I retired all of my piercings in late summer 2004. None of them except the regular earlobe piercings were actually healed and problem-free. I was also personally ready for a change. I felt I wanted no decoration. Another factor was that I was about to move and start graduate school, and I chose to make my appearance more vanilla in anticipation of that. I love piercings in general, but I no longer wanted them. In December 2004, I decided to try inserting some earrings into my earlobe piercings (two on each ear), and it was fairly easy to do so. I borrowed some standard earrings from my mother, then upgraded to my old 16 gauge eyebrow jewelry. I still have all of my old 14 gauge stuff, so I'm sure I'll stretch the piercings up to that eventually.
Despite the fact that piercing pain is highly individual, and what might feel like a fiery brand to me might feel like kitten kisses to you, I know that all you really want to know is....
DID THAT HURT???
Flaming rusty barbed wire through ear.
Lightly stubbing an ingrown toenail.
Double Eyebrow (w/o clamp)
Horsefly sting. Twice.
Bad 9 seconds at the dentist.
Hey, that feels kinda cool.
Oh yeah, and you want to see the gory stuff too, huh?
I wanted to replace my beloved original eyebrow piercing, and it seemed more interesting to double it. Tim did these piercings freehand, which was more painful than with a clamp because I felt every movement of the needle and jewelry.
Tongue, 10 gauge By Cleve, Body-Body Tattoo & Piercing, Lake Charles, LA (July 2003)
When I decided to get my tongue pierced, I researched it on BMEZine and found out that most people get their tongues pierced at 14ga, but it's better to pierce it with a thicker barbell to have a more comfortable and faster healing by minimizing tearing. Again, cheese cutter logic. So I went and got my tongue pierced at 10ga. I don't know if it was more painful than a 14 gauge, but it wasn't bad. Learning to eat again was kind of a chore. I've never paid so much attention to the mechanics of chewing. I lisped pretty badly too, but after a week I was almost normal.
Rook, 16 gauge Anti-Tragus, 14 gauge By Billy, Ancient Trends Body Piercing, Lake Charles, LA (January 2003)
I got my rook (small upper ring) and anti-tragus (lower barbell) done on the same day, and later found out that they are widely considered to be two of the three most painful piercings one can get. The other is a snug, which I also planned to have done on that same ear, but not that day. They certainly were quite painful, although each in very different ways. For most of the year and a half that I had these piercings, I couldn't sleep laying on that side of my head, and they never really healed. However, I did love the way they looked when they weren't acting up, and I loved the queasy look people gave me when they saw these piercings.
Lobe Orbital, 16 gauge By Billy, Ultimate Image Tattoo Studio, Lake Charles, LA (June 2002)
I loved my orbital, even though it gave me quite a bit of trouble. The top hole took a year and a half to fully heal, perhaps because the ring rubbed against the nearby cartilage if I slept on it too much, or because the lobe tissue may be more dense up there. Maybe I played with it too much while it was first healing. Others have told me that this was their favorite piercing of mine.
Lobes, 14 gauge By Billy, Ultimate Image Tattoo Studio, Lake Charles, LA (May 2002)
My earlobes were originally gunned when I was 12 and ignorant, but in May 2002 I got them pierced correctly by a real piercer with a real needle. The first holes took two years to heal completely, while the needle-pierced holes took only five weeks, with almost no lymph discharge. Some may have considered me at a disadvantage in the fashion world because my earlobes were 14ga while the average earring is about 20ga (much thinner), but most "normal" earrings don't hold appeal for me. Especially since the small gauge of the wire in a heavy earring slices through the flesh of an earlobe much like a cheese cutter slices through cheese.
Left Eyebrow, 16 gauge By Scott, Ultimate Image Tattoo Studio, Lake Charles, LA (July 2000 - May 2001)
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My left eyebrow was pierced in Summer 2000, when I was between jobs (but in summer classes at college) and therefore not bound to a dress code. I loved it, but had to remove it after it developed a persistent follicular cyst and I had to get another job.