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17th birthday present - my pretty nape

When I was 12, I announced to my mother I wanted to get my ear pierced – a ring at the top of my ear.

She talked to the guys at her tattoo/piercing place while getting her second tattoo done, and they told her to wait until I was 13. Mum didn't want me to get it done, so she told me that they had said 14. I decided that would be what I did for my 14th birthday.

After getting a second set of holes in my earlobes on my 13th birthday, and plans for another ear piercing the next year, I decided to get a piercing (and maybe someday a tattoo) to mark my birthday while I was in my teenage years).

Fast-forward to summer 2007, when I'm contemplating my 17th birthday in September and wondering what to get. I had an industrial, a tragus, and had previously had an eyebrow piercing that didn't quite work out. I was now working at a job that would give me hell for anything visible. Technically, I was supposed to take out my industrial and my tragus, but a manager had never asked so I didn't.

I knew a couple of girls who had nape piercings, and I had started to come around to the idea. At first I thought it was a little squicky, but then after looking at them more and more, I started to think of them as pretty. And perfect for work – not visible to customers, and chances were pretty good that no one would notice anyway. I don't sleep on my back, I always wear my hair up – after hours on BME reading experiences and looking at photos, I had decided.

The week before my birthday, my best friend Tina and I missioned it down to Toronto. I told my parents "I'm going out with Tina", knowing they'd freak out if I said, "I'm going downtown to get pierced again with Tina". They said sure, they were coming home to take my brother to the hospital – a little worrying, they were away for the weekend and I was figuring I had at least until Sunday night before I had to tell them.

We made it down to Toronto and headed over to New Tribe. I got my industrial done there, and both friends with nape piercings had gotten them done at New Tribe. I told them I wanted my nape done, and they said sure. I showed my ID, paid (New Tribe charges $100 for all 14g surface piercings), they told me what jewellery they would use (14g 3/4" surface bar), and we sat down to wait. I always convince myself how bad it's going to hurt, and I was all psyched up – I have a pretty decent pain tolerance, and I love being pierced, but I always get myself more worried/hyped up than I need to be. Not to mention the guilt factor of "oh dear, I didn't clear this with my parents but they said when I was 16 I could get whatever I wanted"...

They called me in, Tina followed with her camera. Jon was piercing me. He explained everything to me, Tina made sure she was allowed to take pictures, and then he marked my neck. As he did that, my dad called me...guilt jumped. Tina took my phone away, then I lay down and pulled my hair away from my neck. The clamps hurt more than the needle, which sucked because he didn't get them in quite the right place the first time. But the next thing I knew, I felt the needle and then he said I was done. I didn't even feel him putting the jewellery in! In total honesty, my nape was probably my least painful – well, maybe the same as my eyebrows I guess.

It looked awesome – bloody and swollen but awesome. Tina took more photos, and we left. I looked a little shaky, apparently, so we stopped and got something to eat and I called my dad. He was asking me to come home, because my brother had broken his wrist – he was okay, but they wanted me to keep an eye on him.

I headed home, and that night I did a sea salt soak and cleaned off the dried blood with tea tree oil soap. For the sea salt soaks – shot glasses or soaked paper towels worked great for the location.

The next day I went to Freak Ink (Stouffville, Ontario – has since closed down) and bought a bottle of Dragon Mist piercing aftercare spray. It really was great stuff and it was really simple to use on a piercing I couldn't easily see.

I continued the sea salt soaks for 6 weeks but continuing to spray the piercing twice a day. I had very few problems with it – I don't sleep on my back, I only snagged my hair on it once and caught a shirt on it a couple of times...it got a little irritated with a collared shirt, and a road trip where I was trying to sleep in the car, but mostly it didn't bother me at all. I wore my hair up pretty much all the time, simply because it's curly and it's just way easier. It may seem like a pain in the ass but as long as you're careful with your clothing, sleeping, and hair, a nape piercing doesn't cause too much interference.

People's reactions can be pretty intense – "WHY?! HOW?! That's SO GROSS, EWWW!" – but personally I loved freaking people out. Sometimes people wanted to touch the skin where the surface bar was so they could feel it, which was kinda cool.

Sadly, however, after 7 months my skin went purple and I realized it was way more than "irritation" – sure enough, when I went to a piercer, he agreed it was beginning to reject and he took out the surface bar for me. It lasted 7 months though, which I'm happy with! Even if I scar a little bit, it's cool because it was the way I chose to mark my 17th birthday.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 24 April 2008
in Surface & Unusual Piercing

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Artist: Jon
Studio: New+Tribe
Location: Toronto%2C+Canada

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