The Politics of Piercing


Recently a conversation popped up on Facebook regarding a friend who was going to get her daughter's ears pierced, and wanted to know where she should go to get it done. Now when I first got my ears pierced at age 8, it was commonplace to go to the mall's jewelry store to get pierced with the little gun, two big punches (OW!) and it was done. Now there is an option that not many people are aware of, and are a little leery of - going to a tattoo and piercing studio and having it done there. Many people commented that this was a much better option, and the friend eventually agreed. But there's a stigma attached to tattoo and piercing studios, so many people don't explore this option. So what is the right decision?

The answer, of course, is that it's totally up to the parent in question. But there are factors to be explored, and that's what we'll be talking about today. In a mall store, the gun used is a forced punch, and it literally shoots the earring through the lobe of the ear. It's a traumatic physical force, and the pain and healing process is much more complex, as all of us who have had this experience know. On the other hand, in a piercing studio, the piercing is done with a needle, by hand, and is a smooth and careful motion, with much less trauma to the person getting pierced's body. In this regard, it's a lot easier to heal, and the pain is much less. But that's not the big question. That, of course, is reserved for the idea of if you want to bring your kid to a tattoo and piercing studio in the first place.


Tattoo studios have a reputation. Dirty, scary, full of terrifying bikers or the like full of tattoos and piercings that would scare the bejeezus out of you and your kids. Kids don't belong in tattoo studios! Ew! Gross! Of course this is far from the truth. In a mall store, your kids' ears are getting pierced by a store employee. They might be absolutely great at their job, or they might not be. You don't know. In a tattoo and piercing studio, you will be dealing with a trained professional, a piercer with a license to do their art, and to the surprise of many people, piercing studios are meticulously clean and sterile, to government standards, and the employees of the studio are highly trained to do their jobs. They will take the time to get the piercing exactly right, because they are doing it by hand, instead of using the piercing gun, and will give specific instructions as to how to care for the piercing. This is their art, in the end, and they want their piercing to be taken care of properly.


I'm not knocking getting your ears pierced at the mall. Heck, I got mine done that way five times in each ear. But I'm here to tell you today that there's another, less traumatic way of getting the job done when your child asks to get their ears pierced. And no, going to a tattoo studio to get it done doesn't mean your child is going to want to get tattooed at age 8. In fact, seeing people getting tattooed and the pain involved in the process might get them turned off to the practice entirely. Win - win, right?