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Diary of a tongue piercing

When I was seventeen, I wanted to get my tongue pierced. So I researched it, put some tongue bars in my wishlist at bodyjewelleryshop.com, went to a piercing studio and had my tongue checked. I was told I had too many veins. If I was pierced, I wouldn't stop bleeding. Broken hearted, I left the studio, emptied my wishlist at bodyjewelleryshop.com, and deleted my saved web pages. That should be the end of the story, yes? Well...no. Otherwise, this diary wouldn't exist.

I got my tongue web pierced. I liked it, of course I did. The experience is on Bmezine somewhere. But, it fell out. I didn't get it re-pierced. It wasn't what I wanted.  I lost the inclination to get pierced anymore.

Two years later, I got my lip pierced. I liked it, of course I did. But, I took it out for a job. I didn't mind. It wasn't what I wanted.

I lost the inclination to get pierced anymore. Time went by, my best friend had her tongue pierced, took it out a few months later. If I couldn't get my tongue pierced, I didn't want any more. This isn't to say I thought about it night and day for four years. But every time I saw a tongue piercing, I felt a pang of resentment. It should have been my tongue.

Then one day, saturday the 17th of November 2009, to be exact, I woke up. I wanted my tongue pierced. It had never crossed my mind that she could have been wrong. It could be pierced at an angle. I could have venoms. Maybe. I phoned Voodoo tattoo, where I had slowly been getting myself covered in tattoos for the last few years.

Naomi answered.

"Hi. Um. I have a strange question. How likely is it that veins in your tongue will stop it from being pierced?"

"What?" Came the reply, "Who is this?"

"Erm. It's Sian."

"Oh right, hi Sian. You want your tongue pierced? I'll do it for you. Hang on, let me just check if..." then we got cut off. Didn't matter. She'd said the magic words. My boyfriend arrived, and I announced that I was going to get my tongue pierced.

"Um. ok."

I flew down to Voodoo tattoo.

"I'm sorry, we don't have the right size bars."

Bollocks. Nonetheless, Naomi checked my tongue.

"Yeah, it's fine. I'll pierce it for you." YES! She assured me it was nothing, she would numb it first and I wouldn't even notice. I didn't believe her. But I didn't care. My four year long dream was about to come true! On Monday. We talked about what size I'd be pierced with, what size I would go down to, and she showed me where the ball would be on my tongue. I went back onto bodyjewelleryshop.com and filled up my wishlist. I saved my research webpages. I didn't sleep for two nights.

Fastforward to monday, I could barely sit through my morning lecture. As soon as it finished, I was all set to drive back to Warrington. But for some reason, I decided to call first to make sure the bars would be available. They weren't.

"You really want it pierced don't you? They'll be here first thing, special delivery."

I didn't sleep on Monday night either.

On Tuesday, I had planned to go to my lecture first, and get my tongue pierced afterward. Having woken up at 5am on Tuesday, I found I couldn't wait that long. Ten minutes after Voodoo opened, I phoned. Danny, one of the tattoo artists answered.

"Do you have tongue bars yet?"

"Yes...there's one here..."

"Ok thank you."

This would be the third time I'd prepared myself for this piercing. The third time I'd mentally readied myself to take a needle through the tongue. The third time I'd eaten a huge "last meal" in preparation for a starvation diet for the next week. Remember being a child on Christmas eve? Remember the funny feeling in your stomach because you know what's coming tomorrow? Remember being hot and cold at the same time, and not being able to eat or keep still? I'm sure you remember knowing you'll wake up to presents under the tree, if only you could fall asleep first...well, that had been me since the moment I'd been told I could have it done. I'd forgotten about the needle part. At least until the journey there had begun.

Anyhow, the main thing is, I got there. I was taken into the piercing room, shaking and sweating already.

"Why you so nervous?"

"I don't know...its obviously not a pain thing..."

"It's cos you don't know what's coming. You'll be fine, it's nothing, I promise you. I've had mine done twice. Now, because this is anaesthetic, if you swallow it or spit it out, I can't give you any more, alright? So don't. Open up. This tastes pretty nasty. A bit like sour bananas."

I opened my mouth, and Naomi squirted some vile, VILE tasting liquid into it. First on top of my tongue, then underneath it.

"Just swish it about, try and keep it in the first part of your mouth, I'll be back in a minute."

I grunted in response, my mouth slowly filling up with saliva. It stung. Naomi rushed off to answer the phone. I texted my boyfriend, read the bottle of anaesthetic "xylocaine" and doodled in my filofax. It didn't taste quite as bad anymore. And it didn't sting. In fact, things were starting to get quite numb... Naomi came back in a few minutes later, we had a "chat" with her deciphering my mumbled responses. When the time came to spit it out, she warned me it would be like spaghetti. She wasn't wrong. I stood over the sink and found that the contents of my mouth had morphed into a long strand of something quite gooey, that sort of snapped instead of being projected into the sink. Lovely. And my spitting mechanism was out of order, everything was too numb.

Once I'd rinsed out, I sat back down on the piercing table. Everything had been set up while I was wrestling with my slobbery goo.

"Ok, so whenever you're ready, just put your tongue out like a dog panting. And don't worry about slobbering, everybody slobbers."

So, after a few seconds, I stuck my tongue out and closed my eyes. If we didn't do it now, we'd never do it. Plus, I didn't know how long my tongue would stay numb for.

I was aware that the clamps were being applied, although I barely felt them. After a few seconds, Naomi spoke,

"Ok, bear with me a second. Take a deep breath." So I did. I felt the strange sensation of something being pulled through my tongue. It was the jewellery. The piercing had already been done! She screwed the ball on.

"There you go. All done. You did very well." And so I put my tongue back in my mouth. There was no bleeding, and I didn't even have time to start slobbering. Although I knew there was a giant bar in my mouth, I sort of expected it to feel...bigger.

"I think I'm going to pass out." I said clearly, without even the hint of a lisp.

I lay on the piercing table for a good ten minutes, chatting with Naomi about things in general. I was not rushed in any way to take my stuff and clear off. It had transpired that I was pierced with a 2.2mm needle, a 1.6mm bar, 22mm long. I was told to eat solids as soon as I could, so that my tongue would learn how to eat, and to come back in a week so that I could have a smaller bar put in. She said the healing time is between two and four weeks.

When I got home that day, I tried to eat scrambled eggs. It took a long time, but was nowhere near as difficult as I expected it to be. I have theorised that this is because I have already suffered through braces, both traintrack and removable (with which I could hardly speak at all, never mind eat.) and I am no stranger to oral piercings. I also went to the gym later the same day and weight trained. Had a protein shake afterwards.

Later that evening, I noticed my tongue had begun to swell up and the bottom ball pressed uncomfortably against my gums. I took some ibuprofen and went to bed.

Day 1

PAIN. Woke up with tongue swollen to the full length of the bar. I took ibuprofen and brushed my teeth. I used Dentyl mouthwash, because it's alcohol free. Over the next week or so, I would alternate this with salt water rinses. I CAREFULLY ate bread for breakfast. I had soup later on, and had a go at eating some thinly sliced cheshire cheese. Eating was easier at this point, because there was no bar flapping around. I had chicken dippers for dinner without any problems. My main annoyance was the over-zealous production of saliva.

Day 2

Went to Skin Deep magazine for work experience. Tongue was stinging around the top hole, (I was pierced from the bottom) and it bled a little when I bushed my teeth. I also developed a speech impediment that is a less severe version of the one I had with a removable brace. I had trouble with the letter 's', in particular. This was partly to do with the saliva, and partly to do with the giant bar, with which under-tongue irritation continued to be an issue. I started using Bonjela on my lower gums and under my tongue. I drank plenty of cold water whilst at the office, and managed a sausage roll (in pieces) for lunch. The swelling had gone down a little already, but I forgot my painkillers and the exit hole and my lower gums were quite uncomfortable.

Day 3

Was woken up by stinging around exit hole. I rushed downstairs to do a salt water soak. On closer inspection, there appeared to be a small blood blister in front of the bar. After careful manipulation with a toothbrush, this was revealed to be what looked like a miniscule tear. However, it was tiny, not even 1mm deep and it didn't appear to affect the piercing. I had to go to work, an eight hour shift, with quite a lot of talking. I work at a convenience store. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and the tear has sorted itself out despite spending all night tongue-wagging. Under-tongue irritation wasn't as much of an issue, but the holes were stinging mildly on and off throughout the day. Swelling reduced considerably. There was a good 5mm of bar sticking out. Eating solids was almost natural, although I was still wary of biting the balls.

Day 4

Woke up again with a stinging exit hole. Took ibuprofen and rinsed mouth out, then went back to sleep. Under-tongue irritation wasn't as bad today. I also went to the gym and drank a protein shake with some toast, which wasn't too difficult. The swelling seemed to have increased slightly overnight, and I considered sucking ice-cubes to combat it. However, I have sensitive teeth so the idea didn't appeal to me at all. Throughout the rest of the day, I took painkillers to alleviate minor irritation. I had chicken dippers and chips for dinner.

Day 5

No stinging this morning. I bled a tiny little bit when I brushed my teeth, but there was no pain. I did another eight hour shift, but it wasn't busy. I did have to take paracetamol in the end.

Day 6

No stinging this morning either, but my tongue seemed to have swelled up again! I had bitemarks around the edge of my tongue. It didn't hurt though, so I managed to go without painkillers again. I had a chip shop takeaway with no problems. Still producing copious amounts of saliva at this point.

Day 7

I went to skin deep for work experience, and managed a salmon-paste sandwich for lunch. There wasn't any pain today, and there wasn't really any irritation, apart from my speech. I went to have my tongue bar changed, and it was like going for a wee after holding it in for an eight hour shift. I had a 16mm bar put in. The ball no longer touched the bottom of my mouth, or my teeth, or my gums. It felt tight at first, but soon found that I could sneeze, spit, and eat again, almost as normal. My speech impediment improved dramatically.

Day 9

I went to Voodoo again today, took my brother to get his ear pierced. I had my top ball changed from a 5mm one to a 6mm one. I ended up switching it back to a 5mm one myself when I got home. That was slobbery.

Day 10

Went to Skin Deep for work experience. I think my tongue shrunk a bit more, because the bar started to feel too big again. It started to irritate the bottom of my mouth. Naomi did say this might happen, and I might feel better with a 14mm long bar.

I forget which day we're on now. It's a few days later, and the swelling has completely subsided.

Ok, so this morning my 14mm long titanium tongue bar came in the post, as did my 5mm bioplast self threading ball, and my 5mm jewelled UV ball. So I threaded the ball onto my new 14mm bar (with some difficulty) and changed it over. I had to dry off my tongue to do this. All went smoothly, and the fit is much better. Also, and this is something you don't realise until you've tried it, the whole set-up felt much lighter having nixed the metal balls. I wouldn't have thought something that small would have made a difference. The bioplast feels much better on the odd occasion it clicks against my bottom teeth. It hasn't happened today, that I've noticed, because the bar's a better fit.


I've waited 4 years for this piercing, and I'm not disappointed. In a way, I'm glad I didn't get it done four years ago, because the experience wouldn't have been the same. The placement may not have been the same. And my previous piercer had a habit of piercing things wonky. As a piercing, I would definitely recommend it. But get it done right, and be prepared for an uncomfortable few days. Saz's Voodoo tattoo has a competent, knowledgeable and friendly piercer, with a spotless environment in which to be pierced. Ask for Naomi. And, for the time being, every piercing is £15. I'll be going back for more.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 08 Dec. 2009
in Tongue Piercing

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Artist: Naomi
Studio: Saz%27s+Voodoo+Tattoo
Location: Warrington%2C+UK

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