By Chad Haines
My story starts the way so many do: with getting my nipples pierced. I heard from a friend that it would increase sensitivity and I wanted my nipples to be at least a little more sensitive than my elbow skin. My nipples have a history of looking like they have never been less amused. So I had them both pierced and—voilà!—new lip-biting sensations!
But wait. If these little barbells can do this for my nipples then what can they do for my (ahem) … member? I’m not desensitized down there by any means, but I definitely feel the opposite of the two-pump-chump. Sometimes it just takes me too long to climax. I know it’s too long because I reach a point where I stop having fun and start looking at the clock and think, “American Horror Story is on in ten minutes. I hope I can wrap this up.” Sometimes I even wonder if I could get away with faking it.
So I started doing my research. The most popular penis piercing is the Prince Albert. Allegedly brought to fame by the same royal family member who popularized the Christmas tree, this piercing is a ring that goes through the underside of the penis and comes out the pee hole. I can barely even look at the pictures of the Prince Albert without sucking air through my clenched teeth, so when I read that you have to sit to pee because urine sprays all over the place I decided that the PA was an emphatic “no” for me. That’s when I stumbled upon the apadravya.
The apadravya goes through the underside of the penis, just like a Prince Albert, but rather than detouring out of the urethra it keeps on going until it emerges out the top of the penis. This is the one I wanted—just a straight-forward, no frills barbell. I wanted it to be a tasteful penis piercing, and you know what isn’t tasteful? Spraying pee all over the bathroom like my dick heard a hilarious joke and just couldn’t keep it in any more.
I knew just where to get my tasteful genital piercing too. I had a trip to Seattle coming up and what better place in the world to do something so anti-establishment than the birthplace of grunge music and Starbucks (because what says “damn the man” better than a seven dollar mocha with soy milk even though I’m not lactose intolerant?)
Once in Seattle, I was anxious to get this done and over with before my anxiety mounted to the point where I no longer wanted to do it and left Seattle with a major case of intact penis regret. So I whipped out my phone and pulled up directions to Pierced Hearts tattoo and piercing parlor in the University District. A few short minutes later and I was parked and walking inside. There was a guy behind the counter talking to two girls about, I don’t know, tattoos, I guess.
I started flipping through the giant posters of tattoos mounted to the wall when a second guy walked up and asked if he could help me. I immediately thought, I don’t have to do this. I can pretend I just came in for a tattoo, get a random tattoo, leave, and no one would be the wiser, but I quickly decided that was slightly more absurd than my true intention so I blurted out, “Do you guys do apadravyas?”
The guy behind the counter said they did apadravyas. But he didn’t just say it. He said it kind of slowly and curiously. He answered me with the same emotion and expression that you would have if your grandmother asked if you moved your bowels that day. He must’ve thought that I was there to do a report or something. It could be my innocent face, or maybe because I don’t know proper piercing parlor protocol. What does one say when entering a piercing parlor? Is it “I’ll take one apadravya, please!”? Because that’s what I did. Like I was ordering movie tickets. So the guy just looked at me and asked if I had any questions.
I didn’t. I had done enough research, and I knew that if I heard any gruesome anecdotes, I would definitely chicken out. I mean, I almost got a tattoo rather than ask about the apadravya. The guy behind the counter introduced himself as Chris and had me fill out paperwork because Frank (the guy dealing with the sorority girls) was using the piercing room to pierce one of the girl’s nostrils.
After I filled out the forms and promised I wasn’t drunk, diseased, and had in fact eaten that day, Chris went back to prep the piercing room while I looked at more tattoos. At this point, you could have told me anything in the world and I wouldn’t have heard you. I was way too busy panicking and trying not to show it. I wanted Frank and Chris to think, Yeah, this is probably just like any other day for this guy. This badass guy.
When Chris came lead me back, I think I finally realized that I was past the point of a suave escape and I just went with it. He had me sit down in a chair that reclined all the way back so that I was laying down. Then he had me undo my pants and pull them down just enough so that he could access the canvas with which he was to work.
Having another guy touch my flaccid penis is absolutely not just another day for this badass guy. Chris explained very thoroughly what he was going to do. At least I think he did. I saw his lips moving, and I kept nodding my head but really all I heard was my inner monologue saying, “You’ve about to be stabbed in the dick” on repeat. Chris told me he was going to have me breathe in and out a few times and then ask me if I was ready. So he cleaned me up again, had me take some deep breaths, and asked if I was ready. I MOST CERTAINLY AM NOT READY, but I somehow said that I was. That’s when I felt the needle on the underside of my penis, and I thought “This really pinches! This—”
And that’s when it went from a pinch to ungodly searing pain and I couldn’t keep quiet any longer and started to let out a heartfelt “FFFFUUU—” but was cut short when Chris told me I did a great job. It’s over? But I didn’t even get to finish my expletive! Chris is a miracle worker!
He finished by putting in my jewelry (the classiest of penis barbells) and had me look at it. I loved it. Loved it. This was now more than just an experiment on obtaining a new sexy-time sensation. This was physical proof that I was tougher than I thought I was. Chris wrapped my penis up in a surgical glove so that the oozing blood could pool somewhere other than my pants. Then he told me to stay seated for as long as I wanted. No. I wanted to get my beautiful penis out into the world! So I went out into Seattle. (Side note: You may laugh at the glove, but it worked! If it hadn’t there would be a trail of dick-blood stains leading up to the snack bar at the top of the Space Needle.) I called my sister. Because who is probably going to be the most excited? My married-with-twins-and-a-house-in-the-suburbs sister.
That night I carefully cleaned my penis before carefully tucking it into a nice clean pair of underwear and climbing into my hotel room bed. When I woke up the next day, I was surprised to see how much blood had continued to ooze out overnight. It was high time for a shower and new pants so I jumped out of bed and into the shower. When I came out and dried off, I caught a glimpse of the sheets. Had someone just killed a family of small animals in my bed with a shoe? Well, I had no choice other than to check out of this hotel before the sun comes up and they discovered an amount of blood that falls somewhere between “menstruation” and “slit throat” on their sheets.
Over the next few days the bleeding got lighter and lighter, and I now took better care to protect hotel room sheets. (You’re welcome, Portland!). The pain was incredibly minimal most of the time. The exceptions were when I’d get nighttime erections. I had no idea how active my penis was when I wasn’t looking but as soon as I’m asleep it’s up and at ’em! It may secretly be training for a marathon.
One thing I can say is that now it will look extra impressive crossing that finish line with a barbell.
I learned so much from my apadravya. I learned that the penis bleeds a lot; I learned that Chris and Frank are delightful people; I learned that my will is stronger than my fear of needles going into my penis. I’m not saying that I recommend everyone going out and getting their genitals pierced. I’m just saying sometimes you’re not the person you thought you were and sometimes that can be pretty cool.
CHAD HAINES is a zoologist for various institutions across the country. When he’s not tending to animals or explaining to people why he mells the way he does, he writes for publications like Soundings, Forum, and other academic publications that reach tens of people every year. He is currently working on a series of essays about his time as a zookeeper. Follow him on Twitter @chadchaines