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Ribcage Project: Ramifications Unknown

I have four surface piercings on my ribcage. There are two on each side about two inches below each nipple. My surface bars (14 gauge, 1 ¼") are positioned almost horizontally-- they slant inwards slightly. They are arranged such that the four balls form a square on each side.

I laid down on the operating table, which was covered with a clean white piece of medical paper. Gus had marked the insertion and exit points for all four of the piercings. We tried to position the bars on the flattest part of my ribcage and somewhat inwards so they wouldn't obstruct any of my arm movement.

I was sweating buckets, but I was ready. I felt confident with Gus because this was his own shop and I'd seen him in a lot of suspension pictures and he had asked me all the hard questions he had needed to before agreeing to do these piercings for me.

Gus didn't use any forceps or clamps. He used his fingers to hold the skin up before inserting the needles. I am still not clear on exactly how he did it but I believe that he had taken the balls off the bars and threaded sharp points onto the jewelry.

He told me he was going push the needle into my flesh so I took some calm breaths and said to go ahead. It felt pretty sharp going into the skin, with very little feeling while it traveled the inch and a quarter under the skin, except for a little wiggle, and then sharp out the other end of the skin. Then I felt something go in again in the new hole, and I guess that was the surface bar (again, I am not clear how he did it exactly) and then out the other side.

This action wasn't as forced as the first but it wasn't painless. I can say that compared to my nipple piercings, it was not nearly as painful but it did take longer. Maybe that gave me more time to relax. Gus put the ends on the bar and the first one was done.

"I am not going to look", I said, after which I immediately sat up and looked to see how it had turned out. It was snug and beautiful, and there was just a drop of blood on each end. The end balls seemed to float on my skin. Time to add three more pairs.

Gus had started on my top left piercing and was moving down to the lower one on the left. He completed it and asked how I was. His assistant had come in to watch and she asked if I wanted to hold her hand and she had a friendly face and I'd had a good but brief chat with her earlier so I said: "Yeah, come on over please." I think I squeezed her hand pretty tight for the rest of the piercings.

It felt good to have her there but I knew I was alone anyway for this. I can say it was a little stressful but I was not off in another world feeling through a newly opened door filled with beautiful blackness, as I had been with my nipple piercings. I was very conscious of what was being done and tensed up a bit and sort of waited for it to be over as mush as I enjoyed it being done.

Only the last piercing was a little difficult for us (Gus and I) and for some reason the needle didn't come out as readily as the others. Finally it popped out and I said "Damn, the last one was the worst!" We all laughed and Gus reminded me: "Yeah, I told you they wouldn't all be the same", or something to that effect.

It was done and I hopped up to check it out. They all said, "That looks spectacular!" and I smiled very widely in the mirror knowing that they really meant it. It's meaning for me though transcended what I felt with my nipples. And here my description gets a bit vague because it was such a remarkably wonderful feeling that for a while everything else in life seemed so pointless.

I have spent months trying analyze what these wonderful piercings mean to me and I'm almost at the conclusion that they're indefinable. That said, I will note that they are in part a physical expression of my disagreement with society in general, and at the same time a re-affirmation of my own power to achieve anything in this world. It matters little that few people have seen them simply because they are there. In just a few words, they make me feel good.

But they're a lot of trouble too. Surface piercings require a lot of commitment from the piercee due to the amount of aftercare involved, as well as the risk of rejection. I still have mine after six months although it appears they are migrating a bit. I have already made plans to change my surgical steel bars to a more flexible material like TCBY or Tygone. And I have a few other projects underway with my piercer in Singapore. Anyway, I am keeping my "ribcage squares" indefinitely.

And the next step for me is to do a suspension.

I wish to thank Gus at Paragon (although he is now working elsewhere in Honolulu) for his responsible dedication and professionalism. I recommend using him for any or all piercings you may have planned.

Best wishes to all the wonderful people who visit BME, and please write to me if you wish.



submitted by: Anonymous
on: 17 July 2002
in Surface & Unusual Piercing

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Artist: Gus
Studio: Paragon
Location: Honolulu%2C+Hawaii

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