Piercing Adventures

All Posts, My 20s
My sister, Kay, and I have developed a new tradition. We put holes in our ears when we get together in Ottawa.

When I moved to Toronto we both had just our lobes (non-consensually) pierced. Our parents pierced our ears when we were babies. They probably pierced her ears because she was adorable. They definitely pierced mine so I looked less like a weird [orange tinted] man baby.Kay had previously pierced her upper helix (twice), but didn’t like the placement, it hurt when she slept, a bump formed and so on. So she took it out and let it grow over (twice). I had previously thought of getting piercings but always chickened out. [I even had a Pinterest board dedicated to wishfully thought piercings].

One night, on one of my first visits back home, my sister and I got super restless. On a whim we were like:

Hey, let’s get piercings.

It was 8:00pm. Everything closes at 9:00pm in Ottawa. We went back and forth over with our usual indecisiveness (e.g., is this crazy? do we have enough time? are we crazy? there is definitely enough time! no time, we should do this tomorrow. tonight.) and eventually went to the mall to see what we could do.

We both wanted to get another lobe piercing – a second hold, probably – so we were able to go to one of the stores in the mall that uses a piercing gun. We tried Visage, with very few expectations. The mall was closing in 40 minutes and we didn’t have an appointment. Our low expectations ensured we were not disappointed. They had no time for us tonight.

But like, I’ve made up my mind tonight. If I have to come back another day I will never end up with a piercing.

We went upstairs and found Claire’s. This is where it gets fun.

Claire’s is primarily responsible for piercing the ears of little 10 year old girls. Not 25 and 30 year old girls. Most little girls get their ears (plural) pierced, not just one ear. So, when you go to Claire’s you pay once for two piercings and two earrings. SWEET. Only then you have to read the fine print. The piercing artist at Claire’s said she could possibly work something out for us. However, since she needed health and consent forms from both of us, it wouldn’t work in her system very well. Cue unnecessarily complicated word problem:

Claire’s sells piercings in packages of two. If Kay wants Gee to have one piercing in her ear and Gee wants Kay to have one piercing in her ear and Claire’s wants to sell as many piercing packages as possible, who has more goats? Show your work. 

2 + 2 = 2 goats
2 + 1 + 1 - 2(3 goats) = 5
2(1 + 1) + 2(2+7)/3 = 293
1 + 1 = 2 (?)
Kay is allergic to goats
Sorry. I wasn't paying attention in class and word problems are stupid.

Kay decided on the spot that maybe she wanted two piercings. So I decided on the spot that maybe I wanted two piercings, too. We each paid and now we had four earrings to play with. 

She decided she was going to get both in one ear – a second hole, and then the other piercing as high up into her ear as the fleshy part would allow a gun to pierce. I was like “Hey that’s cool, I wanna be just like you.

The piercing artist was seemingly quite stressed out with our requests. She was (rightfully) concerned that she would end up hitting cartilage, which the gun could end up shattering. My sister was adamant it would all be fine. In the end Kay was right as usual, and she was able to pierce pretty high up without hitting cartilage.

Her ears, it seems, are made almost entirely of fleshy lobe. My ears, it seems, are made almost entirely of cartilage. I know this because when it came to my turn, anything higher than a second hole seemed out of the question with the gun. After a lot of weird manoeuvring and really stressed deep breaths (on behalf of the piercing artist), my piercings were complete. And the piercing artist was extremely proud of herself.

We leave. We check them out. She ended up with a really cool set of piercings. I ended up looking like a twelve year old who finally got a second and third hole. I was also left wondering why was the piercing artist so pleased with herself for doing a third hole…?

The second time I came home we decided to skip out on Claire’s and go to a tattoo and piercing parlour instead. When we got there I was pretty much terrified. There were massive skull paintings on the walls and big beefy men who were 87% tattoos and 13% anger. There were women getting face piercings and neck tattoos, and men getting neck piercings and face tattoos. I took my pale, awkward self up to the counter and I’m like:

Which part of my soul do I have to sell to get a third hole?

Luckily, Kay and I were taken into a less intense back room where a pretty standup guy (at least in comparison to the tattooed John Cenas in the front room) engaged us in pleasant conversation. I ended up getting a third hole on my right ear, and an upper helix piercing on my left ear. They were both done with a needle and hurt much less and heeled much better than the gun piercings. Kay got her upper helix piercing (third time’s the charm) and another lobe piercing.

Obviously, the two of us got another piercing when I first arrived to Ottawa on Wednesday. She picked me up from the train station and we went right away to the same creepy piercing parlour from the time before. Being both broke (and beginning to lack sufficient ear real estate) we each just got one piercing. I decided on a middle helix piercing. Kay got another lobe piercing [I told you her ears are made primarily of fleshy lobe!!]. Classic me – indifferent about my piercing and am just like, ah well. Classic Kay – tries to change her earring as soon as she gets home (despite being told specifically to leave it for two months), bleeds out for 15 minutes, bleeding stops, hole closes and now she has 6 piercings instead of 7.

Nine months ago, we each had two piercings – a first hole in each lobe. In nine short months we have accumulated five more piercings each (well Kay accumulated 7 but ended up with 4). My sister and I should have known better, we have always been very into traditions.

I’m thinking I’m going to have to go back to Ottawa less…


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