Anyone for body piercing?

The Associated Press

MONTCLAIR, N.J. The ear (ouch). The nose (Ouch). The cheek (Ouch!). The nipple (OUCH!!). The genitals (OOOOOOOUCH!!!!)

Body-piercing, once the domain of the spiked dog collar set, has relocated from the subculture to the suburbs. Manhattan and San Francisco aren't the only places to pierce anymore; from Wildwood, N.J., to Santa Monica, Calif., piercing shops are now staples.

There's even one here in downtown Montclair, town of choice for yuppies fleeing Manhattan's crowds and crime. On a tree-lined street lined with wood-frame homes, a hardware store and a beauty parlor, an average of 50 folks per week take a sharp needle through a body part at Ink-Credible Tattoo.

''Some people go every week for a manicure, a massage or a sauna,'' explains Christine Brief, co-owner of the husband-and-wife piercing place. ''Other people come here. It's part of their lifestyle.''

Prominent celebrity lifestyle converts include

navel-pierced supermodels Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington. ''The Crying Game'' star Jaye Davidson prefers nipple jewelry. NBA star Dennis Rodman rebounds (when he's not suspended or AWOL) with pierced ears, a pierced nose and a pierced navel. Guns n' Roses guitarist Slash has a nose ring.

But the rich, famous and punctured are not alone. Ever imagine bank tellers with nose rings? Lawyers with nipple bars?

Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee, reflecting on his pierced ears, nose and nipple, now sees himself as somewhat wimpy.

''Those piercings are considered worthless and weak in the '90s,'' says Lee, whose holes date back to the early 1980s. ''Unless you have a bolt through your (OOOOOOOUCH!!!!), you're not making it in the '90s.''

Piercing tip No. 1, from Maria Tashjian of Venus Modern Body Art: When piercing the tongue, use extreme caution. ''You can't just pierce randomly, because there are two major veins that go up its underside.''

At Tashjian's East Village piercing boutique, tongue piercing ($35) is No. 2 on the most requested list, behind navels ($50) and ahead of nipples ($55). The friendly staff appears somewhat threatening, mostly because they sport enough facial jewelry to set off metal detectors.

''I never saw piercing as a fad,'' says Tashjian, who displays an assortment of ear piercings, two nose rings, a septum (the cartilage that separates the nostrils) piercing and a stud protruding from her lower lip.

Piercing tip No. 2: Picking your jewelry is painless. Making a hole isn't.

Tony Paternoster, of Totowa, N.J., rates nipple piercing as No. 1 on the ouch-ometer, although he says getting the back of his neck lanced was no picnic, either.

The back of his neck?

''You clamp the neck, as tight as you can with as much skin as you can pull, and then pierce right through it,'' he explains. A bent barbell is slipped through the hole, creating a look that recently cost him jobs as a lifeguard and flower delivery boy.

Piercing tip No. 3, from Paternoster: Attempt to keep track of exactly how many holes you have in your body.

''Right now, probably 15 to 20,'' he says, running down a mental checklist. ''Nipples, navel, tongue, four in the lips, septum, nostril, eyebrow, back of neck, genitals. That covers it.''

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