Now ear this

Last week I took my first brave steps into the exciting world of body mutilation.

Sounds rather grand and dramatic, right? Yep, at the tender age of 31 I finally had my ears pierced – for the first time ever. Now, if you’re in the majority, you’re sitting there going: “But didn’t you always have pierced ears?”

Nope, never. For many months now I’ve been toying with the idea of just taking the plunge and letting someone stab holes through my lobes. I mean seriously, it just felt wrong that Boyfriend Person had earrings and I didn’t. It’s a bit sad when the only jewellery shopping you do is for your man.

There’s that, and also every time I happened to wander into a brightly lit shop full of shiny stuff I’d see the cutest earrings – all of them pierced. Sure there is a small selection of clip-ons to be found if you dig through all the tacky friendship bracelets and Alice bands, but none of them really grabbed me. They pinched me. Terribly. After half an hour of wearing them I’d pull them off, wincing, and rubbing my red lobes.

They hurt so badly I imagined that I was subjecting myself to a similar sort of pain I’d face if I actually went to have them pierced, just over a far more extended period of time. This realization led me to spend more time milling around the jewellery stores where bored sales girls would roll their eyes and tell me it didn’t hurt at all. Before gripping the head of toddler, shooting them through the ear – twice – and grimacing at the resulting wails. “Doesn’t hurt” – my left tonsil.

Not that I needed much more convincing, but a few friends suggested I skip the mall-based jewellery shops altogether and go rather to an actual piercing clinic. It’d be much safer, more professional and they would use a good ol’ needle rather than a gun. So after much flapping and humming and haaing I work up last Friday morning and called Wildfire to ask if I had to make an appointment, or if I could just show up. With any luck they would tell me they didn’t have and opening for at least two weeks and I’d have time to psych myself up. Umm, yeah – it would appear the Luck o’ the Irish must have skipped me.

An hour later I drove down town telling myself that if there wasn’t parking it was a sign. I pulled into a bay right outside the shop. Hmm.

When I’m nervous I make jokes – at my own expense. I had the three chicks in the studio laughing at me within seconds. I even stooped so low as to make a joke I just knew at least 25 other people must have made before me in connection with the remarkably adult nappy-looking covering on the recliner. It was not one of my finer moments, but remember I was about to willingly let someone hurt me.

After picking my earrings (cute little black diamante ones) I paid and then assumed the position – praying it would be over quickly and that I wouldn’t even spot a glimmer of the needle. (That’s a story for a different day – my love affair with needles). My piercer (I really have no idea what to call her) did her best to put me at ease, telling me exactly what she was going to do. I’m not sure how much of it was for my benefit and how much for the girl she was obviously teaching. Yep, there was an audience.

To try to placate me, she told me that we’re constantly doing worse things to ourselves. Like stubbing our toes. “Yeah, let’s just wait and see shall we…” I thought as I tried not to see what she was fiddling with on the counter at the edge of my vision.

She leaned in really close and made a dot on my right earlobe, then she leant back, pen poised and surveyed her handiwork. Rocking from side to side to survey it from all angles and in relation to the left hand one. With a frown she loomed in close again and rubbed the spot away, making a new one, and again leaning back and rocking to be sure she’d got it just right. She hadn’t. Ten minutes – Internet, that’s how long it seemed before she was finally pleased. As I sat in the chair trying hard not to giggle and mess up her alignment I decided she was truly an artist. Except instead of a paintbrush she wielded a sharp object.

Oh, I’m more than glad she did. I seriously doubt the girl just back from her lunchbreak at Mickey D’s in the mall would have cared quite enough to leave her Mxit boyfriend waiting while she made sure I was all lined up.

And then, all happy with the little purple dots on my ears she told me to lie back and tilt my head to the left. “Take a deeeeep breath in… and then push it out…” And then she stabbed me.

I won’t lie and say it didn’t hurt. I mean, she shoved a needle through living flesh! But it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected it would be. The second lobe hurt a bit more and I swear it made a “crrk” noise as she stuck the needle through – but it was over quickly and she snapped the butterflies on.

And that was it. My ears were pierced. They sent me off with a bottle of saline solution and a page full of instructions. Many of which I suspect are meant to prepare you for the worst because a week later and I still haven’t seen any blood or plasma. NOT complaining – of course. I’m just saying – I think my lobes are over achievers.

By the way, I stubbed my toe last night and bloody hell was it painful…

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