For art’s sake, body art: The good, the bad and the ugly

By Liz Lavin
November 10, 2006

Shane Evans

Body piercing has been popular in America since the days of the hippies. While the history of body piercing can be traced back to ancient times and spiritual meanings, it is safe to say that in this day and age, getting something pierced is more about image than carrying out your family’s ancient rituals. But your piercing experience may not leave you with the fresh new look you were hoping for.

Of course, you can get a piercing and have no problems with it. Junior English and communication major, Brian Fairman has both his lip and eyebrow pierced. He got them pierced at the same time and has never had any problem with either.

Although you want your piercing to leave you with a hot new look, you may experience some minor inconveniences.

Yvonne Meyer, sophomore English and communication major, used to have four piercings; her lip, tongue, nose and ears. She now has only two, her lip and tongue. One night while lying down and talking, she started choking on the ball of her tongue piercing and swallowed it. She says the situation sounds worse than it actually was, but she had to go back to the place where she got it pierced and replace the ball.

The jewelry you pierce your body with may also make a huge difference. In the world of body piercing, the more expensive the jewelry, the safer it will be on your body. Well, most of the time.

Sarah Gaglione, sophomore biology and pre-medicine major, has had her nose pierced twice and her cartilage once. Her nose piercings were three months apart. When she first got it pierced, the parlor only had one stud they could pierce it with. It was not healing properly, so she changed the stud and had no problem until a few weeks later when it still did not heal. The skin around the piercing was turning pink, almost as if her skin was growing around the piercing. She took it out and it healed.

Thinking the problem was with the stone they had first used and the fact that she had changed the piercing too soon Gaglione pierced the other side of her nose. The same thing happened again; the skin turned pink and no amount of disinfect helped. She eventually took that piercing out and it healed as well.

When she got her cartilage pierced a year ago, the skin around the back of the piercing started turning pink again. Gaglione asked the piercer why but he told her to just keep cleaning it. Again, no amount of cleaning worked and that piercing had to come out too. She now thinks she is allergic to the metals used in piercing parlors.

It is not uncommon for your body to reject a piercing. Senior chemistry and secondary education major Karen Randazzo had a similar problem with her belly button piercing. She had it pierced and her body rejected it so she took it out, leaving her with a bad scar. After a year and a half, she decided it would be safe to get it re-pierced, so she did.

“My body rejected it again,” she said. “The skin between the metal and my body was getting smaller, like my body was actually pushing the piercing out. My scar is even worse now.”

One of the most popular piercing locations for females is the ears. Kasey Minnick, sophomore English and communication major, has her first, second and third holes pierced. She pierced her third holes toward the end of the summer two years ago.

She started her fall sports soon after her piercing and was constantly taking her earrings out and putting them back in. They never healed properly and she eventually noticed a huge black ring forming around one earring. When she took the earring out, the black ring turned pink.

The ring then turned into a bubble on the back of her ear. One day last year the bubble popped and Minnick could not stop the flow of blood that started.

After visiting the doctor, she discovered that the piercing parlor had actually pierced through an oil well. Unfortunately, she was two years too late.

“The doctor said I could sue the ear-piercing place, but they wouldn’t believe that [my problem] was from the piercing because it was so long after I had it done,” she said.

The only way to fix her ear is through surgery.

So what is the motivation behind getting a piercing? The most fascinating part may be that no one really knows. For some, it is the idea of celebrating a new stage in your life.

“I had just turned 18 and wanted something for it. I wanted something that wasn’t permanent like a tattoo and that no one could really see,” Randazzo said.

For others, the best part is the spontaneity.

“All of my piercings were random,” Meyer said. “Every time, my friends and I were just driving past a piercing parlor and my friends would be like, ‘Hey, let’s get something pierced!'”

Others simply like the look.

“It’s more about aesthetic reasons,” Fairman said. “I guess it shows a sense of individuality.but mainly I just like the way they look

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Liz Lavin

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