When you were a young kid, did you ever see older teens and adults who had cool piercings and think, “I can’t wait to do that when I grow up?” I always envied people who used piercings to express themselves. My upbringing was fairly conservative and old-school, so no one ever gave me that option.
My high school years came at the height of the “emo-punk” trend. Everyone had the wildest ear piercings, especially those bars that go across your ear. I thought that their unique piercings were the coolest thing I had ever seen. However, I knew that there was no way that my parents would allow me to get my ears pierced, to be honest, I don’t think that I would have been able to pull it off.
It wasn’t until I started college and got out of the house that I felt confident enough to try a piercing.
I wanted to validate that I had the power to get one and to also change my wholesome image. However, I never wanted just one piercing (like many boybanders had back in the day) or a tragus piercing. I had heard horror stories about the tragus, and I also hated needles.
It wasn’t until winter break of my freshman year of college that I had a true “YOLO” moment ( well before “YOLO” was even a thing) and had someone pierce my ears. It was neither the smartest nor the safest decision I’d ever made, but it had the biggest impact on my personal style.
While on a trip overseas in Israel with a large group of my peers, we stumbled across a kiosk in an outdoor strip mall on of our nights out. The first red flag should have been that this kiosk closed at such a late hour, but nevertheless, it intrigued my friends and I. The man at the stand offered us a seemingly great deal on ear piercings.
What do you think happened next?
6 intoxicated college students all got various ear piercings, of course. Only after we had all gotten pierced did we realize that the man had used the same piercing gun on all of us – without any type of sterilization!
Our piercing adventure went completely downhill from there. For the next few days of our trip, we all did our best to keep our piercings as clean and infection-free as possible. However, disinfecting our new holes was a challenge because our supplies were running low. Our ear piercings grew redder and nastier as the days passed.
When I got back home to the States, I horrified my mother with my recklessness and lack of smarts during my piercing adventure. A few days later, a visit to my doctor confirmed that my ear had an infection. I had to remove my piercing, but had I not seen my doctor sooner, the infection would have been far worse. To this day, every time I touch my ear, I think of the pain that I endured with my first piercing and what a learning experience it was.
If I could go back and tell my younger self one thing, it’s that I should ask more questions when piercers don’t seem reputable. Choosing to get a piercing at 18 years old in a foreign country with your peers can be a recipe for disaster and even cause a health scare. No matter how badly you want the hottest new piercing, be safe, be smart, and pierce at your own risk!