In any case, one morning while I was in SF last week I decided that I realllly wanted some salmon eggs Benedict. I walked block after block, only finding no-frills diners and coffee shops along the way. I had already been walking evvverywhere for the past few days so my legs were super sore, and it was almost noon which meant that I was approaching scrooge status as a result of not yet having eaten breakfast. I finally gave up on trying to find a place that served the eggs Benedict and decided I would settle for anyplace with the word "Breakfast" in the window. Then, just when I thought all hope of finding myself some friggin' pancakes was lost, and was about ready to head into one of the kajillion taquerias in the Mission District and settle for lunch, I finally saw it: Boogaloos. It wasn't the delectable-looking food on the patio diners' plates that drew me in, nor the eggs Benedict - they didn't serve it on weekdays. What attracted me was the people - the lovely inked people. They were outside, waiting for tables; inside dining; and, best of all, waiting on tables! Ink ink everywhere, and not-a one looked botched. There was some top-notch shit on display! I immediately scribbled my name down on the waiting list and kicked back to take in the scene.
Nice tits...I mean tats....
The entire time I was at Boogaloos I enjoyed all the eye candy with shameless curiosity. I stared. Hard. At one point, when I was basically inches away from a girl about my age with colorful full sleeves, I suddenly realized I was treating her more like an art exhibit than a fellow human! Viewing her tats was indeed like a gallery exhibit opening - complete with the "artist" in attendance for the interrogational pleasure of her "fans." When I finally managed to break free from the trance her gorgeous work had put me in I took advantage of this opportunity and began to ask her about her ink - where had she gotten this one done? what exactly is this one? how long ago had she gotten that one done? its colors are still so vibrant!
During the rest of my stay in SF I saw a LOT of ink. Especially at Dolores park, a beer and ganja-fueled haven for hipsters, surfers, bikers, and families alike. I spent more than a few sunny afternoons camped out in the park with my Blue Moons, iPhone, and various reading materials close at hand, frequently stopping to just gaze around me and scope out mods. The temperature on these days held fast at around 70 degrees, which meant that afternoons in the park had a skimpy dress code, providing prime opportunities to both display and peep mods. All these mods out in the open got me thinking about the experience of being heavily modded, and how one must learn to endure/ignore the stares that their captivating adornments are sure to attract.
The question is, bottom line, is it appropriate to stare at mods? I do it all the time, and usually assume that if the wearer notices my intrigued expression they're probably just flattered that someone appreciates their work. But I'm the kind of person who doesn't like to make other people uncomfortable, so of course I've had moments of hesitation in which I think to myself "Hm, maybe they don't like being inspected like this, maybe it's distracting them or making them self-conscious..." Despite my concern, I usually decide that if the ink is quality, the wearer HAS to have anticipated being surveyed by both mod enthusiasts and mod skeptics alike. At least I'm of the former camp! And if the work isn't quality...well I think we can all agree that averting one's eyes is the best course of action in such cases - that'd be like staring directly at a massive zit on a stranger's face!
Personally, I get asked about my tats every single day at work. I always feel a bit odd giving the same rehearsed (not by choice!) explanation of my ink, but I don't think I've ever felt uncomfortable knowing someone is looking at my mods. I'm proud of each and every one of them, and would probably stare at the same tats on another person! Hm- now that I think about it, I wonder if my affinity for mods that adorn the back of my body is of any significance in terms of my (subconscious?) feelings about being looked at. Do I prefer to assume people are in awe of my Ukrainian egg-bedecked calves or my nape piercings (R.I.P.) rather than actually witness the (potentially horrified) inspection going down? Do these mods allow me to believe I'm ALWAYS being looked at, satisfying a hard-to-admit yet (presumably) natural desire for attention? To be honest, I definitely think so. This tidbit of personal introspection leads me to wonder if perhaps all modders like being looked at, even if the stares aren't always approving. If so, does that make us narcissistic? Or just human? Either way, if it is true that modders like being treated as pieces of fine art I guess I shouldn't feel so hesitant about staring! Good thing, 'cause now that I'll be residing in SF the inked eye candy is in no short supply! Yay!