Body modification is such a booming business these days that finding someone without a piercing or ink is like meeting someone who doesn’t have a facebook account ( Really, are you OK ? Have you broken the law?) .

According to recent studies, 36% of all adults aged 18-25 have ink on their bodies, and the tattoo and body modification business is the 6th fastest growing industry in the industrialized world.

Such is the popularity of this subculture that it runs the risk of ‘out cooling’ itself. After all, if everyone is living on the edge, where will all the edgy edge dwellers go?

Once upon a time ear piercing was thought of as a fairly mature concept. Whilst some cultures embraced it at a young age, many felt that it was a decision to be made after the age of 18, like voting…..but even with this activity there has been enormous levels of contradiction and controversy.

Prince Albert gave his name to a spectacular genital piercing in the days when a women seen drinking a beer was akin to announcing she was a full blown whore.

In India, women have worn small jewels in the side of their noses for centuries, in the west the only man with an ear piercing was either a pirate or a ‘dandy’….or a dandy pirate.

Skin inking has come a long way from the early days of mottled blue drawings that eventually fell apart under the skin and took on the shape and form of badly drawn children’s depictions of your favourite soccer team’s beloved crest. Stunning 3D, brightly coloured artworks of every hue and fine detail are all part of a good tattoo artists repetois. Go to a bad shop and you might come away with more than a drawing on your body. Hepatitis at best, HIV at worst, but sterilization is extremely common and bad news stories are few. Of course, you need to do your homework. But a bad ink job is more likely to be the result of a client who hasn’t bothered to do any checking. If you behave stupidly, stupid things will happen to you.

Due to its integration into the mainstream, it’s harder to find body modification that speaks to the hard core.

Now, if you are looking for something’ more authentic’ you might want to go tribal and get ink the way they used to, way, way back in the day.

In places like Asia, many places offer body ink applied by bamboo tapping techniques that are hundreds, if not thousands, of years old.

Interesting, people who have gone the ancient route for their tattoos report that the ‘old Skool’ tattoo’s hurt less than newer methods.

Some of these tats might also include a blessing. Which is an interesting side note for the tough customer.

Horns, or any kind of lumps or bits of jewelry embedded under the skin seems fairly extreme, and tongue splitting is still relatively rare….and a little gross….but this writers reaction is only an opinion, and opinions are like rectums.

Is there a point where the art is taken too far? Do face and hand tattoo’s say ‘potential prisoner’ rather than ‘potential partner ’? Is one eyebrow piercing funky and 20 a sign of mental illness? If you met a guy with remarkable wit and intelligence who then smiled to reveal teeth filled down to look like those of a tiger would you suddenly place him in the WTF basket along with men who purchase life like dolls that they take to bed and make breakfast for in the morning?

Beauty is, as they say, only skin deep, and totally in the eye of the beholder, so it may well be that someone with a 5 foot dragon embedded into the visible layers of their 6 foot frame might actually be the animal loving, earth protecting advocate you’ve always dreamed of meeting.

Just as the beautiful and quirky woman with the 4 lip piercings that looks like weird silver moles might be a gifted lover who would make the perfect mother to your children.

Or she may be trying to pick up alien frequency signals through her mouth.

These days it’s harder than ever to tell.



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