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Just four stings and it's over

Getting "snakebites" was a long-term (as far as piercings go) dream of mine. A friend walked into Spanish class with his lips pierced and I instantly fell in love. However, since I was.. Oh, 13 or so I knew I wouldn't be able to do it for a while. Even after I had gotten 10 other piercings, I was still slightly anxious to go for these, as they would be more "in your face" than all my others. I brought it up this summer, the time right before I was about to enter college, and so began the long, arduous process of what I have now.

Originally, I wanted to get snakebites, but then decided I didn't want rings—I wanted studs. So my lip piercing idea was switched to labret piercings. I didn't do as much research on these as I had on my others, because I was feeling very comfortable with being pierced. My home tattoo studio (Crazy Greg's in Heidelberg, Germany) had successfully pierce and helped heal tons of piercings, and for some reason I believed it would be that easy no matter where I was. Since I moved back to the States for college, it was up to me to find a studio that I was comfortable with. I didn't really know the area and I had very few friends (even less with piercings) so I couldn't really do much other than look online for websites, information, and even pictures on BME from studios around. I finally settled on Portsmouth Exotic Piercing Co., in Portsmouth, NH. A friend of mine had a tattoo done in their sister shop, so I figured... if nothing had gone wrong with her, I should be fine.

I checked their website, got myself revved up for being pierced by Larry, the guy on the website, double-checked the hours, and started driving.

I walked up the stairs and into the lobby, approached the counter... only to be told that I was standing at the tattoo counter. I navigated around to the piercing studio, which was closed, even though they apparently were supposed to open 40 minutes earlier. The tattoo guys said she'd be in any second so we sat down and waited for 10 more minutes or so. A couple people wandered in, waiting for piercings as well, so we stood near the door to make sure we could ask some questions before actually getting the piercing. When the piercer came out, she looked frustrated and told us we'd have to give her "a few minutes." We asked a couple questions and left, to come back later in the afternoon.

When we came back, the shop was open and ready for business. A girl got her navel pierced and then it was my turn. The piercing studio was directly next to the counter, so anyone who walked in could watch you get pierced. I felt a little uncomfortable about this, as my home studio had a separate area for piercing, but I was too excited to back down now. There was a chair and a bench, each would be set up for the type of piercing it required. After discussing snakebites vs. labret piercings, the piercer made me sign some paperwork, pay ($80) and went to go set up my area. A few minutes later, I was told to swish with some Listerine and take a seat. We tried a BUNCH of different markings. One side of my bottom lip is slightly bigger than the other, so I had to decide how I wanted to accommodate for that—leave the hole at the same height as the other or move it down a little so it looked more proportional on my face. In the end, I decided to move it down a little bit an d have since really been glad I did.

Once the marks were set, she swabbed around the marks and sterilized the area, and then got the clamp and started aligning. She told me on the count of three that it would be done, and I grunted, already knowing what it felt like to get pierced. It felt like a little prick, no worse than a pinch. It probably hurt as much as my navel piercing (read: not at all). She slid the jewelry in, needle went out, and that hole was done. The piercer realigned the clamps with the second hole, got a fresh needle, and did the whole thing over again. After that was done, she sterilized the area again. I was pretty anxious at this point because my friends had assured me that lip piercings would look horrible, but I just couldn't let that stop me. She handed me the mirror and... I freaked out. She had put ridiculously long 14g studs in with really big balls on the end. I was aware that the studs would have to be a little long to accommodate for swelling during the healing process, but
these were at least twice what they should've been. I tried not to overreact and figured, hey, maybe my lips would swell to be that size and I'd be glad. Or something. After what felt like 15 minutes of aftercare instructions, I swished with Listerine again and walked out of the store, feeling highly self conscious. Two girls waiting at the counter giggled when they saw me.

Once I reached the car, I started crying, worried about making first impressions in college and also worrying about the fact that my boyfriend, who I hadn't seen in 2 months, was coming the following day. I wanted to look good. Unfortunately, it seemed that wasn't to be. I also had been hit with some obvious news that I failed to realize pre-piercing: no oral contact of any kind. Obviously, that would put a damper on my guy's visit. Also, I forgot to think about how difficult a task it would be to eat—especially with my oversized posts. Either way—what was done was done. I got home and everyone laughed at me, securing my decision that I'd have to change the posts out before I went to college in a few days. Other than the superficial issue—I was having LOTS of trouble eating, I couldn't do much without getting the posts stuck, and there was a lot of pain, even though I was following the aftercare instructions to the letter.

A few days later I drove down to Salem to visit family and told them about my predicament. My aunt researched a few studios in downtown Salem, and I did my own research... we both came up with the same studio: The Purple Scorpion. The next day I went down there and walked in. I was absolutely thrilled. The guy at the desk had two nape piercings (one of my obsessions) and some great tattoos, and was VERY friendly and understanding. I explained my situation and asked if I could have my posts switched out. He asked if I was wearing 14g and was shocked... "Did we do that???" I assured him that, no, it wasn't done by the Scorpion. He went back and talked briefly with the piercer and then asked me to wait a minute or two for her to finish up. In no time at all, I walked to the back of the store, told that my piercings were healing well enough that we could switch them out, and took a seat in the big purple chair. The piercer is definitely one of the coolest grandmas I have ev er met. Not only did she have tons of piercings, but she also had a matching microdermal in the middle of her chest. We talked about them for a few minutes while she got everything ready and then showed me the new studs. I gave her the go ahead and she switched them out in no time at all. The moment the new studs were in I felt a huge rush of relief. They weren't getting caught on my teeth anymore, I could smile without getting my piercings stuck, I already knew eating would be a hell of a lot easier, and... there was almost no pain left. She gave me her card (the Purple Scorpion has a great motto--"just one sting and it's over"), told me that wherever I was going to college, she'd probably have contacts and she would let me know if I asked. She also told me if there were any other problems just to email her or Myspace her.

As it stands now, I'm still wearing those posts. It's been about a month and everything's healing well and I thoroughly enjoy the way my "snakebites" look now. 


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 28 Sept. 2008
in Lip Piercing

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Artist: Randi
Studio: Portsmouth+Piercing+Co
Location: Portsmouth%2C+NH

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