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Fate was good to me - Double conch at last!

My first piercing happened at the age of 11 -- my mom pierced my ears with an at-home piercing kit. I had always told myself that I would never go crazy and get anything else done.

Then a year ago I started with getting my lip pierced on the right side, and the piercing bug definitely bit. The lip, three cartilage, another set of lobes, and the tongue all got pierced within one year, but those are all other stories.

I had planned on getting an orbital on my upper right ear and then a helix half-way up on the left, for balance. Well, the piercer I went to when I got this done told me that "you have to wait till it heals before I can put the large ring in." Yeah, that was a bunch of bull and it ended up staying two separate vertical helixes. Mental note - Don't go to "Little Dragon's" in Odessa, Tx. But I ended up liking the two rings better anyway, it just didn't balance like I wanted with only one on the other side.

Then I developed a keloid on my left helix, freaked out, and took it out so it could heal closed. Now my piercings REALLY didn't balance. I had two vertical helixes and a lip ring on the right, and nothing on my left. So I started looking for something to go on my left. I stumbled upon a double conch photo here on BME and fell in love. It was big, it was unique, and it was double--just what I needed for balance!

Now came the problem of finding a piercer. I wasn't going back to Little Dragon's, and Diablo Rojo, where I had gotten my lip done, was all the way in Austin. I happened to be driving through Lubbock on a Monday, though, and decided to try and get it done there. My friend had always recommended Big Buddha to me, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I arrived at Big Buddha -- good impression by the way, very clean and open and brightly lit, with portfolios on a stand in the corner and tattoo designs all over the walls -- and told the piercer I wanted a double conch done. Well she couldn't do it. She was new and hadn't gotten all the way to doing conches yet, and their regular piercer wouldn't be back until Thursday. I was only driving through and really wanted this piercing done (I was in a bit of a "fuckit, it's getting done!" mood), so I got a card and left, looking for the other piercing shops in town. There was another shop down the street, but it was closed, and I checked the shop in the mall....their piercers were gone too. So frustrating!!

So I went home and decided to go to Uprock in Midland, where I had gotten my tongue done. They were cool there and I had connections, but I had heard iffy things about them. Again, though, I was in that "fuckit" mood and really wanted it done. I went Tuesday before work all psyched to have two new holes, talked to the piercer about what I wanted, got all the info....only to hear that they were currently out of 14g needles. What kind of place runs out of needles?!

So I left, determined that no matter what Fate had to say (obviously, she was saying something -- I had tried four places in a row with no luck!) that I was going to get it done that weekend. A friend heard my frustration about Uprock being out of needles and told me to forget them, and go to The Tattoo Shop instead. I thought ok, I'll check it out.

Friday night - the big day. I walked into The Tattoo Shop with a friend (she ended up getting a monroe piercing done) and couldn't believe that I had never been there before! There was a big "chilling" area off to one side with tables/stools and lots of tattoo magazines, and in the back, about 6 or 8 little "stalls" for getting tattoos done, with the piercing room in the very back of the shop. I told the guy at the front counter that we were interested in getting piercings done and he hollered at Shiloh, the piercer, to come over.

Shiloh is by far the friendliest, most awesome piercer I've ever met. Every other one who's worked on me has been either kind of intimidating or very quiet. Shiloh just started chatting away with me about what we wanted to get done (my friend had never been pierced so I was asking all the questions) and we told him we'd be back.

After getting some cash, some food, and a change of clothes, we returned. Paperwork filled out and signed, then off to the back room. (by the way, a girl was getting a gorgeous tat of a cherry tree -- they have really nice tattoo artists there :D )

Everything was perfect. There was a huge wall-sized mirror on one side and a hospital-esque reclining chair, everything was clean and organized and awesome. They even had a backwards clock that you read in the mirror, so you could see the time while you watched your piercer!

My friend got hers done quickly and dashed off to get ready for the night (hey, it was friday night!) leaving me to get mine done -- i knew mine was going to take longer. Shiloh was really excited to do my double conch. He said that the conch was probably his favorite ear piercing, and he hardly ever got to do doubles. We talked about gauges and jewelry (large 14g CBRs) and how I wanted these for balance, yada yada, while he got everything set up. He was very careful and precise when he marked my ear, and both asked my opinion and told me his. I went with his professional opinion for placement, not too close but not too far away, a bit lower down on my ear than I had thought...but I was quite happy with it all.

Everything was decided, so I laid down ready to go, holding my hair out of the way. He spent a good minute or so looking at every angle of my ear before he started the countdown, making sure that it was perfect. I was a bit nervous, because the cartilage that gets pierced for a conch seems thicker than for a helix, and my two vertical helixes had been pretty dang sore. But Shiloh's excitement on getting to do his favorite piercing, and double at that, just made me all the more pumped. Some of his buddies from the shop came in to watch him do it, and I was totally cool with us being the center of attention! :)

Then came the countdown. He was doing the bottom one first, so deep breath in, and exhale--there goes the needle! I could feel it in two distinct stages: first the skin, then a bit of a pause and a little "pop" as it pushed through the cartilage. It hurt, yes, but it was definitely bearable, and over really quickly. I could immediately feel the adrenaline and endorphins begin to flow--I started grinning like mad! This was my favorite part, when the pain was done with but I was riding the high.

Thankfully, Shiloh had put a paper towel down under my ear, because this piercing started bleeding like crazy!! Leaving the needle in until it stopped bleeding, he grabbed q-tips and started swabbing. He said that almost instantly, the hollow in my ear had filled up with blood. I told him it was fine though, that meant it was clean. We chatted for about five minutes while we waited for the flow to stop -- i laughed at how fast the pile of q-tips grew -- and he revealed that it was bleeding so much because of a technique he used I had never heard of before: he pierced with a needle one size bigger than the jewelry! So the needle sticking through my ear was actually a 12g and definitely going to bleed more. He does this because the tissue immediately starts to swell, and so why put extra pressure on it with jewelry exactly the same size as the hole?

Ok, the bleeding stopped and so in went the CBR! I snuck a peek and grinned--I loved the way it looked! Time for the next hole, and again, he did the solid minute of checking to make sure every angle was correct. Here goes the deep breath in, exhale, needle! I held the mirror to watch him actually pierce me this time, and both of us were kind of disappointed -- the second one hardly bled at all. =P On the pain -- I honestly can't remember if one hurt more than the other. Both had the same double-layered sensation as the needle went through.

A few more bloody q-tips added to the pile and another CBR added--volia! I had my double conch!! I sat up to look at the finished product and immediately loved it. There was dried blood all over my ear and in my hair, but that was all the better! The two huge loops through my ear looked amazing, and added perfect balance to my face. Shiloh was very pleased with them as well, and asked me to come back in to take pictures for his portfolio after a week of heal-time. We also took some "fresh" pictures, complete with blood and all.

Another thing that really impressed me was that before I left the piercing room, Shiloh took the needles he used to pierce me and bent them in half before tossing them, to prove that he never, ever uses the same needle twice. This made my respect for the shop go up so much more.

Since I got both piercings done at the same time, Shiloh told me he'd give me a discounted price, but I was so excited and totally in love with my new piercer that I paid full price anyway. =P Definitely go to The Tattoo Shop in Midland and see him if you ever need anything done!!

This was 2 days ago and they have been happy little piercings since then. I've only needed to take advil once in the entire time! They are hardly sore at all, which I firmly believe is because he pierced with a larger needle. I did wake up with blood in my hair and down my neck on Saturday morning, but since then I haven't found anything.

I'm letting them heal by the LITHA method, which seems to work best for me and non-oral piercings. I'll clean them off in the shower and with q-tips, but other than that, they just sit there and look gorgeous. They are being very good to me thus far!

I'm very happy with Fate for leading me to The Tattoo Shop instead of just any old place, and although I've never been to the same piercer twice, I know that from now on I'll go to Shiloh for anything else I'm going to get done. For Christmas this year I'm going to let him pierce my earlobes up directly to a 4g, and for my birthday (or before ;) haha) I'll be going in to get my nipples done. I have 13 holes planned for my body, and he's going to do the remaining ones!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 02 Nov. 2009
in Ear Piercing

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Artist: Shiloh
Studio: The+Tattoo+Shop
Location: Midland%2C+Tx

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