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Surface bar corset

I have wanted a corset piercing down my back since I first saw a picture of it years ago. There was something about it that I found absolutely stunning. Believing that they were temporary, I knew I probably would never spend the money to get one. This left me wandering through pictures and longing for one.
This habit brought me to BME, where I found out about the (possibly) longer lasting option of surface bar corsets. I was elated.
I started calling around with one of the three closest shops in my town. The piercer was a friend of friends who was highly recommended by those friends. I looked through his unimpressive profile on Myspace. At one point in time, I contacted this guy about wanting surface piercings above my elbows. He had told me he would do it out of the shop for a really could deal, fifty bucks for the both of them, but I had to hurry. When I contacted a shop in the city because they had a two for one going on the day I was going to be there for my boyfriend's tattoo, they recommended I not get the piercings because the chance of them surviving in that area was extremely low. Considering I don't want scars on my elbows, I am very glad I called that shop. When I called him about the corset, he told me there was no healing difference between using rings and surface bars and didn't really want to use surface bars. If I insisted, he would order the jewelry. At this point, I was unhappy about the situation and his demeanor, so I said I'd give it a thought and call him back. A couple days later my friend sent me a Myspace message because he was going to "cut me a deal" and do the corset for three hundred dollars, but I had to get it done ASAP. He seemed like the used car salesmen and this was not something I wanted to cut corners and get a "deal" on. I didn't respond to the message, and I don't regret it. That night I called The Skin Gallery where I had gotten my tongue pierced. Kris told me he had been wanted to do a corset with surface bars. I asked questions about healing and placement and he answered them thoroughly so that when I decided to get the corset, I felt entirely confident with my decision. I stopped by for the first time to look at his portfolio and he felt how taut the skin on my back was. I was so excited because I was actually going through with this. We set a date, April 5th, although I don't remember it being a Thursday and know I didn't attend class the next morning. Finally, April 5th came. I walked into The Skin Gallery much later than anyone expected. Kris had thought I blew him off, and was excited to learn I hadn't. Quickly, he got everything together for me. Drawing up the stencil and marking my back for the piercings took the longest amount of time. "Are you nervous?" his apprentice asked. I had been more nervous for my tongue piercing. Leading up to getting pierced I was completely calm. I took off my shirt, unhooked my bra, and laid down. Now is a good time to mention that with the extent of my modifications prior to the corset only included pierced ears, nipples, tongue, and two tattoos, I don't deal well with pain. I am what some people would call a "wuss." Having my boyfriend there with me did not make it any better. His sympathetic looks only reminded me that I was being such a girl. As each needle pierced my skin, it felt like the pain from stubbing my toe concentrated into the tip of a needle. It was nothing like the sensation of a getting a tattoo, which I compared more to someone jiggling a knife in my skin. This pain was hot and blunt. The two lower piercings hurt less than even though Kris mentioned the skin was easier to pierce for the top ones. Kris then laced me up with some black ribbon he'd bought and started taking pictures for his portfolio. As the other guys in the shop came to look at my new corset, the response was all positive. They loved it and I loved it. Something like an hour and forty minutes after I walked in I headed out the door with some handwritten care instructions and my name proudly signed on the wall of customers. When it came to treatment, I adopted the saying of my tenth grade health teacher, "Everything is good in moderation." I touched the piercings twice a day. After my morning classes and in the evening after dinner I soaked them for about ten minutes, alternating between a sea-salt soak and a green tea soak. I did a brief search on Google, and nothing came up about green tea treatment for piercings. Apparently a study determined drinking glasses of green tea a day kills the bacteria that cause gingivitis, but I have no idea how related the bacterium are. I am not someone who believes that green tea is a magical cure-all, however with the alternating between green tea bags and sea-salt, my piercings are still here. After soaking the piercings, I usually used a paper towel to wipe off any discharge and then hopped in the shower to wash the piercings with antibacterial soap. I've heard the warnings about antibacterial soap, but it worked for me. After washing, I wiggled each piercing back and forth. A huge negative part of this piercing was the cleaning. For the first several days, I had my boyfriend cleaning it. I still can't tighten it on my own or add the rings and lace it up. I am completely dependent on others. My advice to those considering a corset, don't get it if you are shy. Since I got it, I've been subject to several zoo exhibit-like periods of time. When I wore a tank top to class, people took turns walking to the back of the classroom to see what everyone else was gawking at. That day the teacher spent the first twenty minutes of class talking about piercings with us. People I have never met approach me at parties because they saw my picture on Facebook. Friends ask to touch them. Teachers I had in high school have heard about my piercings from students I haven't talked to since graduation over a year ago. While the positive attention makes me uncomfortable, the negative attention is equally unnerving. Walking through a store, people have told me my piercings are down right disgusting. People regularly think I have something wrong with me. For every person who says, "Michelle just got an awesome corset done on her back" there are two people curling their lips in disgust it seems. For the most part, I completely forget my corset it there, however there are several reminders because of the things I can't do. Unless I want to irritate them to the point of annoyance the following day, certain activities are very restricted. Horsing around and wrestling is going to result in one of them getting yanked. Sit ups are not a good idea. Lying down in the bathtub produces a fork-on-plate sound. Having sex on my back usually results in pain. Bra straps irritate them, but the worst is a low tank top where the top rubs and grabs the bottom piercings. When I got this piercing, I thought it was a good choice because I could hide it at my ultra-conservative work. Wearing most shirts, you can see the outline of each piercing. It kind of makes me look like a stegosaurus when I wear a shirt. I've been told that it could just look like a really funky bra strap, but if my employers did not already know about it, they would probably ask. Hiding them from my parents is a constant concern. Since it's summer and hot right now, it's a pain to have to cover up when I'm wearing a tank top until I get out of the house. Buying short sleeve zip ups has made it bearable. Basic deal, it's hard to hide. Even with all the bad parts of having this piercing, I would not give it up for the world. I've been back to see Kris and his apprentice a couple times and they both said it healed great. It's been three months, and the only problem I've had has been one of the entry points getting dry, flaky, and irritated, but if I ease up on the antibacterial soap it gets better after a few days. As much as I would love for this piercing to last a long time, if it doesn't I still have a great experience to look back on. The first two photo spots in Kris's portfolio are me, and I've done something I've wanted to do for a very long time. It's a lot more than some people can say about their desires.

Here's some pictures from when I was in the shop:


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 25 July 2007
in Surface & Unusual Piercing

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Artist: Kris
Studio: Skin+Gallery
Location: Downers+Grove%2C+IL

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