Q: Is the right or left ear piercing the one that means you’re gay? - Alex
A: Few questions get asked more before an earlobe piercing than this one. It continues to be one of the most widely spread myths about piercing, and it is rather easy to dispel through a simple experiment. If concerned, get the piercing on the side you are interested in and see if it changes your most intimate desires.
This, of course, is a joke. Piercing your body and adorning it with jewelry will not change your sexual preference. The short answer is that the “gay side” concept is a thing of the past. So, let’s talk a little bit about the past.
The history has origin by members of the gay community signaling their sexual and/or role preference to others. This is/was common with many other adornment codes such as keys and handkerchiefs. Yet as body piercing grew in popularity throughout multiple subcultures over the past 20 years, using the left or right side as a signal, has subsided to merely an homage to the past in certain circles. People just started piercing what they wanted, wherever they found it most aesthetically pleasing.
There are several piercings and placements that prompt certain assumptions based upon a person’s cultural background. For example; someone from the United States will perceive a left nostril piercing differently than someone from India. A person from Kenya will perceive stretched ear lobe piercings very differently than someone from Canada. In other words, you can’t predict or control how others will interpret your piercing choices, so you might as well focus on what will make you happy.
Piercings are representations of the people wearing them. And since we all think and communicate differently, we all will interpret piercings differently, and you can’t please everyone.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to what piercing or which side you prefer. At the end of the day, you are the person who needs to be happy with your choice. Adorning yourself by partaking in the ritual of piercing offers you the ability to show off who you are, but it doesn’t change who you are.
So, go ahead, show off!
Q: What advice do you have if I want to give a body piercing or jewelry as a holiday gift? - Jasmine
A: The joy of the holiday season is upon us, which means our family and friends are deserving of wonderful and personal gifts. Avoid the socks and scarves, put down the itchy sweater, and get something they can love for a lifetime - a new piercing and/or some fantastic body jewelry!
If you are giving the gift of jewelry, the most common problem when buying for others is sizing. What is the gauge or length/width needed? This is difficult to answer when the intended wearer is not available to ask, but picking the wrong size would be a big waste of your money. (Professional studios will not accept returns or exchanges, in order to ensure safety at their studios).
If you are not certain of the jewelry size or the person’s taste, we suggest gift cards. Gift cards let them come to us to pick out a piece they will love. You can even make it a personal trip together and be part of the piercing and jewelry selection process.
While gifting for others is a great feeling, it can be exhausting! Why not treat yourself this season and give yourself that much deserved piece of gorgeous jewelry, that perfect little piercing just for you? Discover the new you for the New Year among so many custom options, materials, and gemstones to express yourself. Why not? You deserve it! #31DaysOfGold2016
Q: What is better, a piercing gun or a piercing needle? - Stacy
A: Originally manufactured to tag cattle and other livestock, the piercing gun was later modified for use on humans. Hygiene, healing, and jewelry bio-compatibility were not necessarily primary considerations given to livestock at the time, and although things have improved over the years, none of these factors have been thoroughly addressed as the gun transitioned to human use.
There are a few concerns that should be noted regarding piercings guns: such as cleanliness, education, technique, and jewelry.
Reusable piercing guns, often used at mall kiosks and novelty jewelry stores, cannot be properly decontaminated or sterilized before being used on a client. Fluids collected on the gun from one client and can transfer to the jewelry used on the next client. This could spread harmful bacteria or viruses between clients.
Minimal education often goes hand-in-hand with the use of piercing guns. Inadequate handwashing facilities/practice, the lack of single use marking pens, improper gloves, aftercare knowledge/products are also common concerns. The piercing gun practitioner can introduce even more opportunities for bacterial transfer and poor healing.
The trauma caused by the jewelry used in piercing guns is much greater than a professional piercing needle. The solid pointed tip will force its way through the tissue creating a rough raw wound, this leads to excessive swelling and vascular damage. These negative factors are amplified when this solid blunt force is applied to cartilage. This structural tissue can create an effect much like shooting a cannonball through a brick wall. The cartilage can end up shattered and permanently damaged. Since tissue type, thickness and density can vary, the gun has the potential to get stuck during the piercing and the jewelry may not go all the way through as intended.
The jewelry material commonly used in piercing guns does not meet implant-grade specifications. Phrases like, “sterling silver”, “surgical steel” and “hypoallergenic” often give clients a false sense of security, when none of these are safe for long-term healing in the body. The jewelry design is a “one size hopefully fits all” and doesn’t allow for adequate swelling or cleaning. Most of these jewelry surfaces are highly porous, which means they are more likely to harbor bacteria promoting infection. Neither the piercing gun practice or jewelry meet the minimum standards set by the Association of Professional Piercers (APP).
In contrast, hollow piercing needles are single use, sterilized, razor sharp, and will make a clean cut as they pass through both soft and cartilage tissue. This creates an environment that is less traumatic, more comfortable, and easier for the body to heal. The education level of each piercer will vary, but a professional piercer should be knowledgeable and experienced in aseptic technique. Jewelry used in professional studios should be appropriately fitted per client anatomy, meet implant-grade specifications, and have a mirror surface finish to maximize healing success.
By piercing with a single use piercing needle, with proper sterilization and piercing techniques, the problems most commonly associated with piercing guns are eliminated. For more information, visit the APP website at safepiercing.org.
Our entire staff here at Prysm collectively answers these questions. Please ask those questions you've always wanted to know. Not all will get published, but all will get answered.