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A Needle Through My Flesh

For a while, my vertical labret piercing seemed like it was destined to fail. First, my living area is not a large body modification area, so I had to be very careful about which shop I went to. Many of them would not even perform the piercing! Finally, I found a shop I liked- they were relatively cost-effective, professional, friendly, and clean.

Next stop was getting there. One of my friends, who I should note hated the idea, said she would come with me. We first went in the day after my birthday- no go. The piercer was not in, and their other shop was located too far away. I thanked them and said we would come back tomorrow. As you can probably guess, it was a repeat-the piercer was, again, not in. This time, however, we made an appointment for the very next day.

In this case the third time was the charm. We went in and were greeted by a very tall and thin man, very friendly and open- the opposite of my piercer from college, who was rather quiet and somber. This immediately put me at ease. He recognized me immediately from the piercing I wanted, and led me to the private room.

The other two piercings I have are nose and tongue, both done by the same person in a not-so-nice piercing shop in Massachusetts. This experience was immediately different- he answered my questions, was very accommodating, and chatted with me a bit. I was very nervous, particularly as many people have written about experiencing a huge amount of pain. In the end, I told him as much- he laughed and said it would hurt more than my tongue and less than my nose.

That, I could handle.

The only negative part of the entire experience was that he almost did not mark my lip. When I asked him about it, he told me why- his hand shakes when he tries to mark, and he has learned to pierce without it. This was not a vote of confidence in my book, but he assured me that he is much steadier with a needle. Still, he did as I asked, marked me up, and got it right on the first shot. Though I will admit, his hand did shake.

Next came the clamps, which I've found to be the consistently worst part. This time, though, the clamps were just right- not too painful at all. In one push he put the needle through my lip. He was right- I would say it was my least painful piercing, as my tongue hurt a lot from too-tight clamps. He threaded the jewelry through my lip, at which point I informed him that I needed to lay down and could he please screw the ball on like that? He agreed, and all was well. He does indeed pierce better than mark; he did not even spill a drop of blood.

My piercing was beautiful. I was unsure about my decision to do it at first, as I don't have very full lips but was very sure of where I wanted it to go, no compromises (I did not want the top ball to rest any lower than right where my lips came together, and the bottom to go right under my lip). The piercing laid all of these thoughts to rest. He placed it perfectly, without my needing to ask him to change it or anything, and though my lips are not thick, the jewelry flattered the shape.

Now came what can often by the worst part: aftercare. My tongue piercing was a hellish experience, with swelling that lasted a bit more than a week and a very attractive odd white color to my tongue. After experiencing that, I was more than a little wary.

No need. This was the best piercing to date in that respect, too- it did not swell, did not hurt, and did not impede my speech or eating in any way. I have not made an attempt to drink without a straw yet, but sandwiches have not given me any trouble. The worst pain I experienced was a twinge if I smiled too wide- which, I should note, seemed to only be the widest I could manage. There were also few to no crusties. However, this is my first lip piercing- it makes me nervous because it seems very easy to rip out, which probably contributes to my paranoia in treating it gently.

The only significant complaint is the banning of Chapstick, or any makeup. That lasted around a day, and then I caved. It was either I use some lip-gloss or attempt to sand paper all the dried skin off. I chose the former, though I was very careful about using a Q-tip to apply it, making sure to keep it from touching the piercing or where my lips would meet and rest against it. There has been no trouble as of yet, though whether that is because the other shoe hasn't dropped or because I am extraordinarily good at healing piercings is up for debate.

All in all, I recommend this piercing. As my piercer said, if it bleeds or is an extraordinary pain, most likely the piercer isn't experienced enough for the job. I found it easy to deal and live with, though I cannot wait to shorten the barbell and get rid of the extra bar at the end of my lower lip.

My rating: two thumbs up.

Update: as of two months later, the piercing healed beautifully. The bar is now shortened, and I have had no problems with it, even though I never used anything other than q-tips dipped in saline solution to clean it. Again, I highly recommend this piercing.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 13 Aug. 2008
in Lip Piercing

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Artist: Pete
Studio: 717+Tattoo
Location: Pennsylvania

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