I decided to get my ears pierced. The second hole, and the third. Sarah and I went over to Springfield Town Center (for all you Springfield, VA natives, formerly known as Springfield Mall.) I knew that Claire’s was a cheap fairly clean place I could get my ears done but did I really want, as Sarah pointed out, “an 18-year-old girl” to wield the piercing gun? No. No, I did not. So, we wandered the entire length of Springfield Mall…er, Town Center, upstairs and down, searching for a kiosk. We found a couple. All had men in their 30s or 40s behind the counter and that felt as weird to me as having an 18-year-old girl pierce my ears. We did finally find a new store that advertised ear piercings in the window and a lovely woman sat behind the counter. She greeted us warmly and asked if she could help. I told her I wanted my ears pierced and she promptly replied, “I can’t do that.” I waited for her to continue to say something like, “Hang on, let me go get the 18-year-old girl who can do that,” but she didn’t. She stated they didn’t have their ear-piercing license yet. (Who knew such a thing was required and thank goodness that it is?) So, we chatted for a moment and headed out of the store. That’s when Sarah had a brilliant idea. We could go to her tattoo shop on Backlick Road. They did piercings. In fact, they had done her nose piercing. By this time, to be honest, I was willing to go to the 18-year-old girl (or even boy) to have my ears pierced, so I was all in on the tat shop. Again, if you are a Springfield native or long-timer, you know that nowhere along Backlick Road are you going to find a classy anything, let alone a tattoo parlor. But I was game.
The tat shop was everything I imagined and more. Opening the door, a big whiff of marijuana smoke hit us, and I didn’t even hesitate to push on in. A guy sitting in the corner greeted us and I had to have Sarah interpret everything he said. Not because he had any sort of accent but because he spoke very softly with very few words (even though my ears tested “20/20” two years ago, I feel I am beginning to have trouble with soft-speaking people which, if you know him does NOT describe my spouse.) He scanned my driver’s license (which cracked me up for some reason…clearly, I was over 21 or whatever the age of consent for piercings is) I filled out the paperwork and sat down to wait.
If you have never been in a sort of sketchy tat parlor before, you really need to go, just for the experience. There were rooms/cubicles, but they were small and people getting tattooed were kind of hanging out of it on their chairs. Sarah kept looking at me for my reaction, but I was chill about it. I thought, anyway.
Charles* (not his real name) came out and greeted us and said he would be with us in a moment. Sarah really looked at me for my reaction at that point. I just sort of made a high, hysterical type giggle sound but didn’t comment. Charles* (not his real name) was super duper tall and lanky with tats everywhere, including his face, clearly had lost all his teeth at some point, for some reason, and had a mouth full of dentures. And a lisp. He seemed nice. At this point, another couple came in. She was having issues with her eyebrow piercing and Charles* (not his real name) asked us if he could see her first because she would just take a moment. Sure. Not a problem. I was taking it alllll in. Sure enough, a moment later it was my turn.
Charles* (not his real name) was very chatty. He told me how this would all play out and preceded every sentence with my name, Susan. Did I mention he had a lisp? I was all in at this point. He used a Sharpie to mark the piercing placement, including for a third piercing so I could get an idea of how it would all look if I decided to get the third holes done at some point, told me to take a couple deep breaths, and pushed the needle through. No gun. No 18-year-old girl. Quick and easy. The most painful part was pushing the earring in alongside the needle. Done and done. Turns out Charles* (not his real name) was a liar. He never gave any care instructions. (We didn’t realize this until we got home.) He told us $50 for both ears including the earrings. Then charged me $60 and “I didn’t charge you for the second set of earrings.) We did the math, Charles*. But we didn’t point it out to him and only laughed about it when we got home. I gave him the $20 tip I was planning to.
I’m going to be honest with you. My ears don’t hurt in the least. The earrings turn nicely and don’t even sting when I clean the holes. Didn’t bother me in the least to sleep on them. Charles* did a great job. I’ll go back to him to have the third hole done if I decide to have third holes and most likely go to him for my next tat. The moral of the story is, don’t judge a book by its tattooed cover. Charles* was a super nice guy, very friendly and chatty, and seemed very amused that I was in his tat parlor for ear piercings. Honestly, so was I.