At 31 years old, was I too old to get a facial piercing? My mother certainly seemed to think so. I politely had to disagree. What’s the difference between sporting a necklace or an eyebrow ring; a pair of earrings or a pair of snake bite spikes? In my un-professional (and, let’s face it, open-minded) opinion, piercings are nothing more than another form of adorning oneself with beautiful jewelry. And, I’ve never been one to say no to bling.
Rockstar Body Piercing has a reputation for quality – I felt comfortable putting my life (and face) in the hands of one of their skilled employees. William “Billy” Wood Jr., a professional body piercer with seven years of experience, took the call. He invited me in for an appointment… at 5pm on Valentine’s Day. Not quite the romantic evening I had envisioned, but still I agreed and “penciled” it into my online appointment book.
As I ascended the stairs to Rockstar, which is located on the second floor above a pizzeria, I felt my stomach do a flip-flop. No, it wasn’t because I was hungry (though the pizza did smell delicious); I realized, to my embarrassment, that I was completely nervous, to the point of a physical reaction. I clutched my swirling stomach as I opened the main door. There was no turning back now.
The waiting room was narrow, with a long glass case filled with a variety of body jewelry and an insanely cool mural on the lengthy wall. A young woman got me started on paperwork right away, and the shop apprentice began discussing jewelry options: all of the body jewelry available at Rockstar is implant grade, the best of the best. I had a multitude of options to consider.
Did I want a lip ring or a nose ring? Back to the question at hand – I wasn’t sure. After talking pros and cons with Wood, I settled on a small, delicate hoop to be placed in my nose. Oral piercings can irritate the gums and kissing is a no-no during the first few weeks after the procedure. Because of this, I decided it best to not cause further damage to my already receding gum tissue and presently defunct love life.
I learned that the angle of needle insertion varies depending on whether the client chooses a hoop or a stud; it has to do with how the jewelry rests on the nose. Wood instructed me to sit on his table (in a small private room off the waiting area) and he sterilized my skin and used a purple dye called gentian violet to mark the spot – the puncture hole. The butterfly in my stomach had returned and now my heart was getting in on the action, racing and pounding.
As if telepathic, Wood began speaking in a hushed tone, and advised me to lay flat on the table. He then softly guided me through a relaxation technique: breathe in through the nose and exhale out through the mouth. He sat behind me and continued to direct my purposed breathing. I felt his gentle touch on my nose (he doesn’t use a clamp, as some other piercers do) and heard him tell me he’d be piercing in sync with my exhale.
My hands balled into fists, I waited for the searing pain. It never came. I felt a little pinch and some pressure, which can only be described as a tug of my nostril. As he slid the ring into place I felt a second tug. Wood continued to talk in that hushed, soothing voice as he told me to keep my eyes shut for as long as I wanted. (Nose piercings cause the eyes to water.) He gently dabbed the tears that dotted my eyelashes with a tissue. Eventually I opened my eyes; they didn’t sting one bit.
I was thoroughly schooled in aftercare techniques and sent home with a few bottles of saline solution in a metal can (plastic bottles can allow for bacteria growth). Wood encouraged me to return to him in six weeks so that he could assess the healing – and of course to call or come in sooner if I was to experience any complications. I have not. The healing has been completely painless and complication-free.
I could not be happier with the new and improved, blinged-out version of my once unadorned face. It looks and feels natural. I’ve even had to point it out to my closest friends, most of whom have been surprised that I haven’t, in fact, had it all along.