Thursday, December 25, 2008

it pays to be inked

Hey all! Merry Christmas if you celebrate that kinda thing :o) Since my family does, and are currently trying to rip me away from my MacBook to join in the festivities, I'm gonna have to make this short. Not a problem though, as all I really have to say is that if you're tatted with any kind of Asian-inspired imagery, you can submit a photo of your mods to a contest run by TY KU liquor. Just fill out the form provided, attach a photo of your tat, and presto, you'll be entered to win a party thrown in your honor at the tattoo shop of your choice as well as a TY KU gift package. Never tried the stuff myself, but it's endorsed by the ladies of Missbehave magazine which, from my experience, is definitely a good sign. The deadline is January 30th, so you still have plenty of time to enter, but make sure to get in there if you qualify! It's worth a shot, and if you win your tat will be displayed in the next TY KU ad. Mods and liquor. Yum. Enjoy the holidays all!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

voyeur with a cause

Body modification is a term that can be used to describe countless bodily alterations, both mainstream and alternative. The range of procedures it encompasses seems to grow every year as dedicated bod mod practitioners, plastic surgeons, and other mod specialists utilize their knowledge of the human body as well as the ever-expanding range of technologies available to them to advance the science of body modification. Some mods, like amputation and facial reconstructive surgery, are undergone to treat a pre-existing problem. Others are done purely for their aesthetic appeal, or for the very experience of pain and healing itself. Still others are done not for the modder's health or pleasure, but to have some effect on those who will be viewing the mod. That is, outward-directed mods. Some choose to tattoo swastikas on their body to educate others about the symbol's benevolent roots. Gang tattoos can also fall under this category, as obtaining one is typically a non-negotiable requirement for initiation into the gang, and because these marks are often used to distinguish friend from foe. These mods send a message. They are not a simple nostril piercing or flower tattoo that can mean something different to every viewer. They are in-your-face, and guaranteed to have an impact on the outside world. It is with this very intention that Canadian filmmaker Rob Spence will soon be getting one of the most inventive and technologically sophisticated mods I've ever encountered. After an initial eye injury and subsequent complications, Spence recently had his eye surgically removed and replaced with a prosthetic. He is now involved in a project to turn that prosthetic into a working videocamera that will record the world as he sees it, literally from his point of view. Just like any other outward-directed mod, the new eye will make Spence's private world public, in more ways than one. First off, the feed from the camera will be broadcast live on a webpage so viewers can see what Spence is seeing at all times (unless of course he has temporarily turned it off). In addition to having access to what's in front of Spence's face, viewers will also get a taste of what's going on in that buzzing mind of his. He hopes his new eye will help to disseminate his personal views on what he calls our "culture of surveillance." People have already started to tell Spence that they will not want to be filmed when he finally completes the new eye - which is exactly the reaction he's going for. "People are more scared of a center-left documentary maker with an eye than the 400 ways they are filmed every day at the school, the subway, the mall," he says. His aim is to make people more aware of the invasion of privacy that has become disturbingly commonplace in the lives of Americans, an invasion to which we have become comfortably numb.
Although he calls himself the "eyeborg guy," Spence is a bit different from typical cyborgs. Cyberpunk novels depict cyborgian characters who have melded their bodies with various technological devices in order to compete with the Man, and simply stay afloat in an ever-evolving world of corporate takeover and oppression of the common man. Rather than wanting to compete with the Man, Spence wants to reveal His subtle infringements on the rights of citizens, himself included. With his new eye Spence hopes to get people thinking about privacy, and presumably how, in recent years, more and more citizens have been willing to give up their rights and freedoms in exchange for what are hailed as "safety measures," but are in some cases nothing more than unabashed snooping sprees by Big Brother. It's easy to live in blissful denial of the fact that your private phone calls may be secretly monitored, but when your every word is being recorded by a human eye, the uncomfortable truth is inescapable. Spence's message is in your face, literally.
Hearing about Spence's project has gotten me thinking about a lot of elements of body modification that I don't think I've addressed before. For example, the idea of a mod being totally in-your-face got me thinking about people with really heavy facial modifications. Why do they do it? I love mods, but I get enough comments about my two tiny facial piercings and 3/4" lobes as it is. I couldn't imagine looking like this dude.
He probably gets stares wherever he goes, and likely gets shunned by many older folks who simply can't get past the prejudices ingrained in them decade after decade. I've been wondering if perhaps these individuals get such extensive mods to prove to society that looks can be deceiving, or at the very least that they aren't everything. Talking to a heavy modder is likely no different than talking to any other person out there. They're not insane, they're not deviant, they're probably a generally 'normal' lot in terms of their behavior and hobbies and such. I wonder if perhaps the message they're trying to send is that we need to stop judging books by their covers, whether that cover be black, transgender, disfigured, tattooed, whatever, and realize that we're all one in the same. Fuck, maybe I'm overanalyzing here...maybe they just love the aesthetic of heavy mods!
So, yea, that was my ramble for today. Hope you enjoyed it and possibly derived some sliver of education or entertainment from it. P.S. I'm totally open to any ideas for blog posts, so let me know what interests you and I'll do my best to scribble something up on it! Oh yea, in case I don't see you, happy motherfuggin holidays.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

getting down with "opening up"


I am and have been, since the very beginnings of my interest in body modification, a huge fan of BME's former godfather, Shannon Larratt. His writing has always been clear, concise, and often damn witty, making for years of engaging Modblog posts and BME feature articles. After a shitshow of legal battles earlier this year, Shannon is now divorced from BMEzine, much to the chagrin of his many followers and admirers. Through his many contributions to the body modification community he has, in my opinion, advanced the subculture as well as mainstream understanding of the subculture more than any other single person in the bod mod community. He has disseminated information on every type of body modification imaginable, and has always strived to understand and explain the various practices from a range of viewpoints, yielding incredibly in-depth and well rounded sources for anyone wishing to better understand a particular aspect of the subculture. I know this is a long-winded and kiss-ass-ish intro, but I seriously respect Shannon both as an individual and a mod-vocate.
After his break with BME, Shannon continued to blog on his personal website, Zentastic, which I check out from time to time and see what he's been up to. There are usually lots of photos of his adorable daughter Nefarious and stories about their various excursions, but he also keeps readers up to date on his many projects, one of which being a newly released book of interviews called "Opening Up." In accordance with Shannon's dedication to keeping bod mod info ever-flowing and ever-accesible, the book is available from Zentastic under a creative commons license in PDF form FOH FREEZ! How awesome is that? I personally downloaded a copy right away, but after having perused it a bit have asked for a hard copy for Christmas. Let me tell you right now: if you are at all interested in body modification, as an artist, piercer, modder, BIID sufferer, psychologist, sociologist - the list goes on - you need this publication. It's chock full of interviews with everyone from piercers, tattoo artists, and extreme body mod practitioners to doctors, voluntary amputees, and modified celebrities. There are even gag-inducing sections that relay mod artists' horror stories with perverted and hygienically challenged customers, as well as an informative section on the development of microdermals and surface piercing.
Although this post isn't a review of the book, it is my version of a gold star, two thumbs up, smiley face, what have you. If you're looking for the perfect Xmas gift for that special modded someone, there's no doubt that their face with light up with sheer glee upon receiving this gem. I might return to talking more about this book once I've read more than the 5 or 6 interviews I've checked out so far, but I wanted to mention it as early as possible so all y'all readers can check it out for yourselves. Enjoi, and, you're welcome :o)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

temporary failure to conform

As the majority of my customers at Chili's are older folks or families, it's always nice to have a modded bunch to serve. I know that looks can be deceiving, but I've found that most modders I meet often share at least some basic views of mine and are a pleasure to chat with. Enter an adorable couple at table 93, Dnash and his lovely Icelandic lady, Aggatho. They're both wearing matching crocheted beanies (which I later found out were made by Agga herself) that have little apple stems poking out the top, and sit next to one another rather than on opposite sides of the booth they occupied. Luckily I'm allowed to wear my 3/4" plugs to work, and they acted as the perfect little ice breaker to get us into talking about mods. Agga sported a pair of cute red plugs, an eyebrow barbell, and a nostril ring, while Dnash was adorned only with his mass of facial hair (although after spotting a sparkle up mah nose told me that he previously wore a septum ring too). After talking for a few Dnash handed me his business card, saying that he makes vampire fangs for a living. I was, of course, enthralled to hear this, as fangs are a rarely seen but really effing cool mod in my opinion. Although the option is certainly available to get one's teeth filed into a point, it's a painful and permanent procedure that I would imagine is regretted more often than not. Biting my tongue is painful enough as it is! Ouch... Dnash's creations provide a great solution for those interested in vamping (ha) up their look, but only part-time. As I inquired further about the fangs Agga pulled out what looked like a pill case, and within seconds had slipped two tooth-colored caps onto her canines. I was amazed at how flawless they looked! If I had encountered her with the fang-sthestics already in I definitely would have assumed them to be her real teeth. And, to be honest, they also looked pretty hot! Although I'm not into the whole vampire aesthetic/subculture, I've actually been considering getting a pair ever since our meeting!
In any case, the encounter got me thinking about all the temporary mods out there, and how they allow people to maintain a professional appearance when necessary, like in the workplace and at family gatherings (depending on your family, of course), but also be able to satisfy the desire to modify one's body when alone or in the company of more open-minded folk. There are a few categories of temporary body mods, including those related to particular subcultures (fangs, corsetry/tightlacing, ear pointing - real, faux), mainstream mods gone funky (crazy contact lenses 1, 2, extreme hair color, elaborate nails, artsy makeup 1, 2), special occasion or extreme mods (body painting/airbrushing, play piercing, saline injection), and kiddie mods (henna, temporary tats, magnetic earrings). I love that there are so many options to customize, decorate, and alter one's body without having to make a permanent commitment. Although permanent mods certainly hold a value all their own, temporary mods allow for individuals to get to know their body better, to remove themselves from their prim and proper everyday appearance (and, perhaps, state of mind), and to fulfill their instinctual desire to mod without fear of repercussions from what may be a not-so-mod-friendly community. Plus it's just really fun. I mean, imagine smiling at your local bank teller while sporting a set of Dnash's pearlies. Good for a double-take, that's for sure :o)
Whether they're done alone as explorations of the body or done in order to achieve a temporarily different look, non-permanent mods offer all the fun of body modification without the various anxieties that sometimes accompany it. So, what's your poison?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the tatted celeb effect

Sooo...after a week of emitting positive energies into the universe and hoping with all my might that I would be able to get my second egg tattoo before the holidays, I got a call from Transcend on Sunday night! Lou had a cancellation for Monday and I was more than happy to take the appointment, and thus am now the bearer of two gorrrgeous inked Ukrainian Easter eggs! I can't wait 'till they're healed so I can finally show my Mom, who, I've decided, is going to love them (fingers crossed!). I know her reaction to my plans to get the tats wasn't so supportive, but once she sees the final product I don't think she'll be able to resist falling in love with them.
In other news, Brad Pitt was on an episode of Oprah recently, and in response to a question from a fan about the significance of his many tattoos, became reallllly awkward and, arguably, kinda irritated. He completely evaded the fan's original question despite being encouraged by both his recent co-star, Cate Blanchett, and Oprah herself to spill about his mods. Unfortunately for his devoted (read: obsessive) fan of 17 years, Pitt remained unwavering in his decision to not speak about (and certainly to not reveal) his mods. Luckily for curious viewers the fan had a thorough knowledge of his ink work, and pressed Pitt to speak about one tattoo in particular: an Ice Man. Pitt still refused, making for quite an uncomfortable situation considering he gave no explanation whatsoever for the apparent sensitivity of the subject. At that point Oprah finally changed topics but, phew, what a tense few minutes. I couldn't believe how secretive Pitt was being about his tats, and wondered what was going on in his head to make him clam up like that. I have to admit I was disappointed in him at first, assuming that he was embarrassed to have tats at all, not wanting to be associated with what some of Oprah's viewers might see as a barbaric or juvenile practice. But thinking back, his emotional reaction probably had less to do with being ashamed of his tats and more to do with being frustrated that he truly can't retain any aspects of his life as private property. I mean, it's also possible that he's no longer happy with the tats, and wants to pretend they're not even there. But I'd bet that the real issue was that the stories behind his tats reveal a lot about him - the real him, not the him that goes on Oprah to promote his movies - and he wanted to keep that part of his life to himself. Poor guy doesn't really get much privacy I guess, so it's no surprise that he would want to maintain his body as the last frontier not poked 'n prodded by the ravenous media. Thoughts?
Although Pitt may not have been concealing his ink specifically to maintain some sort of image in the eyes of his fans, I think that revealing them probably would have helped boost the perception of tats in general by some skeptical Oprah viewers. I show off my tats to customers at work all the time, and although most people who actually talk to me about them are pro-tat, others apparently can't help asking me why I would "do something like that to myself," with more than a hint of disdain in their tone. In the West, negative reactions to modified bodies seem to be relatively rare, and will often manifest in the form of a post-encounter conversation -"Did you see that girl's chest? It was completely tattooed! How unfeminine..." - rather than outright criticism. However in Japan, having visible tattoos can get you kicked out of a hot spring, public bath, or water park, get your gym membership revoked, get you fired from your job, or cause fellow train passengers to refrain from sitting near you or even looking at you. For those of my readers unfamiliar with the origins of tattooing in Japan, public sanctions against displaying tats and disdain for tats in general are not without reason. The Japanese aren't simply behind the times or too straightlaced to be accepting of tattoos, but rather have come to associate tattooing with Yakuza, or the Japanese mafia. The cutthroat criminals have been known to acquire elaborate tattooed bodysuits to pay homage to their clan, whereas the typical Japanese citizen sports pristine, unadorned skin. Thus, the sight of a tattoo in Japan, whether on a gaijin or a native, instinctually evokes fear and contempt. So, whereas tats are incorrectly associated with violence and delinquincy by some older or more sheltered Westnerners, such associations actually still hold true in Japan. Of course, there are tatted convicts in the West as well as harmless tatted housewives in Japan, but the majority groups are flip-flopped.
I've been researching the verity of negative reactions to tattoos on an awesome forum called Gaijin Pot, where us gaijin (Japanese outsiders) can go to ask questions about Japanese culture that are then answered by Japanese natives or foreigners currently living in the land of the rising sun. Searching the term "tattoo" on Gaijin Pot yields thread after thread of conversations about the reception of tattoed gaijin in Japan, from questions of where to find a tat-friendly gym to whether to reveal one's tats to one's host family before being invited to an onsen (hot spring) for the first time. From what I can gather, having visible tats in large cities like Tokyo typically isn't an issue considering the wide variety of nationalities and cultural quirks found there, but things are quite different in a small town. People can be extemely rude to the tatted, leaving some inked foreigners dumbfounded and offended at their seemingly unfounded ill treatment.
Since tattoos are so much more likely to be negatively received in Japan than the States, their appearance in pop culture is far more valuable. The J-pop singer, Namie Amuro, is one of the most prominent tatted celebs in Japan, and some have speculated that her tattiliciousness has contributed to a recent boom in tattooing amongst J-girls in particular (despite her official website featuring airbrushed and tat-free photos of her...). Not wanting to risk compromising their futures, some girls have opted for temporary tattoos to satisfy their urge to mod, but I would assume that the effect on Japanese society remains the same, faux or not. Simply seeing tattoos on giggling schoolgirls and trendy gonguros, as well as a harmless pop singer, can only help improve the perception of tats by the Japanese public. The same effect is achieved in the States when tatted celebs openly flaunt their ink, as one NY Times article recognized this past September. Sometimes all that is necessary for stereotypes to be broken down is more evidence to the contrary of popular assumptions than in support of them. So, please Mr. Pitt, tell us more about your mysterious Ice Man. Show us that your tats were acquired for reasons relevant to your life experiences, and that you're proud to have them. Maybe hit up some onsen while you're at it. People already love you, so rather than your tats changing people's perception of you, maybe they'll change people's perception of tats themselves.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

the internet <3's modding


So, I'm a chronic time-waster. If I'm working a double I'll come home for the 2-3 hour break and probbbably spend the majority of it in front of a computer. Actually, that's exactly what I'm doing right now :o) In addition to blogging I love finding new tunes to check out, perusing eBay, and, of course, spending a good chunk of time seeing what friends have been up to through Facebook. But I think out of all my time spent on the internet the majority goes to reading blogs. Of course I read Modblog (which, by the way, after having gotten shitty post-Shannon has finally started to shape up again), but I also love techy blogs like BoingBoing and Wired. Both boast brilliant posts that never fail to turn me onto the most intriguing stories, photos, places, gadgets etc. etc. EVER. I could probably spend an entire day reading their archives, and in doing so totally accumulate enough conversation starters to last a year.
Considering that these blogs cover all things awesome, it's no surprise that both feature mod-related stories from time to time. The most recent one I encountered is a photo gallery of tattoos related to bicycling that I found on Wired. Just goes to show that for every hobby, occupation, or special interest there are people who feel the need to literally embody their passion. Even people who love chairs!! Wired has also featured galleries of geek and comic tattoos in the past, always with accompanying explanations of the tattoo's significance for the wearer. They may not always showcase the most intricate or well-crafted tats, but the message comes through: tattoos are a unique way of celebrating what you value in life.
So, I've been watching a lot of Japanorama recently, which means you'll be getting a whole slew of blogs coming up that are about Japan in some capacity. For now, just a little thought. Japanese youngsters often belong to different Zoku, or clans. How one dresses depends on the clan with which one associates - or rather, one associates with the clan one wants to dress like! Some dress up like anime characters, others don a fake-baked, bleach blonde California girl/guy look (the Ganguro/Ganguras). Anything goes in the realm of Japanese fashion, that is, except the mixing of styles - you stick with your chosen style and quintessentially exemplify that style in every outfit. A lolita would not rock a facial piercing. On the other hand, for most Westerners mods need not dictate or accord with the rest of one's look. Nose studs and tattoos can be found on girls who only wear luxury duds. College professors have gauged earlobes. Macho dudes rock nipple rings. Mods blend seamlessly into almost any pre-existing Western style. What changes, for us, is the type of mod. Our individuality is expressed through our choice of what kind of mod to acquire, not what clothing style to adhere to. Seen this way mods are much different for Westerners than for the Japanese. Mods are, in our case, an individualistic statement of one's unique personality vs., for members of a particular Zoku, one ingredient of a cookie-cutter style. Not to mention that very few Japanese retain their mods into adulthood...but that's for the next post. Thanks for tuning in, folks. Keep in touch, eh?

Monday, November 03, 2008

rock your vote

Tune in to any news media source today and odds are you'll be bombarded with info related to tomorrow's Presidential election. Everyone's talking politics lately, even people you wouldn't peg as registered voters. So, to reward citizens for actually giving a fuck this election, a number of businesses are offering a variety of free products and services tomorrow for anyone who can prove they voted. Starbucks is in on it, giving away a free tall (small, for you anti-establishment types) coffee to voters, as is Krispy Kreme, where you can get a free star-shaped, patriotically decorated doughnut for having voted. Voters in NY, LA, and Seattle can even get a free sex toy at Babeland porn shops! What a country...
What I found particularly interesting (i.e. mod-related) about this freebie trend is that even mod-trepreneurs are giving what they can to help increase voter turnout. One Kirksville, MO tattoo artist named Flash is offering $5 body piercings to the voterific modders amongst us as "incentive to get out there and vote." Damn, wish I lived in Missouri. Um, wait a second...scratch that. But hey for those of you stuck there anyways it's an awesome deal so definitely take advantage.
Oddly enough, the only other mod-related giveaway associated with the elections is an offer not to get adorned but to remove an unwanted mod. Yup, New Looks Tattoo Removal of Dallas, TX is offering one free laser tattoo removal treatment (max size 4" x 4") tomorrow for anyone with proof or "your word" that you voted. Pretty effing cool concept - "Cast your ballot, cast off your bad tattoo" says their website's advertisement of the offer. "This election is about change. We'll be getting a new President and you will be getting a new look." But just like when Obama wins the election, the fight doesn't end there. You'll have to pay for the rest of your treatments of which there could potentially be up to 9 @ about $500 per session depending on where you go. Change doesn't come easy, but it's up to us to set the wheels in motion. I hope that tomorrow those of my readers who are registered to vote get out and do so. Even if you can't get a free piercing out of it you will get to rock an "I Voted" sticker, both of which serve as evidence of our freedom to express ourselves. And who knows, maybe a congressional candidate from your home state is a supporter of allowing mods in the workplace and your vote helps propel some new bills into the hands of the mighty! You'll never know if you don't get informed. But you have, like, 28 hours, so definitely get on that...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

childlike tat-awe


My Mom sometimes takes care of an adorable five-year-old by the name of Bryan. He's an outgoing one for sure, always chattering to himself or whoever cares to listen. He and his mother came over this afternoon for pizza, and in between all the grown-up talk about the upcoming election and such he would politely interject from time to time with "Um, esscuse me..." I would look over at him, and each time he would point to a body part of mine and ask, with the most adorably inquisitive expression, "Whass that?" First it was my hair, which is currently a mix of light brown, blonde, and highlighter pink. In response to his question I answered, "That's my real hair, it's pink!" My Mom quickly added "She did it for Halloween, Bryan." I was irritated at her attempt to downplay the true normalcy of this look for me. I don't think she was embarrassed, as Bryan's mother is a good friend of hers and a pretty open-minded one at that, but she couldn't help saying something to quell Bryan's curiosity and hopefully end his close investigation of my unconventional bodily adornments.
When I first came into the room I had tried to hide my septum ring but was too late. Bryan's extraordinarily observant gaze was apparently drawn toward the jewelry before I could get a chance to hide it, and his second inquiry needed no verbal expression. As I was listening to my mother and her friend chat I noticed that Bryan was trying his darndest to sneak a peek up my schnoz. "Are you looking for my nose piercing?" I asked him, as I flipped it out. He simply stared in shock, apparently not knowing how to express his amazement at my trick, not knowing what to ask first. After a few seconds his gaze shifted slightly downward, invoking another "Whass that one?" "That's my lip ring," I explained, "and it's just like Mary's earrings, but on my lip." It was a lot harder to explain mods to a child than I had ever expected. My mother had always warned me that I'd be sorry when I had to explain my mods to my kids, but I really didn't anticipate that doing so would be such a delicate task. I didn't want to promote mods too heavily as not to betray any wishes Bryan's Mom has to keep him away from modding, but I also didn't want to sell out and simply play them off as "nothing." I found a middle road by comparing my mods to a "normal" cultural phenomenon (ear piercing), one that Bryan surely encounters every day and thus no longer asks about. This way of dealing with his interrogation got me thinking - Bryan's choice of questions is a testament to the power of social conditioning to turn an arbitrary difference (piercing of the ear vs. the nose or lip) into a significant one. My job used to allow nose studs but not lip piercings and after questions about the difference came up they were forced to ban all visible piercings other than those on the ear. They didn't have an answer as to why one type of facial piercing was more acceptable than another because they surely had never taken the time to consier the question themselves. They've simply been conditioned to see nose studs as a socially acceptable and quite mainstream adornment, and thus appropriate for a restaurant server to sport. The unwritten rules of society blow my mind sometimes. And what's worse than the rules themselves is that we rarely realize how much our perceptions are shaped and skewed by them. Sometimes it takes the extraordinarily pliable mind of a child to remind us how much of what we know has been taught rather than proven.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

getting over keeping it under wraps

"You'll understand when you have kids of your own someday!"
I don't know if my mom has ever said those exact words to me in regard to her disdain for my mods, but I think they pretty much sum up her feelings. She sees my body as sacred, and modification as a perversion of this pristine temple she helped create and shape. I see my body as a blank (well, partially embellished) canvas on which to express the most sacred elements of my life. We just don't see eye to eye, and in my eyes, never will. Perhaps it'll take becoming a mother myself to finally get it, but even then I will never be able to fully comprehend how someone can experience such a flood of negative emotions as my mother sometimes does in response to my mods.
In any case, I received a call a few weeks ago from a friend who knows Lou Jacque, an extremely talented tattoo artist from Transcend Tattoo in Branford, CT. He told me that one of Lou's clients had canceled their appointment for the following Monday, and wondered if I wanted to take the spot. Mind you, Lou's waiting list currently stretches into Spring 2009, so I was elated to hear that I would be able to sneak in with mere days notice. I accepted the offer and almost immediately got to work tweaking the tat ideas that had I had been causally mulling over for the last year or so. I had already decided that the half sleeve I want would be done by Mike DeVries (that is as soon as I save enough dough to even make an appointment!), so the only other tat that I was positively sure I wanted was a set of Ukrainian eggs on the backs of my calves. They would be a tribute of sorts to my amazing mother and the craft she's been perfecting for as long as I can remember - making Ukrainian eggs! Mom means the world to me, and the gratitude I have for all she's done for me over the years is sometimes overwhelming. I want a part of her to be part of me forever.
After hanging up with my friend I pulled out a few of the bowls-o-eggs my mother has accumulated over the years and began to search for the perfect designs. The two eggs I decided on were both large duck eggs, as opposed to the significantly smaller chicken eggs she typically decorates. Their designs were striking in their simplicity, both boasting star patterns and eye-pleasing color palettes. I snapped a few photos of them and sent them off to Lou along with some details on the style I was going for, as well as some photos of the type of egg stand I wanted to incorporate in the designs. It's remarkable how the speed and spontaneity with which the whole thing was coming together upped the excitement factor a few notches as compared to a typical pre-tat experience. There's usually a consultation, drawing up of designs, another consultation to finalize the design, making the actual appointment, then waiting...and waiting...and waiting. I felt like I was a V.I.P. getting ushered through all the bullshit and right into the good stuff!
The next day I attended open-mic night at Huntington St. Cafe (my old workplace!) and excitedly told my friends there about my luck and the fast-approaching appointment. As usual, my Mom was in attendance as well, and I was careful to ensure that she was out of earshot during my announcement. After I explained the concept of the tat itself, everyone was interested to hear what Mom thought of the idea. I cringed at the question, and meekly answered that I wouldn't be telling her about it. Upon actually hearing myself say those words, a wave of uncertainty came over me. How could I be getting a permanent mark on my body in honor of someone who despises permanent body marks?! Thankfully, after talking with my friend Betsy I was assured that Mom doesn't have to like the tattoos for their meaning to hold true. They would ensure that, no matter what, I would always have her with me. I felt much better after coming to this conclusion, and became confident in my decision to get the tats. Unfortunately, this confidence eventually combined with a few vodka cocktails and I suddenly found myself spilling the whole thing to Mom...
As I should have expected but naively (i.e. drunkenly) didn't, her response was less than enthusiastic. She basically told me that she hated the idea so much that she didn't even believe I was going to do something that would make her as unhappy as this would. I had half-expected an ambivalent or at the very worst a negative reaction, but her actual response was far worse. She didn't speak to me the rest of the night.
I was pretty disappointed that Mom didn't have one of the moments of modification clarity that I always prayed she would, but regardless I remained unwavering in my decision to get the tats. If I had always listened to my parents when they ordered me not to get modded I would have missed out on the enlightening experiences that came along with those mods. It was settled.
A few days of concentrated anticipation later, it was suddenly Monday and there I was at Transcend, 10am, nervously waiting for Lou to finish his stoge and get to work on my leg. My nerves weren't because of the impending pain, but rather a cold-feet effect of sorts that made me freak out at the fact that I had decided to get the tats only 5 days prior. Was I really sure I wanted them? What about all the times I had advised friends to think carefully before deciding to get inked? Was I just excited at the rare opportunity to be chosen as the one person out of so many others interested in getting tatted by Lou to take the open spot? Before I could come up with any definitive answers to ease my anxiety, Lou appeared at the door. "Ready?" he asked. The excitement that suddenly overcame me at that moment neutralized all traces of nervousness. "Yup!" I replied. And I was.
Fresh!Healed!

Fast forward to today, about three weeks later and the first egg is completely healed. We decided not to do the second egg that day, but Lou promised that he would get me in for it within the next few weeks. I'm very happy to report that all my hesitation was for nothing, as I am absolutely in love with egg #1. It's a bit hard to tell from the photos (mainly because I was essentially doing backbends to take them!), but the style in which Lou did the tat makes it look pretty dern realistic, right down to a shiny metal stand! Plus the design perfectly accentuates the shape of my calf - it's exactly what I wanted! Even the significance has had the desired impact on me. I've been more patient with my Mom when she annoys me, and seeing it makes me smile thinking about her joyous personality and all that she's done for me. Now my only obstacles are A) finding a time when both Lou and I are free to do the second egg, and B) hiding egg #1 from my Mom.
I think she knows that I have it, but she doesn't want to see it or talk about it. I'm pretty, er, free around my Mom, so she's become accustomed to seeing me prance around in the nude after a shower or while getting dressed. But considering she hasn't seen my nipple piercings either, I now have to make sure I'm always fully clothed! Sometimes I'll find myself halfway to the kitchen before realizing that my tat is out in plain sight and having to retreat to throw on a pair of sweats. It's not the inconvenience of this necessity that gets to me, but rather the fact that my mother still has trouble accepting my mods. She used to hate my septum ring and insisted I wear it tucked up in my nostrils when in her presence, but now it's a part of my everyday getup. I'm pretty sure she just got used to it and now doesn't even notice it's there at all. I figure she'll get used to the egg tats with time as well, so recently I've been "forgetting" to keep egg #1 covered from time to time. I don't think she's seen it yet, but part of me wants to believe that when she does she'll forget about the tattoo aspect of it and simply appreciate both its beauty as art and the talent it took to create such a stunning image on flesh. Not likely, but a girl can dream. I think I'll wait until the second egg has healed before actually presenting the tats to her. That way she can experience the full effect of their symmetry, complementary colors, and anatomical appropriateness, making it pretty friggin hard to hate them at first sight. In the meantime I'll deal with keeping what I see as a beautiful part of my life under wraps, and she'll keep pretending that my modding days are over.
So, after all this I'm pretty curious to see whether the whole "when you have kids of your own" thing will pan out. I guess for now I'm just gonna have to look past our difference of opinion, even if it does mean no more cooking in the nude. Gosh darn it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Modified gear? Hard(l)y.

Over the years I've watched tattoo culture get appropriated by various clothing designers and brands. At first I was pretty pumped too see that the general public was becoming more open to tattoo imagery, even if only in the realm of fashion, but that initial excitement wore off as soon as I began to pay attention to what kind of stuff was actually getting produced. Ed Hardy, I'm looking in your direction! I mean, c'mon dude, you brought Japanese tattoo art to the states!! You're a legend in your own time! Why the need to partner up with Christian Audigier (of Von Dutch fame) and agree to have your John Hancock scribbled on such gaudy-ass shit? I know it can't be about the money...I know people who would give their right arm to get their left one tattooed by you. Is it possible you're THAT greedy? I mean...look at some of the stuff you endorse:




I found these while trying to scout a b-day gift for my older sister, Portia (who once told me that she thinks Ed Hardy doesn't really exist and that his name is just something Christian Audigier came up with. I swear I almost bitch slapped her). I kept trying to find something NOT bedazzled to the max and finally came upon a simple pink tee with an old school mermaid graphic on it. But honestly the majority of shit was just TACKY. I've seen guys decked out head to toe in Ed Hardy getup and I can't help but wonder if they looked at themselves in the mirror before leaving the house or if they just figured they couldn't go wrong sporting a loud, overpriced, rhinestone-encrusted ensemble. Poor guys.
And it's only getting worse. In July Hardy and Audigier unveiled their new line of swimsuits as well as - get this - a line of Ed Hardy tanning lotions. Seriously? Oh, and the next time you're feeling a lil sluggish, perk up with an Ed Hardy energy drink. Or down an Ed Hardy WATER!?! Yup, really, they exist. This is getting overwhelming...I don't think I can even keep looking for Hardy brand stuff anymore. Shit though, it's like driving past a gruesome car wreck...I can't look away! Oh no...I just found a site featuring Hardy's new line of homewares and bedding. In case you're too appalled at the idea to click that link, I'll tell you that the ad for this line actually tries to deter people from getting a "small Ed Hardy tattoo," and instead cop some bedding. Because, fuck, why would you want a lameo, painful tat by an artistic genius when you can just fuck in sheets designed by some random dude using graphics loosely based on his art? Fortunately the bedding is actually pretty rad (especially the white/navy one that flaunts a china-esque design). But that's besides the point...
I don't know, I mean I guess all this can't hurt tattoo culture, but it pisses me off to see the work of a legend dumbed down so severely. Hardy schwag sends the message that tattoos are just a fashion accessory, a temporary way to alter your image to fit the current trend and perhaps look a little badass. ::Sigh:: I guess we'll just have to wait for the storm to pass. Once this fad fades things will be back to normal and the only people rocking tattoo imagery will be the inked themselves.
"Sell out, with me oh yea. Sell out, with me tonight. The record company's gonna give me lotsa money and everything's gonna be alright."
Well I've got news for you, Hardy: shit's not alright. Not even close. Get a clue and stop letting some money-hungry 60 something dude who wishes he was 19 sully your name. I swear, Don, unless this is A) some goodwill attempt to make a guy who was NOTHING only few years ago into a billionaire, B) a way to make dills while you're on sabbatical, or C) an honest attempt to bring tattooing farther into the mainstream and improve social/workplace tolerance of the inked, I'm selling all my Tattootimes on eBay. 'Cause this is bullshit.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Vibes 08!

Last weekend I took part in The Gathering of the Vibes music festival at Seaside Park in Bridgeport, CT. You may remember my mention of this fantabulous fest around this time last year, as I did indeed attend, but wasn't able to camp out. Well, after witnessing the glorious madness of last year's Vibes, there was no way in hell I was gonna miss out on the full experience this year. I camped (ahem...in my car...), consumed far too much alcohol, and best of all, listened to some amazing tunes. And in between it all I was, of course, on the lookout for the hottest tattoos the Vibes had to offer. My Tat-Dar was set to high and, despite my vision being a bit blurry for the majority of the weekend, I managed to spot some stellar mods. Mind you, I scouted the following tats while under the influence of substances that make everything seem awesome, so take the sampling with a grain of salt. Nonetheless I think the ink I captured was definitely some of the more beautiful work on display at the fest. So now I invite you mod lovers to take a gander at some of the tats I was able to score pics of and occasionally interviews about, and their proud owners. The pics aren't all that great, but it's really the stories that make them come to life anyways...
First up is Paul from South Windsor, whose tats are both by Tim Brewer from Body Graphics in South Windsor, CT. Referring to the stunning and intricate number on his left shoulder, Paul explained "It's a fractal, and a fractal is infinite chaos that creates beauty - that basically explains me."
And as for the grim, melty face on his right arm, "This is what I saw right before I went into a coma." Wow. Intense. I wish I hadn't been on the run when I met this guy - his tats suggest that he probably makes for some pretty interesting conversations!
I met the lovely Rachel from Sussex County, NJ while on a stroll down Shakedown Street, and ended up getting separated from my crew for a good 2 hours after running the opposite way to catch up to her. Totally worth it, she had a truly trippy and quite personal explanation for her half sleeve by Tony at Tattoo Factory in Ledgewood, NJ. "This is my castle in the sky and each puzzle piece is a different part of my life that I'm missing. Like I was missing this wall for awhile that I needed to put up around myself. There are a lot more but obviously I haven't discovered them yet - they'll go on different parts of my body. The owls represent me and I was married so this is me and this would be my daughter April Sky. And what I went through...like the cactuses represent that it hurts but beautiful things come out of it like the flowers."
We also chatted about how it sucks to be young and unable to afford tattoos that might help us cope with life difficulties better than any therapy or medication could.
I didn't get this chick's name, she was with some friends who kinda kept walking when she stopped to have a word with me. So, I really don't know much about her tats other than that her chestpiece is related to her veganism, but I thought they were worth posting solely because of the color saturation and striking detail of both.
This is Alex, and I spotted his arm piece while walking through the tent jungle. Little did I know he was hiding an extension of the piece on his ribcage!! Even better, I found out that this tat was done by an artist at a shop owned by a good friend of mine! This piece was done by George at Shelton Tattoo in Shelton, CT, and these snaps just don't do it justice. It was almost hypnotizing in real life! I hope George puts this in his portfolio so I can peep it when it's finally done.
Here we have Miss Ellie from Guilford, CT, who was camping out right next to me! Her tat is by Sean Zee at Transcend (one of my favorites!) in Branford, CT. At this point she's undergone 4 sessions of 3-4 hours each, and plans to have one more to give the leaves some color and touch up any lil flaws. I'm not usually a big fan of black and grey, but I think this one could even go sans color. It's really eye-catching.Ok, last up is Christine from southern New Hampshire. She was helping out at the "chill down tent for people who are spun too hard" when I first saw her, but later on she was kind enough to let me take some shots and hear about the meaning behind her colorful work. All of her tats are coverups done by Doug Mendoza at Artisan Tattoo Federation in Concord, NH. According to Christine, Doug saved her life, and since first getting tatted by him they've become close friends. "I just went in there and I was like I would like something colorful, floral, and a coverup. We hit it off real well, and I really think he spent extra time [on the tats]." In regard to the significance of her tats, Christine says that she was "shedding an old phase of [her] life." "I was having trouble with drugs and alcohol and becoming a new Mom, and I don't know why but [the tattoos I had were] the first thing I had to change. I had lived with crap tattoos for like 15 years, just poorly done." The coverups have helped her immensely in recovering from substance abuse as well as transitioning into life as a mother. Now that she finally feels comfortable in her own skin again, Christine says she's ready to get fresh, non cover-up tattoos that represent her new life.
I love attending events where mods abound. I hit up my first roller derby earlier this summer, and there was an extraordinary number of heavily modded folks there as well. Now, I would typically be opposed to generalizing about modders (or any group of people for that matter), but I can't help but notice that from my experience they tend to congregate at places and events that are pleasantly out of the ordinary. I don't know what this might say about the people themselves, but I would expect people who go to such places would be pleasantly out of the ordinary themselves, or what one might refer to as "interesting." I know the people I met at the Vibes certainly were just that. Tats have come a long way. Some people are still stuck on the idea that tats signal a disturbed mind or a rebellious lifestyle, but it's just not true anymore. So if you run into someone with a great tattoo, tell them so! They won't bite (unless you like that kinda thing...), and if you ask they'll likely be happy to tell you about their ink. Or about that time they went into a coma after a base jumping accident. Okay, so maybe modders are a little crazy. But aren't we all?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

it's summertime

I love summer. The heat, the events, the higher than usual ratio of flesh to clothing. Especially on sweltering, sticky, get me some a/c ASAP days like today, a walk around town means cutoff shorts, tank tops, and for me, the realization that EVERYONE is tattooed. Some are forced to keep their ink under wraps in the workplace, and I would think that during the summer months they take every available opportunity to proudly display their artwork to the world. The subtle sense of liberation this must provide is the same that characterizes my post-work dressing habits recently. I have to wear a corporate symbol-emblazoned black polo shirt to work every day, so when I get home and rifle through my closet to find the perfect evening ensemble, I construct some pretty funky looks. It's like a subconscious rebellion. When off the clock I rock my leopard-print running shorts and acid-washed purple tee, and the secretly tatted office employee bears flesh like a drunk minor at a taping of Girls Gone Wild. I'm blessed enough to reap the satisfaction of double rebellion (tats and wacky duds!), and paired with the abundance of tats finally getting some air, it's pretty obvious why I love summer.
So, today I was lounging on a hammock reading "The Simpsons and Philosophy" and listening to the Flaming Lips, when I got distracted by the calla lily tattoo located on my right arm. I just stared at it, mesmerized for a moment by the colors and the beautiful shading it contains, imagining what I might surround it with once funds are a bit more plentiful. Now, as you might be able to tell from my above spiel about my love of rocking fun clothes, I love clothes. I'm a sucker for super-soft American Apparel tees even though they're ridiculously expensive for a friggin t-shirt, and if I come across a unique piece that catches my eye, I have to have it. Labels don't matter much to me, and actually, the more obscure the better. In any case, this little obsession makes it quite difficult to get any saving done. I've been working for about 2 months since I got home from school, and I have a depressingly low savings balance to show for it. Granted, I went to Miami for a week and have been taking a lot of trips into NYC, so it hasn't all gone toward clothes, but I'm certain that the $42 I shelled out recently for a pair of zebra print leggings could have been better spent, perhaps on a tank of gas or a phone bill payment...
In any case, as I'm lying there staring at my tat, shining in the sunlight, I made a decision. I need my half sleeve, more than I need any more shit in my closet. It's already overflowing, and I love most of the stuff I have. So, I've entered myself into SHA, Shopaholics Anonymous, and am finally on my way to recovery. Now excuse me, I need to make an appointment...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

i heart art.

I’m horrible at art. Whenever I have to draw something it usually comes out in the exact same style I used for my artistic endeavors in middle school. However, despite my lack of artistic inclination, I still feel like I know good art when I see it. Not that there’s a universal criteria for what’s “good” art, but especially in the realm of tattoo art it’s usually pretty easy to separate the Dan Dimattias from the guys whose shops line South Beach and are open till 3am.
I’m personally a huge fan of both realism and new school tattoo art, mainly for their saturation, use of unusually bright colors, and all-around wow-factor. I especially love new school because many designs are either cutesy as fuck (in a good way) or inappropriately grotesque. I’ve always been attracted to juxtaposition in art and fashion, so that aspect of new school tattoo imagery really appeals to me. And realism? I mean…c’mon, who wouldn’t take a tattoo that looks so freakin scary-real?
As more and more people enter the world of body modification in the West, the prominent style of tattooing here is definitely shifting. As tattooing becomes more respectable, more and more art school graduates and serious artists in general are trading in their brushes and pastels for a tattoo gun. Many of these newcomers bring their unique personal style to their tattoos, keeping only to clients who are willing to leave the entire process, from style to design to application, up to the artist in order to get a phenomenal custom tat. Others are simply so talented that they can work equally well with a number of different styles, making for a massive clientele base and a waiting list to match. However, the popularity of tattooing also means that there will be lots of shitty artists out there just looking to make an easy buck. These are the guys who intentionally tattoo random Chinese characters on drunk girls’ asses, getting a good laugh with their boys about how she wanted “Protection” and he gave her “Condom.” They’re the reason why rather than moving forward, tattooing technology is essentially moving in reverse. By this I mean that there are far more developments in tattoo removal technology than in tattoo application. While industry specialists are busy creating easily removable ink for those who, um, apparently already know they're going to regret their tat, I'm still awaiting the invention of some seriously long-lasting, no-bleed ink!
Anyways, happy thoughts - back to the more adept artists for a second. I’ve been thinking, when you compare tattoo art to fine art, they aren't all that different. I mean, one uses skin as a canvas while the other uses, well, canvas as a canvas (depending on the medium of course), but in both realms there is the good and the bad, the old and the new, the meaningful and the just plain silly. But as an artistically challenged chick, there is one huge difference between the two that I find pretty damn intriguing. Since tattooing is, in the end, all about the client, who is indeed the most important viewer the piece will ever have, serious tattoo artists are inclined to cater to the client’s preferred style. Thus, as tattooing evolves, unlike the evolution of fine art, it is increasingly in tune with what the viewer wants to see. As a passive admirer in an art gallery I can’t really have an effect on the world of fine art, but by supporting the cream of the tattooist crop and having them create custom designs in my favorite styles, I can change the trajectory of tattoo art. And that's a beautiful thing.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Not exactly what I had in mind...

So I got an e-mail from Inkednation today promoting some new site called TattooLovers.com - yes, a modder e-dating service. In light of my last post, I was pretty excited to check it out...and oh what I found when I did. The first suck-tastic thing about it is that it's akin to one of those "Want kewl ringtones for your cell? Just 99 cents a month gets you unlimited tones! Please note that "unlimited tones" is not meant to imply that you will receive an unlimited number of new ringtones from our service per month but rather that you will enjoy hearing the first month's ringtone for an unlimited period of time. Please also note that you will be charged an additional $27.99 per month simply for providing us with your credit card number, you idiot." Yea, basically they give you a "Free 3-day Trial," but in order to get it you have to give them a credit card number, and agree to pay...get this...$29.95 every THREE DAYS unless you cancel. Or you can just go for the bargain package and get one 3-Day membership for ONLY $2.95 - but you'll be charged $24.95 every three days after that unless you cancel...Umm, I'm gonna go ahead and predict that the site owners aren't exactly as invested in hooking up modded folk as they are in robbing them. Ok, suck factor #2 >> On the very same page where one would potentially sign up for membership, there's a photo of some dude who's apparently wearing makeup on both his face AND arms, in the form of two smudgy, drawn-on tats, and a cute blonde with stellar eye makeup but an OBVIOUSLY fake tattoo. Yes, that's right...they couldn't even get models with real tattoos. Makes you wonder...who the fuck is running this thing? Ugh, they're not even nice fake tats...they're both that terrible breed of American tribal that serves to dissolve my interest in an otherwise decent catch.
Also, I know they can't exactly regulate who joins this thing...but searching for photos of "singles in my area" yielded a disappointing crew made up mostly of plainskins or individuals with a single tattoo. For me, "tattooed" doesn't necessarily equate with "modified." Being modified is a lifestyle, a state of mind, or at least in my eyes it is. I want someone who can talk to me about their tats and the meaning behind them without using the words "pretty" or "badass." I want someone who feels that modding has changed their life. I want someone who has fun with life and their body, customizing it, adorning it, appreciating it's uniqueness. Sorry, end personal ad... But my point is that you can't expect to just throw together a site like this and have it be successful. BME's IAM seems to have gotten it right...members have to submit photos of their mods to gain membership, and must renew that membership every three months. No leeches allowed. They have IAM:CRUSH2, but I'd love to see an independently run site with the same basic format specifically aimed at bringing together modded singles/swingers. Ya know, true subculture, not this cookie-cutter dating service with the word "tattoo" in the title bullshit.
Personally, an e-dating service, even a modder e-dating service, would be the last resort in my search for a partner. But if it were done well, and didn't involve fine print and crazy hidden charges...I just might check it out. Who knows, it just might help me find my knight in bulging arm implants. Sooo, someone wanna get on that? Thanks :o)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

"I like your face"

Heyyy, it's been awhile, no? So I've finally finished college, and I'm not gonna lie, it feels pretty weird. I'm working at a chain restaurant right now trying to recover from a semester of grabbing a few hours here and there at my Fitness Center job, and it's actually really awesome. If you're a dedicated MSOM reader, you know how much I enjoy working in food service, and how difficult it's been for me to get jobs serving with all this gawshdarn metal in my face. Granted, I have to wear a retainer in my vert labret and tuck my septum up into my nasal cavity at this place, but I get blazin tips and work with some absolutely ridiculous characters.
I've already made friends with a few kiddies from the restaurant, and it's no surprise that I found myself sidling up to the visibly modded folk before pretty much anyone else. One chick has a vert labret like mine, as well as gauged cartilage (maybe a 2?), which is really quite impressive in my eyes considering that my experience with cartilage gauging actually made so dizzy I had to sit down for a few to recover. Another has snake bites and slightly gauged lobes (4?), as well as some beautiful roses on her back. And one of the cooks has this fantastic forearm pinup that I absolutely adore. So, despite being a bit shy on my first few days working there, I had no problem striking up mod conversations with all three. It's just that once I see mods on a person, I can't keep away...it's almost as if I'm drawn to them by some invisible modtastic force. Which got me thinking...
Ok...get ready...this is deep...and awesome...and should totally be exploited more than it already is...
Mods are a self-contained dating service.
Picture this: You walk into a bar (insert "walks into a bar" joke...) and the bartender is this gorgeous brunette wearing a teeny lil tank top and jeans she prolly had to butter up her thighs to wriggle into. Down at the other end of the bar is another brunette bartender, pretty cute, dressed in a loose tee and jeans. She sports a ring in her lip and some massive plugs in her lobes, plus a few other ear adornments as well as a full sleeve of colorful, high-quality ink work. If you're modded, I can almost guarantee that you'll go for her section, even if it means waiting a few extra minutes to get served.
Modders just seem to be automatically attracted to one another. I've experienced this phenomenon over and over again, whether it be in the form of my own affinity for modded ladies and gents or through catching a glimpse of someone else checking out my mods or those of a fellow modder. We just can't get enough! Even if I try to stop myself from doing it, my eyes are immediately drawn to anyone in my age bracket rocking mods.
I guess you could say it's just the subculture that brings us together, like punks dating punks, but I think there's something more complex going on when it comes to modders. For example, certain mods can also be the one thing that turns you off from a person. If I meet a guy who seems pretty cool, intelligent, decent looking, well-dressed, blah blah, but he has a "sick tribal," ink that looks like it may have been scratched on by his cat that time he got into the pens, or ONE ear gauged, with the taper still conspicuously peeking out from behind his ear...oh my gawsh, I just remembered I have to...do...something. Byeee.
So really, I think the attraction stems from something much more innate than a simple affinity for a recognizable subcultural style. Think about it, body modification has been practiced for thousands of years...we've basically been adorning our bodies with art for as long as we we've been doing art, period. Maybe it started out as someone acting on a whim. Maybe it began as a symbolic act, a way of visually displaying some intangible event or personal characteristic. But regardless of its origin, as modding becomes more prevalent in a particular society, it gets assimilated into the aesthetic sense of that society. At first it's new and exciting (or appalling to some), then eventually it becomes commonplace, so much so that it almost comes to be expected as much as we expect people to be clothed in public.
So, with all the mod blogs and photos and stories I peruse every day, always discovering unique and stunning mods, have I altered my definition of beauty? I'm gonna go with an unequivocal "yes" on that one. All those effing pristine faces in the fashion magazines I so love don't stand a chance against the ladies of suicidegirls.com. And, as tacky as they may be, the Juicy perfume ads that feature a completely studly modded dood make Calvin Klein's tighty whitey boys seem so...boring.
Ok, so I'm hanging out at a porn shop in Provincetown, right, and this really attractive dood walks in. Bridge piercing, gauged septum piercing, gorgeous stone plugs. Jaaackpot. I scope him out for any indications of gayness, and really can't tell. Shit...he's looking at me...dammit I've been staring...just pretend to be playing with the dildo...and then suddenly I hear, "Hey, I like your face." I shoot him a smile and a thanks, reciprocating the sentiment. I was so jazzed that someone had actually just said that to me! I had thought it in my head so many times, but never actually said it. Sure, I had complimented people on particular mods, but never a comment so blunt yet on point with how I feel when I see a face full of shiny stainless steel (or titanium, whatever floats your boat).
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think modders have a very unique conception of human beauty. Mind you, I know quite a few modded folk who date complete plainskins...but at the same time I guarantee that they have wandering eyes when a fellow modder strolls by. "Sorry honey, I really liked her dress...so, have you put any more thought into that tattoo you've been contemplating?"
Although we already have Inkednation and BME's IAM, I predict the arrival of ModMatch.com in the near future. Sure, old school face-to-face meetings are always an option, but if you don't live in an area with a thriving mod community or are afflicted with the social awkwardness that results from spending too much time as your Second Life avatar, a modder e-dating service would be a great alternative. Plus, if Myspace is any indication...it might evolve into a free version of suicidegirls! Yup...this needs to happen....

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

everlasting bling

I’ve never been all that interested in luxury items – I mean, what’s in a name? I do tend to shop at popular retailers like H&M, but I’m paying for styles I like rather than a brand name that people will recognize. My older sister, on the other hand, is into the most sought-after status brands like Louis Vuitton and Juicy Couture, making her x-mas list my wallet’s worst enemy. Now don’t get me wrong – despite my own lack of interest in sporting a Coach bag I don’t see anything wrong with coveting high-end items. We all like to have nice things, and I compare my sister’s luxury lust to my own desire for some seriously pricey ink work. I already have two gorgeous tats gracing my arms, but they’re nothing spectacular. I get lots of compliments and I absolutely adore them myself, but I want my next piece to be something so beautiful and detailed that people just can’t help staring at it. Fine art doesn’t come cheap though, so I know I’ll be dishing out a pretty penny for my new adornment. However, unlike my sister, I’ll be able to show off my purchase no matter the season or current trend. The outward expression of inner creativity never goes out of style!
Speaking of luxury clothing and tats, one man has recently decided to combine the two. Peter Mui, owner of the YellowMan clothing company, has recently began sale of his form-fitting tattoo shirts, all designed by tattoo artists from around the globe. The shirts look kinnnda cool, and have the added bonus of wicking away moisture, but I was shocked to see them sporting a $218 price tag. I mean c’mon, I could get a small yet high quality tat for that price! I appreciate Mui’s effort to “do something meaningful” by adorning the shirts with symbolically empowering designs, but his refusal to “negotiate a price” just seems like a greedy attempt to make his duds covet-worthy to the high-end shoppers of L.A. I think that more than anything it’s his attitude of “I don’t really need your business, my clothes are priceless anyway,” that makes people want to snag his schwag (that sounded sexual, but I’m keeping it…). When I see a pair of limited-edition jeans going for $2500, I can’t help but wonder: would people still wanna flaunt a faux-ink top (or a brown leather bag or a velour track suit) if they couldn’t brag about its $200 price tag?
Oh, and on a side note, has anyone seen this article about Sporty Spice’s new view on tats? Apparently she has quite a few and is about to throw down £10,000 to get them all removed. The spicy singer is quoted as matter-of-factly saying that tattoos are a “ridiculous thing to do to yourself,” but she cites her weight gain as the main reason for disliking the appearance of her tats. She also notes that they remind her of unhappy times in her life, so rather than saying tattoos in general are ridiculous mayyybe she should have sucked it up and admitted that getting a permanent reminder of life shittiness is ridiculous. She might also have mentioned that getting your boyfriend’s initials tatted on your perpetually visible wrist is ridiculous, a well-known fact of life that reality TV star Kristin Cavallari found out a little too late. I don’t know what these girls were thinking when they got their tats, but they provide clear evidence that celebs make horrible tattoo role models.

(Sorry all these links are old news, I just realized I never published this post after I originally wrote it!)