By Kelly Ohriner and Catherine Wang
When Jackson Foster ’11 found out his friend from Israel got his ear pierced when he was 9 years old, he thought it was “awesome,” but was not yet ready to make that decision for himself. Years later, getting a piercing was still on his mind. With the encouragement of his friend Alice Newman ’11, he decided to “go for it.”
He got his left ear pierced in 2008 at Claire’s with Newman, Celine Pourmoradi ’11 and his brother Lucas Foster ’13. In Israel in 2009, he stretched the original piercing himself with a taper gauge and began gauging it.
When his piercing stretched to a gauge size two — a fourth of an inch in diameter — he got his right ear pierced to a gauge size two as well.
“Piercing my right [ear] hurt a lot,” he said. “I had to sit for like 10 minutes and felt really dizzy.”
Foster’s parents knew about and consented to both his piercings.
“My mom thinks they are cool, and my dad thinks I am kinda silly and doesn’t want me to go bigger but who knows what will happen,” he said. “They think they fit my personality so they are cool with them.”
He continues to stretch his piercings himself, which are now a 00 size-0.365 inches in diameter.
“I just think they are fun and interesting,” he said. “I frequently put flowers, pencils, or paint brushes through them to hold, it’s handy and looks interesting.”
In addition, Foster said that he feels his piercing is a connection to the past.
“Check out Tutankhamun’s tomb,” he said. “He had them.”
On King Tut’s mask, there are holes in his ear that resemble gauges like the ones Foster has.
“It’s awesome to have something in common with Tutankhamun,” he said.
Foster turns 18 in November, and he plans on getting another piercing during the week of his birthday.
Lael Pollack ’11 and Marka Maberry-Gaulke ’12 wanted to get piercings outside of their earlobe piercings; both, however, were hesitant to get piercings that were too noticeable.
Maberry-Gaulke thought a nose piercing would be “cute.”
“I enjoy getting piercings, which is kind of weird,” she said.
One of her parents did not like the idea, but her other parent took her to get it, since people under 18 must have parental consent.
“I love it so much,” she said of her piercing. “I like how little it is — pretty small — so it’s not 100 percent noticeable sometimes.”
Pollack got her piercing at a parlor popular among her friends. She had talked about getting a navel piercing with her mom several times before.
“She said she didn’t get it but wouldn’t stop me,” Pollack said. “I called her right before I went to the piercing place to tell her that I was about to get it done, that way she didn’t really have time to change her mind.”
Pollack does not want another piercing right now, but says it’s a possibility for the future.
“[I’d most likely get] a tongue piercing or something that wouldn’t leave a visible scar,” she said.
Like Maberry-Gaulke and Pollack, Kirstin Cook ’11 wanted to get some kind of body art that would not be noticeable. She got a tattoo on the inside of her bottom lip during the summer before her junior year. The tattoo is the Greek word for fish. The word’s letters are the first letters of Jesus, Christ, Son, God and Savior, respectively.
Cook likes her tattoo because it is not a meaningless tattoo or something she will regret when she is older.
“If I do end up regretting it, which I don’t and probably won’t, it’s not somewhere that people can see unless I actively show them,” she said. “It’s nice because it’s discreet and won’t prevent me from getting a job or something, as opposed to having something huge on my arm.”
Garrett* ’11 has two tattoos, both of which his parents have no knowledge of. Garrett’s tattoos are always covered by clothing and are easily concealed from his parents. He was drunk when he got the first one, and he regrets getting it.
The second one is “meaningful” to him.
“It hurt a bit but not really,” he said. “Another reason it didn’t hurt so bad was that a girl I was with told me she liked them.”
He and his friends plan on getting tattoos together at the end of senior year.
Barbara* has three tattoos, all of which are relatively hidden. She has a tattoo of the Hindu Om symbol behind her ear, lyrics to a song by her favorite band on her upper right leg, and the word “Vital” in old English on her hip.While her mother knows about two of them, her father has no knowledge of them.
She got them done at a parlor that allows minors to get tattoos. “I really like my tattoos,” Barbara said. “I like the freedom that comes with getting a tattoo. I can choose any way to represent myself.”
Adrianna Crovo ’11 has 17 piercings, eight of which she pierced herself, and she is comfortable letting people see them. Her favorite piercing – and most recent – is a bar piercing through the cartilage in the top of her ear. A field hockey goalie herself, Crovo was inspired to get the piercing after learning that the world’s best field hockey goalie had one.
“She is a huge idol of mine so I got it to sort of mimic her,” she said. “I thought it would be a constant reminder to work hard and stay focused on my sport and it actually did that for me, as lame as that sounds.”
Crovo is one of many students who have gone beyond the typical earlobe piercing and tried other types of piercing or body art.
Crovo convinced her mom, who initially “hated” the idea, that the piercing would motivate her.
“When they pierce your industrial, they use a gauged bar and pierce it twice at a specific angle through your cartilage,” she said. “It hurt for a little while and was really swollen but it was 100 percent worth it – it makes me happy.”
Crovo’s dad doesn’t know about her piercing, though she assumes he has seen it. Her friends have mixed reactions to it, while most adults “do not understand” it, she said.
Crovo hopes to add to her already large number of piercings.
“It doesn’t interfere with my wearing my helmet or sleeping or something, I don’t see the harm,” she said. “You can always take them out.”
*name has been changed