I prefer piercings to tattoos just because tattoos are more maintenance and may fade or warp with time. Piercings you can take out and hopefully won't develop a keloid or scarring.
I've had my ear cartilage pierced I think 2x, WITH A GUN, which is BAD BAD form. Needless to say they never healed properly and I took them out. Cartilage is the most painful and slowest healing thing you can pierce (next to the belly button) so I avoid it now.
I had an orbital put in my earlobe. It looked similar to this pic I found:
I got compliments on it too, since they are not as popular and IMHO are actually subversive because no one really knows you have "a piercing".
I had my lip pierced twice but both times they didn't heal properly.
One of my coworkers asked me when she saw it, "How do you kiss your boyfriend?"
Metal and me just don't mix unfortunately. Actually, I can't even wear contacts. My body is xenophobic this way.
And I will avoid piercings from now on due to the risks and extra hassle.
One of my friends had her eyebrow (amongst other things) pierced in the same day and was just out of it. Then she realized she would have a hard time going swimming and putting on her goggles with the brow piercing. Kekeke.
I also know of people with body piercings who do combat sports. They put a bandaid on my lip piercing when I took a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class. The teacher told me one of the students was a piercer with stuff "all over him" and he would start bleeding through his shirt where his nipple rings were tearing and swear it didn't hurt.
OUCHIE THE HELL OUCH.