We received this question on Tumblr the other day.
Hi! Need someone’s advice on my situation. I’m 17 and on long island, and I’ve been waiting to get my septum pierced for months now. I live with my aunt and she finally said I could get it. But I’m not legally under her roof or anything; so we don’t have legal paperwork for her being my guardian. (although she does have my birth certificate- with my parent’s names on it). I figured I’d call where I want to go and ask them, but I know its not legal. Is there any way around it?
If it’s illegal for you to get pierced without permission/consent of a parent or legal guardian, there probably isn’t a way around it…at least not one that doesn’t involve you putting your health and safety at risk as well as you putting someone else’s job/livelihood/career/business in jeopardy (more on that later).
The desire to get a piercing can be very, very strong. That is certainly something we understand. it can be a challenge to have the patience, and in-turn the maturity, needed to “war it out”. But, if you are 17, at the very most, you have 1 year to wait to get your piercing done; probably even less. While a year probably seems like forever, it’s really not that long and that time will go by quickly.
If you still want the piercing when you turn 18, then you will be even that much more certain about it and getting it done will be even more rewarding. If you don’t want the piercing at that point, chances are good it wasn’t really the piercing for you to begin with and you will have not spent the time, energy and money on something that you weren’t that into anyway.
If you get the piercing done before you are 18, it sounds like you are going to have to do it illegally. Besides breaking the law (that will matter more to some people than others), you will really only have one of two choices for getting it done:
1) You will have to find a piercer/studio that will be willing to ignore the law/regulations and do it for you anyway. That might sound like a great solution, but we can assure you it’s not. There isn’t a singe responsible, ethical, professional piercer that is going to be willing to break the law to do your piercing. That means you are left with the irresponsible, unethical, unprofessional piercers. You might think, “So what? If they will do my piercing, that’s all I care about.”
Think about this: if a piercer is willing to ignore/overlook the law about piercing minors, what other things are they willing to overlook? Proper training? Proper sterilization of equipment? Proper cross-contamination awareness? Reusing needles? Proper and safe jewelry?
Anyone willing to knowingly illegally pierce a minor is only interested in making money. Ignoring, or cutting corners, on all the things we mentioned above is another great way for them to lower their cost, and thereby make more money…which is clearly their main concern.
While you might end up with the piercing you want, you might also end up with a poorly-done piercing with garbage jewelry…or you could end up with an infectious disease that could be with you for the rest of your life. Is the risk of harming your body for the rest of your life really worth it just to get a piercing a few months early?
2) The other option is to get the piercing done by a responsible, ethical, professional piercer by misrepresenting your age (i.e., fake ID, lying about who your parents are etc). That might not seem like such a big deal either.
Trust us, it is. Besides the potential legal issues you could create for yourself by misrepresenting your age, you are tricking someone who is trying to be a responsible, law-abiding professional into breaking the law. Even though it might be your fault for misrepresenting your age, it is still very likely they could suffer the consequences for unknowingly breaking the law.
This might be something as simple as a small fine, but it could be as serious as having their license revoked, having their business fined severely and developing a bad reputation for their business. These are all things that could affect someone who has dedicated themselves to a career that allows them to support themselves, feed their family, pay their mortgage/rent, care for their pets etc.
if you are willing to consider putting someone else’s livelihood and well-being at risk just so your can get what you want, then you need to sit down and take a hard look at what kind of person you are and what kind of decisions, you are making.
So, after all that, we probably sound like somebody’s grumpy aunt who wants to keep minors from getting pierced. That couldn’t be further from the truth. We do a wide variety of piercings on 16 and 17 year olds. But, our younger clients are getting pierced by us lawfully and they are meeting all of the requirements set forth by the state as well as meeting our shop policies. Those clients whose parents/legal-guardians won’t consent for them to have a piercing done usually wait, because they want an awesome piercing done safely by skilled professionals.
We love piercing and we want everyone who wants a piercing to get one. But, we want them to get pierced by an experienced professional who is going to do it safely and provide them with a great experience.
If you wait until you are 18, you can choose exactly who you want to be pierced by. You don’t have to settle for the piercer that is willing to duck the rules and who is willing to potentially put your health and safety at risk.
Hopefully you will consider the things we’ve said and simply wait until you turn 18 if that is the only legal option left to you.