Oh yeah, I’ve got one. It’s a tiny little rose gold flower with an opal in the middle, and it’s smack in the center of my left nostril. I’m no college kid. I’m not even in grad school, and I wasn’t drunk when I picked it out. I am over 30, I have three kids under 7, and my nose piercing makes me feel fabulous.
I always wanted one. There was this girl in my dorm — there’s always that girl, the quietly daring one who doesn’t give a flying fuck what other people think — and she had a tiny diamond in her right nostril, back when nose piercings were deemed to be for punks and other deviants, and she was neither of those things.
I loved it. I adored it. I wanted it. Except I was not cool enough or daring enough, and I knew my grandfather would shake his head sadly, so I pierced my eyebrow instead. My grandfather shook his head sadly. I took it out. I have a jagged eyebrow scar to this day, a weird place where hair doesn’t grow. I have to pencil it in. Fuck me for being adventurous, right?
But the years rolled on. I popped out a baby. And I attachment parented because it made sense, and all of a sudden I was a hippie pariah waving her boob around in public. I embraced it. I became not just a babywearer, but a babywearing educator, like with a credential and a certificate because that’s a thing. I taught moms how to whip out their boobs and nurse comfortably in a wrap. I cloth diapered — even on vacation. Then when my son turned 5, we eschewed kindergarten and homeschooled. I might not have been a rebel in college, but as a mother, I didn’t care what anybody thought, except my kids and my husband and God.
And God doesn’t care about nose piercings.
So one afternoon playdate, I confessed my desire for a nose stud to some other moms. A friend piped up that she wanted one too. And then so did another. Soon we had a date planned. We were going. This was happening. And no, I didn’t tell my husband because it is my damn nose. I did think about the fact that he might not love it though because he wears a lot of cardigans and Oxford shirts.
We didn’t talk about it, but we all knew: Nose piercings are the mommy equivalent of teenage rebellion. Sometimes we want to do something for us — to make ourselves cool again, to recapture a little bit of our youth. It’s like rainbow-painting your hair, but less time-intensive and less likely to royally fuck your shit up. Nose piercings edgily recapture your youth without being too edgy or recapture-y. So we left the kids with their dads and “went out to lunch.”
We all met at the piercing parlor, the same one I’d used for that eyebrow job all those years ago. It’s the best one in the state. And when you’re a mom, you have the discretion to pierce yourself at a sterile, upstanding establishment. You don’t go for the lighter-sterilized needle and BFF in the dorm room. You get pierced by a man named Chance who has his earlobes stretched to the size of saucers and has been poking holes in folks for a long time. You pick a real piece of jewelry, not some plastic crap. And the staff treats you like royalty because moms getting their noses pierced. These are the studio’s bread and butter.
I’d like to say it hurt, but it didn’t. No more than getting a flu shot. Chance, who was sexy despite the tattoos and metal adorning every conceivable and inconceivable orifice, told me to count to three and take a deep breath. Then he stabbed. And I had the nostril piercing I’d always wanted.
My kids liked it. My husband grew to like it (and didn’t even notice it at first). My parents and my in-laws have yet to acknowledge it. They go by the rule that if you don’t mention it, it isn’t there. My grandfather is now too blind to see it (side benefits of being 95!).
I know I seem like I’m trying too hard, like I want to be as edgy as you can possibly be while dragging three kids behind you. I know all this, and I don’t give a fuck because my tiny gold flower is gorgeous. I always wanted it, and now it’s there. I’d like to think it makes a statement of some kind: Look out, this one has opinions. She doesn’t care what you think.
She’s also impulsive and probably wants to recapture her youth. But we won’t dwell on that part. Because nose piercings look awesome.