Body Piercing and Tattoos: Why do you do these things to yourself?

BODY PIERCING AND tattoos are as mysterious to me as ordering a shrimp dinner at an IHOP. Why would any thinking person do it?

Punching a hole in one’s skin for the purposes of hanging a small ornament or etching one’s skin with a colored ink — all in the name of fashion — to me seems utterly silly and rather primitive.

This kind of self-mutilation for the permanent decoration of one’s body — especially in its extreme forms — suggests a deep-rooted displeasure with the natural state of one’s body (in short, a lack of self-esteem) or is a semi-desperate device for attracting attention. It’s akin to the people who dye their hair green or fire-engine red in the name of “individualism” when all they’re really trying to do is get noticed.

Ear-piercing among women is, of course, so commonplace that it hardly falls under this category. But nose piercing, naval piercing, tongue piercing, and the piercing of one’s private parts for the sake of being oh-so-cool approaches stupidity — or has taken up residence there.

But who gives a fermented ox turd what I think?

To further explore this mystery, however, we scoured the globe for some of the most unusual and bizarre examples of body piercing and “skin art”:

  1. Nicole Geutermeier of South Beach, Fla., has no ordinary nose ring. “Gold and silver rings and chains are just yawn-city,” Nicole told. So the 23-year-old office receptionist outfitted her nasal septum with a Goodyear R-66 steel-belted radial tire. “My boyfriend, who’s into cars, really likes it,” says Nicole.
  2. Don’t call this mom conventional! Dolores Nachka, devoted mother of three-year-old triplet boys in Tulsa, Okla., had her naval pierced, through which she placed the handle of a FoodTown shopping cart. “I spend so much time in the aisles of that supermarket that I figured, what the heck. This way I don’t have to steer the cart by hand and I can shop and keep control of the boys at the same time. It’s been real handy.” Asked if the cart gets in the way around the house, Mrs. Nachka says, “Not really. In fact, it makes picking up after the kids’ toys a snap.” And what about sex? “Well, I know this might sound a bit kinky to some, but now our foreplay involves my husband hopping into that little kiddie seat wearing only a bib, and me wheeling him around the bedroom shouting, ‘Special in the meat department! Special in the meat department!’ …And then waiting for a spill in aisle one.”

    Dolores Nachka of Tulsa, Okla., had her naval pierced, through which she placed the handle of a FoodTown shopping cart.

  3. The small Uitchee tribe, only recently discovered in an isolated pocket of the dark rain forest of Borneo, has a most unusual piercing custom. This report comes from our own resident expert on the strange and paranormal, Dr. Franz Ersatz: “Last January I revisited the gentle Uitchee people, whom I ‘discovered’ in 1990, and was privileged to witness firsthand their astounding coming-of-age ritual for 12-year-old males. At dusk, with a full moon rising, the ritual begins when the tribe’s suubobwe, or medicine man, uses a knife to make two rather large slits in the nape of the boys’ necks. Through these slits is inserted a small wild boar. Then, with darkness descending, and to the pulsing rhythm of the tribe’s drums and chanting, the boys lie down on their backs. The boars, now in a state of frenzy, begin running around the camp, dragging the boys behind. Usually, the animals are strong enough only to run around in a circle. But on this occasion, one of the boars was large enough or strong enough to drag the unfortunate youth away into the thick jungle. The tribe elders told me that he probably would never be seen again, and they actually consider him lucky, or tsitatu — roughly meaning ‘chosen by pigs.’ It’s an experience I’ll never forget.”
  4. Want to see amazing skin art? Visit Cal Melnik of Wichita, Kan. Cal has colorful tattoos that are detailed maps of the world — the Western Hemisphere on his chest and the Eastern Hemisphere on his back. The tattoos indicate all the countries of the world, major cities and bodies of water — even the major river systems and mountain ranges. “I like to keep it up-to-date,” Cal told. “But it’s a real pain making changes. I was real sore when Rhodesia changed to Zimbabwe, missed a week of work when the Berlin wall fell, and had to take these big ol’ antibiotic pills for nearly a month when the Soviet Union fell apart.Goddam Commies!”

    The tribe elders consider him lucky, or tsitatu — roughly meaning “chosen by pigs.”

  5. Leonard Tilberry of Yorkshire, England, had a 30-foot flagpole inserted through his pierced nipples. Because the flagpole was located on the local soccer grounds, Tilberry would dress himself in the Union Jack, tie a rope around his waist, and have several friends hoist him to the top of the flagpole during the pre-game ceremonies. Tilberry was banned from this “performance,” however, since the match against Leeds when, just as the band was finishing “God Save the Queen,” a strong gust of wind blew off Tilberry’s trousers and caused, as the local paper reported, “near hysteria among the females” in the bleachers.

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