A Safe Guide: Prince Albert

Thirty-one years ago, before the piercing scene evolved into the piercing industry the term piercer had a much looser definition than it does today. Over time it's come to represent someone who's served a formal apprenticeship and has spent years honing their craft; who's taken advanced learning opportunities like Intensives and technique classes at the annual APP Conference and Expo, someone who can discuss sterility at a level that would humble a physician, and who can absorb knowledge from their peers as freely and easily as they share it with the generation of piercers who’ve come after them. 

When this video was filmed, being a piercer meant you poked people with needles so they'd have shiny nipples and genitals, and tried to do it as safely as possible.

Finding a professional piercer back then was easy, since there were only a small handful in the world. But unless you lived in California (where the Gauntlet was located) or were part of a group like the Leather/SM culture, having easy access to a true professional piercer simply wasn't an option. So sometimes you had to make do.

Today's piercers would be horrified to find photo illustrated step by step instructions for an ampallang or clitoris piercing- but 30 years ago they were made readily available in PFIQ- who's PIERCE WITH A PRO feature covered almost every basic (and some advanced) piercing imaginable and went on to spawn several instructional videos.

 Some knowledge was deemed to be better than none. So was the case with 'A Safe Guide to Professional Piercing' featuring piercing by Jack Yount (then going by Mr. J) and filmed by Sailor Sid Diller. Out of context this video looks like anything but professional piercing- highly sexualized, a lack of sterility and technique that will make you cringe- but one has to consider the time (gloves weren't commonly worn in 1984)  it was filmed and the community that both Jack and Sid were part of (the highly sexual gay leather scene) to fully contextualize the footage.

The tape was distributed to piercers on Sid's correspondence list who were primarily working in leather shops or home studios.

As with all of our archival content, this video contains outdated piercing and aseptic technique and should not be considered a how-to.

 

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Shawn Porter has spent the majority of his life in the modification world. As a body modification archivist and documentarian, he has one of the most extensive collections of documents relating to the early American body modification community in existence. He edited the SPC website from 1995 to 2005, co-founded ModCon, was the host of ModCons 3.5 and 4, and created and hosted The Scarwars Project from 2004-2007. In 2011 Shawn launched Occult Vibrations, a blog devoted to traditional American tattoos with a focus on the occult and esoteric. He currently resides in Philadelphia with his Italian Greyhound, Bailey, and his wife Julia.

One comment

  1. “Being a piercer meant you poked people with needles so they’d have shiny nipples and genitals, and tried to do it as safely as possible.”

    If only more pro piercers today would utilize/remember this a bit more. ❤

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