Do you remember your first: Nipple Piercings


A few weeks ago I posted a picture of the first PA piercing performed by piercing pioneer Jim Ward. While getting everything together for an expanded version of the purple hanky article I came across this photo…

In the spirit of ‘do you remember your first one’…

This is Fernando. He was the infamous Leatherman who’s pierced nipples were the first that Jim saw in person. According to Jim’s invaluable book RUNNING THE GAUNTLET:

“At this point in my life I had never seen or heard of anyone with pierced nipples even in the pages of National Geographic. That was soon to change. One weekend night I went to the Village to hang out at the NYMBC. Standing shirtless by the bar was a hunk of a man. Even in the subdued light there was no missing the glint of gold on his muscular chest. His nipples were pierced. I learned that his name was Fernando and that he was something of a local legend. Though I was never fortunate enough to enjoy the intimate pleasure of his company, he at least let me know that once again I was not alone.”

That feeling- of not being alone- was very powerful in the early days of Body Modification, before finding others ‘like us’ was a mouse click away.

Do you remember the first time you saw someone who was pierced/tattooed/modified it it made you feel connected to something bigger? Share the story!

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 outside of academia. 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 wife Julia and their creepy pets Mr. Bailey Papers and L. RonBenet Ramsey.

One comment

  1. Well, I was born in the early 80s, so by the time I was at an age where modifications were a possibility for me, they had already been becoming somewhat popular. However, I do remember as a child talking about wanting tattoos & my nose pierced (at the time, that was the only thing I’d ever seen besides an ear piercing, other possibilities hadn’t even occurred to me) & being looked at like I was nuts, because in the 80s that was an extreme thing for a person to do, let alone a kid to talk about. In maybe the late 80s, I have this distinct memory of being about 8 years old & traveling with my parents. At a rest stop, I saw a man walk by w/his nipple pierced. I was so shocked that I’d wondered if I’d imagined it, yet very intrigued at the same time. So despite the fact I was too little to have the ‘I’m not alone’ feeling in the sense of being modified in the 80s, at least I felt I wasn’t alone in the sense that maybe I wasn’t so strange after all, & to me it was an important moment because it was such a revelation to me-that when it came to modification, there were many more possibilities than I knew about, & that idea really excited me!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *