A Piercing Generation

For some, a variety of body piercing is considered taboo. Others admire them as body art. Over the years, each generation increases the threshold on what is accepted in body modification. The negative image that comes along with tattoos and piercing has perhaps evolved more into a subtle disapproval and a slight outrage expressed mainly by parents and peers, rather than society.

Discussing this topic with a group of Edmond teenagers creates an interesting point of view.

“Piercings have been around forever,” said Tyler Tully. “There is some acceptance, but we still get strange looks.”

“It makes me feel like I look like I should. And because of that, I can feel good about myself,” said Payton Jacobs.

Today there is a whole new world of piercing. Dermal anchors, lip and ear lobe stretching, tongue splitting, and horn implants are just a few of the types of body modifications available. However, before one quickly jumps to judgment on the reasoning for modifying your body, consider the stance that Tyler has adopted.

“What we do is simply making modifications to the body. Tanning, working out and plastic surgery are no different. They are just different ways of modifying.”

The most popular type of “stretching” is in the ear lobe. The size of the ring is determined by the size gage the person chooses. In the beginning of the process, a small piercing is made and plug of no more than .08 mm is installed. However, just as the name of the process indicates, the ear lobe will gradually stretch. After sometime, the old plug is removed and a slightly bigger one is put in its place. Over time, the size moves up into fractions of inches and bigger.
Payton has two inch plugs and Tyler’s are one and seven-eighths inches.

“There is a lot of time involved with getting your ears to stretch. There’s healing time and you have to slowly move up in sizes,” Payton said. “And when you first get them in, they look huge, but once you look in the mirror for a while, they begin to look small.”

Both indicate that the process is virtually painless.

A somewhat less popular type of stretching takes in the nasal septum.
“I don’t want to do my ears, but I am stretching my nose. It’s not as big as their stretched ears, but I’m going for a five-eights [inch] gage,” he said.

So, one of the first questions that comes to mind is, what permanent damage does this cause? And can any of this be reversed?

“It can be corrected, but if stretched enough, it can be difficult to restore the earlobe to its original appearance,” said plastic surgeon, Dr. Justin Jones. “Furthermore, regardless of the condition of the ear and the technique used to repair it, scars will be unavoidable. However, scars on the earlobe tend to heal well and the end result is usually a nice improvement.”

Nasal septum stretching cannot be reversed and can cause a mild deformation, or what is referred to as “septum droop.”

Each stated that their parents had problems with the piercing at first. But, over time they became comfortable with it. They also insist that through all of the stares and the name calling, they don’t do this for attention or to stand out.

“Some think that we do this to be weird, but that’s not true. It’s our way of life. If we didn’t do this, what else would we do?”

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