Contrary to what I may project on dating apps, I'm not a spontaneous person. Practicality, planning, and an overall sense of "I 100% know what’s going on" are pillars in my life, and in all honesty, I’m not ashamed of it. I know it’s traditionally viewed as "cool" for a woman to be super spontaneous and go with the flow in our society, but my Taurus sun and Capricorn rising really don’t set me up for easy-going success.
I have a deep love for psychoanalyzing every minor or not-so minor action—and when it comes to piercings, it’s no different. I’m about to generalize here so bare with me: For women in this society, getting told what to do with our bodies is just another Tuesday. Or, like they call it in Texas, a law. So when we do mundane things like get dressed the way we want to, go or not go to the gym, or even get tattoos and piercings, the ownership we feel over our bodies expands, even just for a moment. Call it a sense of autonomy coupled with creative expression. But back to the nipple piercing.
Why I Pierced My Nipple
I typically don’t like to plan out what I’m going to get until I’m in the shop and looking at the jewelry—I’m being spontaneous, remember?—but this particular piercing excursion definitely involved some thought. A quick backstory to set the scene for you: My body went through many changes after I got off birth control. Without digressing into a very long conversation about all of the internal turmoil I experienced, one of the outwardly noticeable differences was that my boobs decreased by two whole cup sizes.
While I wasn’t thrilled about this, a perk immediately popped into my head. I thought I’m finally going to get my nipple pierced. Let me be clear, though. I think nipple piercings look phenomenal on any boobs, regardless of shape or size. That said, I had always wanted one but was too scared to do it, and then once being braless became a hell of a lot easier, it was time to go for it.
What ultimately gave me the courage, I believe, is thinking about how great the piercings would look under a tank-top and, if I’m perfectly honest, a whole lot of post-breakup hot girl summer energy. Without sounding like too much of a narcissist (I guess my ex did rub off on me after all), I’d never felt hotter. I’ve always considered myself a pretty confident person. Still, as someone who’s undergone years of body insecurity, it felt good to take ownership and control over my body and do something for myself and myself only.
The reality is society wants women to exist in a perpetual state of appeasement. It’s a limbo I’m certain every woman reading this knows all too well.
The Piercing Process
I reached out to Iris Studio in Miami, booked my appointment, and convinced a friend to come with me because I wasn’t about to do this alone. Although piercings and tattoos really don’t bother me, something about a sharp object going straight through my nipple just didn’t sit right with me.
Remember when I said I don’t ever do things on a whim? Well, here’s my catch 22: If I don’t plan, I get anxious. But if I do plan, I have more time to be anxious. Lucky for me, from the moment I walked into Iris Studio, the staff and overall vibe made me feel right at home. From the A+ decor to the almost all-female crowd—shout out to the one male piercer—the whole thing was starting to feel less and less intimidating.
My amazing piercer, Desiree, led me into a private room and walked me through the whole process. The clamp, I told her, was what scared me the most, thanks to a few horror stories from friends. To my surprise, she laughed off my comment and assured me no clamp was necessary; she was a pro. After getting my nipple hard with one very large Q-tip, she told me to take a deep breath, and just like that, a needle was inside my left nipple. The sensation, quite frankly, felt like what I can only describe as (sorry, trigger warning) fascia crunching. She slipped the other end of the jewelry through, and viola, I was a pierced woman.
If a regular cartilage ear piercing is a five or six out of ten on the pain scale, getting my nipple pierced was close to a seven. The pain lasted only a few seconds, and honestly, thanks to the adrenaline pumping through my body, I don't really remember it. According to my friend who somehow watched the whole thing (you know my eyes were shut), I didn’t even bleed. The whole ordeal was a 20-minute process, including the wait time. What followed was a week of mild discomfort, being careful not to hug anyone too tight, and acclimating to the fact that my boob now looked like it was winking.
Overall, getting my nipple pierced was exactly what I needed, even if I didn’t recognize at the time how it would impact me psychologically. Name a woman you know personally who has not experienced some form of body image issues. You can’t, can you? Now name a woman who hasn’t been shamed for either being "too sexual" or "not sexual enough." Bet you can’t again. The reality is society wants women to exist in a perpetual state of appeasement. It’s a limbo I’m certain every woman reading this knows all too well.
I can comfortably say that since I knew what being conventionally attractive meant, I’ve been chasing it in one way or another. Whether it was to cater to the male gaze or impress another woman be it in a work environment or otherwise, I lived each day projecting a hyper-specific image. One that sure, was my own, but definitely had some level of calculated precision behind its existence. Fast forward a few draining relationships and a whole lot of therapy and I’m not so suddenly (thank you years of continued self work) in a place where I’m loving and respecting myself in ways I never thought possible. Call it an increase in self love coupled with coming of age and exhaustion—regardless of whatever convoluted formula got me here, I’m here now.
So yes, I’m talking about piercings—tiny holes that will eventually close up should you not want them anymore—but to me, at least, they mean so much more. It’s ownership over my body. It’s releasing someone’s preconceived notions about who I am because of the way that I look. It’s understanding I can live between the lines of elegance and class while still feeling sexy and hot. It’s doing things that make me feel good just because I feel like it. And while this may sound way too melodramatic, each day when I’m changing, I smile when I look in the mirror because staring back at me is someone who loves herself enough to do what she wants with her body. But then again, there are moments when my psychoanalysis stays at the door because at the end of the day, sometimes it’s just not that deep.