By Autumn B. From Virginia

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 During my sophomore year of college, right before Halloween, I convinced my friend to go get the cartilage piercing she’d been wanting for years. The night before we drove two hours to another college campus to go to a party that we would never find, despite all of the time we spent asking other students where the specific fraternity house was.

We ended up driving to her aunt’s house at around 2am and slept in her car until her aunt woke up and saw a text message that said we were outside of the house. After getting a few hours of sleep on the couch in her aunt’s house, we ended up discussing piercings with her aunt. The city we were in was well known for piercing/tattoo shops, and my friend’s aunt thought it would be great for my friend to just get her cartilage pierced before we drove back to school. After grabbing a bite to eat, we went to a few shops (the first few only did tattoos) to see how much each of them charged, before we reached our final one. They charged $15 for anything above the waist. My friend was incredibly nervous and was second guessing as to whether or not she should get her cartilage pierced, so at the last minute, I told her that I would get a piercing with her. I decided to get my nostril pierced, and I went before her.

The only piercings I had before that were the ones in my lobes from when I was an infant. I didn’t remember how much those hurt, so I was pretty nervous. I picked out a pink stud, closed my eyes, and held my friend’s hand in anticipation of the needle. The needle went in, and I was okay. However, my friend made me even more nervous by making a gasping noise once she heard the cartilage in my nose pop and saw the blood. It wasn’t half as bad as I thought it would be.

My friend also admits that if she hadn’t had that extra push, she probably wouldn’t have gotten her cartilage piercing. What should’ve been a mediocre weekend ended up being great, and we’ll have this memory for years to come. Even though I got the piercing on a whim, I absolutely love it, despite everything I’ve been through with it (ex. my dad not speaking to me for a couple of weeks, stubborn scar tissue, and the fistula almost closing on me during changing).