I've had my ears pierced since I was an infant, thanks to my mom. By the time I hit my teens, I wanted a row of piercings halfway up the ear and in the cartilage. I remember seeing the girls in TLC with cartilage earrings and coveting one of my own. So I got plenty of ear piercings over the years. I added tragus piercings and cool, non-lobe piercings. But since I always wear my hair down as a security blanket, no one saw the piercings and when the hoops and posts fell out — as they often do from brushing, blowdrying, tossing and turning, and other activities — I somehow got lazy about replacing them.
For the past year, I realized most of my ear holes had closed, and in late summer, I was hit with the urge to rock more post earrings in the cartilage and the lobes. I don't have or want any face piercings — no eyebrow or nose/septum piercings for me, thanks! — but I always like the look of an adorned ear. I decided to go to Claire's in the mall to re-pierce. Since these would be simple piercings, I didn't need to go to a pro shop and shell out cash. Claire's and the gun would have to suffice and I was totally fine with this inexpensive option.
I'm an adult, far outside of the boutique's tween and teen demo, but I had to remind myself in advance not waste cash on any One Direction junk in the store, like blankets or bracelets. I'm a sucker for that stuff — seriously, my dog's bedding is all 1D and Biebs' blankies.
First, I will mention that I did endure a piercing horror story as a teen. I got some of my ear piercings on the New Jersey boardwalk. What a mistake that was, since one of thick, small posts submerged inside my ear as I slept on it, landing me in the E.R, where the ear was frozen and the offending earring yanked out. But that's what I got for going to a boardwalk stand. Clearly, I should've gone to Claire's.
To my surprise, my amazing piercer Nicole at a Claire's nestled just outside of Philly informed me that four of my holes on my left ear were still open, so we decided to add two more fresh piercings to each ear and put post earrings in the ones that were still open but tight.
My right ear's prior holes had closed, save for one, so we opted for a fresh one up top and one mid-ear.
The worst part about the whole experience? Having to pull my hair back in a half-up, half-down 'do, Ariana Grande-style. Other than that, it was easy breezy. I haven't gotten an ear piercing from the gun in at least 10 years and I always remember the jolt from the tool. I am happy to report that the process has been modernized and the gun appears to have less thrust, since I didn't feel a thing. Also, the earring you're pierced with is no longer thicker than your average stud, so you can keep it in after it heals.
Nicole tested my previous holes to see which ones were still viable and then placed dots accordingly, to keep things symmetrical and uncrowded. It was a mini-bonding sesh as we chatted about different placements for the fresh piercings and our piercing histories.
We went with dark blue titanium posts for the newbies on the left ear.
This is my right ear again. The bright lights at Claire's made me realize I need to use a pore minimizer when I am going to be bathed in artificial light.
Here's how my left ear looks now, with the fresh piercings and the old ones back to work, so to speak. It looks exactly how I envisioned it. Even though my friend Renee texted me and labeled me a stronger woman than she for trusting a mall piercer, it was all totally fine. Nicole was a pro and very informative — she walked me through choosing which jewelry to use in which location based on thickness, and the importance of aftercare.
While it did suck to have shoppers stop and stare as I got pierced, since Claire's situates the piercing station right in the front of the store, like a fishbowl, I tried to be easy going, waving to and smiling at the little kids who strolled by, especially the girls, so they wouldn't fear ear piercing.
Claire's is a wonderland of cute stuff. You can easily get sucked into the vortex of cuteness thanks to squishy, bright pink iPhone cases, chunky Katy Perry "Roar" bracelets, Austin Mahone-fronted journals, and furry pens. Looking at the pink explosion while getting pierced relaxed me, too.
I would repierce at Claire's again. No shame in a mall piercing, even if you're out of middle school.
Images: Giphy; Amy Sciarretto (5)