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Land of the Nape

Approximately three years ago I saw my first memorable nape piercing. In the movie Land of the Dead I saw the main female actress, Asia Argento, sporting the curious adornment. At the time, my knowledge of body modification was far less than what it is now; basically I was intrigued by the two balls on the back of some woman's neck. I was fascinated and the image has yet to leave my mind.

Now years later, with far more knowledge of the human anatomy then I ever thought I would want to know and a decent knowledge of body modification, I've come to realize that the two balls residing on the back of her neck are in fact the work of a nape piercing. Within the past year and a half, my interest of body modification has grown and I have obtained piercings I never thought I would ever get, ranging from a mundane nostril piercing to multiple navel piercings. I suppose it's moderately important to mention that while I don't come from a straight-laced, conservative family, I live with my parents who don't wholly support piercing and what they say goes while I live in their house and they pay for my college. Although they [barely] allow ear piercings, and another perforation in the navel is pushing it, the process of having a needle pushed through the skin on the back of my neck and then placing jewelry of sorts there is fundamentally frowned upon.

Well, as fate would have it, a mortifying day at work led to the urge for a new modification. I'm not one to try to get sympathy from my misery, but when the sliver of hope gleams in your eyes, you better go for it. So, while calming down from my unfortunate day, I made mention of how I was in need of a new modification, resulting in the normal conversation with my mother along the lines of "I wish you could find a better way to calm yourself." To my response of "This is what makes me happy, why can't you accept it?" etc. Long story short, it ended with my mother telling me she doesn't want to know, but still yearning for her approval, telling her my plans of getting my clavicle pierced, as was the idea at the time.

Upon calling the studio I frequent, Tattoo Lou's in West Babylon, I discovered the piercer, Cassi, was not willing to do a clavicle piercing, or a sternum piercing (the first runner up) for that matter, due to the high rejection rates. She felt bad about taking someone's money to pierce something that is probably going to reject. Although I wasn't particularly happy, it was a very noble and honorable thing to do and something that makes me like Cassi all the more. The only surface piercing she really was wiling to do was a nape piercing.

Earlier this evening, after breaking the news to my mother of what piercing was to come, I gathered my friends who join me on my piercing adventures and we headed out to West Babylon. I was a bit nervous, seeing as most piercings I get I consider seriously for a few weeks to a month at a time, not for less than a day. I spent the time on the ride there pinching the back of my neck, preparing myself for what was to come.

I signed the waiver once I established what work I wanted done and was delighted to see Cassi remembered me and even inquired about a past piercing she had preformed on me. Once I finished filling out the form I headed back to the piercing section of the studio and prepared for what was to come.

Cassi had me sit with my back to her so she could make the marks on my nape. After she got the markings as she wished them to be, she had me stand up to see how it would look while standing. She asked if I wanted to see the placement to see what I thought. Normally I make sure I like the placement as, obviously, this is going to be on my body and if I take it out, odds are good I'll have a lovely scar to show for it. This time, however, I told her I trusted her judgment – that and I knew I wouldn't be able to see it anyway with the screwing around of the mirrors and all. Then she had me lie face down on the massage-like chair.

My coping mechanism for dealing with the beginning of piercings is to pinch my hands, distract myself from the pain to come with the pain that's already there. This time was different. I was trying to focus on my breathing; in and out, in and out. Be one with the air; reach that enlightened state of mind. I wonder why I thought that would work when I can't even attain that Zen feeling when I'm perfectly calm. Scratch that plan. The clamps were on and Cassi had me take a breath and hold it and then let it out as she pushed the needle through. Not to sound totally cliché, but the clamps were the worst part. The pinching was a bit of a nuisance, and the needle was hardly felt. Mind you, everyone's threshold for pain varies, and mine is particularly high, so this really didn't bother me.

Cassi cleaned me off and showed me my new piercing in the mirror. I adored it. I thanked her and was quite pleased with the outcome.

The only problem I foresee with this piercing is keeping it hidden. While my mother doesn't want to see it, my anti-body modification father doesn't know about it, and my employer would surely forbid it, keeping my hair over it seems a bit risky, as I am one who abuses hair gel. However, I believe that if I cover it with my hair, and during those times have a band aid covering the exit and entrance holes from my hair, it should work well enough. Of course, for dealing with such an unsavory treatment, a sea salt soak lies in my nape's future.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 09 May 2008
in Surface & Unusual Piercing

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Artist: Cassi
Studio: Tattoo+Lou%27s
Location: West+Babylon%2C+Long+Island%2C+New+York

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