Teenage girls need to make a personal fashion statement, something to set them apart. I was a teenager long before there were sweatpants with writing on the ass. And clearly my trouble attracting guys had to do with the single piercing of my ears. So I decided to get my ears double pierced. But that was not the statement, oh no. The statement was wearing both earrings of a pair in the same ear. You can’t say I didn’t live on the edge.
I convinced my Mom to take me to have it done. She thought I was nuts, but the passion of my argument allowed me to block out how much I hate pain. As soon as we got in the car, the reality of having holes created in my flesh where there weren’t any before started to hit me.
By the time we entered the jewelry store I was somewhere else entirely. This is silly, my hair will cover the second holes anyway. One piercing is plenty.
I could hear my Mom making small talk with the
staple gun operator, torturer piercing technician. She had to arrange for my mutilation because I wasn’t saying anything.
I don’t even remember getting into the chair of doom, but once seated there the time allowed for perseverating over another set of piercings was over.
I braced for impact, white-knuckling the arms of the chair. I shot a look of panic at my Mom, who rolled her eyes in response. She probably said something helpful like, “you don’t even know what real pain is,” and also, “this was your idea, remember?”
So I turned to the technician and decided I’d have to use my “be gentle with me, I’m a baby” pain disclaimer. Freely admitting you cannot handle pain to people about to inflict pain rarely backfires (I’ve admittedly never been a hostage or prisoner of war, so I can’t vouch for this in all circumstances). Even if your whining annoys the person, it still disarms them into being nicer, even if they have to fake it.
The technician was a seasoned professional. “Don’t worry, I’ll talk you through it.”
She marked my ears. “OK, now hold your breath and you won’t feel a thing.”
It seemed like a strange request, but I would’ve done anything she asked to avoid feeling pain. I filled my lungs with air and concentrated on holding it in until she gave the all clear. Or until my ear exploded with pain, whichever came first.
I heard a snapping noise and felt a slight pinch, but no pain. I let out all the air I’d sucked in and smiled in relief.
The technician beamed. “See, I told you, no pain.”
I just knew the breath thing had made the difference. I waited for her to tell me when to start holding my breath for the other ear, but she didn’t say anything. She kept fiddling with the gun right by my other ear.
Is she going to tell me when to hold my breath? It’s going to hurt if I don’t hold my breath. I’ll just start holding my breath now. What the hell is taking so long?
“All done!” My Mom took a quick look at my ears and then walked over to the counter with the technician to pay.
It hadn’t hurt, but I felt strange. Mom was talking and I could tell she thought I was right behind her. I tried to catch up, but I felt warm, tingly, and dizzy.
My new earrings started to burn in my ears and the backs felt so sharp. I couldn’t help thinking about how those pointed tips had torn new holes in my ear lobes.
Mom is the only one of the two of us who knows what happened next. While paying the technician she heard a commotion across the store. Only then did Mom notice I wasn’t right behind her. I was no longer sitting in the chair either.
I hadn’t made it three steps before passing out.
This post is in response to the writing prompt at Studio 30 Plus this week: “She held her breath.”
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done in the name of fashion?