Ambient Logo Carved in Stone


Henna Hand
"We all struggle. Why?
Because we try to control our fate. We make decisions and judgements. We worry about success and failure. In short, we attempt to sail our souls through the troubled waters of existence while keeping one eye on the compass of social demands and the other eye on the stars of chance.
It's enough to make you cross-eyed. Is that any way to live? Yes, of course it is.
But are there other ways? Better ways?
fuck, YES!"
from fuck, YES! by Reverend Wing F. Fing M.D., Ph.D., D.D.S., L.L.D., D.V.D., and much, much more!

Why do people get pierced?
Between questions from academics, clients and media, I've been asked why people get pierced so many times, it seems to have lost it's meaning. Sometimes I ask myself the same question, and have to remind myself of the importance of its answers. I need that inspiration late Saturday-afternoon when individual faces start to blur and a sea of belly-flesh dances before my eyes. I think of where it all started, and eager faces snap back into focus. I think back about when I started piercing, what my reasons were for getting pierced and tattooed, and how important each act of breaking the skin was to me and my first clients. I look into the eyes of my next client, savour their anticipation and energy, and it all seems worthwhile again.

When I returned from a visit with some members of the Jim Rose Circus in Seattle, I was introduced to a piercer from Montreal. We dated for awhile and I booked him appointments out of local shops and even my home. When he started flaking out on me for weeks at a time, I looked elsewhere for someone to fill those appointments. It was just too heartbreaking to have to call clients back and tell them that their piercer couldn't make it for their appiontment for the third week in a row, could we reschedule. I drafted the help of the piercer from Seattle who performed my first "exotic" piercing.
Ed came up (September 1st, 1992), and picked up the slack, all the while showing me how to pierce. Shortly thereafter I performed my first piercing on a lady who had been raped and wanted to reclaim her genitals for herself. I'd decided to pick up the needle largely because I was sick of my friends having to travel to Toronto to be pierced, and to make up for the Montreal piercer's dropping the ball. I also was exploring he S-M scene, and the idea of piercing people was kind of fun!
Now I like it because it allows me to provide a service and excel in a field. There are some really scary piercers out there who are mutilating others. I've also been accused of being a bit of a sadist, because I like helping people get through their pain. There's nothing like looking into the eyes of a person as you pass that needle through them. There's an instant of pain, fear, confusion, but then a look of revelation appears when the realization that the process is over and they survived... That's what I love.

My first piercings were performed largely under peer pressure or for poseur reasons: I got my eyebrow pierced in Seattle because I wanted a souvenir that would freak people out and be highly visible. Noone in my home city had a non-nostril facial piercing yet, and I wanted to show off. My tongue I got pierced largely because members of the Circus bugged me to. I had originally wanted to get my tongue pierced when in Seattle, but I couldn't afford it, so compromised on the eyebrow. Mr Lifto (who lifts heavy objects with his piercings) made fun of me for getting such a useless piercing, and he and ThEnigma said I should get my tongue pierced.
My navel I got pierced largely as a way to help me feel more comfortable with my post-childbirth belly. My clit-hood piercing was partially a rite of passage from womb to woman: a reclamation of my body as my own, not that of a breeder.
Subsequent piercings have followed, largely for esthetic reasons: either I like the look of them or the feel of them... or both! I enjoy having visible piercings because it helps set me apart from Jane-Average on the street. If I don't have some metal or ink showing, I feel as though I'm being deceptive and hiding vital information from people who see me. So I guess that my modifications, particularly my tattoos, act as a badge.
In some ways I prefer tattoos because they're more permanent and expressive of my personality. I believe that the body is both a barrier and link between outside world and person within, a bridge and barrier between the spiritual and the mundane. Tattoos in particular have the ability of expressing what is within: when I'm getting tattooed I like to imagine that the pain of the needle is actually the image bubbling up from inside me and being born onto my skin.

Why do others get perforinked?
Check out this compilation ov personal experiences and reasons!
Here's the Reader's Digest Condensed version:

  • young women: stages of development: first ears, then drivers license, then navel piercing as affirmation of individuality or freedom of parental yoke
  • trend: fit in with peers, hideable from mom
  • looks good: permanent accessory
  • feels good: erotic piercings: Pulp Fiction described that tongue piercings are good for oral sex... nipple and genital piercings often increase sensitivity
  • badge: subculture: bikers, formerly gay, punk, alternative scene, branding black frats
  • sociological phenomenon: distinction from parental generation
  • rites of passage
  • healing
  • gives "special" feeling: distinction from peers
  • gives "dirty secret" feeling: individuality in repressive situation
  • artwork
  • desire to modify body
  • emulation of role-models: Aerosmyth's Cryin' video, Madonna, Dennis Rodman, etc.
  • small few self-mutilation

For whatever reason people get perforinked, it's always good to remember that each of us has our reasons and respect each other. Although a more covered person may scoff at the first-timer, we all started somewhere!


Do you agree? Am I talking out ov my ass? Why do you modify your body? Email me your comments, and specify if we may use them here!

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