I've been thinking a lot about body modification lately. I was down on Hollywood Blvd last week, picking up a SportsNight script, when I passed this...couple...mauling each other outside the store. There was nothing terribly out of the ordinary about them at first glance, nothing to make me take notice except maybe the fact that they were practically tongueing each other's stomach linings. No, they were as normal as any two grungy, probably homeless, itinerant 20-somethings who are sucking major face while straddling Nichelle Nichols' star can be. Considering that this was on Hollywood Blvd, that's pretty damn normal and I'm the freak for noticing them.
What really caught my attention was when they came up for air as I approached. At first glance the guy's face was filthy and bristling, kind of like a porcupine in a mud bath. Second glance confirmed that first glance wasn't far off, but that it was a paint bath rather than a mud one. The guy had an ornate tattoo resembling the old Thunderbird logo from the classic Ford sports car plastered over his entire forehead, from hairline to eyebrows and temple to temple, and below that he had a row of spikes coming out either side of the bridge of his nose. If ever momma's warnings that "You'll put someone's eye out with that" were valid, this was the time. His girlfriend really should have been wearing goggles, otherwise she's sure to end up wearing an eyepatch one of these days. I couldn't help myself. I gawped.
Then I was past them and I resisted the urge to turn and stare. When I came out later they were gone, so I put him out of my mind. But since then he's kept coming back into my mind, him and all the other human pincushions I've encountered here in La La Land.
There was a producer on the Vanilla Ice video I worked on -- this guy had several piercings: eyebrow rings, lip rings, stud in the side of his nose, and these two really disturbing spike thingies in his neck. One was just below his trachea, the other just at the top of his breastbone. Both of them looked to be just below the surface of the skin, both looked to be infected. He spent the day twirling them nervously and wincing occasionally. Muy attractivo, baby, lemme tell ya.
There was the guy I ran into in Ralph's one night whose shaved head revealed a full head -- face included -- jigsaw puzzle tattoo. This guy was jigsawed from chin to nape and back again. He's what Yul Brynner had in mind when he yelled "It's a puzzlement!" in The King And I. Little old ladies shrank back in fear from this guy, then followed him down the aisles, staring. The checker stared so hard that probably half his stuff missed the scanner as she swiped it. His demeanor was...puzzling. I think I saw him on X-Files once, so maybe he's onto something with that purple tat.
There's just about every yippie, yappie, teenie-weenie kid these days (Get me, I'm a codger!) sporting nipple rings and navel rings and eyebrow rings and lip rings and nose rings and countless other rings I can't see and don't want to. Body modifications are the latest rage and nobody wants to be the last kid on the block to get one.
I'm not a complete conservative when it comes to this stuff. I almost got a tattoo myself once, I have three earrings, and back in the days when I still had hair I wore it down to my shoulders. It's not like I'm a spokesman for the White Bread's The Right Bread club. But still, I have to ask: What's the freakin' deal?
Do these people think they look good with this hardware? Better? Did they wake up one morning, look at themselves in the mirror and think "Gosh, I'm just too plain looking. I need something to spice things up a bit. Maybe a new hairdo...or perhaps a new shade of lipstick...or... Wait! I know! A padlock, right through my tongue! Perfect!" Just what the fuck are they thinking?
It's ridiculous enough that they're piercing their noses and navels and nipples, but at least those almost make sense, there are pre-existing folds or protrusions of flesh through which to poke holes and hang hardware. I can't fathom why you'd want to poke holes there, but I can understand why you'd poke holes there. But now they're making it up as they go along, inventing places to hang things where things aren't even remotely engineered to be hung.
Eyebrow rings. Trachea spikes. Forehead fenestrations. Tongue impalements. What's up with that? How drunk or bored or stupid do you have to be to come up with piercing there? Is it a matter of oneupmanship? Billy got a nose ring so you've got to put a safety pin through your cheek? Sally got her lip pierced so you have to put a fishhook in your eyelid? Where does it end? What's the topper when you've pierced every square inch of flesh? Do internal organs then come into play? Are intestine belt loops the coming rage?
It's so out of control it's comical. When you've got to pinch to poke, I say it's time to lock you in a padded room with just some fuzzy bunny slippers for company.
In the spirit of personal freedoms, I have to say that while I think it's all pretty ridiculous I also recognize that people are free to do what they like. Poke holes in your neck for all I care, but don't be surprised if I think you're an idiot for doing so. Also, don't get all huffy if I stare at you and snicker. Admit it, you wanted people to stare at you, otherwise you wouldn't have done this.
But if you didn't want to be snickered at...well, maybe you shouldn't have stapled your nose to your ear.
Beth wants me to be sure to tell you that she gets the eyebrow thing. She says it makes perfect sense and that she's toyed with the idea of having one done herself. Well, this is my journal and I say she's just plain wrong and she can defend this idiocy in her own journal. If she had one. Ha.
I told her she could get a nice discreet nipple ring if she doesn't mind me ignoring that breast for the rest of our marriage and bursting into helpless laughter every time she gets undressed, but no, she has her heart set on an eyebrow ring.
I have just two words to say to that: Not Gonna Happen.