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  • I think it looks lovely dear

    18th June, 2013


    “By the way, it is nice to have your ears pierced…” (Germanos, 1991, p. 10).


    One of my fondest memories of my Grandma is from when I was 15 and just started getting my ears pierced multiple times. Someone in my family was saying that more than one ear piercing gave a bad impression, and Grandma leaned over to me and said “I think it looks lovely, dear.” Imagine that in a slightly creaky, affectionate voice. It was so kind of her to stand up for me, even if it possibly wasn’t what she truly believed.



    Sonja's pierced ear. It's real.

    Sonja’s ear

    I get lots of questions about ear piercing (see photo for my credentials, sorry about the quality, it was tricky to take), so here’s my top tips, FAQ and a rant about piercing guns.



    Frequently asked questions and answers


    These are my top six frequently asked questions – even though they are all about my ear, I would say they are also my top six frequently asked questions about me at all, I guess when people feel awkward they will just ask about the thing that seems most apparent.


    Did it hurt?

    The most painful were the ones I did myself. I do not recommend this method, you should see a professional so that you don’t get crooked piercings. It is also quite painful if you are getting a piercing on top of scar tissue. The rook piercing is meant to hurt a lot, but it was about the same as the others. I normally tap along my meridians when I’m getting a piercing as a calming pain management technique. Ear piercing will never be as painful as other body piercings.


    How many are there?

    Twelve, the rook piercing is only one hole through the cartilage but not the back of the ear (usually creates confusion, so it’s better not to have this level of detail).


    Is it real, are they all individual?

    As real as real, all individuals. This has increased since ear cuffs were worn so widely at the Met Ball, so it’s assumed that everyone’s ears are covered in fakery.


    Did you get them done all at once?

    No. The swelling alone rules out this option.


    How do you sleep?

    Variably, but not because of piercings. If you had difficulty, you could use a save my face pillow to elevate the head.


    Do you set off the metal detectors?

    No. This might depend on the country, though – At NLS6, I was excited to see that Ruth Kneale had the same ear piercings as me, and she said that she sets off U.S. machines.



    In Greece in the 1940s, “If you didn’t have earrings, you put a little stick of oregano through your ear so that you would not get an infection. If you were in the bush and didn’t have spirit, you put your own saliva on your ears, every morning before you ate anything.” (Simopoulos, 1991, p. 11).

    I haven’t tried this but it certainly sounds interesting. In high school we used tiny bamboo shoots as cheap piercing camouflage – you put them in while they’re still green, and they will gradually turn to a pine bamboo colour.



    Top piercing tips



    Maintaining your health for at least a few months before getting a piercing (it should be a long-term plan). Get adequate rest, good nutrition and drink rosehip hibiscus tea to assist with vitamin C levels. Be prepared for the piercing not working – before I get anything done, I consider whether I’d be happy to have a scar on the site. Practice with pretend jewellery, take a photo and put it on the bathroom mirror (or high traffic area) to see if you like it.



    Make at least 2 blood donations over a few months before you get a piercing (as long as you’re not already in the “banned time period” or otherwise ineligible)– you’ll be ruled out for one year after it’s been done, so you should help while you can. This will assist others and think of it as good karma in case something happens after you get your piercing and you need a transfusion.



    Check that your piercing jewellery is hypoallergenic, stainless steel grade metal. Nickel allergies are common as well as painful and not optimal for a clean heal! Remember that allergies are different to infections.



    Find your preferred piercer, check that they are registered and ready to take the time to talk to you about possible areas for piercing or if they’d suggest different options. They should also provide aftercare advice. Ask if they will be using a hollow needle or a piercing gun. If they use a piercing gun, leave the premises. “…piercing guns are NEVER appropriate, and are often dangerous when used on anything – including earlobes.” (Llewellyn-Sare, 2008, p. 2). This is because piercing guns cause more scar tissue and swelling, the jewellery can get stuck in the middle of your ear (not going through to the other side), and creates an environment for poor healing. They cannot be autoclaved so they have high potential for transmitting communicable diseases (Llewellyn-Sare, 2008, p. 6).



    After the piercing has been done, clean it regularly with lavender oil – but it has to be pure lavender, without a carrier oil. This is fantastic for healing. If you’re in Canberra you can buy it from the Hierophant. For ear piercings, keep your hair away from the back of your ear, and clean the area behind the ear to prevent sebaceous cysts (irritated oil glands).



    Once the piercing has healed, you can clean your jewellery by putting it in a cup, sprinkle some bicarb soda on it and then cover it in hot water. Leave for an hour, drain, rinse, then leave on a paper towel to dry. Shiny!



    Whatever you choose, I think it looks lovely, dear.





    Germanos, Elizabeth. (1991). It is nice to have your ears pierced (p. 10).

    In Northcote Library. Adult Literacy and Basic Education Program.,It is nice to have your ears pierced.  [Northcote, Vic.] :  Northcote Library Adult Literacy and Basic Education Program


    Llewellyn-Sare, Angela.  (2008). Puncture kit.  West Lakes, S. Aust :  Seaview Press


    Simopoulos, Elizabeth. (1991). How we pierced our ears in the 1940s in Greece (p. 11).

    In Northcote Library. Adult Literacy and Basic Education Program.,It is nice to have your ears pierced.  [Northcote, Vic.] :  Northcote Library Adult Literacy and Basic Education Program



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