Not doing it, but having it done to me. It’s how I discovered that I truly and absolutely despise my body.
As some of you may know, I have what’s known as a vasovagal reaction (wiki link) whenever I have any kind of trauma inflicted on my body: giving blood, having blood taken, tattoos, piercings, etc. In the normal run of things, what happens is I get very clammy and all the color drains from my face. My hearing starts to get all cotton-y, like tunnel vision of the ears (pipe down, it works in my head). Then the real tunnel vision starts, to the point where I eventually can’t see anything. At this point, I’m still able to talk, and I tell whomever what’s going on, and that I should be fine if I get a little water and some cold air. Usually that’s the case. In the worst case, I’ll do the world’s slowest faint.
It’s so fucking masculine, people 3 blocks over are in danger of testosterone poisoning, lemme tell you.
So back on July 26th of this year, I was in Saginaw to see the diabetic folks at the VA so I could blah blah blah worthless fucking waste of my time and for once, I told them so. That didn’t go over well. Anyway, I digress. So I get the text message letting me know that my divorce was finalized as I was leaving the VA and I saw a body piercing place, and thought, “Fuck it, why not?”
So I swing in, and make lots of nervous, stalling chit-chat with the piercer there, talking about healing times, etc. Then I ask on a scale of 1 – 10, how bad the pain is supposed to be. Without missing a beat, she replies, “One to ten? About as damned close to ten as it gets, really.”
Lovely. At least she’s honest.
So, rather then pretending to decide – since I had already decided to do this a week or so ago – I told her to go set everything up. A few minutes – and a few text messages consisting of little more than “OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD” – she calls me back. I sit down, and start making nervous chit-chat. It’s something I do when I’m terrified out of my mind, you see. Lucky for me, the lady was a purist – no ice, no anesthetic, no nothing. And then she said something that I thought was complete bullshit: “You know, most people say that the actual piercing doesn’t hurt. The clamp hurts worse, all tight and uncomfortable.” SPOILER ALERT: she was absolutely right, to my surprise.
So she explains everything she’s going to do, showing me all the equipment, etc because that’s actually the kind of thing that puts me at ease. Then she asks if I’m ready, applies the clamp (after the iodine and alcohol – we’re not savages up here!) gets everything positioned. Tells me to take a breath, she’ll count down from three and then push the needle through. I get ready, brace myself as well as I’m able for something I’m completely unfamiliar with, and she says “Three…..you’re looking, stop looking…..two….no really, stop looking, you don’t want to see this and breathe wouldja?….one….”
And just like that, the deed was done. It hurt considerably less than I ever would have believed, so that was a bit of a shock. Once it was done, the usual “Everything ok? Doing alright?” is said, and I told her that I could really use some cool air and a cold drink, things that normally help forestall the vasovagal reaction. She goes and gets me a drink and as she’s walking back, I hear her mention something to her co-worker about possibly needing her back here in a few. I tell her that I should be fine, cold water and air really help out, and I’ll be alright.
That’s more or less the last coherent thought I had for roughly 5 seconds.
Next thing I know, I’m being held up by two lovely women, with one of them yelling at me, “COME BACK TO US! WAKE UP!” with the other one waving smelling salts under my nose. Smelling salts! That crap REALLY stinks, by the way. My body went into full-on shock and skipped all the steps I outlined above and went straight from “fine” to “passed-the-fuck-out” in no time flat.
I AM ALL THAT IS MAN!
Afterward, I seem to remember telling them to stop shouting and giving them a weak thumbs up. The associate says, “Oh good, he’s getting color back now. I mean, it’s not a good color, but at least it’s color.” At some point, someone brought in a bucket – unused (go me!) So once I started to feel better, I lie down while my body recovers. Part of the recovery process is for every single pore to open up at once and dump massive amounts of sweat. It’s attractive. No really. At one point, we were joking that I might actually slip off the table that I was lying on.
Ten minutes later, I’m feeling better, go up front to pay, tip her well, and get into my car to drive away. What’s really weird is that sitting here now, 7 hours later, the piercing feels fine, as does the area around it (which is the area that was throbbing earlier, not the piercing itself). This is odd to me on several levels: I’m a diabetic and it takes me twice as long to heal than it does for most others, so….weird. Also, it’s supposed to be 6-8 weeks before preliminary healing takes place, not 6-8 hours. Weird.
Anyway, as a result of my body going into some weird form of shock, I was only able to get one of my nipples pierced. I can’t stand being asymmetrical. Fortunately, about a week or so later, I found a place here in town that does body piercing so I went in, paid my money, and had a very nice lady punch a hole in my non-mutilated nipple. This time, I had no issue with any vasovagal reactions. The main difference between the first one and this one was that for the first one, I was sitting up in a chair and for this one, I was reclined.
This is not foolproof as I found out when I went to get my next piercing. But that’s a story for another day. Seriously, I’m still writing it, so give me a day.
But, to all the people who’ve said “pics or it never happened”, there’s a pic. Fair warning though, you click on the “Show” link, you’re gonna see my nipples. But that’s why you’re gonna click on it and you know it.
NSFW (Not Safe For Work): Show