My rook, and musings on body piercing

I hemmed and hawed for a while before going to "talk to" a piercer about getting a rook piercing (I was thinking of a snug too, but after consulting with the piercer about my ear anatomy I decided on the rook). Of course, "let's go talk about the piercing" was code for "I'm going to get something pierced." My boyfriend was with me and fell victim to the craze. He's got a shaved head and got two captive bead rings (a 14- and a 16-gauge) put into his earlobe. They look fab! Anyway, the rook goes through a decent chunk of cartilage and hurt evilly. The piercer approaches her art like I do my job: "This will hurt. Hold still." (So I learned through personal experience that the common-sense approach IS best for the patient!) My ear turned bright red, and my skull ached and throbbed for an hour or so, but then it quit all that, and now, the next morning, the ear looks normal. I'm waiting for hideous swelling and pain to occur. I'm expecting it, because I did my research and entered this game advisedly, and am barely daring to hope that I may escape it; my piercing looks freaking awesomely adorable. Don't get me wrong. It's pretty sore, as you'd expect from having a giant chunk of metal pushed through a giant chunk of cartilage, but it's not puffed up and red. I'm putting my Amazing Piercing Strategy to work so maybe that's why (800 mg of ibuprofen three times a day for 3 days, hands off, warm water and Dial soap in the shower, Witch Hazel squeezed over the site by a paper towel---NO Q-tips or cotton balls, hands off, hands off). Photos and musings on body piercing after the break.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="286" caption="Piercer getting ready to push the needle through into the receiver"]Poised[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="251" caption="All done, feeling woozy"]Done[/caption]

So why do this? I had my nose pierced a long time ago when I was in college the first time, and I did it to piss my parents off. That was pretty cut and dried. Then I started to like it because I think they just look cute on most people---even those with a beak like mine. I got it re-pierced because I missed having the first one and they've become so mainstream that I can work in a hospital with a tiny diamond glittering on my nostril (I've had a half-dozen patients say, "Oh! I just noticed your nose! That's cute!"). The ear? I KNOW this seems counterintuitive, but I don't feel like I'm scarring and maiming myself; instead I feel like I'm making a choice for more-or-less permanent decoration that I really, really like and makes me feel good about myself. I have looked intentionally plain and even avoided mirrors for a long time. I'm tired of that. I want to look a way that pleases me, and I'm old enough that I don't care a whole lot what other people think about it (IOW: I like mood rings and I'll wear one even though they're juvenile, whereas 10 years ago I would have NOT worn one). I still don't wear makeup, but I'm not wearing a ponytail ALL the time, the little sparkle on my nostril makes me happy, and I'm loving this rook. Fittingly, the earrings in my second lobe holes are tiny gold apples with diamonds in them. When the rook heals, many MANY months from now, I'll have a gold captive bead ring with a diamond put in it. I had a custom gold nose screw made with a flat 2-mm diamond (for that subtle sparkle look). I'll be able to just leave all that in and be happy with it. Exactly the way I want it. Squee!

This body-piercing phenomenon actually interests me. I may read some books on it. It's a cultural phenomenon dating WAY back, not just a deviant countercultural thing. Could it be as simple as people pierce and tattoo themselves because they think it LOOKS nice?