The decision to get the shaft of my penis pierced wasn't made overnight. I discussed it with my girlfriend, my family, my clergyman, my shrink, my mechanic, the pizza delivery guy and Dr. Laura. All of them were against it. Which was fine. I really just wanted to talk about the shaft of my penis.
For the unperforated, I don't recommend the genitalia as a first pierce. Unh-unh. The first time you see a twentysomething minimum-wager with a shaved head, XXL Korn T-shirt and black fingernails coming at you with a spring-loaded needle gun, you'll definitely want him aiming above your waist. Maybe at your ears. Or a nostril. Me? I'm more riddled with holes than Robert Downey Jr.'s arms; pierced top to bottom eyebrows, lips and tongue, full ear perimeter, septum, nipples, navel, toe-webbing and pre-frontal lobe (though, technically, that last one was more of a nail gun accident).
My feeling was that for a procedure as sensitive as a shaft job, I should go with a specialist. No way did I want to get my plumbing skewered and wind up peeing at 90 degrees from due south (a real possibility according to the "bible of studcraft," The Hole Truth).
That meant my regular old Pop 'n' Go studding parlor was out, and the little penile boutique I'd spotted near campus, Members Only, was in.
Sometimes, late at night, when it's really quiet, I lay in bed and wonder why I'm so drawn to piercing. The best I've been able to do is narrow the reasons to four: 1) Low skin esteem; 2) A love for seriously backing things up at the airport metal detector; 3) A potassium deficiency; 4) How totally cool my face looks when I'm yelling, "Yeeeooooooooooooow!"
The Members Only staff was undeniably upscale: heads and nails buffed to a high gloss, their T-shirts fresh-off-the-silk-screener fresh. The atmosphere was less dark, less aloof than I was used to, too, but not way so. Kind of like going to the movies expecting to see a Christina Ricci film and they show one with Claire Danes instead. As I stood waiting to be helped, I glanced at the thick deck of business cards on the counter, near the cash register. Under the embossed logo was the slogan, "Hold very still."
Some people ask, "Did you think about what effect this kind of piercing would have on your sex life?" I tell them, "I'm of the male persuasion, between the ages of birth and death I think about what effect high humidity will have on my sex life."
I thought there'd be one standard take-it-or-leave-it stud, but I was wrong. They had stainless steel balls of all diameters, wire hoops, symbols, gemstones, Disney characters, even corporate logos from the Nike Swoosh to Nathan's Famous. I chose one that was marked down for quick sale, a small enameled disc with the words, "If you can read this, you're not quite close enough."
"Go-time" had arrived. And I have to admit that as many times as I've been punctured, I never felt so vulnerable, so self-conscious, so uncertain, as I did standing there, shorts around ankles, the Head Piercer (his title, not his job description, I was happy to find out) surveying my "situation." "Time to make the donuts," he said, semi-cryptically. I heard a tissue-deadened "pop" and, for a few seconds, I was cooler looking than I'd ever been before.