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An ear piercing experience in the 1960's

First I will start by saying that I am a woman in her late 50's, 58 to be exact. I have two children, one nearly 25 and the other 18. It was my 25 year old daughter that introduced me to BME as she has several piercings and tattoos. She took my son to get his ear pierced this summer, and he talks about wanting the other ear done now, as well as a tattoo. Her first tattoo was a bit of a shock, but I quickly got over it, as well as the first body piercing, and now I just wait to see what she will get done to herself next.
It was through her encouragement that I decided to write the story of my own piercings, which are simply a single lobe piercing in each ear. I thought this story might be interesting to some of you, since it was done long before piercings were the rage, and before there was at least a studio or two in every city. It was 1963, I was 20 years old and I was working in an office at the time. On a coffee break, a friend of mine offered to pierce my ears. She had pierced the ears of many women in our office.
I figured it was now or never, and so off we went to the bathroom on the third floor of the CN terminal building. There were a lot of people watching as she pierced me. I was sitting on the sink counter and couldn't watch in the mirror because it made me feel faint. She rubbed the needle down with rubbing alcohol to "sterilize" it, this being the same needle she used to pierce everyone (she is now in her 70's and laughed when I reminded her of how she was the office piercer). Remember, this was in a different time, before the AIDS scare and before people thought of things like that. She marked my ears with a ball point pen and slid the needle through. We put gold sleeper hoops in both ears. She often used a potato as a sort of needle catcher and brace, although in my case since we were just on break, she didn't have one to use. My cleaning regimen included putting peroxide on the piercings for about 2 weeks as well as putting alcohol on them and rotating them, to get the alcohol on the inside. Again, this was before anyone knew any better. Needless to say my ears took awhile to heal, I'd say it was about 6 weeks. They kept getting infected but eventually they did heal, and to this day they are still pierced. I've been wearing the same gold hoops that my daughter gave me for a birthday once, for years now. The initial sleepers were a fairly large gauge, but over time my ear holes have become small as the post part of the hoops I have in now is only a thin wire. When I returned to the office, I had a trickle of blood going down my neck on each side where I'd been pierced. My boss took one look at me and yelled, "I hope your ears rot and fall off!", but they haven't yet, and I doubt they will any time soon. My parents were horrified that I'd done this to myself, and many people kept telling me how brave I was for having it done. It seems silly now, when you look at how common body piercing has become, to think of anyone as brave for having simple lobe piercings, but at the time pierced ears were not a common thing. My parents got over it, sooner or later, most do. I think that if I were in my 20's now, I would have several piercings. I like the way many of them look, and often admire them on young people. So next time you see an older lady staring at your piercings, maybe she's not doing it in disgust, maybe she's like me and appreciates what you've done. After all, every generation has their own way of expressing themselves, and body modification seems to be the way of this generation. In my time, we ironed our hair, wore lots of beads and polyester bell bottoms. I think we've come quite a way. I can't understand why some people have a problem with piercings. I like my daughters and I'm proud of her individuality and the way she is not afraid to express herself. I can't understand why some businesses make their employees remove or cover their mods, it seems so silly to me. I hope you have enjoyed this story, for what it's worth, it is a bit of history, of how things once were and how far piercing has come. Good luck with your own piercings and never be afraid to express yourself.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 02 Jan. 2002
in Ear Piercing

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Artist: a+co-worker
Studio: bathroom+of+the+building+I+worked+in
Location: Canada

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