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One Day When She Had It Pierced

Ever since Jenny's baby was born two years ago, there was something she had promised herself to do. To have her navel pierced. For her, it's a kind of a statement - as in: "Look at my stomach. Being stretched by carrying a growing little human being for more than nine months didn't effect its beauty". In fact she felt that it deserved a medal of appreciation for its suffering during pregnancy. A diamond stud in her belly would suit the purpose.

A couple days ago, she finally decided to do the deed. She appointed one noted international clinic in South Jakarta to carry out the job. By choosing the well-equipped place, she thought that at least she could limit the risk of infection or worse, a malpractice.

It was 9 o'clock in the morning. Jenny checked into the clinic and asked for a general doctor on duty. Then there she was, sitting in front of him and said: "I want to have a piercing."

"Where?" the doctor asked confusedly while inspecting both her ear lobes.

"In here," she said exposing her well-toned tummy at the same time.

"Alright then," he finally said after having a few minutes uninterrupted gawk at it, switching his attitude from extra formal - a.k.a. a wise, well informed educated doctor look - to a more relax, almost mischievous expression on his face. He obviously contemplated that a woman who makes this 'brave' decision should have an outgoing - or questionable - personality.

He asked Jenny to go into the surgery room. A nurse was already waiting and told Jenny to lie down on the table. She switched on the huge surgery lighting device above it. The doctor came in a few minutes later.

"How long is the process going to take? Is it going to be painful?" asked Jenny, slightly intimidated.

"About two minutes and it's painless. Navel piercing is a lot less painful than earlobes piercing, as it has fewer nerve fibers. By the way, do you know that earlobe piercing is a mild version of female genital mutilation? By puncturing the area, a woman will have less sexual desire," he mumbled on and on while putting on his white rubber gloves. He had the pierce gun in his left hand while the other hand held the sterile packed insert pin he was going to use. Scary moment, Jenny thought - but her mind was mainly thinking about her dear earlobes. If she had less sexual drive, what she would have been like without them pierced?

Then it happened. Keeping her eyes shut, she heard the 'clack' sound from the gun. Phew, finally done, she thought. Wrong! The next second she heard the doctor said: "Oops!"

He couldn't release the stud from the gun, which was already inserted in a piece of skin right above her belly button. Skipping the details, not to gross you out, finally there she was - lying on the plastic covered table - helplessly watched the doctor using all kind of surreal medical tools plus strong anesthetic just to have her bloody (literally!) belly button pierced! How pathetic - the so-called painless two-minute simple surgery extended to half an hour of pure torture.

Why would anybody go through that? In ancient Egyptian civilization, it's known that the Pharaoh and his royal family had their navels pierced to distinguish them from common people. But when people ask Jenny why she's done it, the answer is simple. She loves jewelry. "Diamonds are a woman's best friend," she always says. She simply needed more space to be decorated by the precious stones, beside her ears, fingers, neck, wrists, toes and ankles. Nevertheless, she admitted that there are people out there who are willing to do it for a variety of reasons. People who are lost and searching for their real identity definitely fall into one category.

The history of body piercing goes back nearly 5000 years. As Manchester & Leeds Body Piercing Company wrote in their profile, the Romans needed their nipples pierced. What else could they attach their cloaks to when going off to war? How else could Prince Albert be reassured of that 'smooth look' when wearing his fashionable tight trousers if he was unable to hook his penis to the back of his leg? Finally, the French Aristocrats were wild about it, both males and females saw it as a high-class trend in the 18th century.

Body piercing, particularly navel piercing which has been quoted as the most aesthetically pleasing of all, has grown in popularity among both men and women worldwide. Jean Paul Gaultier, who connects his pierced ear and pierced nose with high-class jewelry, and Naomi Campbell's sweet pierced navel are credited as a few people who have reinstated the trend.

Browsing the net for hours, feeling unbearably sore following the perforation process - Jenny couldn't believe the variety of body jewelry she could find. You name it: circular barbells, titanium banana bells, belly shields, nipple shields, nose studs, spiral rings and lots others, not to mention several repugnant genital accessories. She finally settled on the curved banana bell, the most common and safest navel's adornment ever designed. After contacting the most exclusive jeweler in town, a platinum curved banana bell adorned with three De Beers' diamonds was soon under production.

Thorough research beforehand is strongly recommended before undergoing body piercing. Upon surfing the internet after the 'painless' surgery - then Jenny, foolishly, found out that it takes between two to three months for the navel to heal - instead of three weeks the doctor told her. Never go to an unregistered piercing clinic, always use sterilized jewelry, tools, dressings and adequate surgery room; these are a few of the preventive tips to avoid unnecessary infections. Salt-water solution, Isopropyl 70% or Savlon Dry is best for after care.

Thank God that Jenny didn't go further than that. Can you imagine if she suddenly decides to award medals to all her body parts related to childbirth and breast-feeding?

Gained some weight, have you my dear?

First published in the Jakarta Post.