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?

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18 Responses to “Piercing”

  1. Susi
    Friday, May 4, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    Oh ****, passing out. I’ve done that once in a shop, probably because of dehydration, and while I watched surgeries. Not because I was grossed or anything but simply because I had to stand up and concentrate for so long, and because I had to tell myself “don’t pass out, don’t pass out”, LOL.
    For the name of fashion, the stupidest thing was probably to dye my hair. It’s too annoying to try to keep the roots in the right color.

    • logyexpress
      Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

      I once had a hairdresser talk me into highlights, but I made her promise they’d be subtle. An hour later and over $100 poorer, she unveiled my same damn hair.

      My Mom’s a nurse and pain and blood and guts don’t bother her in the slightest. So she has no patience for my childishness about pain.

  2. Larissa T. (Papa is a Preacher).
    Friday, May 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    Oh I’ve done that before too … fainted in a store. In a way it was so embarrassing, but I was so out of it, I actually thought it was kinda hilarious, and had a small smile throughout the whole waking up and fussing ordeal. .. weirdo. I know.

    • logyexpress
      Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

      I had to lie down for a couple hours after this. So silly, it didn’t even hurt!

  3. Ada
    Friday, May 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    Oh man. This is why I never bothered to get my ears pierced. Not even once. I once passed out in a college class. That was terrible. I also pass out almost every time my blood is drawn.

    I loved how this was written! I was holding my breath right with you! Do you still have double pierced ears?

    • logyexpress
      Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

      I have to lie down when my blood is drawn. Sometimes I get a look, but I just ask them if they’d rather I pass out.

      I still have double pierced ears. On the plus side, I started dating someone pretty much right after having it done–coincidence??? Probably. On the other hand, the only person I can remember noticing my special way of wearing earrings was an older colleague when I started my first “real” job after college. She was baffled. “Why do you wear your earrings like that?”

      I haven’t bothered wearing a second set of earrings in years. When I saw this writing prompt, it reminded me of this story and on Monday I wore two sets of earrings in my old style for the heck of it. But they kind of bothered me all day since I’m no longer used to wearing earrings in those holes. I couldn’t wait to take them out.

  4. Deus Ex Machina
    Friday, May 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    Yikes. I’m one of those weirdos who feels no pain. I pierced my nose with a sewing machine needle when I was 15. Even labor and C-section recovery were neither here nor there. Yet this afternoon, I am lying on a heating pad with 4 menthol patches on my back trying to look pathetic so that at least one of the four men in my house will perhaps bring me a drink with an umbrella in it or offer to rub my back. No such luck so far. Just a lot of eye-rolling. Maybe I should pass out! Brilliant!

    • logyexpress
      Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

      I wish pain didn’t bother me. I had trouble reading the sentence about your nose piercing.

  5. Brett Minor (@brettminor)
    Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    I used to be a professional piercer and came to notice the signs of someone about to pass out. One went down about once a week. Usually teenage girls getting their navels pierced. The would get up saying that didn’t hurt and then go down a few minutes later.

    • logyexpress
      Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

      I felt so dumb, because it hadn’t even hurt! I just didn’t have enough air. Yes, you can hold your breath too long. Oops.

  6. TriGirl
    Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    I once passed out while getting make-up applied in a store. It was weird, and super-embarrassing. I also had the double piercings, though somehow I don’t remember getting those second holes done…and I absolutely did it so I could wear two long earrings in one ear, and 2 studs in the other :)

    • logyexpress
      Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

      And here I thought I was so different! Do you ever use the second holes anymore? I just can’t be bothered.

  7. Pish Posh
    Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 1:36 am #

    I only do that at the dentist :) Piercings I just curse like a sailor :)

    I too thought I was so rad as a kid with the double piercings haha. Never use them.

    • logyexpress
      Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 11:50 pm #

      I’ve now used the second piercings twice in the past couple of weeks in remembrance of the effort it took to get them. The second time felt better than the first, but it still felt odd. It’s weird, I could sleep with earrings in the first piercing–I forget I’m even wearing them.

      I had so many dental issues as a kid, I’m glad I didn’t pass out there. I do have to lie down whenever I get blood drawn or BAM, Frazier’s down.

      • halfempty4now
        Friday, May 18, 2012 at 10:48 am #

        I’m glad I was able to make you feel better about makeup application!

        I was also embarrassed when the paramedics arrived because I had regained my vision by then. They took my blood pressure, told me it was low, had me sign a refusal of treatment form, and were on their way.

        I love how pregnancy is always the first thought! In the clinic in college, it was always assumed to be pregnancy or allergies. Oh your knee hurts? You must be pregnant!

  8. halfempty4now
    Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    I too fainted in a mall in my younger days. Like TriGirl, mine also involved makeup application. It was about a month after my LASIK eye surgery, and one of the first times I wore eye makeup since the surgery. I have subsequently learned that pressing on the eye is a clinical way to produce a vagal reflex, which slows the heart rate and lowers blood pressure, which can cause fainting. Fortunately, my mom was standing next to me and caught me as I slid off the high stool. I was completely blind for about 10 minutes and the paramedics were called. How embarrassing to have paramedics roll a stretcher through the mall for me! I bet you didn’t get that much attention. =) It was supposed to be a Mother’s Day photo shoot, so I pretty much ruined that.

    • logyexpress
      Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 11:39 pm #

      Yikes! The vagal reflex info is fascinating…now I have a reason for getting so squeamish about eye makeup. I’ve always hated applying eye makeup and getting makeovers and always just felt like a baby about it. But there’s an explanation from medical science to explain my queasiness. Indeed, I did not get that much attention. I also didn’t go blind at all, scary.

      I did pass out a few years ago (twice actually) and the people I was with called the paramedics. I was so embarrassed when I came to and angrily asked my husband why they’d called the ambulance. “Because your lips were turning blue.” Oh, well in the case it’s OK! I just had low blood sugar. (I was NOT pregnant like all the responding personnel kept speculating).

      • halfempty4now
        Friday, May 18, 2012 at 10:55 am #

        I’m glad I was able to make you feel better about makeup application!

        I was also embarrassed when the paramedics arrived because I had regained my vision by then. They took my blood pressure, told me it was low, had me sign a refusal of treatment form, and were on their way.

        I love how pregnancy is always the first thought! In the clinic in college, it was always assumed to be pregnancy or allergies. Oh your knee hurts? You must be pregnant!

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