Some piercings seem to invite the question, "Why'd you pierce that?" from certain people. Anything more than earlobe piercings can elicit the question from some, while others only react to piercings they deem odd or extreme, like facial piercings, nipple piercings, genital piercings, surface piercings, and even belly button piercings. There are still plenty of old school people in the world who just don't get it; they can't fathom why anyone would want to "disfigure" themselves with piercings, and they feel compelled to ask people why they got pierced in the first place. How are you supposed to respond diplomatically to a question that someone really has no business asking you? You could always tell them point blank to mind their own business, but if you want to give someone a kinder or more educational response, there are a few things you could tell them.
Man Has Been Piercing Himself Since the Beginning of Time
Men and women alike have been piercing themselves for thousands of years. The oldest mummy discovered to date, Ötzi the Iceman, had earlobes that were pierced and stretched. Ötzi lived over 5,000 years ago, according to paleontologists. He probably wasn't the first person to sport piercings, but he's proof that piercing isn't a new practice.
People have pierced themselves throughout time for a multitude of reasons: to adorn themselves with jewelry, gain spiritual enlightenment, appease the gods, enhance sexual experiences, mark major life milestones, and more. You can read all about the roles different piercings have played throughout time in our History of Body Piercings article, and you'll find supplemental information on the subject in our Are Body Piercings Socially Acceptable? article and Body Piercings in the Workplace blog post, if you'd like to learn more.
By learning about the history of piercings, you'll be able to talk to people about your own in a more educated manner. That way, if someone asks you why you got a certain piercing, you can respond that you're engaging in a time-honored practice of adornment that dates back thousands of years and permeates all cultures, and that like Ötzi the Iceman, you like the way your piercings make you look.
Piercings Are an Ice Breaker
We come in contact with hundreds if not thousands of people every week, yet we talk to few of them. If a stranger or even an acquaintance approaches you and asks you why you got a certain visible piercing, you may be tempted to tell them to bug off, but you could use your piercing to your advantage instead. Tell them why you like your piercing, and then say that you've also found that piercings are a good ice breaker. They give people a reason to talk to you who might otherwise have passed you by and open you up to meeting and getting to know new people. Ask them why they don't have any body piercings, and you might just learn something interesting about the questioner, too.
Piercings Enhance Your Natural Beauty
If you have the world's cutest dimples, you could really make them pop with carefully-placed cheek piercings. Want to draw people's attention to your stunning eyes? An eyebrow ring will make them the focal point of your face. People will inevitably notice your adorable button nose if you have a nostril ring or septum piercing. A nape piercing will draw attention to your swan-like neck, and a belly button piercing might help you more confidently show off your sexy midriff. The point is that there are tons of ways piercings can enhance your natural beauty. Don't be afraid to tell people that you got a specific piercing to draw attention to your best feature. It will show confidence and it's a response that's liable to leave some people speechless, which isn't always a bad thing when you're trying to politely shut someone down who's had the audacity to ask, "Why did you pierce that?"
Some Piercings Have Sexual Benefits
Unless you're walking around town naked, most people will never know if you have genital or nipple piercings. A guy at the beach who has his nipples pierced may be approached by a curious onlooker, though, and you could have a partner who questions your decision to get one of these more private piercings at some point. If someone does ask you about your nipple or genital piercing(s), tell them they enhance your sex life, and leave it at that. If they ask how and you're comfortable going into more detail—which can be worthwhile with a curious partner—enlighten them. Not everyone will accept this response to the "Why did you get that piercing?" question—some people can't help but find piercings to be a turn off—but those partners who do will likely embrace your piercing wholeheartedly once they see how playing with it makes your toes curl in ecstasy.
Choosing the Right Response for You
The responses we've suggested above are just a few that you can give people who ask you why you got a certain body piercing. You could be someone who believes in spiritual enlightenment through body modification, and if you're comfortable enough with someone to tell them that's why you're pierced, then do. If you have a certain piercing for cultural reasons, educate people who ask about your piercing by sharing its cultural background. Do you derive pleasure from the pain of getting pierced? Some people may find that response off-putting, but others will appreciate your candidness if you share that as a reason for being pierced. Maybe you're just a fashionista who likes to accessorize your outfits with fun body jewelry; if that's your primary basis for being pierced, that's cool, too. Whatever your personal reasons are for having the piercings you have, don't be afraid to share them with people. The worst someone can do is shake their head in disgust, which could be a clue that you're dealing with a generally negative person. Those who respond that way only make your life easier by showing their true colors before you waste time investing in a relationship with them.
If any of your piercings have deeply personal meaning to you, you may not feel comfortable sharing the true reasons you're pierced with everyone. That's okay, too. You're not obligated to explain yourself to anyone, but if you want to and don't know what to say, consider our suggestions. If you'd prefer not to explain yourself at all, just say, "I'd rather not talk about it" or "Maybe I'll tell you someday, once we know each other better." At the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is that you feel comfortable with and good about your response to the question "Why'd you pierce that?", even if it's just telling a creep to take a long walk off a short pier or saying, "No comment."