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Inner Conch

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When I started to think about getting pierced back in high school, I talked with my mom about it, and we agreed that I'd only pierce my ears or clothed body parts. (I respect and love my mom a lot, so it's never been an issue that she limited what I could pierce.) I had my navel and left tragus "done" over a period of about a year or so, for different reasons. I got my navel pierced mainly to spite my ex-boyfriend, who'd claimed that the navel was the only part of me he never wanted to see pierced. So naturally when he dumped me I ran right out and had a pretty little ring put in! Then later I got my tragus pierced because I wanted something done other than my lobes and I hadn't seen anyone with their tragus pierced-- I figured I'd be unique in my town. Of course now a lot of people have them... I'm not unique anymore but I can pretend to be a bit of a trendsetter.

I have a new boyfriend now, and for my third year of college wanted a third piercing. This particular guy had no problems with my decision, and was even (briefly) toying with the idea of getting a ring in his lobe. After a lot of thought and looking around BME for ideas, I decided I wanted my inner conch pierced. A friend of mine had this piercing with a ring in and I loved the way it looked. I thought about it a bit more to make sure I really wanted it, then finally decided "Yes!". I made an appointment for the piercing (at Saint Sabrina's Parlor in Purgatory, in Minneapolis, a wonderful tattoo and piercing shop which I highly recommend) and made a 'date' with my boyfriend to get pierced and have dinner and basically make a night of it.

We showed up at Saint Sabrina's, and I met Scott, the guy who'd be doing the piercing and discussed what I wanted with him. Even though my mental image was of a ring, he said I'd be better off with a straight barbell at first, since it would help with the healing process and make insertion easier. I felt a bit disappointed, but figured I could switch it for a ring later and agreed.

Scott vanished to go clean the barbell and get ready, so while my boyfriend and I waited we looked at all the other jewelry. I was particularly fond of a curved barbell with a star and blue jewel which I could picture looking quite nice in my navel... but soon Scott was back, and the three of us went into the piercing room.

Basically like a simple version of a hospital room, very neat and tidy but no bizarre medical equipment. Scott cleaned my ear off, then used a pen to mark where he'd put the barbell. I thought it looked a bit low, since I was planning to put a ring in later, so he moved the marks and showed me the change-- now it was fine. He had me lie down on my back. I closed my eyes and held my boyfriend's hand (it's comforting). I was suddenly feeling... not so much nervous as high. My heart was racing, my breaths were short and rapid. A massive adrenaline rush.

At this point I closed my eyes since I don't like the sight of needles. I felt the needle against my ear, very lightly, and Scott told me to take a deep breath and he'd pierce me when I exhaled. Standard procedure. I wasn't terribly worried about anything since my other piercings hadn't hurt much at all, but I was still high. I inhaled, steeled myself for the piercing, exhaled-- and OHMYGOD. It hurt horribly. The pain lasted for a second or so as the needle was pushed through and then waned a bit. I was suddenly glad my boyfriend was with me and gripped his hand harder. When the barbell was inserted I didn't think I felt much but I moaned. Finally it was done.

The adrenaline was gone, and I felt light-headed and shaky. I stayed lying down for a bit, then sat up (slowly!) and walked out to the main area. The pain in my ear was now a constant, but not so bad that I couldn't cope with it. Here I realized my mistake in taking off my glasses when Scott made the pen-marks. The arm of my glasses was in contact with the barbell, putting pressure on it. Oops. Again, not a terrible thing, but not ideal. I probably should have stayed with the first, lower markings.

While I calmed myself down my boyfriend wandered in from another room and told me there was some great incense that I should look at. I went to look at it, bought some, and when I came back he surprised me with the navel barbell I'd been admiring earlier! A great surprise gift. I made an appointment to come back in an hour to get the ring taken out of my navel, and the two of us took a walk and went for coffee. This was actually a really nice thing to do, since the walk was about 6 blocks or so and it gave me a chance to continue calming down from the stress of the piercing. Deep calm breathing, nice cool Minnesota spring air... quite pleasant.

It's been a little over two weeks now, and the pain (except for when my boyfriend forgets which ear is the 'good ear' and bumps me) is gone. I can rotate the barbell and push it back and forth now. It took a good week and a few days for the pain to go away, though. Apparently the inner conch is not the place to get pierced if you don't like constant pain. But it's happy now, and I'm happy. Now I just have to consider what to get next! My boyfriend is slowly trying to work me towards the idea of genital piercings, so we'll see...

--Sarah rosenzws@carleton.edu

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 15 April 1999
in Ear Piercing

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