People have been modifying their bodies with piercings and tattoos for thousands of years, sometimes as a part of their culture and sometimes simply as a way to express themselves. Body piercings can run the gamut from a stud in your earlobe to rings, bars, and even implants located anywhere on your body.
If you are looking for a form of self-expression that is as daring as it is decorative a body piercing might be right for you, but there are lots of things to consider before a needle meets your skin. You will want to do plenty of research and a little bit of soul searching before you make a final decision.
There are dozens of different types of piercings, some easy to keep hidden, some easy to keep clean, and some more difficult to maintain. For example, a simple earlobe piercing can heal in 6-8 weeks while a typical belly button piercing can take anywhere from 6 months to a year to heal completely, which is a something you should be aware of when deciding whether or not to get those particular piercings.
Before you start thinking about how awesome you would look with a piercing or two (or three or four!) you will want to answer a few questions about yourself.
How Clean a Person Are You?
Are you someone who picks a shirt up off the floor and sniffs it to see if it is clean enough to wear that day or needs to be reminded to brush your teeth in the morning? Perhaps an earlobe piercing might be a better choice for you.
This is especially true for piercings in areas where they would be exposed to a lot of bacteria, such as piercings in the lip or tongue, belly button, or genitalia. This is not a situation where you should assume the best of yourself, but quite the opposite. Assume the worst of your hygiene habits and make your decisions accordingly.
The only thing worse than your piercing getting infected is if the doctor removes it to let it heal, leaving you with a prescription for antibiotics, scar tissue, and a receipt for a piercing that only lasted a few days or weeks.
What Do You Want To Do With Your Life?
This is a difficult question to think about, especially given that most people don’t follow the same career path for their entire lives, but it is an important one. Do you want to be a kindergarten teacher or a burlesque dancer? A senator or an actor? A mechanic or a writer? Almost any job you can think of could either impact or be impacted by a body piercing.
A mechanic might need to choose piercings that won’t get snagged by machinery. A burlesque dancer might find a navel piercing is beneficial in their line of work. A kindergarten teacher might choose a tongue ring or belly button ring because they are easy to hide from plain view and less likely to get pulled or snagged by the kids in their class. A senator might need to have a piercing that can be hidden discreetly beneath a suit. Washington D.C. has about the same number of tattoo removal locations as Dallas, TX despite having half the population, and the impact of body art on a political career is likely a huge part of the reason why.
But your career isn’t the only thing to consider. How will pregnancy impact a navel piercing? Have you researched how a Prince Albert would impact your ability to get an erection? If you want to travel a lot you might need to think about how piercings could be impacted by metal detectors and other security machines in airports. Consider all of the possible directions your life could reasonably go before you finally decide on which piercings are right for you.
Consider Your Current Situation
After you’ve given some thought to your future you should take a moment and give some thought to your present. What does your daily life look like? Do you sit in a classroom all day or do you teach kickboxing classes? Are you relatively unencumbered or are you tied down to a mortgage and a car loan? Do you have decent health insurance? Do you have the money to go to a proper, licensed body piercing studio?
These things all impact which piercings you might consider and which you might pass on for now. While impetuousness can be a good thing in some situations it is always better to deliberate carefully when considering body modifications of any kind, be they piercings, tattoos, or otherwise. A little bit of thought and preparation can make the difference between a piercing you love and a piercing you regret.