A Piercing Narrative

I would have to guess that it's not often that a person walks into a tatoo & piercing studio and finds that something is more innocent than it appears. Three weeks ago, I walked into such a place and eyed the piercing price list with a flutter of naivety. I won't go into the details of what I expected, but I read the item "tragus piercing" with a mild wondering of why anyone in their right mind would voluntarily pierce parts of their anatomy in secret, dark, and/or extremely sensitive areas.

Of course, once I told the piercing artist that I wanted that flap-thingy-in-the-middle-of-my-ear pierced, she informed me that it was called a tragus. I immediately felt as flushed and silly as the last junior-high girl picked for the dodgeball team, and humbly followed her into the studio, trying not to wonder too hard about how much her multiple arm piercings hurt.

As someone who has had one cartilege and five earlobe piercings, I mistakenly thought that a tragus piercing wouldn't hurt any worse. What I didn't realize then is that your tragus isn't part of your ear, it's part of your face.

I'll spare you the details. The important things to know are:
  1. they don't use a gun and a small stud, like at Claire's Boutique when I was 11,
  2. if you choose 14-gauge, and the piercing artist says that's an "effin' bad-@$$ idea," and that she's never seen that gauge in a tragus before--these are signs that it will likely hurt a lot (and is thus a bad idea),
  3. they don't poke a needle through your flesh--it's more like an apple corer with a razor-sharp edge, and
  4. if you're going with a potential piercing buddy, and you're trying to encourage them that it doesn't really hurt that bad, the only way you can contain the raw reaction to that level of pain without emitting a 50-db scream is to kick your feet against the wall, HARD.
It doesn't hurt much now, three weeks later, unless I manage to punch myself solidly in the ear--which I've been apt to do in the past week. It's still slightly uncomfortable to sleep on--I made the sad mistake of piercing the side of my face on which I sleep. It has given me much pause concerning the (admittedly implausible and highly unlikely) consideration of ever piercing my nose. Or anything else not a part of my ear. Strangely, it also increases my urge to get a second cartilege piercing above the first. I think there's something about stainless steel (or whatever metal they use in piercing) that gets in your bloodstream, because it's definitely addictive.

It is at this juncture that, if my parents read my blog, my father would have to comment, "Why on earth do you get holes poked in your body, anyway?" To which I have no completely rational answer, except the inevitably-juvenile but-admittedly-true, "Because it looks cool." Translated into adult-speak, that's, "Because I am extremely vain."

It's also an odd way to attempt to both break out of the frumpy-librarian stereotype and to retain my youth (as if I'm not already routinely mistaken for being a decade younger than I actually am). And perhaps to get more street-cred with the geeky/goth/comicfan-crowd.


Auntie K said...

1. lol at the idea of you needing to look younger. Just enjoy it while it lasts, is what I say.

2. Didn't know you had convinced someone else to join in the lunacy.

3. It's a look that suits you. As opposed to me, who would just look plain stupid.

4. Now trying to figure out how to work "tragus" into casual conversation. Cool word.

Starrlett said...

heh heh, your #4 made me laugh.

as far as #1--I'm just worried that I'll follow the pattern of one of my friends' moms. her church thought she was a high-school-age unwed mother when she had her first kid (in her late twenties) and was frequently talked-down-to as if she were a teen, and then when she hit 40, wrinkles set in and she suddenly looked her age.

hence, the insane paranoia with which i regularly apply sunscreen every day (at least to my face). and then complain about looking young. yeah... women are psychologically complex creatures, that's all i have to say. :)