Pierced Through the Heart


Guess what! You guys! You wanna know what I'm doing this weekend? Something I've wanted to do for ages and ages and like, forever and now I'm totally gonna do it? 

I'm getting my EARS PIERCED.

Okay, so I'm kind of messing with you there, because my ears are already pierced. Several times, actually. I think my total was...squints at ghosts of piercings past on earlobe...five. Five holes. I got my ears pierced the first time in fourth grade, even though my agreement with my parents was and had always been that I could get them pierced at 12 years old. By fourth grade, though, I was one of only two girls without pierced ears and UTTERLY DESPERATELY MISERABLE. 

I wore those little sparkly sticker things? Every day? I even kept extras in my desk because they NEVER lasted the whole day and otherwise people would know that I was just wearing STICKERS and not REAL EARRINGS because I was totally and completely FOOLING EVERYBODY, SHUT UP I WAS.

Then at home, I waged a relentless campaign of begging, pleading and probably a lot of door-slamming of the YOU'RE RUINING MY LIFE variety. I think we eventually negotiated a deal surrounding the results of my next report card, or maybe that was just a cover so my parents could get me to shut the fuck up about it already while still keeping some pride and sense of parental control intact. 

And so I went with my mom to the mall and picked out the most beautiful birthstone-ish jeweled studs and BLAMMO, I was a girl -- nay, a WOMAN -- with pierced ears. And oh my God, they hurt like all hell. 

Then the 90's...happened, and you simply couldn't show your flannel-shirted self ANYWHERE with just one measly set of ear holes. You needed MORE, and you needed an ODD number because that was the only way to demonstrate your ANGST. So I got one more, because that was all my mom would pay for. 

(Then I got a job at Sesame Place and went all hardcore with two more holes once I was of legal age to get my ears pierced without a parent present.)

(Problem was that I still lived at home. So I still totally got in trouble for that.)

Anyway! So why in sam hill am I getting my ears pierced this weekend? Because apparently I have the earlobes of an old lady. My first set of holes -- the only ones that I actually wear earrings in anymore -- were always a little on the lower part of my earlobe, and in recent years have DRIFTED. DOWNWARD. I am not making this up. The holes are mere millimeters from the very bottom of my earlobe. Any type of dangly earring accentuates the unfortunate droopy-hole problem. (And I will have you know that I was not allowed to wear dangly earrings -- INCLUDING HOOPS OF ANY SIZE -- until junior high

Not only does it look pretty weird, in my opinion, it also triggers one of my All Time Top 10 Irrational Fears: that my earring will somehow get ripped out of my ear and split my earlobe in half. Y'all know volcanoes are my number-one Irrational Fear, followed by getting caught up in a case of mistaken identity and wrongfully convicted of murder. 

Irrational fear number three? The earlobe-ripping thing. 

Anyone who has ever met me at Blogher or in person otherwise can tell you that I have little to no problems with personal space invasion. I'm a hugger. I hug you; don't mind getting hugged back. I like smushing up against people when photos get taken. But so help me GOD, if I think for even a split second that you are going to touch my ears or earrings, I will fly into a crazy defensive fit because DON'T RIP MY EARLOBE I AM BEGGING YOU PLEASE.

When Noah was a toddler, we were eating out at a restaurant and I bent over to retrieve his toy from the floor. At some point he reached over from his high chair and touched my earring. I flipped out, slapped both hands over my ear and then completely lost my balance and fell off my chair. Flat on the floor. But at least my earlobe was okay. 

Okay, I KNOW. Why do I bother wearing earrings at all? Wouldn't just not wearing earrings be a good, practical solution here? 

I hear you. I do. But here's the problem with that: SHUT UP. EARRINGS ARE PRETTY.

So anyway, according to Google, the too-low ear piercing thing actually isn't that unusual, and it happens to a lot of women after awhile. And getting them re-pierced higher up is absolutely an option, at least according to all the wedding message boards I came across, because apparently once you're done obsessing over your dress and flowers and bridesmaids, it's time to start freaking out about your less-than-optimal ear-hole placement that could potentially TOTALLY RUIN THE WHOLE DAY.

Thus, I am publicly stating my intention to allow another human being to touch my earlobes this weekend and re-pierce them. Though I do have to ask: are my venue choices still really the same as before? Do I still really have to go find a kiosk at the mall or wander into Claire's and ask some surly teenager sorting prom tiaras to please punch holes in my saggy old-lady earlobes? Jason graciously volunteered to do it for me but I am distinctly Not Down with that. I told him I'd prefer a professional, whatever THAT means, though he will definitely need to come and hold my hand. 

OMG, I'm totes getting my ears pierced this weekend! Because I can! And because I feel like it and SO THERE EVERYBODY and my fourth-grade self is sooooo jealous of me right now. 



I understand. Now you can be like me, and get super adorable OMG earrings at Anthropologie on sale, online. Yes.


Amy, can I come?! I first got my ears pierced when I was 4, and I wore so many heavy dangling earrings that my holes were too low by the time I was 9. I got them repierced then, but because I was 9 I put them in the wrong holes (that's what HE said) and the newer ones closed up. The older ones never have, but I also don't wear earrings too much because they're so comically low. I've been wanting to get them repierced for a while now but just... haven't. So take me with you!


You should, of course, go to a professional. The Association of Professional Piercers has a web site ( and you can use it to find a location near to you with certified piercers (safety checks, etc.). Most of these places are also tattoo parlors, so you get the added benefit of adding to your tat collection at the same time if you are so inclined.

the Grumbles

This may be unwelcomed assvice, but please please go to an actual piercing place that does it with a needle and not the places with the guns. The guns are more likely to cause infection because it snaps the backs of the posts on too tight for the swelling that will happen a few hours later (been there, done that, OUCH). PSA for the day because I love you!

Mrs Jenna

My mom has required plastic surgery on her ripped ear holes more than once. The thought has sent chills down my spine.

Be carefy with those lobes, dude.


Ugh - the pain idea is freaking me out. When I got mine peirced - same thing - drama - but I jumped for the second one so the hole is dramatically lower than the other ones...I'm currently letting them grow over...who needs em - I'm gonna bring back the clip ons!


You're going to hear this 800 times, but I won't say it all snotty-like like some people will (there are no comments while I'm typing this, but there totally will be people saying exactly what I'm saying by the time I post it). If you want your ears to heal faster and a more safe, long-lasting piercing, get it done with a needle at a tattoo and piercing shop. A gun shoots the earring through, blowing out a small chunk of earlobe (ew) while a needle will cut a small slit, which will heal very quickly. Also, the guns themselves cannot be sterilized, only the earrings they shoots, so, also ew.

But anyway, as someone who has poked many needle holes over the years, I recommend to you Artistic Ink on Rt 1 in College Park, right next to UMD.


I'm sure your local reputable tattoo/piercing parlor would be happy to give you a new set of ear piercings - they'd probably do a better job than the mall kiosk people, too!


Yup. It's called the cheesecutter effect.

For the love of all things sparkly do NOT GO TO CLAIRE'S. Worst.thing.ever.

Please go to a professional piercing parlor. They are made of WIN. You'll be pierced with a needle, which is less traumatic to the tissue thus promoting better/faster healing. It will be completely hygienic which is not the case @ Claire's. Your piercer will take care to line them up, including the angle of the actual piercing itself so studs won't sit in it funny. You can get fabulous sparkly studs if that's what you'd like, you don't need to worry about being stuck with like, spiky skull things.

They'll teach you how to do a sea salt soak and otherwise leave your ears the hell alone b/c that solution they hand out at Claire's is THE WORST EVAR.

*takes a breath*

Soapboxin' Lin, ever'body.


ALSO THOUGH? I got my first holes done (when I was 16!) at the salon in JC Penney's. And also? Some pediatricians will do it as well.


er, not parlor. I'm a dumbass for calling it one.



Definitely fine a professional piercer.. it's totally gonna be at a tattoo parlour. I had some piercings done there vs. the mall and - waaaaaaaaay better! def!


Thank you, thank you, thank you for not putting a question mark on "Guess what!" Biggest pet peeve ever.


Tattoo parlor! Duly noted. Will do. See, this is why you should always ask stupid questions on the Internet.

Burgh Baby

Dude. The My Holes Are Too Low and My Ears Are About to Fall Apart phobia? WARRANTED. I've seen it happen. Like, in person. One minute friend with oddly pierced ears is just standing there minding her own business. The next, her kid is holding an earring in her hand and the lady has TWO EARLOBES OMG GROSS.

It was gross. Grosser than gross. Excuse me while I go puke at the memory . . .

Plano Mom

My Dad is a doctor. He pierced the first two. The third one (yeah, it was odd numbers in the 80s too) was done at the mall. Doctors don't do it any more, but my doctor recommended what everyone else is saying - tattoo shop, preferably one that advertises "family oriented" yes, there's one in Dallas that advertises.

C @ Kid Things

My mom is one of those people with the 2 earlobes. When my brother was a baby, he ripped her earrings right down through her ear.


Definitely go to a professional piercer. Don't do the mall piercing gun thingie.

Good luck! Remember, pain is temporary, beauty is forever. Hahahahhahaha....


So, I think we may have had the same parents. And also? I think we may be the same person. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that you also begged to get the undershirts with the thin straps that went over your shoulder so that it would "slip" out of your pimpin' 80s shirts (that you most likely paired with stirrup pants) so that everyone would think you were wearing a bra, despite the fact that you actually didn't really NEED a bra until - um, pregnancy, maybe? Also going to guess that you probably straightened paper clips and put them across your teeth to look like you were wearing braces (when your mom wasn't looking, of course, because OMG, you will TOTALLY choke on that thing).


Yes, what everyone else has said! What's changed since we were kids is that there are lots of reputable piercing places around that have sterile needles and trained professionals working there. Ask someone you trust with a fairly recent body piercing or tattoo and see where they recommend or check out what Yelp has to say.

Amelia Sprout

Professional piercer. I had my upper lobe piercing done in your neck of the woods... 14 years ago (eee gads). Much less painful and much more accurate than a kid at the mall. Expensive, but worth it if you are going to have something fixed.

Anna S.

DItto, others. Definitely go to a pro piercer, who will use a needle. Don't go to the mall.


I did the EXACT same thing with my parents when I wanted to get my ears pierced (I almost typed "eyes pierced," which - ew). I actually remember going into class and telling everyone at Show and Tell that I was going to get them pierced. Like they cared!

Anyway, our "a href=""target="new">pediatrician does piercings for $60 and they claim to work with people from birth-35 years, so . . . that might be an option?


Um . . . so that didn't work. Anyway, Capitol Medical Group; they're in Chevy Chase.

Genevieve @ Adventures in Suburbia

AHHHHH these comments are freaking me out! So earrings really do pulled through the lobes? I can't handle that. Next.

PS: As a former Terp, I second the place on RT 1. My friend got her tongue pierced there and I got my belly button done there (many moons ago). At least I'm 99% sure it was Artistic Ink. I'm sure they can handle an ear piercing just fine.


I am SO jealous! Something weird happened after each one of my pregnancies. After the first, my ears were super sensitive and I could only wear sterling silver earrings. My last pregnancy, my body TURNED on me and has now decided I cannot wear ANY earrings or it turns my ears into a big infected mess. After having pierced ears for 24 YEARS!!! The hell???

Life of a Doctor's Wife

I have no advice about where to get your ears pierced (would your doctor do it for you?) because I am 29 and I still have NEVER had my ears pierced.

I remember clearly when Not Having Earrings was Ruining My Life. And I did the sticker earrings things. But I also did the magnetic earrings! Which hurt really bad! But still always fell off at some point during the day!

At some point I got over wanting earrings. But my mom made me wear clip ons at my wedding. They were at least FANCY clip ons.

That is more about my ears than you ever wanted to know. The end.

P.S. It gives me the heebie jeebies when someone wearing long earrings or big hoops plays with them. * Shudder. *


I got all seven (odd number! including one in my cartilage, because hello 90s!) of mine done at Claire's with the gun and never had any infections or other issues. In fact, all of mine are magically perfectly spaced... I have no idea how some teenager with an ear gun was capable of that (on 4 different occasions), but I think I'm pretty lucky.

But, if I was in your boat and really wanted to be sure on having the earring hole in just the right spot, I'd go to someone who did it with a needle. (Only, I totally wouldn't, because I am afraid of real needles, but you get my point.) That way you can be a lot more sure about placement, which is the entire point of getting them redone.


Oh! Me too! Same problem! But here is my concern with re-piercing--what about the old hole? No WAY is it ever closing, and it is totally visible. I'm scared that re-piercing will just enhance the weird look. Or, and maybe this is crazy, I am scared that the two holes will somehow merge and form a MEGA HOLE and it will look like I gauged my ears and took out the plugs and ewwwwww!

...whoa, ok maybe I have my own, bigger issues here.


I found this post to be one of the most endearing things on the internet. Honestly. You are so effing cute.

But, uhh, have you seen the post where Holly Burns (NBB) breaks her earlobe in half, like your nightmares? COMPLETE WITH PHOTOS? AIEEE, I can't even think of it. Nor do I have the balls to go find it for you. I can't bear to see it again!


OKAY FINE I FOUND IT. Apparently I cannot tear myself away, still.


actually...some physician's offices will do it. they even go to the bother of numbing you up and everything. you may call your family doc and see if he/she will do it--at least that way you are numb and sterile!


kim at allconsuming

You are so very very weird.

kim at allconsuming

But you know I love you. Right?


I am totally not trying to scare anyone, I swear, but– my baby sister contracted Hep B when she was young. The doctor was able to trace it based on her severity and told my parents that she more than likely contracted it 14-16 months before… She was 13 years old at the time, so WTF? Not exactly doing the No Noes, she still freaking played with Barbies. But oh hey guess what – she did get her ears pierced at a mall kiosk in that time period. And the doctor said that was more than likely the culprit.

So! Might I suggest - and don’t’ die seriously just hear me out - a tattoo/piercing parlor? They actually have to stick to incredibly strict medical standards when it comes to performing the piercing. This is the route I went when I had my ears re-pierced a few years ago (which also happened to be, funny enough: right before my wedding). Plus you will feel really hardcore because they pierce you with a sterilized hollow needle. True story. Your earring choices are less than stellar though I must admit.


The "earring falling straight out of the bottom of my ear and oh my god I have two earlobes on one ear" thing happened to Holly over at Nothing but Bonfires.


Former Terp with the same advice as everyone else. But for some reason I think Artistic Ink might have closed? I would recommend Jinx Proof in Georgetown- I got my nose pierced there a million years ago and they were awesome. Ambroto's in downtown SS is great too. There is another place in College Park, (Great Southern, I think? Southern something?) that is AWFUL. One of my friends got her tongue pierced there (omg, the late 90s) and a botched tongue piercing is not something you ever want to see.


I wouldn't go to a doctor. They're not so good with placing them well. You could end up very uneven- seen it.

Professional piercers are best.
Second NGS although there aren't any in your area on that list so it's a bit too much, maybe. Tattoo place= good.

I'd still volunteer a mall kiosk over a Claire's (having worked at one of the kiosks before and having to be trained pretty extensively). The main thing is to LOOSEN the earrings after the piercing and keep them clean, esp. after using hairspray, perfume, etc., and watch talking on the phone. As soon as you can change earrings (6-8 weeks) putting in little hoops for a while is easiest for sleeping & healing. God, it's like I still work there.


my sister had hoop earrings on in the 6th grade and while running across the playground a boy stuck out his arm, accidentally caught his finger in her hoop and split her earring hole clear through. True story. My grandmother pierced my other sisters ear with a pin and a potato (again, true story) and one of the holes was lower. My sister loved dangly heavy earrings and because of that, her hole became enlarged (wow. that sounds bad.) her EARRING HOLE became enlarged, basically there was just a little thread of skin holding the hole together. She went to a plastic surgeon, he snipped the little piece of skin, sliced skin off each side of what used to be the hole and then butterfly bandaged them together so the lobe would heal back up and then she could get it repierced. It worked although she still can't wear the heavy earrings.
Good luck with your piercing :)

Crabby Apple Seed

So, here's a stupid follow-up question to all the tattoo/body piercing recs: I'm totally cool w/my daughter getting her ears pierced at some point during the grade school years. Do I...take her to a tattoo parlor? I have no idea why I am so hung up on this so please don't tell me I'm a bougie snob or whatever, it's just really weird to think about taking my 8yo to a tattoo shop. But is that what people do?

Oh, and my college roommate got her cartilage pierced at Claires and got a rip-roaring infection. Her whole ear turned bright red and was covered with purulent blisters. Her doc said there was a chance it would turn black. It didn't, but still. Will never get pierced there again.



OMG. I'm going to have to stop reading comments unless you knock. this. earlobe-ripping. shit. talk. out.

(I do remember reading Holly's story once before and it actually made me feel oddly JUSTIFIED in my fear but no, I am never ever reading it again or anybody else's stop it stop it stop it.)


(Also second the comment above re: Artistic Ink possibly being closed. Anybody have experience with Bethesda Tattoo Company? I actually COULD use a consult over covering up a regrettable hip tattoo as well, heh heh.)


I went the the exact same thing with my mom. She finally let me get my ears pierced on 8/8/88- I think it was that she just wanted to do something cool on that date. She also made me promise and swear that I would never get my ears double pierced ever ever for the rest of my life if she let me get 1 hole. I have upheld that promise- but I got my tongue pierced in college!


omg stop. This is one of my biggest fears too. I don't wear heavy earrings because of it. In fact I wear tiny TINY little chai studs (Hebrew letters for life) seriously, these things are tiny. and people think i'm wearing pi symbols in my ears. or llamas.

beta dad

I first attempted to get one ear pierced when I was 13 (1982ish), but the 12-year old girl piercing it (with a sewing needle and nail polish remover for sterilization) freaked out when the blood came. Then my sister ratted me out to my parents. So I got another girl to do it a little later. She got the needle through the ear and into the potato on the other side despite being freaked out by the crunchy cartilage noises. My parents found out, freaked out, told me I would never be able to get a job or have a normal life because I had mutilated my body, and I got beat up at school a couple times for looking "queer." Then I got it done again in college by another random chick who just jammed a stud through my ear and put the little clippy thing on the other side. It looked sweet with my mullet.


I laughed at the part about no dangly or hoop earrings until junior high. I have the same rule for my 9 year old daughter and I'm the meanest mom EVER!! I recommend a tattoo/piercing place also. I have a couple of piercings in, um, alternative places & they know what they are doing.


Amy you are a trip! I love reading your blog! I got my ears peirced when I was little, but I was too young to really take care of them so they healed up. Flash forward to when i'm 14 and really wanted to wear real earrings but I was a real chicken about pain. I somehow got the nerve up to do it one afternoon at the Piercing Pagoda, yes, the PIERCING PAGODA! Well they used the little gun and I just about passed out! They did the second one really quick and I still have the holes today, knock on wood. So good luck this weekend! Oh, and i'm with you, not wear earrings? Hell to the no! And i'm also very afraid of having my ear lobe ripped. I really shouldn't read that blog post by NBB but i'm strangely compelled...


All I can picture is the two holes merging into one giant hole. Arrgh!


I had my ears pierced by a (then famous) doctor: Dr. Gabe Mirkin. He had a radio show in D.C. and still does an online health newsletter. He had, in his office, sealed packages of disposable piercing guns. They were small metal objects. The package also included the tiny gold posts.

He hadn't done a piercing in a while, and he called his entire medical team of doctors to come in to witness the procedure. To a "T" every doctor said, "I didn't know we could do that here," as well as "I'm bringing in my little girl!" As he marked my ears, one female doctor (from Iran) said, "Dr. Mirkin. You have to mark them higher in case she wants to wear dangling earrings." He replied, "I'm glad I've got my team advising me." It was a happy moment in that tiny room, but also the doctors asking a lot of questions to gain in their education. So that day, I was the guinea pig for a medical team as they learned something new.

I would recommend you either go to a doctor, where they are definitely using sterile equipment, or to a piercing parlor (including the one mentioned) as they do these things all of the time. They will be more attuned to keeping things sterile and also knowing the best place to correct your piercing. And as others said, it will probably be tied in to a tattoo parlor.

I would definitely recommend you carry with you a pair of lengthy dangles and/or a pair of large hoops so you can hold them up and angle for the best spot to pierce.

Like you, I was raised in a highly religious household. I lived in church. My mother had very strong (and old-fashioned) views against piercing. She felt our bodies were a "temple to God," and you shouldn't desecrate them.

I had grown increasingly tired of the pain of clip-ons and the equally increasing difficulty in finding them. The prettiest earrings were all pierced. When my mother died, I decided one day to pursue this: getting my ears pierced.

I knew of people who went out and altered their body to mark the importance of the death and loss: piercings, tattoos: something to mark that moment forever on their body and express the memory and the loss.

About a year after my mother died, I too decided to get my ears pierced. It was certainly not a rebellion, nor a "now I can get what "I" want action. I took it as a very solemn moment in my life's passage. I went alone. I thought about my mother a lot that day, and I will always tie that act, and that marking, to remember her by.


I would go to a reputable piercing shop. They're the best!


When I was little I had friends rip out both of my earrings at my birthday party. I still have the scars to prove it!


The whole earring bring ripped from your lobe and tearing it in half being an irrational fear?


It happened to my mom when my brother was a baby in that grabby phase. And it is still ripped to this day. And now she has to wear CLIP-ON EARRINGS.

And that is the true travesty, because they are a) expensive and b) not cute.


Dude. I wasn't allowed to get my ears pierced until I was 17. SEVENTEEN. And then in college I up and got second holes in both ears, and THEN a cartilage piercing. I'm such a rebel.

Anyway, yes, tattoo and piercing place is your best bet. Well, a nice one. I wouldn't go with some creepy hole-in-the-wall. But most are very clean and exceptionally good about the sterilized equipment, etc.

Also, in other "odd things that happen with age," apparently your body chemistry changes like every 10 years. I just recently developed an allergy to nickel (I guess?) in the aforementioned second ear piercings, and totally had to go to Claire's to get sensitive solutions earrings.


Oh good luck! I was never allowed to pierce my ears ("if God had wanted holes in your ears," etc.) until on my eighteenth birthday my dad gave me a jewelry box containing two pairs of gold PIERCED earrings. I was confused, and he said, "You're an adult now, you can do what you like." But by that time I didn't care anymore.

Except! That I think look more put together with earrings and I totally envy people who can carry off those huge hoops, which are just not possible with a clip-on, which I hate anyway. So I still flirt with the idea, except that I wore some clip-ons for my wedding, only to realize that my earlobes are at two different heights!!! Would piercing my ears make me look like a freak?

I'm assuming a reputable place could sort of minimize the difference with earlobe placement (which is why I would shy away from Claire's) - but hopefully you don't have this problem and can just get Frenchie to do it in the bathroom with an ice cube and a sewing needle.


Your ripped earlobe fear is totally valid, as is a fear of paper cut on the eyeball. Just saying...


Definitely go to a piercing place! After failed piercings when I was 12 (my parents were similarly draconian), I got my ears repierced at a place in Santa Cruz when I was 23 and it was such a better experience. The piercer was covered in scalp tattoos, facial piercings and was the sweetest guy. He took his time & really centered the holes on the lobe. He used a real needle, and it didn't hurt much at all - not nearly as badly as I remembered the gun hurting.


Ugh, I too totally wore the stick-on earrings that never fooled anyone and usually came off in my hair.

I caught my giant hoop earrings on a firend's earring the other day when I hugged her, and the earring just popped out of the hole normally -- no ripping, just slid right out like I'd removed it on purpose. I actually do that pretty frequently when I wear hoops -- you'd think I'd stop. It never feels good, or anything, but I've never once ripped my earlobe. If that helps calm the squick feeling after all these horror stories.

(Just watch, now I'm going to catch my earring on something this weekend and rip it out and need surgery to fix it. Karma is such a bitch.)


This brings back memories of when I was finally old enough to get my second holes done (18). I went to Claire's and a nervous teenager with shaking hands pierced me with the gun and then said that word that no one in that chair ever wants to hear--"Oops." Yeah, it was hanging on to the bottom of my earblobe by a thread. She was so freaked out she wouldn't even take the earring out--she made me do it. Then she had to do it AGAIN. Yeah, you're probably better off going to a pro. :)


"So, here's a stupid follow-up question to all the tattoo/body piercing recs: I'm totally cool w/my daughter getting her ears pierced at some point during the grade school years. Do I...take her to a tattoo parlor?"

Yes. Well, a piercing studio, which will most likely also be a tattoo studio. will help you find a place with a certified piercer (American Association of Professional Piercers). A good piercer will be quite knowledgeable, friendly, and will be willing to deal with your 8 year old, although some studios do have a lower age limit. When I was a tattoo apprentice the master piercer at our studio wouldn't pierce anyone under 12, because the shape of a kid's ear changes as they grow and the piercings are likely to go out of alignment like Amy's did. That being said, many studios offer ear piercings for younger ones. Check the AAPP web site for a piercer near you, and use castile soap and a sea salt solution for your aftercare. See for detailed instructions and what not to use. This is my old studio and it is run by two RNs who know what they're talking about. Have fun!


I also thought that getting an extra piercing in one ear, not both ears, was so much more ALTERNATIVE. Also the reason I got my eyebrow pierced at 18. I was still living at home when I got my eyebrow pierced and I thought it would be ok, because my Mom said she thought they looked nice, at least that's what I THOUGHT she said. She was not happy. I will agree with everyone else that you should go to a tattoo parlor, the needle doesn't hurt as much as the gun, either...

Nothing But Bonfires

Oh hello! I am your worst fear come true! I have the most horrible story of my earring pulling out of my ear and RIPPING MY EARLOBE IN HALF! On an airplane, no less. It was lovely.

There's a picture there of my ripped earlobe too. You're so welcome.


A friend of mine owns a Merle Norman store, she does ear piercing. I would think any spa type place would do it too.


Amy --- that ear-piercing story could have been mine... sans the Sesame Place part. HOW COOL IS THAT? I hope it's relatively painless.


That would be cool if you went to a tattoo parlor because then you could get pierced and Noah and Ez could get their first tats in a one-stop shop. Noah would be rockin Thomas on his bicep, and Ez could get a cookie on his. That would so give them instant cred on the playground. Word.

(I really have no idea what I just said. And am totally against tats on toddlers.)


By all accounts, the tattoo/piercing parlors do the best job with the least pain. It makes sense, really, that someone who makes their living at this sort of thing would be better than the minimum wage clerk at Claire's who was handed a gun and given a two minute demonstration.


My mom was a victim of 80's earrings -- 80's TEXAS earrings, ya'll -- and her holes were super-droopy. A few years ago, she actually had plastic surgery to close up the first "slits" (as that's what they became) and waited until they healed to get them repierced by a plastic surgeon. Now, she has the holes of a 20 year-old. That sounds gross, sorry.

One warning about mall kiosks: my 2 year-old had to get her ears re-pierced because they were so uneven the first time. Bad, bad, bad. 'Course my oldest daughter's were pierced there with no problems two years before.

Good luck and God speed.

Liz M

If you're really uncomfortable going to Claire's or Piercing Pagoda, you can always try to look for an accomodating Ear, Nose, & Throat doctor. That's who did my first ear pierceings. We had a friend of the family who was an ENT, and he did mine as a Bat Mitzvah gift. He did his son's as well, in their kitchen!


LOL...Oh, come on, all that drifting earlobe talk and no picture as proof?? =) What's up with that?? Hee, hee!


I have the same story of the first time I got my ears pierced - except that my mom insisted that they pierce both ears at the SAME TIME. Apparently one of her co-workers' daughters freaked out so much after they pierced one ear that she refused to let them pierce the second - but they still charged her for two. So I had two Piercing Pagoda employees coming at me with the guns - but it was over in a flash and healed up just beautifully.

I got my belly button pierced at a piercing parlor on Venice Beach 10 years ago - it hurt like hell, got infected like hell, and I took it out shortly thereafter (but I kept the ring, which in essence cost me $80).

And finally - I never wear hoops or dangly earrings (too lazy to change from day to day) but my SIL wears big old sparklies when she babysits my son, and I just see his eyes zoom in on them. I cringe...


My fourth grade self is jealous of you too. Bitch.

And actually, my legal self is jealous as well, because she totally got in a shitload of trouble for getting her third hole. When she was 20.

And almost kicked out for the belly-button ring. When she was 22. My parents were full of the crazy.


Check and see if your doctor does it. That's where I got my first ones done.(In 5th grade by the way) And the only ones I ever wear anything in anymore - also the only ones that have never gotten infected or closed up...


Yeah, so the whole earlobe splitting in two happened to me in college. I was taking a sweater off in a hurry and the earring got caught in the holes of the sweater, and well, let me just say, it wasn't pretty. What also wasn't pretty was the fact that I went to school hours away from my doctor and my parents didn't want me to do anything about it until the next time I came home. So for the next month or so all my friends called me ButtEar, cause, you know, it looked like a little butt hanging from my ear. Sigh. I have some really neat friends. I, too, had my ear fixed like the previous commentor mentioned: my doctor sliced off some skin off both sides of the spit lobes and stiched them both together. Its fine now, but very delicate and I never wear heavy earrings. But my friends still call me ButtEar, by the way.


I loved this. SO. MUCH.

anne nahm

I am a 35-year-old piercing virgin. Sometimes I charge people 2 bits a gander at my earlobes because no one ever believes a person can survive the nineties *and* 4th grade without getting a hole somewhere.


My mother didn't give me any grief at all - because Her ears were pierced. She did take me to our pediatrician (I was 12ish) and they were very careful to center the holes. Also - they used ice to numb my ears before the poking.... They had me come back a few weeks later and they pushed the "core" out - which I believe was like scar tissue. It's been 40 years and I've never had a problem. (I am intrigued by the tattoo parlor idea - I wonder if it would embarass by son if I went there to get more holes.....)


Is it weird that I have zero recollection of when or where I got mine pierced? I must have been about 5/6...

Anyways - true story: My cousin was about 6ish when she got her ears pierced. She did one ear, then go scared JUST as they were doing the second one. She turned away and BAM in the cheek! yes! HER CHEEK got pierced.

You can open your eyes now. Scary part is over.


We're going to need before and after photos and a complete follow up on where you wound up. I'll be spending the weekend shuttling preschoolers to soccer, picnics and church while you, Missy, could be doing something wild and fun at a tattoo parlor. Let me live vicariously - PLEASE!


Oh man! I actually have something useful to contribute. Wow!

I was definitely the surly teenager (20 something, but it's easy to confuse) working at the mall kiosk last year.

Piercing ears with a gun is ridiculously easy. Not a problem. Lining them up really isn't a problem either. You just need to pay attention, and it gets even easier the more you do it.

Bring someone with you to give an opinion who won't be afraid of the piercing girl and will speak up if the pre-piercing dots look crooked. People with non-committal friends were very annoying.

I really do think piercing with a gun is fine, and quick and easy and not in a scary dark tattoo shop and within close proximity to shopping.

However! Training consisted of reading a short manual and piercing a cardboard ear on the pre-marked dots. Get it on the dots? You're a professional piercer. Yeah...

Good luck! Earrings are way to pretty to live without.


I won't ever go anywhere by a tattoo/piercing place. And I would DEFINITELY make sure I didn't go to a place that used a piercing gun. Here's why:




So, yeah. I'm too traumatized to try again.

cagey (Kelli Oliver George)

I now have visions of Jason chasing you around the house wielding an ice cube and a needle! *shudder*


Please please please go to a real body piercing place. They can seem slightly scary to anyone not tattooed, plugged or with multiple body piercings, but I promise the people there will be sooo much nicer than some 16-year-old at Claires who just got shown how to use the piercing gun yesterday (true story). Also, those guns are not even slightly hygenic, they just wet-wipe them after each go (which means you can have TRACES OF BLOOD left, connecting with a place where YOUR SKIN IN BROKEN, and can I just add how completly germophobic I am and how much that thought creeps the shit out of me? Because yes).
In order to get through the flesh with such a blunt end (and often ridges in the earring) the trauma to your earlobe is huge.

Compare that to a pro body midification shop where piercers do apprenticeships and must have a certain amount of experience, plus use medical-level sterile equipment including properly sharp one-use needles in a clean, purpose-made enviroment that just has you and your piercer (and whoevers hand you choose to break ;) as opposed to numerous shoppers and small children and teenagers who could easily jog your shop assistants arm while she's pushing the earring through your ear.

Gaaaaah, I know which i would choose. (Should add a post-script to say that I live in England and this is how it works here - Claires etc in the US may well be more professional.)


I am glad to see this advice because I promised my daughter that she can get her ears pierced when she has her 6th birthday! I can just see us marching into a tattoo place. Maybe I will ask her pediatrician first.


So, I've NEVER had my ears pierced! Never! I'm 26.
But my husband had two holes in each ear for the bigger gage (14?) and I helped him make some of them, back in the day, with a safety pin. It was gross.
Of course, now he's 'all growed up' and a teacher, and so he took them out last year and let the holes close up.


Actually, I have no ear piercings, but I have a belly button piercing.. how late 90s is that!?
*considers belly pierces, thinks about removing it..*



I had my earring holes fixed when I was in college. The enormoug heavy earring craze of the early 90's really stretched my holes and my mom thought it looked awful so she took me to a plastic surgeon who (close your eyes here) cut the holes through and stitched them closed. Then I had them re-pierced slightly higher. It was a cosmetic procedure, so I'm sure it wasn't covered under any insurance (At least I doubt it) but I do have much nicer ears now and an aversion to any even remotely heavy earrings.....


Professional place, etc. etc. I totally agree. While you're there, get a tattoo!!!

Also, you can do it yourself!

I am not a fan of pain, and especially dislike pain inflicted by someone else, so I pierced my own ears, my belly button and my eyebrow (be nice, I was sure it was cool in 1998, and had no idea that perhaps a hole in one's face wasn't the best way to interview for an actual 9-5 adult job).


OMG the stories! They enthrall me as much as the freak me out. I read Thanks to everyone for sharing.

Crabby Apple Seed - yes, absolutely take your daughter to a tattoo/piercing shop when the time comes. Just call first to be sure they are cool with it. What an amazing mother/daughter bonding experience that will be!

I had five earrings, also. That fifth was never quite right (probably my fault for changing it too early) so I let it grow up. Also, I'm not 16 anymore, I don't need an odd number. The 80's were a scream, no? All of mine were done at the mall but I would also say go to the tattoo/piercing place. I tried to have my navel pierced eons ago and the piercer told me no, that I have a herniated navel, which no doctor has ever noticed, before or since. I kinda passed out and he gave me some OJ to perk me back up. So hey, I think they are Totally Rad. See? Gotta love the 80's. Where's the beef?


I'm so afraid of Piercings Getting Ripped Out that I have never gotten and absolutely will never get any piercings at all. I said it when I was 6, and 20 years later I still stand by that statement.

This post made my skin crawl but I HAD to read to the very end. And then a lot of the comments. Eeee! EEEEE!


Amy, I had to get my ears re-pierced in 2008 for my wedding at the age of um...let's just say 32, OK? And yes, you still have to go to the stupid mall and go to stupid Claire's and have some dumb teenager look at you funny and then feel like they need to explain the importance of Keeping Your Piercing Clean as if you were 12 again. That's what I had to do but I brought a girlfriend with me so we could roll our eyes in unison. Alternately I suppose you could go to your local tattoo/body piercing shop and ask THEM to do it and then you will feel like a badass and possibly have to resist the urge to get some ink while you're there.


at one point i myself had 2 holes in each earlobe, a hoop cartilage piercing, and an industrial bar. All my best experiences were at a reputable tattoo place near where i went to college. i also got two tattoos there. it's generally more costly but they definitely tend to be more careful. though i would definitely look for a place that is clean and people love. not grungy and dirty. good luck!

Amy in StL

So it's so hilarious that all these people are recommending piercing parlors. And not because I think that's silly - I think it's an excellent idea.

Here's the weird thing: I had my ears pierced by my mom's surgeon (she had cancer when I was 9) way before there were piercing parlors that weren't all weird and shady and maybe illegal in this state. He used a sterilized needle and he used accupressure to numb my ear so I didn't feel it. I've always thought that's why my ears didn't close up even when I go months without wearing earrings. Also, my ears holes never sagged although I love heavy earrrings - but maybe it's because it causes a different kind of scar?

I also thought I was special. Turns out I might be special (probably reeaaallly special if you ask my coworkers) but not because my ears were pierced with a needle. Huh, who knew?

Lucy's mom

Oh dear, I'm afraid I will come off like the old woman I am but I have to say something. I got my ears pierced with a needle wielded by my aunt in 1968. I then proceeded to wear huge heavy earrings for the next several years and it got to the point where I knew the holes were going to split so I went to a piercing salon and had a second set done. The holes in the right ear ending up merged, I had a gaping space in that ear and ultimately went for the plastic surgery. The doctor told me my mistake was common but incredibly stupid.

I guess I'm saying you might want to consider getting the current piercings fixed by a plastic surgeon. It's more expensive but it would take the risk factor down a notch and it does look better.


I worked at Sesame Place too! And, while totally not the point of your post, my MOM is a new employee this year.

And, as a teen, I survived the ear-injury-that-must-not-be-named inflicted upon me by a student at the Levittown Beauty Academy!

Elizabeth Doolittle


I'm a little worried about this. If you get new holes above the old holes then won't that look weird? I guess it depends on how low the old ones are. Also, if you have had your ears pierced for that long then the holes probably won't close up. Mine started stretching out and drifting downward, so I went to a plastic surgeon. This might freak you out, but he made a cut from the hold down through my ear lobe then sewed it back up neatly leaving a stud earring there. I had to leave the stud in while it healed. He took the stitches out a week later. Now my holes are perfect. Just an idea to think might want to consult a plastic surgeon first. I think it cost about $300. I know....but worth it.


Wow, definitely go to a professional. Those little girls at Claire's have no fucking clue what they're doing, plus piercing guns cannot be fully sterilized so you are at high risk of getting all kinds of gross diseases from them. They also use rubbing alcohol to clean your ear beforehand which does almost nothing. It DOES NOT fully sterilize the area!
Go to a professional studio with people that know what they're doing.
Another thing, I don't know if anyone mentioned yet but getting your lobes repierced above pre-existing holes isn't that great of an idea.. It might work out for awhile but the same thing will happen and that piercing will migrate into the previous one making your hole even BIGGER.
You may already know this, but I just wanted to make sure.
I'm a professional body piercer in Austin. I know my stuff pretty well.
Also this site will help you out with aftercare.


OMG, those sticker "earrings" have to be one of the funniest parts of the 80s. I seriously LOLed for like two minutes. Maybe my wine had something to do with it.


Wait, Sesame Place? Really? Too small of a world.

When I first found this blog I thought it funny that you were also in MoCo, but now to find you're from Bucks Co also is too much! A lot of my friends worked at Sesame Place. As a kid, I even managed to earn a Girl Scout badge there.

But I was sufficiently traumatized my ear-piercing experiences in first grade to never get pierced again. Seriously. In fact, at the time, I refused to let them pierce my second ear. I finally went back a week later because, at the time, it would have been weird to have just one.


OMG! I was so skiddish when I got my ears pierced at age 6 that I actually screamed when the lady marked my ear with a fine-tipped blue marker!

My advice to you Amy: don't squeal or jerk away from the pen OR the earring gun. That's when you'll get the mis-fire and that's never good.


please see the link above for our family tattoo place piercing adventure. Also, looking at the baby girl (who really wasn't a baby then either, but totally looks like one compared to the braces wearing kid she is today) made my heart hurt a little.

Good luck!


I'm also voicing my support of going to your local tattoo parlor for the piercing, as long as its a person you think would do a good job. When I got my ears pierced, I went to Claire's and they were infected the whole freaking time. When I got my belly button pierced? Tattoo parlor. The person who did it was also a scrub nurse at the local hospital so you knew those instruments were clean. I also never had a problem with that piercing.

You shouldn't feel so weird about your fear of people ripping your earlobes. When I was a baby, I apparently pulled on my mom's dangly earrings at the same time and she was rewarded with two quarter inch long rips in her ears. I was stopped just before I pulled them all the way through and split her earlobe. She can't ever go without earrings because she looks like a freak and she has long since said goodbye to anything dangly.

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