Since my late teen years, I have had a moderate number of piercings and tattoos. I’ve had my hips pierced, my belly button, my lower nostrils (7 times total), my high nostrils, my ears, my septum (twice), and I have a microdermal in my chest. That sounds like a considerable amount, but most did not coincide with one another so there were never a ton of shiny things all at once. Right now, I just have my ears, microdermal, and both nostrils. Nevertheless, I still deal with the same types of annoying things that many people who choose to have piercings have accepted as a part of life.
From the fear one faces upon putting on a loosely knit sweater to the awkward things one hears from relatives, anybody with piercings has probably experienced these things in the past.
1. When people say, “Where else are you pierced?”
Seriously, don’t do this. It’s creepy. Just because my nose has some shiny metal in it doesn’t mean I’m about to talk about the rest of my body with you.
2. The terror that comes from realizing it is caught on a sweater.
Oh, look, a cute sweater!… Oh look, a cute sharp pain shooting through my nostril and into my brain.
3. Or worse, a loofah.
I can no longer own one of these because I know that once I’m in the shower, I’ll forget I can’t use it and start washing my chest, and BAM. Oof.
4. The assumption that you will never get a job so long as you have piercings.
Wait, what’s that? I have a job? Ah! I had no idea I was suddenly totally unemployable due to some metal.
5. Anyone who touches them without asking.
This especially happens with my microdermal (and my tattoos just about every day). If I didn’t give you explicit permission to touch my piercings–which I wouldn’t, ever, because WTF–then do not do it, thanks.
6. When people assume that if you have a keloid or any irritation, it must be infected.
If you are not a professional body modification practitioner or a doctor, then I really don’t need to hear your diagnosis.
7. The “you’re just doing it for attention” theory.
8. “Did it hurt?”
Nah, it felt like adorable kittens tickled me…with a stainless steel feather.
9. When dudes at bars inform you that “girls with piercings are kinkier.”
It’s one thing to compliment something about a person’s appearance. It’s uncomfortable when a stranger starts using it as a platform to hit on you, and include sexual undertones and stereotypes in that approach.
Whenever people respond this way, I think they don’t necessarily register that it is insulting to the wearer. I don’t care if you don’t like stretched ears, if you think septum rings are unfeminine, or if you think bellybutton piercings are trashy; you wouldn’t walk up to a friend and tell them how much you hate his haircut, so don’t do the same with a person’s personal choices for their own body.
11. How hard it is to screw on and off the tiny balls.
When I still had a septum piercing, it was borderline impossible for me to unscrew the little balls. No one has ever rolled high enough dexterity for that! (Ahem, ahem.)
12. The expectation that you have a high pain tolerance.
Sorry folks, but I still sweat profusely and get a little weepy whenever somebody steps to my nose with a needle. I am not a badass of any kind.
13. How people assume your “type” automatically includes dudes with tattoos, piercings, and purple mohawks.
Is it weird that my “type” (besides emotionally unavailable stoners) style-wise is guys who wear J. Crew button-downs, have fairly short hair, don’t have piercings, and wear Sperry’s? Just like I am not inherently attracted to people who have similar style sensibilities to myself, they are also not automatically into me. Making jumps about who your friends should be set up with is usually a little dangerous, especially when it relies on making them match in appearance.
14. If you have a lip or tongue piercing, strangers talk about how it must be so cool to make out with you.
Shiny metal =/= an invitation to your imagination.
15. When non-professionals tell you how to “fix” your piercings.
While some people are certainly more well-versed than others in aftercare and finding solutions to piercing problems, unsolicited advice is rarely welcome or helpful.
16. “You’d be so pretty if you took those out!”
Aw, that’s so nice and sweet and so close to a compliment! Except now I just hate you.
17. The feeling of “WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF?” right before you’re about to get pierced.
“Why, why, why am I doing this? What is wrong with my brain? Stop doing this to yourself…”
18. …And the subsequent feeling of “I should get everything pierced” once it’s over.
19. When people talk about your “gauged ears.”
The gauge is the size. The practice is stretching.
20. Strangers who ask, “Wanna see mine?”
21. …Or worse, just whip out it out.
Please don’t do this! I mean, if it’s on an immediately visible body part like your face or something, then I have probably already seen it and you don’t need to whip out anything. But if you have a piercing on your stomach, nipples, or in your pants, there’s no need to show that to somebody you don’t know who’s never asked to see it.
22. “What will those look like when you’re older?”
Shockingly, just like tattoos, people who are over the age of 23 can also get piercings. And keep them! And have them always, provided those piercings stay healthy.
P.S. In case you were wondering and you got all the way to the end, here’s a photo of me when I still was a lot more visibly pierced.
What does having tattoos say about you?
I received many encouraging and helpful comments that were full of advice and positivity, and I appreciated them all. We hope you enjoy our site, and we would love to hear from you in the Comments sections of our article.
- Lily Savage: I’ve wanted to get a second piercing for a while and you just mentally prepared me for it! I finally think I’m ready to go through with it.
- loser_sneeze: The one about not being employable is so laughable. I’ve had my nose pierced for seven years (along with multiple ear piercings). I’ve also always been gainfully employed in fields that are a) heavily dominated by older males and b) also heavily populated by people with conservative style sensibilities but I’ve worn my piercings to every interview. And they still hire me. It’s like the piercings have nothing to do with the ability to get my job done. SO WEIRD.
- barbaracbell: My classmate’s aunt makes $68 every hour on the computer. She has been fired for 7 months but last month her paycheck was $15495 just working on the a computer for a few hours. visit the site Cashfig.COM
- Aoki: Girls with piercings AND tattoos are totally my type. So I was wondering: how young is your age limit in dating?
- Samantha: At least 1000. I’m only into wizards played by Ian McKellen.
- Aoki: Awww, and here I thought dressing up as a something-year-old witch played by Charlize Theron is good enough. Sigh.
- FemelleChevalier: Hahahaha!
- Roxanne Marie Zoltan: I don’t know if anyone else can relate to this, but some of my piercings feel like such a part of me that I forget about them, and only remember when someone comments on them. Especially my ear piercings. I’m also so accustomed to looking down and seeing my nipples pierced that I start assuming everyone has them. Lastly, it’s been over a year since my last piercing and I haven’t really wanted to get anything else done but reading this got me jonesing for that piercing high… damnit Sam.
- katherinedbatista: Just as Robert answered I am impressed that a mom can profit $8694 in 4 weeks on the internet.
- Megan: Ok, I feel so old and out of touch for asking this but what’s a micro dermal. I would google it, but I don’t want to be surprised by potentially graphic search results.
- Quin: A microdermal is a type of piercing that can go pretty much anywhere on your body. Instead of piercing directly through the skin, like an ear piercing, an anchor is implanted under the skin, which has a little metal bit protruding out of your skin that you can screw on a little jewel or ball or whatnot. It basically looks like you have a little jewel attached to your skin. Some popular places to pierce are the collarbone area and hip. The search results shouldn’t be too graphic (they might show a little boob, but that’s about it) I’m kind of curious about getting one, but then, they’re more expensive than normal piercings and have a higher rejection rate.
- Samantha: I’ve had it for over 6 years now, but I attribute that to a few things:
- 1) My body naturally heals piercings very quickly and very well. I have no idea why, but I’m effing wolverine when it comes to skin stuff. Even though it hurts extra on me, it heals very quickly so there’s less time for stuff to go wrong. Some people’s bodies don’t mind piercings, some mind them more.
- 2) I had it done at a reputable studio by a talented, knowledgeable, and well-respected piercer (John Joyce at Scarab Body Arts in Syracuse, NY). If somebody doesn’t know what they’re doing, it will (obvs) be more likely to reject.
- 3) After getting it pierced, I left it alone. I didn’t touch it, pull on it, or poke at it, and I didn’t actually use any method besides letting water go over it in the shower and the occasional sea salt soak to clean it.
- Here is a non-piercing photo that can help explain: http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c394/trumendoculo/micro_dermal.jpg
- Quin: My body does seem to be pretty good at healing when getting piercings/tattoos, so maybe when I have a little extra cash I’ll go for the microdermal. Also, I’m pretty much the same way with #13 – not sure why I always seem to go for the clean-cut men when I’ve got blue hair and piercings…
- Megan: Very interesting. I have a bad track record with piercing rejection and my husband would use the whole ” you’re 30″ argument if I wanted one, but I think it’s very cool and imagine it would snag less on things.
- Louisette: Great article! Also omg I love your ear weights, I’ve been looking everywhere to get some, do you remember where you got these?
- Samantha: Thank you! 🙂 Ack, I do not 🙁 I think I received them from a friend, actually, but it was five or so years ago…I’m gonna do a little digging and see if I can find out where to get them!
- Cara: I love my piercings!! I am HEAVILY tattooed and find that people grab me constantly, it’s quite irritating actually. Also, I had my nipples done for 8 years!!!!! Then one started growing out so I had to take them both out (boobs are uneven enough, didn’t need to make it worse!) and it’s been over a year – still waiting for them to close so I can re-pierce.
- Samantha: Ughhh that is awful! Why do people assume that tattoos are somehow invitations?
- Maria Santos: That Leo to Jack .gif is so the right face to question 1.
- Mu: 19. I was told it was the other way around.
- Samantha: Nope! Stretching is the act of increasing your piercing’s size (gradually, safely). The gauge is the actual measurement. So, if I had ear piercings that were at a 00g, then gauge would be 00 (9-10mm) and the description would just be “stretched ears.”
- Charlotte: I have three nose piercings (one on each side and my septum) and I had my lip pierced for a while and my moms friend would always say how beautiful I would look without them and how I’m trying to hide myself behind them. I HATE that, I really like my piercings, I like how they look. If I was trying to hide myself I’d never leave the house. It really bugs me when people say that I’d look better without them it’s like they’re saying I’m ugly now. I also have 11 tattoos and lots of people say I could never get a job looking like I do. I’ve never had trouble finding a job and I actually have an awesome job at a preschool that pays well.
- Samantha: Ugh, when I still had blue hair, people said this “hiding yourself” bullshit to me a lot, as though I was trying to make people think I was ~*somebody else*~ when in reality, I just…had blue hair. Tada! It’s just not really cool to tell somebody that they WOULD look nice if they only decided to look the way you think they should. Ack. I’m sorry you have to deal with that.
- Also, side note: the setup of your nose piercings is one of my favorites, I always think it looks so aesthetically pleasing.
Tattoos & Body Piercings Expert, Contributor
Tattoos & Body Piercings Expert Julian is a freelance tattoo writer, beauty expert, traveler, and photographer. Her passion for body art over the past 7 years led to one of the internet’s greatest websites about tattoos and piercing.