That Time I Got My Helix Pierced
I remember over a decade ago as a young teen, I would watch all my friends get helix piercings (the gateway cartilage piercing) and think they were so cool. They’d pierce each other in the school bathrooms with a safety pin, or fake their mum’s signature at shopping centres to get it done with a piercing gun. I used to think—my mum would absolutely kill me if I came home with a new piercing. It didn’t stop me wanting one though. “It’s better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission’ was my motto as a teen when it came to making changes to my body.
Despite watching all my friends’ piercings become irritated, and then infected, I was determined to get one too. Being the rebellious teen I was, I tried going to many shopping centre beauty therapists who offered piercings – which is a terrible choice by the way - and gave my luck a shot.
“My mum isn’t here but she said I’m allowed.”
“My mum isn’t here but you can call her and she will tell you its fine!” (My friend was waiting on the other side of the line, pretending to be my mum.)
“My mum signed a note say it’s okay.” *queue fake note I scribbled earlier*
“I don’t have a mum to sign the consent form, my sister is my legal guardian.” (The same friend was waiting on the phone to confirm my story).
“I don’t need my mum I’m an adult.” *shows them my 23-year-old sisters ID*
These receptionists had heard every trick in the book and I was naive to think I could pull a fast one over them. But that didn’t stop me trying and I eventually found someone to pierce me.
Tucked away in a shopping arcade in the city, I had spotted a little kiosk with one sign up saying “ear piercings” and nothing else.
I walked in and said, “one helix piercing please”. They didn’t ask any questions and brought me out the back. They pierced me with a gun and I paid my money and left.
I ended up contracting an infection and needed three rounds of antibiotics. I couldn’t sleep well for months. I had to remove the jewellery because it was pierced with a horrible, low quality butterfly back earring. I was grounded for the rest of the year. I wasted my money, went to all this effort and still ended up with no piercing. My mum wanted to sue the shop for doing this to me without her consent.
ID Policy and State Laws
This seems like a very roundabout way to talk about my ID policy but I’ve made my policy with good reason. In Western Australia, it is legal for children to get non-intimate parts of their body pierced at any age as long as they have written parental consent. The only time a child does not need parental consent is for any ear piercings, as long as that child is over 16 years of age.
Piercers who pierce children without consent, can expect an $18,000 fine and 18 months imprisonment. It is up to individual studio owners to implement their own policies on top of this. For example, I will not perform nostril piercings on 12 year old’s or ear lobe piercings on infants. There is a level of care each piercings need to heal successfully. People with those piercings need to understand how to care for them and the consequences of not doing so – this is what we called informed consent.
Moose Body Piercing ID Policy
Once you’re of age to get your desired piercing, you’re required to bring some important documents to your appointment, as well as your consenting adult. Proper documents for you and your consenting adult include:
· Government photo ID that is in date (this is often a passport or drivers/learner’s license, Working with Children’s Check, Proof of Age card);
· And a Medicare card displaying the consenting adults name and the client’s name.
Alternatively, if you are over the age of 18, you are only required to bring one form of government photo ID.
School ID/SmartRider’s are not valid because they don’t often display the child’s birthday. Plus I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the child’s face scratched/scribbled out or replaced with a sticker. A birth certificate isn’t valid either because I can’t confirm that it is yours. You could hypothetically bring a siblings birth certificate that is of age and use that.
Other studios may have different policies but these are mine and frankly, I don’t feel comfortable working outside these limitations knowing that I could potentially be piercing someone who I shouldn’t be.
When you go to a professional, you expect a professional service and even though piercing is super fun and creative, we need to make sure all our ducks are in a row and all the legal paperwork is done before we go ahead. In saying this, consent is such a minor part of our appointment together, but one of if not, the most important part.
Alongside your government photo ID (and Medicare card if you are under 18), all my customers are also required to fill out a consent form. I will sight your signed consent form and ID before we enter the piercing room. My consent contains all the necessary information like your name, date of birth and other generic info but also personal questions to make your appointment run as smoothly as possible! Keep an eye out for my upcoming blog discussing this issue!