Last week, Nathalie Clark professed her love for tattoos, which I confess I fail to share. Tattoos can look great on others, but they’re just not for me. The idea of getting a tattoo doesn’t appeal, not because of the pain or social perceptions or ageing issues, but instead purely because, regardless of whether or not you designed it, a tattoo will always be someone else’s art on your body and therefore loses its personal quality. It’s a different story with piercings though in that, although often someone else is piercing you, the piercing doesn’t exist without the jewellery you select yourself that you yourself insert.
I have yet to get my actual earlobes pierced – mainly due to idle apathy – and so I’m currently ignorant to the joys of wearing a proper pair of earrings. However, I’m pierced four places elsewhere – helix, rook, navel, nipple – and I feel naked without them. They’ve become an integral part of my preferred appearance, just like other personal normalities such as hairstyle (anyone who seeks either a tattoo or a piercing in the false hope of being “different” is obviously doomed to forever remain tragically ordinary).
Admittedly, I also enjoy the process of getting pierced. Having a stranger stick a needle through miscellaneous parts of your body is somewhat exciting, and the pain is pleasant in its short and sharp quality. Pain is experienced in the same part of the brain as pleasure, hence the potential pleasurable aspect to pain, which I presume is why I often leave the piercing studio in a heady euphoric daze. Plus, y’know, piercings are hot. You’ve extended your array of orifices in a symbolic fashion. Impish.
Finally, piercings come with the added bonus of disposability. If you wake up one day and suddenly detest harbouring alien pieces of metal in your body, you can take them out as if nothing ever happened. For me, however, and it seems for most pierced people, the reality is often the opposite: once you start, it’s difficult to stop. Maybe I’ll just whip out some needles, ice and apple and sort those earlobes out at last for my next fix. Otherwise, I’m tempted by the tongue. Till then, I’m happy as I am.
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