(TW: sexual assault)
This is my personal experience, and advice on how to go about it.
First off, I’ve loved body mods since I was in elementary school thanks to my dear older sister. So when I found a shop to take me on in August I was beyond ecstatic. I heard that Johnny Ray’s was a good shop, since he owned another shop called Majestiks.
My Mother and the owner agreed that in January I’d pay $500 to him and I’d start apprenticing ‘formally’. I don’t know why on Earth that didn’t raise a red flag then. But the owner said I could come by and he’d teach me a few medical things and I could get used to everyone before I started working there.
So I told him I’d be back the next day instead of wandering around after school (since my mother always comes late v.v). The next day I came back and learned many things about the shop. First off, I wasn’t even allowed to mention Sacred Art.
Sacred Art is his ex wife’s shop, across the street. That shop was where all of my piercings had been done (if you live in Tucson go get pierced by Britney <3 she’s amazing). Anyway I was told they had a bad divorce, the shop was terrible and unsanitary, and I’d lose my job if I mentioned it.
I also learned that Johnny treated the piercers like crap basically. We were a way to make ‘fast money’ -.-
The worst part was when one of the guys working there told me to come into the back to learn how to make the food for the sharks. (Now I can’t believe that a tattoo shop has a shark tank) So like a good kid I did, but I regret it badly now. Upon going back there I had my bum groped, struggled to get away and almost had someone shove their dirty nasty tongue down my throat.
Needless to say I left, and called the owner. Johnny Ray basically blamed it all on me, saying it was my fault and shit. When he told me to come into the shop. like wtf? But on my part it was incredibly immature of me.
** Later on I found out Sacred Art isn’t a bad shop. Johnny Ray’s isn’t even supposed to be on fourth, it’s against a restraining order. All of the shops around tucson hate Johnny Ray, and wanted me to press charges, but I waited to long.
After awhile I found Black Rose. Black Rose is voted Tucson’s best, and is seriously amazing. The piercer Kristin is a sweet heart and I love her to death. She’s an amazing teacher and even bought me the piercing bible.
The shop is super professional, clean, and fun to go into. I don’t feel scared, I feel safe and happy and love everyone there because their so nice.
The moral is: If you want to be an apprentice, just don’t jump in head first like I did. If a shop agrees to take you on, tell them thank you and tell them you’ll discuss it with your parents and be back to them. Any good shop should appreciate this. Find out the good and negative things about the shop, and pick somewhere that’s mostly good and not negative. <3
I. Hate. When. People. Don’t. Know. Shit. About. Body. Modification.
Let’s go over this, shall we?
Piercing guns = bad. They break/traumatize the skin, thus making it more prone to infection. There is not a proper way to sterilize a piercing gun. Can you say nasty? Needles are put into an autoclave and properly sterilized. Each needle is fresh and hasn’t been used for someone else’s piercing. Like, “Oh here I just pierced this girl’s labia with this piercing gun, but don’t worry! I wiped it down with some rubbing alcohol.” NO.
There are in fact standard sizes for piercings. For example, many ear piercings are done with a 16g needle. Piercing guns use jewelry that’s usually about 18g-22g. Some people will have their ears pierced with a larger needle upon request. Belly button piercings are typically done with a 14g needle, but sometimes a 16g needle if the person has a smaller shelf.
Do not stretch your ears with crap from Hot Topic or Spencer’s. Acrylic materials are super porous and that’s a no-no for freshly stretched piercings, or any piercing in general, really. Use the taping method and if you don’t know what it is, google it. Also, they’re not “gauges,” okay? They’re plugs.
Honestly, just research before you do anything to your body.