizing up, stepping back, judging, marking, re-assessing and re-marking took place to get the positioning just right.
A liberal squirt of freeze-spray (that stuff is really cold), a pinch with his gloved fingers and a poke with the needle in what he probably thought looked like so much fat he'd have thought I hardly felt it. There it was (gotta be honest, I did hardly feel a thing). Now... "what did we do with those rings?? Or shall we just leave him like that??" Only joking: it was all very smooth, very professional and I was extremely pleased with the result. The left one stuck out slightly more than the right, but Dom said if it didn't settle down flat against my skin, or if I had any trouble with it to call back and he'd willingly re-do it for me.
Aftercare, obviously, was a complete shot in the dark. I observed the basics - don't fiddle with them, keep them clean, wear loose clean clothes... I've never actually used anything in particular to clean them with - a daily soak when I'm having my bath in the morning sems to have worked wonders, and will tend to all my other piercings as well! Sometimes if I've got anything fresh I'll add a couple of capfuls of Savlon antiseptic liquid or maybe a sprinkling of sea-salt if anything's being troublesome. Apart from the predictable crusties, though, the Love Handles have given me very little trouble at all. I've always been a little wary of getting anything accidentally hooked or caught in them: occasionally one would get wrenched on an article of clothing or knocked awkwardly and start bleeding for a minute or two, but that's diminished over a period of time, and overall they've been extremely well behaved.
I never did get the chance to find out why the original ones - my inspiration - had been abandoned. Maybe it was rejection, or maybe it was simply an experiment that had never been intended to last. It's in the nature of surface piercings to reject, of course. I'd certainly like to think of mine as permanent, and so far they've fared much much better than I'd really had any right to hope for. The positioning has helped enormously, of course - they're anchored fairly securely and aligned in parallel to the bottom of my rib cage, so there's very little strain on them. A year on, they're now as healed as they're going to get, and I can even enjoy periods of wearing a tight corset without them causing me any discomfort! Visually I still find them as appealing as when I first saw them.
submitted by: Don
on: 05 July 2002
in Surface & Unusual Piercing