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This was the big one. The one piercing that I agreed with my scared inner voice that I wouldn't be able to get. The other piercings were merely a case of mind over matter, convincing myself that it was worth the needle going through for the way it would look. Looking at the thickness of my lip, ear, navel or hood I knew that I couldn't cope with having a sharp piece of metal pass through the fairly huge (comparatively) muscle (or two) that is my tongue. I remember being in the piercing shop and seeing a photo under the counter, presumably there to make people go 'ooooh, I'd like that done' of someone with a spider on top of the barbell through her tongue. 'Yeah, I'll get that done' I thought, then put it to the back of my mind, so far back that it dropped straight out and I went on my merry way without having to think about getting it done. Ever . Funny then how I ended up in Leeds with Emma with the sole intention of getting it pierced (and buying Emma holiday stuff for Barcelona, lucky girly). I don't get piercings for any other reason than that they look nice (and that sometimes people come up and go 'Hey, does that go all the way through your *insert body area here*'); therefore I wasn't really excited about getting this piercing in the 'needle through flesh, yay!' kinda way. Petrified might be a better word for how I felt whilst shopping and eating before going to the studio. I agree that pain is a feeling that most of us avoid, and that piercings would be like haircuts if you didn't get the anticipation beforehand, but this time I knew the pain would roll over into days, possibly weeks, and this was making my legs want to be walking the other way. We had been into the studio earlier, as I was starting work the next week and wanted to know if I could take the change down barbell included in the price away, pre autoclaved, so that I could put it in myself. When I came back, she seemed to have forgotten what I was therefore, but then Saturdays as far as I have seen are always pretty hectic in that place. The counter guy asked me what I wanted, and when I said I was there for a tongue piercing he actually ID'd me for the first time ever there. Me being curious asked why, and they only ID for tongue and genital piercing. Anyway, he took the ID, didn't copy it and had me
sign out the question form (which really consists of me circling 'no' against drugs/alcohol/epilepsy/fainting etc) and promising I wouldn't do anything against the shop if it screwed up.
I then had to go upstairs on my own and sit in the waiting room (well, its really the landing as the whole studio is a converted house) and I read, re-read and re-re-read the walls, anything to keep my mind off what was going to happen. Finally Sarah came upstairs and took me into the piercing room. Small mercy there was noone else waiting or I would have gone back downstairs, got a refund and run away. She turned all nice (as opposed to vacant) when she was up there, and told me where to put my stuff etc and to sit on the chair. I asked her on a scale of one to lip how much this was going to hurt...she just smiled, gave me a paper towel to hold under my chin in a rough bowl shape and sprayed me with anaesthetic. I know there is a big hoohaa against the use of any anaesthetic, but I have quizzed all the piercing staff at this place about what they use, how dangerous it is and dosage/side effects, and they have told me as much about it as I know, which is as much as is written on the leaflet and training/usage sheet that is given out with the anaesthetic (Lidocaine/xylocaine in this case). I wouldn't let a piercer inject me with anaesthetic, but I am happy with them spraying with it, as I know I am not allergic and feel comfortable with the whole thing. On the argument that it ruins the piercing experience, as I said before, I don't get piercings for experiencing pain, or to test myself as to what I can do. Respect and admiration for those who do, but I get piercings because they make me look how I think I should. ( deepness over with and on with the experience)
So anyway, I'm sat with this 'banana' (aka ester tainted chemical crap) in my mouth while she goes through the aftercare, taking out the needles, jewellery clamps etc and changing her gloves every three seconds. It was the most amount of glove changes I have ever seen in that space of time. Ever had someone intentionally use reverse psychology on you? It's the same here. The second they say 'Don't swallow' you try to; from then on it's a constant battle to keep the dratted stuff in your mouth. Finally, finally she told me to spit it into the little paper towel thing (hah, try spitting when your tongue, lips and cheeks are numb> and stick my tongue out. Even if I had have changed my mind at this point all I could have said is 'Uungh'. She wiped my tongue with what I presume was sterile gauze and then marked it. I asked to look at it and was happy. She then spent an age fitting the clamps around that mark, and squidging bits of my tongue around (I wish I could give more detail but I was fairly numb and scared). I then had a quick panic about how far back the numbness went. She had to take the clamps off and give me a glass of water. As soon as I drank the water I realized that my throat was not, in fact, numb (duh) and we got back on with it, with her saying that 'If you do that again we are going to have to postpone this'.
She finally got the clamps on and in the right place. She got the needle fairly quickly and put it straight through my tongue. I wish I could contribute to the bottom up or top down discussion but I was far too busy whimpering to notice... When the needle was going through, I could most definitely feel it, and it wasn't nice, but not horrendous. She really quickly pulled out the needle, slotted the jewellery into the plastic tube and then pulled out the tube. The tube removal was probably the most painful part, and I squirmed quite a bit during that. But then I was done. I ended up sat in the room feeling a little dizzy for about 5 minute (I'm on beta blockers, so theoretically I should not be able to faint, but I wasn't risking it with a full shop downstairs) then said huge thankyous to Sarah, picked up my stuff and went. Emma was talking to the counter boy and asked to see it, then they both giggled at me because I couldn't talk well at all. I was going to buy some acrylic balls for when I can eat so I don't even have to worry about biting a metal ball, but half way through a sentence I gave up and muttered 'faangoo' and left.
At this point, and for the rest of the night, my tongue looked pretty normal, apart from the inabilty to move it properly. That night was fun. Iced water then I tried to eat bread. My mouth was just not having that. I never noticed how much I use and play with my tongue. A big barbell hitting your teeth every few seconds certainly enlightens you. The next
Pictures of Member Advice on Tongue Piercing
morning my tongue was actually about twice the size but it didn't feel all that swollen. I tried eating again but it just wasn't happening apart from soup. I noticed that it isn't really the piercing itself that hurts, I could touch and slide the barbell up and down through the hole and there wasn't a glimmer of pain. It was more like my tongue had cramp. I couldn't roll it sideways or backwards and it felt like there was a line going over the end of my tongue that got tighter when I lifted my tongue up. It got boring drinking water, and I must have gone through huge amounts of ice cube bags in the first week. My skin loved me for it, and I'm sure my kidneys did too. Now, having changed the barbell twice (which isn't as scary as you would think, you just end up wishing you didn't have saliva glands as trying to screw a drooled on ball into the underside of your tongue is an overrated pass-time) the piercing is starting to look something like I imagined it to. My tongue is more or less its normal size which means I can talk properly again, and I'm sure some people will be less than happy they cant mock me any more. I have had to put a plastic ball on the end though, as even though you think 'Pff, I'm not that stupid' at the people that say you will bite the balls and chip your teeth, you do it without thinking, especially whilst eating bitty food like baked beans/rice/skittles.
So all in all, it was a fairly easy piercing. The two weeks after it you feel like you have been dragged to hell and back, but once past it, its plain sailing and you can start to annoy people who don't like it by absentmindely chewing the top ball or rattleing it against your teeth.
For a piercing I thought I would never get, its making me proud just how real it is.
**As an update to this, I have since stretched my tongue up to a 2.4mm barbell. The bad thing about tongue piercings is that most places tend to do them with a bar that is too thin. This can lead to a cheesewire effect and if you catch the jewellery, it can rip through your tongue easier than a larger barbell will. The stretching didnt hurt as much as I though it would, and though the actual bar through my tongue is bigger, its hard to tell the difference if looking at it.
The only downside I would comment on about the larger sized barbells is you cannot get the 'fashion' balls to screw into the top of it as these are usually sized at a 1.6mm.
great review but not something i think i could put myself through - tatoo's yes piercings no - great review well worth an E ady
darkangelwing 16.04.2006 22:26
Sounds very painful
Lancashire_Angel 10.05.2004 00:52
Jeez it sounds like an awful lot of horrific pain just to get a bit of metal stuck in your tongue. I think also it suits some people tremendously but some look ridiculous, my brother had it done and his is laughable. Perhaps there should be a computer generated way of seeing what it would look like first. Definitely not for me I admire your bravery!