Piercings -- ha, ha, get a clue

So I’m in 7-11 buying my biendang and this girl comes in. She’s kindof pretty, but she has this spike sticking out of her lower lip and I can tell by the way she’s walking and holding her head and shifting her eyes about, that she appears to be self-conscious about this thing she stuck through her lip. Of course she should be self-conscious about it: it’s the first thing everyone notices about her. Little kids surely say, “mommy, that lady has a thing in her lip.” I’ve seen plenty of weird stuff over the years, her spike is no big deal, but even I would have trouble carrying on a conversation with her without thinking of her spike (at least it’s not as bad as nose piercings; with those the booger factor always comes to mind). And of course if she ever had serious business to do – either in her employment or with a bank, landlord, etc – forget it, the spike will definitely count against her no matter how much she might protest that that’s not fair, that’s discrimination, blah, blah, blah.

So why do people want to stick pieces of metal through their lips, nose, tongue (those public, but not widely culturally accepted places in particular)? Is it hip or rebellious? I don’t see how it can be seen as the former when it’s been a fad for so long that it should be about as cool as wearing a Gap shirt – last decade, get with the times. Rebellious? Maybe in square Taiwan, but so what? What’s the point? Is it worth all the stares, the comments behind ones back (or to ones face) and the less favorable treatment? And then there’s the health issues – surely piercings will often lead to infections (I don’t even want to think of infected genital piercings). And tongue piercings – I knew a girl who did that once and she could barely talk or eat with the thing.

So that’s how I feel about the subject: piercings lame. Am I missing something?

I think the eyebrow rings are for people who don’t have curtains.

Far as I’m concerned, people can do whatever they please to their own bodies. Piercings ain’t my thing, and I’d only get a tattoo if it actually had real, lasting significance to me, but if other people want to do that, more power to them.

Plus you realize, MT, that those things aren’t permanent, right? If she has to anything serious where it might count against her, she can take it out, then put it back in later. I’ve known a few people who did that. What, did you think once someone put earrings in they could never take them out again too? Speaking of which, if you’re so anti-piercings, do you also feel the same about earrings?

I stuck a baby’s diaper pin through my cheek once about 30 years ago. Had a piece of bathroom plug chain between it and one of my earrings. It looked extremely stupid but I thought it was cool at the time.

Piercings through the lip appear to lead to gum problems and early teeth loss (no I can’t find the source…) I have gum problems and read a lot about bad gums :frowning:

So that’s you, pjdrib, in your avatar?

A friend of mine who works as a speech therapist gets former tongue-piercing patients all the time. Once they get tired of it (perhaps their boyfriends don’t), they take out the bolt and discover that they’ve got a lisp from months/years of adaptation to the foreign object stuck on their tongue.

How 'bout getting a Prince Albert. What happens once you get tired of that?

They can always be taken out for such occasions.

[quote=“Mother Theresa”]

Is it hip or rebellious? I don’t see how it can be seen as the former when it’s been a fad for so long that it should be about as cool as wearing a Gap shirt – last decade, get with the times. Rebellious? Maybe in square Taiwan, but so what?

Am I missing something?[/quote]

Yes. One rebels, just like one writes, paints, makes movies, for and against one’s own society, family and times. What has or is happening overseas, in other families, societies or times is pretty irrelevant.

Right now in Japan, I’ve read that kids are becoming much more rude and rebellious. They swing umbrellas and eat when they walk. They even say fuck you to their elders. Well, they use the Japanese equivalent which means using a less respectful form of the second person singular. What iconoclasts.

[quote]I stuck a baby’s diaper pin through my cheek once about 30 years ago. Had a piece of bathroom plug chain between it and one of my earrings. It looked extremely stupid but I thought it was cool at the time.

That must have been the everything plus the kitchen sink look, sand. :bravo:

Rebellion is like the arms race. When people first started fighting, they fought with rocks and sticks. That got old so some people invented spears to give them an edge. It kept escalating - swords, then bows and arrows, then primitive guns, then rifles, then machine guns, then tanks, then bombers, until it finally got to inventing nuclear weapons just to outweapon the competition and some people realized that you couldn’t go much further than that and so trying to invent more powerful weapons was pointless.

That’s what rebellion has been over the generations. First, ladies in Victorian times started showing a little ankle to show what slutty and rebellious suffragettes they were. Then in the 1920s kids start jiving to that jazz and swallowing goldfish and girls cut their hair short. Then in the 1950s kids would annoy old fogeys in the malt shop by playing that infernal rock’n’roll and posing like James Dean. Then in the 1960s kids went even further, they wore their hair long and freaked out on pot to psychedelic music. Then in the 1970s hippies weren’t shocking any more, so they had to invent punks. Then in the 1980s punks weren’t threatening, so they invented gangsta hip hop and glorified the lifestyles of ghetto drug dealers. Then in the 1990s kids raised by hippy parents who weren’t shocked by hardly anything anymore, these kids had to to SOMETHING to SHOCK somebody, so they chose the one thing that could still shock the “squares”.

Green hair wasn’t going to cut it (yawn). Leather jackets? zzzz. Heavy metal? C’mon, even Dubya Bush says he listens to Ozzy. Wearing ridiculously baggy pants that keeping falling off your ass? Hey, the kids may be rebels, but they don’t want to look like total retards. Doing drugs? Dude, we were all raised by hippy baby boomers! Our parents inhaled!

That leaves the Nuclear Option. Self-mutilation. This is the end result of the evolutionary arms race of teenage rebellion.

It makes me nostalgiac for the days when all you had to do was swivel your pelvis when dancing or just not cut your hair for a few months to outrage Mom & Pop.


This is a picture of my son, Jeff. He has a lot of body piercings and I do mean a lot! He is a piercer by trade. Jeff can appear pretty intimidating to people at times but the fact is that he has manners, a good attitude towards life, a strong social conscience and a good work ethic.

This is a kid who went through hell and back before I was gifted with him. When I hear people speak about him and others as though they are misfits I am reminded that some of the things I am most proud of about this young man are his tolerance towards others, his ability and courage in standing firm in his beliefs and the fact that he has genuine compassion towards others.

I don’t have to agree with the values my kids have - they each have their own sense of self. I do have great pride in each of them though for having the courage to “step out of the box” and as long as they are not living lives that hurt others and are taking responsibility for theirselves in life they will have my undying support to live as they see fit, in the manner in which they see fit.

Oh yes, I have a pierced nose. I got it before I turned 35 ( I’m not saying how many years ago that was!) because I had always wanted to do something that made me feel as though I had the ultimate control over my life and body and I figured a tattoo would hurt too much. Yes, it was a statement, but that statement was a personal one - meant for me only. Anyone else who had as issue with it would have to see it for just that - their own issue. By the way, my piercing does not get “snotty” - and in fact, many people do not even notice that it exists for quite a while after they have met me.

Now that I have said my piece, let me add one little bit…

It is a very common occurance to hear about how badly “foreigners” here are treated and judged, without merit. Is this any different? Do we really need to look down at others for being who they are? I hate being judged without merit as a foreigner here and thankfully, it doesn’t happen very often in a visible way. I refuse to take other lambs to the slaughter by placing my value judgement on them for anything I see as different.

People can do what they like to themselves I suppose but they also have to realise that many people find it repulsive and bewildering.

I love piercings. I had two, but I had to take out one when I came here. I had it for seven years back home, and never had any problems with it. Then I came to Taiwan, and the humidity hit it like a Bedford truck on speed. It was grim. Now I’ve only got one.
I guess it’s also a community thing, just like carrying an LV bag, or a skateboard. When I was back home I often would be attracted to speak to strangers just because they had piercings. That would most often mean that they were goth/metal/industrial too, i.e. had similar interests.
It’s amusing to see how seriously society takes its little rules…what is horrifying in our society is often a sign of beauty in another. Or something that people are willing to die for (the vote for women, gay rights, etc.) becomes completely no-big-deal-every-day stuff just as soon as that boundary has been shifted. It’s interesting to watch, but also quite sad that people have to suffer for something that we or our children will take for granted in the future.

Totallytika, I didn’t say that people with piercings are bad people and I never meant to suggest that. Not at all. I know that people with piercings, tats, purple hair, goth outfits, or whatever are often as kind, honest, intelligent, creative, hardworking and moral as clean-cut, boring people with no extra holes, or even more so, and if you say your multiply-pierced kid is a good person I believe you completely. I wasn’t judging people who get piercings; I was questioning why one would want to do that to oneself.

As I said, I wasn’t looking down at people with piercings – I was simply questioning the wisdom of getting pierced. But I disagree that it’s only an issue for people who have an issue with it (ie people other than the pierced individual). You said yourself that Jeff can appear intimidating to people (presumably because of the piercings he’s gotten).

If a person walked around downtown in a clown suit he would receive attention and comments due to his unorthodox outfit and it would be strange if he didn’t understand why he received the comments and attention and critized people for having “an issue” with his outfit. If he didn’t like the attention he could dress in a more boring (conventional) manner.

The same goes for piercings. If someone sticks multiple rings and studs through eyebrows, nose, cheeks, lips and tongue, he shouldn’t be surprised if people comment on it, question why he did that, or even hold it against him (particularly in business or employment matters). I would try to treat such a person fairly and equally the same as anyone else and socially it wouldn’t matter to me – I’ve had pierced and tatted friends – but I admit I wouldn’t hire an extremely pierced person for various positions dealing with the general public, because as you said, many people are intimidated by such an appearance and an employer doesn’t want to intimidate customers.

It isn’t the viewer – it’s the person who pierces himself, particularly multiply in visible non-mainstream places who is creating an issue, inviting undesirable comments, criticism and attention and less favorable treatment (along with the health risks).

Given that, I question why someone would want to take on an appearance that invites all that crap from others. I’m sure often it’s a matter of rebellion. Particularly for someone like your son, who as you say has been through hell, it’s a way of saying, “fuck you, i do want i want.” I should be able to understand that. I went through a long, rough, “fuck you, i do want i want phase” myself, though I never pierced myself. I did plenty of rebellious stuff that made my life more difficult and I look back today and can’t believe it was me, that I acted in that way, that I was such a fool.

Of course many multiply pierced people will never have regrets, will never feel they were foolish to get them, and the piercings may make them feel better, may open opportunities for them and may be an integral part of who they are, but they will also inevitably bring on comments, criticism and less favorable treatment and that is an issue the pierced person brings on himself.

Anyway, to each his/her own. :slight_smile:

So somehow saying “Ha ha, get a clue” isn’t judging them?

No it isn’t. I didn’t mean that as judgment on the character of the pierced individual; I meant it as judgment of the wisdom of piercing. I never said pierced people are bad or stupid. I simply said “get a clue,” which means “wake up, come on, don’t you realize that’s a stupid thing to do,” and “ha ha” which is dog-speak for “you wonderful person.” :wink:

Seriously, I know that forumosa discussions often lead to arguments and I realize I was inviting one with my snappy tone and my sharp criticism of a practice many people engage in, but I honestly never intended it as criticism of such people – just of the thing they choose to do to themselves.

Mother Teresa, thank you for your response. I tend to take this tpe of issue quite personally for obvious reason! :slight_smile: I recognise that you didn’t “attack” the lifestyle, simply questioned it and if I got rather defensive, which I did, I apologize. It’s simply that it’s been a few years since I have actually heard this topic come up and I found myself feeling angry all over again. In fact, if more people questioned this type of thing it could lead to more open dialogue.

You are quite right when you say that this type of body work can affect how people see you. It does affect jobs, social situations and lifestylesamong other issues. It makes me sad to see my boy(s) have to deal with this reality. He did choose this though, and he has to live a fairly separate lifestyle as a result. I guess the issues go a lot further than many people think about and this is what makes me angry.

Jeff is not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination but he IS a good person. Yes, I agree, initally his body piercings were the result of “fuck you, I do want I want.” He later developed a great interest in the cultural mores of body work throughout history and in the present day. For him, it has been about far more than simply decoration. It is a way for him to explore who he is and what makes him tick. I can’t pretend to understand it all and I have often had to bite my tongue but when I think of the directions in life that he could have gone I am grateful that he chose to do it this way.

As his mother, I really wish that he had not gone so far with it but I feel blessed that he is alive and safe after some of the quite stupid things he has done in the past! For all the roadblocks he has faced as a result of his piercings he has also found a tremendous skill in turning those things to his advantage or making them redundant. He will certainly not conform to mainstream lifestyles but I hope that he will continue to make a positive difference in the lives of the people he is immersed with.

When we first have our children we want so much for them. We develop this picture in our minds as to what they will be like. I remember when my son Joshua was in his early years I had it all mapped out. I think I was looking at the wrong map because he certainly didn’t go in the direction I had planned for him. With the other boys it was a little different as they all came as teenagers with a hell of a lot of baggage. The map didn’t exist for me and the maps their birth parents had made were not only non existent or too detailed. These kids didn’t fit in anywhere. Instead of simply throwing out the maps, they threw out the children too.

Now, I see that as a parent, the map is all in the eye of the map writer. My kids have made a place for themselves in this world. It may not be the place I or their birth parents had in mind but it is a place where they are happy and fit in.

Body piercings, tattoos, choices made - they all amount to a need to self determine one’s role in society, whichever society they choose. Thank goodness that some people do see these things as each to his/her own. Without that, we’d all be drones, just the same, no uniqueness and no excitement! It would be so boring…

So is this more proof that women can’t read maps? :wink: :laughing: