LAST WEEKEND, I finally decided to get my ears pierced. It was something I had been promised in exchange for good grades by my parents many (many many many many) years ago, and they never bothered to make an appointment and gradually I just stopped asking.
Since it was something I had always wanted, it was time.
So I went to Yelp, hoping that would narrow down my options. But the thing about reviews is that there could be a slew of positive feedback, and then you come across someone with a negative experience, and it puts doubt in your mind, and that’s it. Over. On to the next place. There were too many options, and since my friends had all had their ears pierced long before coming out to LA, I couldn’t rely on their first hand accounts.
In my hometown of Bend, Oregon, there wouldn’t have been so many options. If you type “piercing” into Yelp for Bend, you get six results - one of which is a Claire’s. The same search for Los Angeles yields 151 results. Narrowing it down to Marina del Rey still gets 29 results. In a city that has everything, usually in multiples, how do you choose?
I ended up at Ink Monkey Tattoo, just down a ways on Lincoln. It did not have as many reviews as other places I was considering, but I had seen it before and though it did not look like a place I would normally go, it was somewhat familiar. It was out of my comfort zone and a little scary. I almost didn’t go in.
Sometimes you can’t rely on the experiences of others, you have to go out and make your own. That is what I find so exciting (and at the same time frustrating) about this city. There is an endless supply of options. And, besides just getting my ears pierced, I got something else out of it as well. I already knew tattoo artists were that: artists, but I never realized how much art goes into piercing as well. Jason, the piercer, was very proud of all his work, telling me about the cheek piercing he did on the woman who had walked into the store after me and making sure I knew about his gallery on the shop’s website - and he was definitely not telling me because he thought I would be a repeat customer.
Even though my ears were the most basic request you could make, he took his time to make sure they were perfect. Its comforting that I won’t have to go through the process of finding a place if I ever decide to get another piercing. But as Jason pointed out, that’s pretty unlikely. He’s probably right, but you never know how this city will change you.
-- Allie Flinn
Photo by amaltya via Flickr