By Les C. from Holly, MI

It’s amazing what people will do on a bet. That’s how I got one of my piercings and I wasn’t even involved in the betting.

During the summer of 2002, I was talking to a co-worker named Brenda. She said she wanted me to go along with her when she got her tongue pierced. She hadn’t mentioned it before so I asked her why she was doing it and she said that her brother, Tony, was getting his tongue pierced and he had bet her ten dollars that she didn’t have the courage to do hers, as well.

I’d been intrigued about tongue piercings so I looked it up on the net and after reading about it, decided I was going to get mine done, too. I told her that and we called and made an appointment at the local piercing parlor. It happened to also be the local tattoo parlor and I knew the artist since I’d gotten a tattoo from him before.

We picked up her brother after work and went to the tattoo parlor. It was on the second floor of an old office building. The main entrance was just a small door with a sign that said “Mike’s” hung on the front door knob. You walked through the door, up a flight of old worn wooden stairs and turned right through an archway to the shop itself, obviously an apartment remodeled for the purpose.

There were printed tattoo designs hung all over the walls, a couple of tattoo books on the coffee table in the center of the room, a countertop with a built-in display case behind it. Small stuffed chairs were placed around the coffee table. The display case was full of jewelry of all types, piercing, non-piercing, regular earrings, belt buckles, etc.

Mike looked like an old hippie (which he was), complete with frayed jeans and a denim shirt, long ZZ-Top-style beard, thick glasses and a Harley-Davidson jacket. He talked with us for a few minutes to set us at ease and also to make sure that we all did want to get our tongues pierced.

He started with Tony sitting on a bar stool next to the counter, after cleaning/sterilizing his forceps, washing his hands and putting gloves on, etc. Tony stuck out his tongue and Mike grabbed it gently with the forceps, pulled it out and stuck the piercing needle through it. He then picked up the tongue stud, pushed it through Tony’s tongue, attached the ball on the end, and let go with the forceps. Then it was Brenda’s turn. She was a little more nervous than Tony or I, being afraid of needles but she bravely stuck out her tongue, pull, pop, and it was done. Then it was my turn.

I was expecting some pain and indeed, there was when he first put the needle through but oddly enough, as soon as the piercing was in and he let go, the pain disappeared. I’ve found that to be true with other piercings as well since then. I felt twinges when it hit the side of my cheek or my teeth, but otherwise, it didn’t bother me at all.

Mike gave us aftercare instructions, including not to eat anything solid for a day, then only soft food for a day or two. Brenda and Tony dropped me off at my house after going to the grocery store first and I put away the yogurt and soup I knew I needed for the weekend.
The piercing gave me no real problems. My tongue swelled up a little bit that night but by the next morning, the swelling was gone and it was as if I’d always had it, barring the occasional twinge I got when it hit my teeth.

Monday morning at work, I asked Brenda as soon as I saw her, how her piercing was doing. Mine hadn’t really affected me at all. Hers, on the other hand, made her sound like she had a mouthful of marbles or had just come from the dentist. Asking further, I found out that the first night, when she was only supposed to eat soft foods, she’d ignored Mike’s advice and had eaten pizza, and had eaten regular foods the whole weekend. Her swelling did go down eventually but she learned her lesson.

I’ve gotten other piercings since then but that one was the most memorable for me, in part because I did it with such good friends.