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Santa Monica, Columnist, Hot Flash

The Weekly Hot Flash: Are Women Over 40 Too Old For Body Piercings?

Barbara Bishop, Columnist
Santa Monica Mirror Archives
Barbara Bishop, Columnist

Posted Mar. 27, 2014, 8:27 am

Barbara Bishop / Hot Flash Columnist

Are we too old for body piercing? I say no! And it’s not like a tattoo; if you don’t want to wear the piece of jewelry, or bone or ring or whatever you put in the area of you body that’s been pierced, you can just take it off when you don’t want it. Or put it back in if you do.

Ear piercing was the first thing I was exposed to; I got my ears pierced for my birthday one year. I think I was 10 years old. I had all these cute little ladybugs, flowers, tiny hanging hoops, and the pearl studs that my boyfriend Randy got for me.

All were hanging on a little earring ladder.

Later, in my 20s, I got a second piercing in my ears, since that was the cool thing to do at the time. I wore a pretty diamond chip in each of them. I still have them, but do not wear earrings in them any longer.

Only in the last 15-20 years have piercings been for 20-somethings. The roots of American body piercing, starting from the 1960s on, were primarily for people in their 30s and 40s. But it goes back much further than that.

According to research I conducted online, the first nose piercing was done in the Middle East approximately 4,000 years ago, gifted from a husband to his wife when they married. The size of the nose ring gifted denoted a family’s wealth.

The practice is still in place today in certain areas of the region.

Ears were first pierced for magical purposes. Many primitive tribes believed that demons could enter the body through the ear, and ear piercing could prevent it from happening, because demons are supposed to be repelled by metal.

In September, 1994, Suzy Menkes of the New York Times said, “It’s easy to pinpoint the moment when body piercing went mainstream. Supermodel Christy Turlington came out at a London fashion show and in the middle of her navel was a ring!”

Piercings have come a long way since then. You can pierce almost anything on your body – more popular piercings I have heard about are on the navel, nose, lip, eyebrow, tongue, nipple, and genital area (I’m turning red!) I am sure there other areas that I don’t even know about.

I would love a tiny gold ring in my pierced navel, but my navel and the area around it needs to lose a little bulk before I venture into that area. But with the right tummy, it’s very sexy. I’m working on it.

The nose area is also really pretty. My friend, who’s over 60 years old, has a dainty miniature jewel on the side of her nostril. It’s really cool. Maybe I’ll do that when I officially qualify to be a senior citizen! I can use one of the diamond chips from the second set of holes in my ears. If I lose it, I’ll have a second one to replace it!

The piercings that I don’t think are sophisticated enough for women over a certain age are lip, eyebrow, tongue, nipple and genital areas. I can’t imagine getting my lip pierced – it would ruin the contour of my lipstick! I might get food stuck in it as well. No, that’s not for me.

Eyebrows are out as well. I take a lot of time to make sure my eyebrows are properly groomed, and having an earring in the middle of an eyebrow is weird to me. Throws off the balance of the eyebrows. Why there?

Talk about trying to eat, drink or talk, how about that tongue piercing? I know what it could be used for, but I eat, drink and talk more than I would actually make use of it for sexual activity. Call me a prude!

Speaking of prudes, I would also decline nipple or genital piercings. Not only do I think it would really hurt, I think it’s kind of trashy. But some of us love that kind of trashy. If you’re into that, go for it!

Hot Flash Universe is the go-to source for women over 40 seeking insight into the hottest, most current trends, products, and issues. Topics are approached with candor, intellect, and a healthy dose of humor.

Barbara Bishop is President of Santa Monica-based BBPR, Inc. For comments or suggestions, email

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Mar. 28, 2014, 3:30:09 am

Cyndi Cunningham said...

You always right such entertaining and interesting articles. My favorite blog, for sure!!!

Mar. 30, 2014, 4:39:59 am

Y said...

I think you should get your nose pierced today. It's so dainty and pretty! And you should really get the smallest nose ring. It's much smaller then those earrings you had. It's the prettiest thing to get. Get a nose stud!

Apr. 13, 2014, 10:42:25 am

Angie said...

I think your are ready for that lovely nose stud when you said, "...the nose area is also really pretty. My friend, who’s over 60 years old, has a dainty miniature jewel on the side of her nostril." Like your friend, don't wait for senior citizen status. Yes, I know. Women my age are taking out their nose rings, not putting them in. Correction. Women my age took out their nose rings ten, if not twenty – years ago. Some ask me why now at age 49, being a divorcee? I had answers to that “why,” many, actually. It was the thing I always wanted to do at eighteen, but didn't. I loved see my college girlfriends with them and came close once, but I didn’t. I did my nose pieced with a little diamond and some of my friends asked why. Was it a midlife crisis? Was it because I'm having hot flashes? Or maybe, girls just want to have fun? Because I can? Maybe a little bit of all of the above? Here is the real reason....after having coffee with my ex to discuss some issues, he notices “...the nose ring,” he said. “It’s cute.” “Thanks,” I respond, but he follows with “I bet the boys really like it.” The next day on my way to work, I stop at Dunkin Donuts to grab a coffee. While waiting in line, I turn my head to order. Afterwards, a nice (47-52 y/o) man dressed in a suit (no ring) says to me, "...I love your nose stud." I blushed and asked him if he thought I was too old for a nose stud. He said, " know the professional world's opinion of adult women and piercings probably isn't very favorable, but gosh your nose stud was very SEXY." I should have done it sooner!

Mar. 22, 2015, 7:27:53 am

kim said...

I am retirement age and I have been contemplating a small jewel nose piercing. I really enjoyed your article.

Aug. 23, 2015, 10:17:45 am

Juanita Martinez said...

I'm now 42 and I have a total of 9 cartilage peircings on both ears. I started these somewhere around 39-40. Not because I was turning 40 but because I saw a woman who I think was older than me with a bright diamond in the top of her ear. I loved it so much I was green with jealousy. I wanted it. I did it because I was jealous. Today it reminds me to keep my jealousy in control. Other peircings happened at events of my mind. I vowed to be a better listener, I vowed to keep my house (i refinanced) I committed to allowing myself the choice of where to live (an industrial bar symobolized my 30 mile commute) and the rest was just because I love life. You are never to old for this because it isnt so much about fashion but about personal choice and that is fashionable at any age.

Aug. 23, 2015, 10:22:11 am

Juanita Martinez said...

PS, my coworkers started treating me better after this, and two of them decided to go for it! I honestly have noticed a difference in how people treat me, they pay more attention to what I have to say. My former boss said it looked pretty, as others at work. For my current job, I wore my hair up with ears in full view at my interview. I was told I would get a very comfortable salary offer. Very. I did.

Aug. 24, 2015, 5:53:37 pm

jon nye said...

women over 40 are not to old for body piercings. my boss who is 60 has a tiny stud on her left nostril.It looks cute.

Nov. 13, 2015, 5:50:54 pm

Dorathy said...

I have a friend who is in her 70's and still has a nose hoop and 8 or 9 hoops in her ears. I think she looks great. I'm 45 and would love to get a nose hoop or stud, I already have 8 earrings in my ears. Of course my friend says to go for it. and to not worry about what others think. I hope to get a nose ring in a couple of months.

Oct. 10, 2016, 4:13:52 pm

Donna said...

Age 60 I just got my first nose piercing and everyone loves it. I got a lot of compliments and surprisingly very few judgmental comments.

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