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Yes, I'm keeping it -- navel story

ad my navel pierced for seven months now -- I wanted to wait for time to give me a little more perspective before I wrote in with my experience. A little background: I'm a recently married student in one of the most competitive postgraduate programs around. Needless to say, most of my colleagues are pretty conformist, though tolerant. "Individuality" around here is wearing sandals. After I got married, I suddenly got the urge to get my navel pierced. I really can't say exactly why -- it just seemed so exotic and beautiful. Also, I knew that my husband couldn't do much about it (he's stuck with me now)! I'm not the sort who does things on a whim, so it took a few weeks of serious research and waffling before I made up my mind to get it done. I wasn't too worried about the pain, but I was worried about healing, infections, and any possible social or professional consequences. My husband came with me (though reluctantly) to the studio. I chose Sticky Fingers in the Fells Point area, as it was named the "Best of Baltimore" and I thought their piercing room looked pretty clean. I had already decided on using a curved barbell for the piercing, so that eliminated some decisions. The piercer, Tina, first asked to see my navel, so I went ahead and pulled up my shirt, feeling a bit weird. She said that I have a tiny navel but that it wouldn't be a problem, and chose a 1/2-inch, 14 gauge, stainless steel curved barbell. She went off to sterilize it and left us waiting for a few minutes while the shop's other customers looked at us like we were aliens. When Tina came back to get me, my husband told me he couldn't watch and went for a walk. It wasn't until then that I started to get a little nervous, but after reading all those experiences on BME I knew it wouldn't be too bad so I forced myself to relax. She first had me stand so that she could mark the entry and exit holes. I liked the placement (after all, there aren't too many choices there), so she told me to lay down on the table, which was much like a standard examining table. She enthusiastically washed my navel and about two inches
surrounding it with Betadine; at this point I was more worried about my white shirt than anything else. She got out the clamp and positioned it, then used a rubber band to make sure it was as tight as possible. It was uncomfortable, but I wouldn't call it painful. Then she unsheathed that huge needle, and surprisingly, I calmed down -- I think I'm much more nervous in anticipation of things like that and once it was finally happening I realized it wasn't so bad. She told me to just make sure to keep breathing deeply, and then put the needle in. I could certainly feel it, but it wasn't much more painful than my lobe piercings (or stapling my thumb, for that matter). She put the barbell in and had me look -- there was my little red belly button with a barbell through it. I liked it, but I didn't love it. My husband's only comment was, "ouch!". The piercing was very sore for two days or so, and every time I bumped it, it hurt (but not unbearably). After a week I couldn't feel it at all unless I did something really stupid, and after a month, even a sharp pull didn't hurt. Now it's very close to being healed and hasn't hurt, or even itched, in a long, long time. I still wash it with antibacterial soap every morning and with salt water every evening. As the piercing healed, I started to like it more. I even went out and got a short shirt. After I had had it for a couple of months, my husband told me one day that he thought it was sexy, and soon after that we had a party and I wore my new short shirt. I got a few comments but mostly just felt happy with myself. I think my husband was mostly concerned that I would be in pain or get an infection. At this point I'd say that the piercing makes me feel empowered in some way, and it does help to set me apart. I've certainly gotten a bit bolder. Since then I decided to get a more visible and unusual piercing and I got an industrial (by the way, piercing cartilage hurts more than piercing the soft tissue of an earlobe or navel). The pain is only a big deal if you make it a big deal. As long as you're informed and have a good piercer, you'll be fine. Happy piercing!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 02 Nov. 1999
in Navel Piercing

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Artist: Tina
Studio: Sticky+Fingers
Location: Baltimore%2C+Maryland

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