On Age and Face Jewelry

I am thirty four years old and, therefore, probably too old to be wearing a nose ring. I am a professional, an educator, someone who (at least sometimes) wears suits to work. Nonetheless, I stubbornly do not feel like giving it up — and I do teach in Liberal Arts, which means I don’t really have to. I could probably get away with wearing Birkenstocks every day if I wanted to (but thank dog I don’t). I have been wearing the same plain surgical steel hoop in my nose for about the past 14 years. I decided, as some sort of nod to maturity (and also a desire for something new), to switch to a small sparkly stud I bought from Etsy. This would, I thought, be less conspicuous, and also pretty.

Let me just tell you what a giant pain in the ass this whole thing was. After finally removing the hoop (which was just a single piece of wire that had to be straightened out a bit to be removed), I tried for some time to insert the screw-shaped stud I’d bought to replace it.

[16/366] Nosewear

As you can see in the photo, the screw is both an awkward (but clever) design, and a slightly thicker gauge than the hoop was. It was annoying and painful to put it in, but I figured once I’d gotten it there I was good to go.

Cut to two days later, when I woke up with my nose even more sore than it had already been and obviously inflamed and disgusting. Huh. I took the stud out, but could not get the hoop to go back (it was too bent up at this point and messing around with it was painful). I figured it was time to face facts: Just like Roger Murtaugh, I am too old for this shit. I would have to give it up.

But then, I was struck with inspiration: I would go to the mall. There is a Hot Topic in the mall. A Hot Topic that sells nose jewelry. Could I face the horrors of Hot Topic? Was the Hot Topic even still in business? I could and it was.

I walked right in, me, thirty-four years old, and tried to avoid having to talk to the teenaged boy working the counter. I guess the young people of Auburn are perhaps not the target market for exaggerated fishnet tights, manga lunchboxes, and Evanescence tee-shirts, because I was the only customer in the place. Of course, the teenaged boy (who, I feel like I should mention, had several facial piercings of his own, as is appropriate for a teenager) came over and had to help me choose a nose stud from the glass case, amiably chatting me up the entire time. He apparently could not see how mortified I was to be there: me! thirty-four years old! in a Hot Topic! Let’s just say I got out of there as fast as possible, before he could ask me if I was buying the nose jewelry for my kid or something.

There was a happy ending, though: after much washing and sterlizing and such, I managed to put in the smaller-gauge, L-shaped stud. It was approximately a thousand times easier to use than the screw-shaped stud I’d tried before, and because it was as skinny as my old hoop, it didn’t aggravate or stretch my nose at all.

Old nose hoop..New nose stud in action.
Before and After

Lessons learned: 1) check the gauge of any new body-peircing jewelry you buy; 2) Yes, Hot Topic is still in business, and 3) apparently I have determined that thirty-four is still not too old for this shit, at least for now.


  1. Whee! I have a good friend who got her nose pierced BECAUSE she turned 39. I think I’m gonna follow her lead & do mine for my 35th birthday! (Since my rebellious “I’m getting my nose pierced because I finished my MA and turned my life upside down” nose stud fell out.)


    1. I like both of these plans (the 39 plan and your 35 plan)! I’m glad I’m not alone in my face-jewelry-in-the-30s life plan.


  2. My friend Katy had sooooo many issues with her nose piercing when we were in college. I don’t know how many times I walked into the bathroom and saw her giving her red nose a salt-water bath. It took months (MONTHS!), but she finally got it under control, and I don’t think she has changed the stud since. Probably good that she hasn’t, based on your story!


    1. Probably so! I am hesitant to try changing this one ever again. At least I know what to expect now, and I can better avoid problems if I ever do decide to. I will say, the L-shaped stud would theoretically be much easier to change than either a hoop or a screw-shaped stud.


  3. i took out my more visible piercings a few years back, my tongue stud and my left tragus piercing, and i almost never wearing regular earrings. last week i had a dream about getting my tongue pierced, it was odd. i still have other piercings that aren’t visible when i’m dressed, and i like it that way. with all my changes i’m going through i plan to change out my body jewelry soon as it’s time for some new stuff, but i’ll be heading to a local piercing/tattoo shop because i’m too much of a wuss to change those things out by myself. i’m glad you found something that works! i think it looks cute and not super obvious. i dig it more when it’s not so obvious as if someone’s looking for the attention. hot topic, i walk past that place in the mall and chuckle to myself about the good old days of shopping there.


    1. It is probably very smart to have that done at a shop! I bet I could have avoided the hassle if I’d tried that instead — oh well! I used to have a tongue piercing, too, but I had to remove it once for a dental x-ray and I was never able to put it back. That was a weird one to lose because it just felt so strange not to have it there after having worn it for years.


  4. i have to say, i really like having my nose pierced. i’ve always had a screw, but i have had a few mishaps along the way, mostly involving face washing and sink drains, and let’s just say i’ve learned to keep a spare on hand. because that hole? it closes quickly, even after all these years. i like the stud on you! aaaaand, i know you wrote this post before the india post, but it totally keeps to that theme 🙂


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