My Very First Cartilage Piercing.
Ever since I was about five years old, I was always interested in tattoos and piercings. I'm from the Philippines, and it's nothing strange to get your first lobe piercings as a baby, so I had those already, plus a set of second lobe piercings, thus totalling up to two piercings on each ear. Yet I always craved more, and began to think about a navel piercing or a cartilage piercing. Needless to say, the navel piercing didn't happen; my father disliked the idea, and is actually quite against piercings, so he said that 'he would meet me halfway' and let me get the cartilage done, which resulted in the deal that I could eventually do whatever I want with my ears from now on.
Now, onto the actual process... I was really thrilled that my parents had let me get it done, and the fact that they wouldn't be there to scrutinize each studio also pleased me immensely, because in some cases the cleanest places can even cause an infection, and my parents have a natural assumption about some things. A friend of mine had gotten a nose piercing from the same person, so, I was going by her experience and her opinion. I got it done on October 24th, as I was in Taiwan, to visit friends and we went to Xi Men Ding, which is a major shopping area in Taipei, Taiwan. It could be very well regarded as the Harajuku Street (of Japan), in Taipei. You can get there via MRT, at Xi Men station (it's quite easy to figure out). We left the train, and Xi Men Ding splits up to several alleyways, and there's one full of tattoo studios and piercing studios. Some of them looked incredibly smart, others looked really shady, which made me even much more nervous. We stopped walkin
g and came face to face with a very simple stall with a display of earrings and shelves of needles. It wasn't perfect, wasn't perfectly clean looking, but it wasn't littered with remains of food and cigarettes like the other studios with the bright lights and loud music.
To be honest, I was rather adamant about getting it done by the man in the stall. It was small, and cramped, but it was cleaner than the others. My friend had to help me communicate with him, as he didn't know how to speak English. Oh, about that, it would be good to have a local accompany you, if you don't know how to speak Mandarin, as it's hard to get around and to communicate with the piercer. I asked to see what he would use, how he would do it and the earrings, and of course the price. He was the most professional piercer there, in my opinion. He had the sterile needles, the proper materials and the price was by the earring you chose, the cheapest being 180 NT (Taiwan Dollars), which is cheap. I opted for the medium sized stud which was 190 NT. Of course I asked around, looking at the other stalls and asking the same questions, and I was rather unimpressed with their lack of hygiene and knowledge about how to pierce the cartilage. I'm not a fan of piercing guns and a t least two stalls were using the process, another two weren't using proper needles, and at that point I knew that my best option was to get my piercing done by that man.
So we walked back, and luckily, I was able to witness him piercing another woman's ears, and he did it perfectly. It was so sanitary and before I knew it, it was my turn. I entered the stall and sat on the stool, I was fiddling with the straw in my drink and watched as he removed the sterilised needle from those packets, and saw him sharpen it with a sterilised sharpener. He took a marker and marked a spot on my cartilage and asked me (in Mandarin, which my friend then translated), if this position was okay. I checked in the mirror and nodded. At this point, my hands were sweating profusely and my heart was beating madly. He sterilized the earring (I planned to get a barbell or a captive bead ring, but I didn't have enough cash), and it's clutch (the back of it), and he told me that upon putting the needle through, I should just breathe in. I inhaled, and exhaled, and inhaled and exhaled, and he said, 'Yi, er, san' (One, two, three), and pushed the needle through. I didn't feel a thing! People have told me that I would hear the needle come through, but I suppose the loud music in Xi Men Ding kept me distracted. I didn't feel lightheaded or dizzy, at all, but I did hurt when he put the stud in my ear... but only for three seconds at most. But there was no searing pain, no heat whatsoever. I couldn't believe I had gotten it done; I was dazed until the next morning. I thanked him, with my poor Mandarin, and paid my 190 NT and went off with my friends. I would recommend this man to anyone. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a website or anything of the sort, I have a card that he gave me after he got it pierced and if you'd like you can email me and I can scan the card and send it back. He's an amazing piercer, he's really nice and the only downside I can see was that he couldn't speak English and his stall wasn't the most attractive. But I'm very happy about my piercing, and how it looks. It hasn't hurt or bled at all, and I'm currently cleaning it with warm water with sea salt.
A few things:
+ Always ask questions about the procedure, and if possible, observe the piercer give another person a piercing (luckily, the man that pierced my cartilage was giving another person the same procedure).
Look at the studio/stall, see how clean it is, what materials are used, and how the person intends to pierce you.
Bring a friend for moral support, whether it's to talk you out of making a mistake or to hold your hand.
Have an idea of a price. At Xi Men Ding, it was all based on the type of earring you wanted, but in general, still have an idea.
Get it done for yourself; don't do it to impress other people, do it because it's you. And of course, don't feel obligated to do it. Also, if you're still in school, think about the consequences and things like that.
Ask about the aftercare, and follow what's said.
Lying to your parents isn't a good idea either. I was going to do it, and I realised that upon the event of an infection, I'd have to run to them and with conservative parents like mine, it wouldn't be pretty.
Try not to touch it, or let your hair come in contact with it, and be careful not to sleep on it.
Lastly, have fun and the best of luck to you, if you decide to get a cartilage piercing :)
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 11 Nov. 2008
in Ear Piercing