The Nose Ring

The only antidote to mental suffering is physical pain.Karl Marx

Many years ago, I got my nose pierced. I think I was going through a rough period, because I remember my husband barging into the tattoo parlor to finish an argument with me.

Just recently, I decided to change the gold stud for a hoop. I think I was hoping for a jolt of pain, and I was not disappointed. But the cheap steel nose ring I bought wasn’t very pretty. I wanted a gold one, to match my earrings.

After a few weeks, I found the gold nose ring that my brother gave me, back when he decided to stop wearing shit in his nose. I knew I’d have trouble changing the rings, so I went to a piercing place just down the street from my house. A nice young hipster changed the nose rings. He had the assured but delicate touch of a brain surgeon.

Naturally, my brother’s nose ring was much too big and looked stupid. It bothered me all the time. I cry so often that I’m constantly blowing my nose. So I found a cheap gold ring that I hoped would be the right size.

Today, craving more pain, I waked down the street to see the nice young piercer. I learned that he was out of town, but another piercer would help me. An older , battered looking guy with a million faded tattoos led me to the piercing station and told me to lay down on the table.

His hands hovered above my nose, shaking badly. He attempted to get hold of my nose ring. I tried to conceal my fear as I asked, “Why are your hands shaking?” The hands started shaking wildly as he made another swipe at my nose.

I said. “That’s it, stop!” He backed away as I sat up. I don’t know who was more embarrassed but I wasn’t going to let some fucker rip my nose. He looked at me with a resentful expression and announced: “Hypoglycemia.”

I walked out as fast as I could. I walked a few blocks to another tattoo parlor. I explained what had happened to a dwarfish young guy with gigantic holes in his earlobes. He led me to a chair and replaced the big ring with the smaller one, warning that I would feel some “pressure.” The pain was a solid nine on a scale of one to ten. Hours later, my nose still hurts.

Of course, the new ring is too small.

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25 Responses to The Nose Ring

  1. Kapaali says:

    Get some Anbesol (?), whatever that stuff is that you put on toothaches. It’ll make the hurt stop. My piercer friend recommends it. Also, I’d wait until The Helpful Hipster comes back to town, and then go back to him. He can probably sort you out with the right size ring.

  2. If it’s legitimate to say, “Keep your nose out of my business!” is it also legitimate and wise to advise, “Keep your nose out of your own business?”

  3. WendyB says:

    Do I need to make a custom nose-ring for you?

    I have such bad allergies that I’m always blowing my nose, so I can’t imagine wearing something in it. It gives me enough trouble as it is.

  4. Isabella says:

    I don’t understand why it would hurt.. I have both my nostrils pierced, and none of them hurt when I change them.
    Although it might have something to do with the “cheap gold rings”.
    Nickel will fuck up the piercing. I recommend 18 ct gold, or if you don’t want to spend that kind of money, zircon gold.
    Zircon gold is titanium covered in plastic, which doesn’t irritate the piercing at all.

  5. arline says:

    Wendy, of course you need to make a custom ring for her. 🙂

    She will have pain, and at once remember that she is loved.

  6. Your final sentence ‘killed it’ for me! I did not know you needed Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut, it is top draw stuff in the chocolate department. Mind you I’ve discovered a lime and chilli on which is brilliant. Also I will attempt to master the art of getting photo taken so will attempt again. Now has this comment relieved the pain yet as it is quite dull so might have a numbing effect.

  7. RLC says:

    Isabella, I have a nose ring and have never changed it but it hurts if I move it around too much, it’s a real stabbing, stinging pain that makes your whole nose throb. Now I’m terrified of changing it.

  8. Eep! I’m impressed by your committment. A few years ago I knocked my earrings out by opening a car door (no, I have no idea how. I have taken clumsiness to a new level). I couldn’t be arsed looking for a new pair so now I just don’t wear earrings, unless they are danglies for going out. Glad you got your fill of pain, even if you didn’t stick with shaky hand guy.

  9. Cricket9 says:

    I have my ears pierced and a tattoo – both didn’t hurt much, although I almost fainted at the ears piercing for some weird reason; since an Indian woman taking her 2 years old, cute as a button daughter to have her nose pierced told me “I’m so sorry for her, it hurts so much, my poor baby” etc., there is no way I’m letting anyone touch my nose. The old guy could have hypoglycemia, but probably not…
    The picture made my day, SW!

  10. Ann says:

    I can’t believe it hurt to change the ring and that it still does hurt! I am worried it is infected! My nose ring never hurts and I take it out and clean it daily. I wanted to switch from my tiny diamond stud to a ring. I have bought 2 different sizes of nose rings and both looked like total shit on me. I think they’re like open toe shoes with socks: I absolutely love the look on other people but on me, it just looks stupid.

  11. Madeline says:

    Ah, I loved this post. The last line is fantastic, SW.

  12. chomy says:

    aw. i have a nose ring too, had to get my silver one replaced by a gold one and the guy also said ‘you will feel a little pressure’ and the pain i felt was def not ‘a little pressure’. 8 out of 10. it hurt because they had to stretch it, (gold rings i guess are usually slightly bigger in girth) so that is expected. i do like my gold ring, it is the right size for me(i have the kind with the tiny ball on it) , def a step up from the ring i had before which i didn’t particularly like. i say maybe try another piercing shop, seeing as the one from your brother was bigger, i doubt it will hurt again since the stretch already happened, anything smaller will just go in.

    Vitamin E gel or tree oil helps to sooth it . just pierce the Vit E gelcaps and apply , u will get some relief from the pain.

  13. sketch42 says:

    That can be the first page of your book.

    Also, the last thing I would EVER want to do is call attention to my nose.

    I always wanted an eyebrow ring though.

  14. RedPaeony says:

    Tylenol with codeine should sort you out. Then an Ambien before you sleep tonight, because if you’re a belly sleeper like me, you’ll unwittingly scrape the little hoop around on the pillow, which will be a whole other context of pain. I’ve been there. Not to mention the long hair that would get caught and wound around the stud. God, I sound so shitty and negative, but I don’t mean to!

    When my daughter was a baby, she was entranced with the sparkly thing in mommy’s nose and would constantly reach for it. The last time she did, she caught it and that was the end of my nosering.

    Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut is the shiznit!

  15. Alicia says:

    That is commitment.

    I feel bad for hypoglycemic dude…but he shouldn’t be piercing people AT ALL. Hopefully, you gave him something to think about.

  16. BethUK says:

    I feel a bit bad for the shaky hand man too but I’m glad you didn’t let him near your nose! I had no idea it hurt so much to have your nose done! The nose was going to be my rebellious grandma piercing but I might have to re-think now.

  17. My septum is pierced and when I was at my friend’s tattoo shop, their piercer had an OMG Me Too! moment and decided to show me his (without a request) and pulled it out with a gigantic crusty booger on it. I never pull mine out in public after that.

  18. drollgirl says:

    don’t kill me for laughing at this! the last line!!! eeee!!! i am tempted to share a story, but it isn’t nearly as good as yours, so i’ll spare ya!

  19. Andra says:

    I think you’re all crazy.

  20. Jazmin says:

    This made me sad Sister Wolf. I know you’re going through a lot, and I understand the need for physical pain to get through the emotional pain. I’ve been there too many times, and luckily, I’ve been able to keep a handle on it. Sometimes I get panic attacks just from wanting to have physical pain to deal with my moods, but I’ve managed to get through it

    Please feel free to reach out to me if you need to. I don’t want to admonish you for looking for physical pain, but please stay safe. *hugs* I hope this won’t upset, it’s just I saw myself for a second and I would have liked someone to offer me help when I needed it.

  21. Sister Wolf says:

    Make Do – I’ve discovered dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt! But Cadburys Fruit and Nut will always be first in my heart.

    drollgirl – No, tell the story!

    Alicia – Fuck that guy! He needs to say away from needles.

    Ann – Some noses just balk at having been pierced, I think. I’m ready to go back to a stud.

    Andra – We are. Just ignore us.

    Jazmin -Thank you so much. I will limit my self-harm to tattoos. But I’ll take you up on your offer if I need to. xoxo

  22. Jazmin says:

    Thank you Sister Wolf. Please feel free to do so anytime.

  23. SiouxsieL says:

    I loved this post. Makes perfect sense to me. And love the pic of you above with the new hardware.

  24. I have a fairly new nostril piercing after wanting one for over 10 years, I finally did it in around August this year.

    It is giving me absolute grief, refusing to heal. A small red lump has moved in next to the piercing hole and it gets infected ever other week.

    A few days ago I bought a titanium ring online (couldn’t find one locally in natural (dark silver) coloured titanium? Everything was pink or purple or green or black or -vomit- RAINBOW titanium.

    I am praying that I the cause of my grief is because I am simply allergic to the steel ring in my nose and that the purer titanium will settle the wound once and for all.

    If not – much to my chagrin, I will probably have to take it out. Dying inside.

  25. Why would you decide to go into the piercing business if your hand shakes? Or stay in it for that matter. I agree with Alicia – I hope you gave him something to think about when you left.

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