Piercing is fun. Poking a hole in your dermis and hanging some metal
from it is neat. There’s nothing like sticking a needle through your
flesh and jamming a metal rod, ring or stud into it. Did you know that
the oldest mummified body discovered to date, Otzi the Iceman, had an
ear piercing? Or that nose and ear piercing are mentioned in the Bible?
Yeah, Genesis 24:22—check it out. Anyway, to find out how much things
have changed—or not changed—since those days, we spoke with some of
Maui’s best piercers about their own piercing experiences, preferences
and just what it’s like to stick a needle in someone for fun and
Skin Deep Tattoo
The very first piercing I did was my best friend’s labia. We did it
in her bedroom and I was scared shitless. It was clean and sterile but
it was a bloody mess. That was over 15 years ago, and I apprenticed
after that. I don’t really have a favorite body part to pierce but I do
have a favorite type of person to pierce: over 30 and not freaking out.
My least favorite is a teen who’s freaking out, and their parents are
freaking out, too. The best was this 76-year-old man who had his
nipples pierced, and a 75-year-old woman who did her bellybutton. It’s
cute to see people of a more advanced age do something that’s not a
normal part of their routine. 626 Front St., Lahaina, 661-8531.
Maui Tattoo Co.
I don’t know if you want to print the story of my first piercing.
You know how when you’re apprenticing, you just watch, watch, watch?
Well, on my third day of watching my teacher had a walk-in. She said,
“My nails are wet so you are going to do this belly button.” I was
nervous and shaking. I had to tell the client to close their eyes so
they wouldn’t see me shaking. I like to pierce the ear. Not the lobes
but through the other parts of it. There are so many ways to pierce the
ear—the tragus, the industrial, the conch, the rook. The greatest thing
about piercing is it’s quick. It’s instant gratification for my
clients. They always leave happy. It’s not long torture, like tattoos.
My clients like to come to my shop because they feel comfortable and
welcome. It’s a nice presentation here. 1945 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei,
Lahaina Tattoo Co.
My first piercing involved a safety pin and an ice cube in a
bathroom. Ten years ago, it was just about pushing the needle through
and not really knowing what you’re doing. But nothing went wrong, so I
ended up the unofficial piercer at two different high schools. Now I
enjoy unusual piercings—neck, throat, arms—and have just started
studying implants. Whatever I can do to help that person’s
beautification process—give them the confidence to help achieve their
goal in how they wanna look—that’s what does it for me. It’s a real art
form. My favorite experience was with a family—two brothers, two
sisters, the mom and dad—who got a combination of 12 piercings in
memory of their son who strayed away from the church-going family and
got into narcotics and passed away. But they always kept the love for
him. 222 Papalaua St., Suite 130, Lahaina, 661-8788.
Man, my first piercing I shook. It was scary. I pierced a belly
button. It was at Alley Cat, where I apprenticed. The belly button is
the easiest to clamp and position, so I like that piercing the best.
The scariest place to pierce is the nipple. I was a tattoo artist
first, then I picked up piercing as a hobby. I like that you meet all
kinds of weird people on the job. They want to pierce all kine places
that you wouldn’t think of. Only thing is I don’t do any piercing down
below [i.e., the genitals]. Hippies come in with da weird smells. I
like everyone shower before they come in for piercing. I want them to
smell good before I work on them.291 Hookahi St. #210, Wailuku, 244-0700.
Island Ink Tattoo Co.
The first piercing I did was 22 years ago. I wanted to have my ears
pierced so I did it myself, using a hat pin. Yeah, it hurt! What’re you
thinking, woman? You’re putting a needle through your skin! My most
memorable experience was hanging someone from a ceiling at my old job.
My favorite is piercing septums—I’ve always had a love of them, since I
was eight. It’s such a technical piercing, completely blind. And I just
really like the way they look. Oh, and please let everyone know, you
should never use a piercing gun—they’re filthy dirty and damage tissue.
100 Hana Hwy., Paia, 579-9461
Island Ink Tattoo
My first piercing was my best friend’s boyfriend’s nipples. It was
in my brother’s shop in Colorado. I was a shop girl for three years,
then I started apprenticing for piercing. They came out perfect but it
took an hour and a half for me to mark them. The nostril is my favorite
piercing because they are fun and cute. They look good on anybody.
Piercing is all about where you put it. It’s all about placement. Our
clientele here is diverse—we have the locals, the tourists, and the
here-and-then-gone types. Everyone gets along great in our shop—not all
shops have that environment. The best thing about this job is that
people are always happy about the outcome of their peircings. 100 Hana
Hwy., Paia, 579-9461.
Sacred Center Tattoo
I was 17 the first time I pierced someone. I did my girlfriend’s
eyebrow with a couple pairs of tweezers and a pretty thick sewing
needle. I started doing it professionally about four or five years
later. I like what I do but especially if it’s not the regular ole
navel, nostril or tongue piercing. My favorite experience was not too
long ago, with my girlfriend. She was suspended from two hooks in her
chest, in traditional Native American style. It was really, really
painful—a life-changing experience that separates the soul from the
body. We did it for spiritual reasons. Piercing is temporary but this
wasn’t about wearing something around for everybody to see. 1847 S.
Kihei Rd., Unit 102, Kihei, 96753, 891-1828.
Chrome Lotus Tattoo
I started piercing in 1991 with an eyebrow—it went very well but I
was very nervous. It was at a seminar through the Gauntlet in San
Francisco and L.A., who I later went to work for. My favorite piercings
to do now are the sensual to exotics—that is to say, genital
piercings—because they add more flavor to a person’s anatomy, and can
be more pleasurable for them. My all-time favorite and most memorable
piercing was in ’97 at the Gauntlet. These two gentlemen came in—one
was wearing a codpiece, a leather hooded mask and a leash on his neck,
held by his leather daddy. Their request was for an ampallang, which is
a horizontal piercing through the head of the penis. It’s a big one for
a guy and the most painful. But as I was doing the consultation, I
noticed he had severely modified his penis, basically turning it into a
mangina. Ultimately, we did six piercings—so he could zip-up his entire
shaft—in order for it to become a “workable” unit. 143 Lahainaluna Rd.,