By Abigail Glasgow

Since antiquity, body piercings have expanded into a huge array of possibilities, from Egyptian gold bars as symbols of power to purposeful Roman piercings as a promotion of a ruler’s dedication. Many of these traditional piercings have recently re-emerged, from the covering of the helix of the ear with various cartilage piercings to those that might even venture to the nose or belly button. After talking to students and reflecting on my own experience with piercings, there appears to be an entire process behind the acquisition of these small body accessories. So what does the piercing “journey” really look like?

Piercings can range from quaint pearls you wear to your first interview to the edgy stud you sport on a day-to-day basis, but before you pick your jewel, there’s always something to consider: the parental obstacle. A parent’s hesitance toward their child getting a piercing is generally rooted in a desire for their child to maintain a more “professional” look, as well as a slight denial that their child can “mark up” their body as they so please (at least that’s what my dad is always saying). For Kate Hopkins (COL’ 16), her parents reached a certain point where their disapproval didn’t prevent the piercing, but as she put it, “they are mostly over it.”

Photo by Allie Little Photo by Allie Little

So once permission is acquired (or once you decide to ignore it), you have to pick your setting. Like Kate Hopkins, some decide to pierce themselves with just a needle and a bit of adrenaline, not apple and ice cube style like The Parent Trap. If you prefer putting the piercing into someone else’s hands, there are plenty of places in D.C., such as Embassy Tattoo in Adams Morgan, which Hayden Freedman (COL’ 15) describes as a “great shop with a very classic vibe”, or Jinx Proof on our very own M street. Coming to Georgetown as a freshman looking to add a new gem, Sarah Dankens (COL’ 18) headed to this conveniently located tattoo and piercing parlor for her nose piercing. Upon entering Jinx Proof, there is an immediate overflow of edge, which Sarah mentioned can be a bit intimidating. Whether it is the intense tattoo designs covering the walls or the heavy metal music that is constantly blasting, the ambiance certainly has a different mood to it. This seems to be the case with many piercing and tattoo parlors, which adds to the avant-garde look that many students seem to go for. 

Photo by Allie Little Photo by Allie Little

After enduring the brief prick of a needle (which most students say doesn’t hurt), it’s all up to maintenance. Pain from a piercing generally stems from lack of cleaning or an abrupt hit to the ear while it’s still sore. While most piercings are easy to maintain, some can become a problem. For example, Kate Hopkins would not advise getting a belly button pierced if you play sports or if you’re a fan of the high-waisted look, as both seem to get in the way. 

For the most part, once the piercing has completely healed, all that’s left is to get creative. Hayden Freedman attributes part of her personal style and general look to her eleven ear piercings, while Sarah Dankens finds her small nose stud to make her “a bit artsy.” Kate Hopkins replied, “my prism nose-stud is fun and really adds the sort of color and light to my face that I want to put forth in the world.” It is often overlooked that the simple accent of a piercing can bring a new sort of beauty to anyone. As students learning how to define ourselves in the college environment, we can become walking canvases for the form of expression that is the piercing.

Photo by Allie Little Photo by Allie Little

Posted by:Thirty Seventh

Georgetown's premier fashion and lifestyle blog.

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