A bridge too far: Kelly MacLeod surrenders her nose to the clamp . ..
It's summertime, and the piercings are plenty. But are you game enough to bare your navel for the needle? The List’s
Fiona Shepherd did, and lived to tell the tale. Photographs: Chris Blott
I DID IT. After much procrastination. I got my navel pierced. l was not writhing in agony throughout the experience. I did not develop gangrene. my belly button did not become a festering pool of pus. I did not turn into a social degenerate for Keith Prodigy). and l was able to sleep on my stomach afterwards. All the horror stories were unfounded. In fact. due to the regenerative powers of spring. the piercing will heal faster at this time of year. Of course. I let Deena go before me. so
could watch the whole process. Then Laura. escorted by her already-pierced older sister Carol. succumbed to the freezing spray and clamps. before it was my turn on the operating table. Three belly buttons surrendered — all in
five minutes‘ work for Jacqueline Geddes of
the Glasgow Piercing Studio.
Geddcs came late to piercing. personally and professionally. In her late twenties she travelled to [England to find someone who
could pierce her nipples. and from there she undertook a course. practising piercing on herself before setting up part-time at the turn of the decade.
‘I was working as a science technician when I started off.‘ she says. ‘Because at that time there wasn‘t much money in it. I was able to sterilise the stuff in bags at the school I was working in.‘
After two years of full-time piercing. Geddes is still a strange mixture of the conventional and the alternative. Her studio is as stark and pristine as a dental practice. She wears a starched white overall and glasses and she ties her hair tip. like the token female scientist in a Bond film. but her piercings are many — both lips. both sides of her nose. tongue (her favourite) and countless hoops and studs in her ears. And that‘sjust the visible ones.
‘l‘m going to do some more genital piercings on myself. but I‘ve not much room left.‘ she confesses.
Navel piercings are her most common request. ‘But I do so many tongues now and I know the Spice Girls have got a lot to do with that.‘ she says. These customers fall mainly into the 18—25 bracket. btit Geddes pierces anyone from six months up to her oldest
'You get a lot of women who’ve just had babies getting their nose pierced. It's their way of claiming back their body for themselves.’ Jacqueline (jeddes, the Glasgow Piercing Studio
customer John. a 75-year-old widower. Requests for genital piercing tend to come from couples in their thirties and forties. ‘They‘re at the stage where they want to experiment.‘ says Geddes. ‘lf you get pierced in sensitive areas. it exposes and stimulates the nerve endings and increases your sensitivity. That‘s why people get genital piercings. Then you get a lot of women who‘ve just had babies getting their nose
. . . and steels herself for the consequences
pierced. It's their way of claiming back their body for themselves.‘
Although body piercing has ancient ritualistic connotations. it‘s still relatively new as a form of decoration in the Western world. and new piercings are still emerging.
‘You hear about things in America that are getting surgical.’ says Geddes. ‘I saw a picture of a guy who had his uvula pierced [the fleshy bit that hangs down the back of the throat]. That would be difficult to do — if you drop something. you've had it! But I have done piercings below the tongue and behind the top lip.‘
Kelly MacLeod [pictured here] hasjust had the bridge of her nose pierced by Geddes. adding to her collection of top and bottom lip. tongue. ears and navel.
‘I can’t move my eyebrows about because it‘s a bit tender.‘ says the 2 l —year-old Glasgow pet shop assistant. ‘And I normally move my face a lot when I’m talking to people. I don‘t think I'll get many more facial piercings because I don't want to look like a pincushion. But I think it makes me look better. I‘ve got something of my own that nobody else can take away from me.’
As it is. MacLeod still experiences weird reactions. ‘Some people are still in the Dark Ages.' she says. ‘I wouldn’t say I‘m an extreme person but other people make me feel strange. 'l‘here‘s a comical old woman who comes into the pet shop where I work and she asked “what's it like to kiss with that?” and I just grabbed her over the counter and gave her a big smacker. Her friend said that was the first time anyone had ever shut her up.‘
The Glasgow Piercing Studio, 24 Parnie Street, 0141 552 6655. Parental consent is required if you are under sixteen.
13—26 Jun 1997 THE “5'”?