BME’s Big Question: #1

Welcome to the very first edition of BME’s Big Question! In this weekly (hopefully) feature, we’re going to ask a handful of the community’s best and brightest piercers, tattooists, heavy mod practitioners and shop owners for their opinion on one question or issue that’s affecting the body modification community. Many, many thanks to all of the contributors.

If you’d like to be a part of future editions, or if you have an idea for an issue or question you’d like to see addressed, please e-mail me.

This week’s question:

Is it possible to be too pierced or tattooed to work in a tattoo/piercing shop?

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Meg Barber

Call me old fashioned, call me “against modification” … whatever. I’ll look at you and laugh, but yes, you can be too modified for this industry.

The way I see it, the average client isn’t coming in to completely transform their body. They are coming in for a cute accessory, a nice little tchotchke to accent their face or body. They aren’t completely immersed in the modification world, nor do they wish to be. They will identify more with a piercer or tattoo artist that is lightly and attractively modified over one that is totally pierced, tattooed, and implanted.

I work in a very high end piercing spa in Manhattan. At our studio, I am the most heavily modified person on the staff. Clients really need to hear me speak before they will trust me at times, and they never believe me when I say something doesn’t hurt or whatever, because I am obviously a pain freak. Also, my mods can be a distraction — some clients are too busy staring at my earlobes to listen to what I am trying to tell them!

We carefully screen our employees before we hire them, and if we deem them to be too modified, we pass on them even if they are very skilled. We want our staff to reflect our clientele, and I know Maria really had to do some thinking before bringing me on because of my appearance.

I know it sounds a little judgmental coming from the standpoint of a heavily modified piercer working in the modification industry, but that’s the way it is with our shop, and I personally like the policy.

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Stephen DeToma

I absolutely think that it’s possible, but that’s not to say that it applies to all businesses. I think a large part of the equation involves the vision the owner of the hiring studio has for the business. It’s unlikely that a tattoo studio supplementing its monthly income through piercing would hire an individual with heavy, visual modifications. The studio I apprenticed in, which was largely a flash-based tattoo studio, fired a tattoo artist for tattooing his chin/lower lip area. I don’t think there’s any denying that there are people who operate tattoo and piercing studios across the country, people who modify people’s bodies on a daily basis, who are themselves uncomfortable with modified individuals.

It’s certainly putting all of your eggs in one basket to assume that simply because you have these modifications, you’ll be able to get a job piercing (or otherwise).

Region certainly will play a part. You may be too pierced to work at a mom and pop tattoo shop in Kansas, but the same person may have no problem finding work in Oregon, Austin or elsewhere. I think it’s important to point out that, while it’s each individual’s right to do with their body what they see fit, it’s a business owner’s right to build their business in the same manner, regardless of if anyone else likes it. A studio environment, for as relaxed and open as they typically are, is still a customer service based, retail environment that requires public interaction. Who do you cater to? Who is your client base? And what is their level of comfort?

Is it a question of approachability? The owner may be concerned with people’s ability or willingness to converse/have work done with someone bearing such strong mods. I think we all know that to judge a book by its cover is foolish, but the general public who do not operate on the same level we do from day to day, tend to shoot first and ask questions later.

Do the quality of the modifications come into play? Someone with a great deal of crooked, improperly placed piercings in their face for example, does not make a great spokesperson for the business. What about the subject matter? If you have a pentagram tattooed on your face or an upside down cross branded on your forehead, you’re sending a strong message without saying a word to potential employers.

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Steve Truitt

I think it would depend on the place they’re trying to work. Most tattoo artists are a lot more conservative in appearance than a lot of piercers, so I could see it harder for someone to get into tattooing if they look really extreme.

Many “normal” people are getting tattooed now because of TV shows like Miami and L.A. Ink. I could easily see a lot of those type of people getting scared away if they went to a studio and saw someone with giant horns and a huge plate in their lip, so if that’s the type of client a certain studio caters to, then it definitely wouldn’t work to have someone that looks that crazy working there.

On the other hand, personality can go a long way. I’ve seen quite a few heavily modified people that are extremely friendly and outgoing and have no problem making conversation and dealing with other people. Then I’ve seen a lot that are distant and withdrawn and they don’t seem to be able to relate to people and that can make people very uncomfortable, which wouldn’t be good for a working environment.

The quality of the work is also important to note. If someone is covered with very well done professional work, it shows. If they are covered in a bunch of crap they did themselves or at someone’s house or by someone who just sucks, it also shows and makes the person look that much more unprofessional. Also, if the work they have done is aesthetically pleasing to look at and fits the person then that person seems to have fewer problems dealing with people.

The Lizardman is a great example of this. Everything he has done is obviously professionally done and looks like it should be there. Nothing he has looks out of place or like it doesn’t belong on him. His intelligence and personality also play big roles in how his interactions with people go. Any time I’ve seen people meet him for the first time they go away saying, “Wow, I just met the Lizardman, he’s so cool,” etc. I’ve seen poeple meet other heavily modified people that aren’t as outgoing (I’m not going to name names here and offend anyone in particular) and walk away saying things like “Wow, that guy was crazy looking … what a freak! Why would he do that to himself? What’s wrong with him?”

So overall, it may not necessarily be that someone is too modified to work in a shop, but that they don’t fit in because of a combination of their mods and personality.

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Ryan Ouellette

I never ever in my life thought I’d get to a place where I could legitimately have a “kids these days” opinion on something, but here it is. Body modification, like all pop fashion, is just getting stupid. The problem is that “kids these days” don’t ease into modification, they jump in face first — pun intended. I don’t think that studios have a problem with modified employees, I think they have a problem with unprofessional-looking employees. In my studio we all have lots of visible mods, mostly tattoo sleeves, but I also have large gauge punched out conches, microdermals on my face, numerous piercings, yada yada. But I still consider myself to be professional-looking. As a studio owner myself, let’s say two people came into my studio with the exact same experience looking for a job. If both are heavily modified, but only one does it in a way that complements a professional look and mentality, then that’s the one I would want.

A lot of it has to do with clientele. You can look one way to do surface piercings for college kids, but you probably need to have a more subtle appearance to do $200 gemstone nostril piercings for older women. Most young people are just stupid, for lack of a better term, and they can’t imagine a world where they are 30 and need to pay a mortgage. They want to just live in their 17-year-old world and sell T-shirts at Hot Topic for $8/hour dreaming of the day they can be a super cool body piercer — and I would know. Because I did that.

I’m of the opinion that your hands/neck/face should not be tattooed or heavily modified until you have a steady career. I think that this is a profession where body modification should be embraced by both client and practitioner, but people should still treat it as a profession and try to maintain a respectable image.

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John Joyce

I don’t think it’s being too pierced, too tattooed, or too modified that keeps shop owners from hiring people. I think it’s being too covered in poorly done tattoos and piercings that keeps studio owners from hiring them.

For example: If a person has a lot of horribly done piercings or tattoos, or cheap jewelry all over their face, then it definitely doesn’t speak well for that particular person’s interest in the industry. If someone has taken the time to get 15 or 20 piercings, then by that point they should have enough interest in the art of body piercing to do some research. They should know the difference between a well placed piercing and one that looks like it was just smacked on with a dart gun. They should know the difference between a super shiny mirror finished Anatometal barbell and a dull piece from some mall store (*cough* Hot Topic *cough*). If they haven’t picked any of that up, then it shows that they really don’t care that much about this industry, or themselves for that matter, and I wouldn’t even waste my time interviewing the person. Now if someone walks in with 15-20 well placed piercings, all with super nice Anatometal, or Body Vision jewelry in them, I will immediately know that this person cares about their piercings, and put thought into them, because that’s exactly what I’d expect them to do with clients that they will be working with.

The same goes with someone looking for a tattoo apprenticeship. If you walk in and are covered with absolute shit, then it doesn’t speak very well about yourself.

The more interested you are in anything, whether it’s body piercing, tattooing or stamp collecting, the more research you should do on the subject. That research and your knowledge on the subject is what’s going to put you ahead of the 15 other people that have asked the studio owner for an apprenticeship that week.

It’s important for these people to remember that getting 15 piercings in two months, or stretching to two inches in six months, doesn’t impress a good piercer. It shows you are impatient, and not very responsible, and that is about it. The same can be said for kids getting their hands, throats, or even their faces tattooed before they have any other real coverage. It doesn’t impress a quality tattoo artist, and it doesn’t tell us you’re hard core, or more bad ass than your friends. What it does show is that you are impatient, and have put zero thought into the rest of your life.

There once was a time when tattoo artists wouldn’t do those things, and piercers cared more for their clientele. Unfortunately, this industry is full of rock stars and posting images that might make ModBlog seems to be more important these days.

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Joy Rumore

I do think that one can be “too modified” to work in a typical street shop.

A large portion of customers coming into street shops are first-timers. Most come in with groups of their friends. All minors come in with their parents if they are planning to get worked on. Before they even get into the shop, they are nervous. Often, extreme modifications or a large amount of modifications can make people more nervous if they aren’t used to being around them. Things that one is unfamiliar with are usually first interpreted as scary. They may project this view onto themselves and worry they will be classified as a “freak” even if they get a small, discrete piercing or tattoo. Some even think these heavily modified people couldn’t possibly be competent enough to perform a clean, safe procedure. Usually this is based on some fear that the practitioner must be mentally unstable or on drugs to think the way they look is acceptable and healthy.

If a minor or someone there with peers finds the extreme/multiple modifications attractive or interesting, they are often afraid to admit to their parents/peers that they are attracted to that kind of look because they will be be scolded or shunned. On top of that, parents may be more apprehensive about allowing their child to get a small piercing, viewing it as a “gateway drug” into looking like someone on the fringe of society and thus lessening their chances for a successful life. Most parents constantly strive to open doors for their children, not close them over something as “trivial” as a piercing.

Practitioners at specialty shops or custom/appointment-only shops tend to have better reactions to their heavy modifications because they are frequented by those in search of being heavily modified themselves. If those visiting specialty shops are not into heavy modification, they tend to expect seeing those who are extremely modified because these artists are often seen as “more serious” about their chosen lifestyle/career.

Day in and day out in every shop I’ve worked in (no matter what state), there are those who gasp and denounce what they see in our portfolios. I’ve always tried to educate those people and show them modifications on me so they can see that they are less scary or painful. I take more of an anthropological approach to these interactions. I explain the history and meaning behind the modifications. I try to compare personal body modification to more mainstream, accepted forms like cosmetic surgery, makeup and even haircuts. I don’t win them all, but I win most.

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Ron Garza

While I know many people will say no, I will answer with a resounding yes.

While it is true that people do come into a tattoo shop expecting to see the people working there somewhat covered in ink and some piercings, I don’t think having a very visibly modified staff is always needed or warranted. While yes, it is always better to speak from experience on things to clients, I don’t think the demand is that great for clients to know what having a one-inch lip or nostril hole is like to warrant so many people having them now.

Some cities are much more tattoo friendly than others – Denver, Atlanta, Austin and Seattle and Portland quickly come to mind. But then, traveling through parts of the south, mid west and east, the attitudes can be extremely different — even for just one-inch stretched lobes. In some of these communities where tattooing or piercing aren’t as prevalent as in other urban markets, I have personally witnessed staffs’ outward appearance actually intimidate potential clients and keep them from getting work or coming in. While some of us will all say we don’t do this for the money, we will all agree that no money sucks ass. So for the most part, we are doing it for survival, and are therefore doing it for the cash. Why alienate yourself further by losing all sense of resembling something somewhat human?

While I readily admit my views on the subject are more than a little biased from being visibly heavily tattooed and pierced for the better part of 15 years — and I do have respect for those that are “lifers” and are able to live life with visible heavy mods — I don’t think that life is for everyone, nor could it be. The thing separating individuals is the mental and emotional strength it takes to deal with public on a daily basis while being heavily modified. Many can’t deal with it mentally and I have personally known a few people that died at their own hands, in my opinion, because of it.

I used to want to tattoo my face (more), but I had promised my father, who already knew about my extremist nature, I wouldn’t tattoo my face until after he passed. At the time, I didn’t think I was going to make it past 21, much less be alive 16 years later, so I really wasn’t thinking of the future then, nor was my world view quite as encompassing as it is today, which definitely changed my outlook on things. I simply thought my father didn’t know the full depth of my passion for this.

What I didn’t understand was that he had the benefit of years of wisdom of being alive during very racially sensitive times and he knew first hand that division that exists in society for simply being different. For me to want to oust myself from that mainstream, on my own and on purpose, was something he couldn’t understand. Now that I have the benefit of a few years behind me, I can see the wisdom in his words.

The actual act of piercing is as old as man itself, and one can not deny the fact that for the most part, modification is a very western thing in today’s fashion circles in the USA and western Europe. Don’t get me wrong, there are enthusiasts in every culture and nation, but for the most part, piercing in the modern context that we know today is a very western idea. This was apparent to me while traveling through certain parts of Europe and not even receiving service at certain bars and restaurants because of my appearance.

I’m also in the process of having tattoos removed from my neck for the same reason. What means something to me can mean something completely different in another land, half way around the world. I was in Frankfurt, Germany, and got mistaken for a Nazi because of a tattoo on my neck that I received years ago. (I have a needle, barbell and captive bead ring in the shape of a Celtic cross on my neck.) What I didn’t know, but found out traveling through Germany (a culture highly aware of the sensitivity of Nazi symbolism that is lost here in the States), is that the Celtic cross has been adopted by some white nationalist, neo-Nazi and neo-fascist groups. Once I had it explained to me that a guy who winked at me and whispered what sounded like “Heil Himmler” in my ear probably actually thought I was part of one of those organizations, it became painfully to clear that what meant one thing to me, meant something completely different halfway around the world. Couple that with the fact that I was already a stranger in a strange land, an intruder into their country, and I didn’t see any reason to make myself stand out anymore than I already do with all my visible tattoo/modification work. I came back to the States and began laser tattoo removal sessions. I go back for my third treatment soon.

Another story that comes to mind is while traveling through Java and getting on packed trains — standing room only — on our way to see the presidential palace in the capitol of Bogor, we were singled out and had seats open next us, with everyone standing packed like sardines around us. It seemed no one wanted to sit next to the tattooed infidels. Even trying to buy water or bread at a stand was also a bit difficult, as they would just look through you and take the order of the person behind you, completely refusing to do business with someone who was clearly in violation of religious laws of the land with his physical appearance and attire. That doesn’t make you feel too good about the way you come off to others. Of course, being the asshole American and starting to yell or cause a scene would do no good, in addition to portraying me as an American stereotype that I don’t want to perpetuate. So, simply smiling and walking away mildly disgruntled is about all you can do. This was with me looking as normal as I can be, no piercings anywhere, and this was still the treatment I received. I can only imagine these people’s reactions if I had had a two-inch lip piercing or multiple sets of sub- or transdermal horns.

Of course, it wasn’t like this everywhere, but when it did happen, it only reinforced the fact that I was a visitor in their land. It was their home, not mine. I didn’t want to be overly intrusive or do anything to single me out any more than I already had with my very western way of walking, kneeling, dress and tattoos.

Because I’ve had these types of experiences that I feel so strongly about, and know what it’s like to be so visibly heavily modified — especially in another country, and since I don’t plan to live out my life here in America, my viewpoints may be a bit different from others’.

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Derek Lowe

Yes, it is possible to be “too modified” to work in a piercing/tattoo shop … at least to work in some piercing and tattoo shops. I don’t think it’s the rule by any means, but it is something I foresee happening more frequently over the next five years.
Just as with hair salons, clothing stores and restaurants (to name a few), there is an increasing diversity with regards to the style and “vibe” that shops are going for. Many new shops, and older shops who decide to remodel or move, are opting for more of a “spa” or “boutique” feel. I personally think this is a smart move, but I won’t bore anyone with my thoughts on that.
A studio with a “high-end” vibe is going to tend to attract a high-end client.  That type of clientele, to put it quite bluntly, may not want to look at, let alone be touched by, people with facial tattoos, stretched nostril piercings and three inch earlobes, while getting their piercing or tattoo. Clearly there are giant doses of hypocrisy, ignorance and short-sightedness in that sort of outlook, but that’s the reality of the world where we live. While those of us in the “community” might not understand how someone could feel that way, many people do feel exactly that way about heavier, or abundant, modifications. As a service-oriented business, piercing and tattoo shops have to give some consideration to the experience and comfort level of their potential customers.  
Gone are the days when a piercing or tattoo studio could treat people however they wanted, because there were so few shops that clients simply didn’t have other choices.
I think it’s more likely to find a “you’re too modified” stance at a studio that is owned by someone who isn’t a piercer or tattoo artist. A non-industry owner is likely going to look at things from more of a pure business perspective, where someone who is a piercer or tattoo artist is more likely to let their passion for their craft, and their personal feelings, influence their decisions, while potentially ignoring the ramifications those decisions might have on their business.
To completely rebuke what I just said, I should point out that I work at a very successful shop with more of a non-traditional atmosphere that is owned by a woman who is neither a piercer or tattoo artist. Over the years we have employed people who only had standard earlobe piercings on one end of the spectrum and people with full facial tattoos and half-inch nostril piercings at the other end of the spectrum.
For us it’s primarily about having the best person for the job, and not about how many modifications they do or don’t have. However, I won’t say that the extent, or the nature, of someone’s modifications will never ever influence a hiring a decision for us.
Anyone thinking that being heavily modified isn’t going to be an issue when it comes to finding a job, even as a piercer or tattoo artist, is potentially being a little naïve and short-sighted, in my opinion.

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Allen Falkner

The answer to this question is not nearly as black and white as you might think. In a perfect world the answer would be no, it is impossible to be too modified to work in tattoo/piercing shop. However, the answer is more complex and has a lot to do with customer relations and other qualities about the potential employee.

Let me give a quick example. Erik (Lizardman) Sprague, arguably one of the most heavily tattooed people in the world, could walk into almost any tattoo/piercing shop and get a job on the spot. Why? Well other than the fact that he’s highly intelligent and incredibly charismatic, he’s also very famous and would draw people into the shop. He’s a professional freak and this is part of his appeal. Would this work for another person? Maybe, maybe not. Like it or not, it all breaks down to the business’s clientele and how to appeal to people that walk through the door.

Yes, it’s true. People that seek out tattoos and piercings want the different and unusual. It really is the nature of the business and to a certain extent visible modifications are expected. I would even go so far as to say that, in most cases, it’s a prerequisite to work in a studio. That said, there is still a limit. People like the strange and the bizarre, but they don’t want to stray too far from their comfort zone. Does this mean someone with implanted horns and full facial tattooed can’t be excellent employees? No, far from it. The issue simply breaks down to what customers will accept. Most would agree that the tattoo/piercing community is more open-minded than most. However, even the most liberal aren’t always the most accepting.

What do you think? Let’s hear it in the comments.

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187 thoughts on “BME’s Big Question: #1

  1. It’s interesting hearing from overseas (american) point of views. I’m from Australia, and mod shops i’ve been to have a range of one visible mod, to not being able to fit many more on a face, and all of them have been EXTREMELY friendly and helpful and talented as well. maybe i’ve just been lucky? mm.. but i’ve also noticed that in a few clubs/bars there are some very, very modified people, which actually puts a smile on my face. maybe there is hope for humanity’s tolerance after all hehe.
    Also funny to hear (above) talking about Eric sprague, and not lucky diamond at all. Both icons in their own right i guess. :-) Great Article as well!

  2. I agree with the idea that it’s not about being “too” modified, it’s about being professional. I work in a salon, and since it is an appearance enhancement business, it is to be expected that my appearance be impeccable as well. I don’t necessarily have to have my hair done a certain way, makeup done, etc…but I have to look polished and put together. If I look like shit, clients will see that as a reflection of the salon being shitty as well. The same goes for working in a tattoo and/or piercing shop. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about the QUALITY of it. Any visible work you have done has to be impeccably done. If not, people will get the impression that the shop is poor quality as well.

  3. As a less-tattooed (and no longer pierced) individual I would say that discussing getting work done with someone who is VERY modified has in fact made me feel uncomfortable. You can call it a lack of self confidence, but I think finding yourself concerned about being judged by the person who will be doing your work (in this case fearing that you’re not tattooed/pierced/’committed’ enough) is a valid worry.

    I can only image what the girl going in for a belly button ring is thinking when she’s talking to someone with 2″ lobes and a tattooed face.

  4. really?
    man, this sucks.
    I would have thought this community would be more open minded and appreciative, I do understand the standpoint of quality not quantity but some of the points here made me take a second look at them.
    I dunno, I guess I just assumed that people took skill over appearance and it’s really sad to see that people are so shallow and money oriented.

  5. Eric Low wrote:

    Anyone thinking that being heavily modified isn’t going to be an issue when it comes to finding a job, even as a piercer or tattoo artist, is potentially being a little naïve and short-sighted, in my opinion.”

    I thought you were near sighted, not short sighted?

    Anyway… well spoken, all.

  6. Meg Barber=Allen Falkner=Derek Lowe=stevn tomono=Ron Garza=Joy Rumore=Steve Truitt all lossers
    like it really mattters what someone looks like no matter what the situation thats why i hate this site and all of u except me and maybe sum big bootie hoes i c here sumtimes

  7. I can personally say that my visible mods such as face tattooing, microdermals, large guage lobes/cartilage, ec have helped me in dealing with customers. I seem to get a lot more of people feeling MORE comfortable because they know I have been through it so much and have had so many experiences. They know I have been where they are, and also I can tell them specific stories about their specific piercing from my own experience and not just from an outside point of view. But maybe thats all just because of my personality and the vibes I send out. I tend to be a little weary of un-modified practitioners to work on me. I want my practitioners to understand what I’m going through from a personal level

  8. I can understand how “differen’t shops” appeal to “differn’t clientel” and everyone has there own opinion on the matter. But to not hire somone based on there heavy modifications…rather than there work and talent seems very ignorant…it’s a continuous cycle of judgment, and I hate to see that carried through into the world of modification. When can we stop judgeing people on appearance and actually give oppertunity to see what there about?? I do how ever agree though.. if somone who physically has shitty mods is applying for a job in the modification industry people who are informed on what “good” and “crappy” modifications look like will be potentially turned off. It is not so black and white because everyone will feel differntly and does.

  9. I as a tattooist agree that you can be “too modified” to get in with a legit shop. On the other hand i do believe skill and your personal clients play a role. Im sure that the guy with stretched lobes with acrylic jewelry, shitty dots and juggalo tattooed on his face is less likely to get a job at the shop i work at then the guy with nicely done face work, cleanly stretched lobes, his own clientle and most importantly is good and clean at what he does . I personally have 2″ lobes, tattooed hands and throat as well as large gauge flats( 1/2″) and as long as i am on top of customer service and am patient i have no problem with your average joe off the street.

  10. I don’t know what I think here.

    I don’t have a ton of craziness going on. I do have hand tattoos and big conches and a bunch of little facial piercings so I have a few heavier things. I think it really depends on your attitude. If you smile and are jovial, it usually goes well regardless. Sometimes when people look crazy-nervous, I just smile and say, “It’s ok. I won’t bite.” And they laugh. But then again, I’m a female with “cute” tattoos for the most part. It’s attitude combined with the way you look… in the same way that you meet someone with externally threaded flesh tunnels and a skull and tribal neck tattoo and you think, “Oh damn. Here we go.”

    It’s just that so many people in this industry (and even in the scene alone) have SERIOUSLY bad attitudes. I know it’s easy for that to happen. You get burned out and you get sick of dealing with stressed out people asking the same question over and over. I’ve definitely been burned out. But if you’ve got a skull on your throat and three inch ears, you better have a good attitude.

    I definitely think it is possible to be under-modded though. I know that I wouldn’t trust a piercer with no piercings…

  11. 13/14/16 lossers portfolio books,also like to ask if they mind if i galnce atthier work in progress(if it ainta priavte type sesion) are a nice way to judge sumbodies work ive seen sum crappy hair cuts on sum of the worlds top cutters

  12. Bradly, I’m not trying to be a bitch… but could you type in grammatically correct english? I barely have a grasp of what you just said.

  13. I always find it funny when people who can barely formulate a sentence call out other people on their intellect!

    In other news, I think it’s pretty dope really the attention drawn TO issues like these; sure it makes logical sense but sooo many times I’ve read/heard of young kids doing massive things under the safety net of “oh, I want to be a piercer, so it’s fine”. There’s just something inherently wrong I think with making life-changing decisions before you’re legally permitted to have a life of your own, I think.

    But that’s just me being old and grumpy :p

  14. I’ve found that modblog has become more of “this is what is wrong with our culture” more than embracing every aspect like it used to, looking at things with a critical eye is important but I’m sort of noticing it’s being a bit overdone here.

  15. I think its very telling of the generational difference that every practitioner has a similar stance on this subject but most of the clients feel the opposite.

  16. 19&20 can u send me sum naked pics our give me ur email addy and ill juswt sendu mine with a direct contactinfo 21 didnt call them stupid just lossers like u i know u are but whaqt ami (me)

  17. Nyne:
    I am right there with you on that old and grumpy thing.
    I remember at one instance when I met a young gentleman who had full sleeves, 2+ inch lobes, big labret I believe, etc.. and he was 18. I was appalled, I admit.

    If there is one thing I am always harping on, it’s that kids need to sloooooow down, and realize that the biggest lobes don’t equal the best hot shit piercer. As I said, where I work, we certainly DO hire based on looks. You must look professional. You must be neat and clean. You must be approachable. And to some extent, you have to be attractive. That’s how we run it, and whether it’s shallow or not, that’s how it is. It’s not to say that modified folks aren’t plenty sweet and great at what they do.. because there are heavily modded folk that certainly are.. but you have to be able to jive with our clientele. (which is largely celebrity based)

    And Bradley, if that makes me a “losser”, then I’ll wear that poorly spelled title proudly.

  18. I think a nice range within the studio also works. Like, have a cute little girl at the counter with some tattoos and a septum ring (hint hint, hire me!).

  19. I agree with John Joyce, quality most definitely over quantity. When I go into a shop I’m not looking at how intensive one is modified, but more so how well done are their modifications. I know that here in St. Louis, MO if you’re working in a place like Iron Age or The Pearl that are really mainstream that you have to be a bit more low key because there are so many young people walking in looking for their ears pierced or a butterfly on their hip. Its scary to them. But as for the more hardcore shops around here it goes back to the quality over quantity.

  20. Shawn- do you think it’s a literal generation gap or just a matter of experience? inexperience=idealism in a lot of cases.

  21. 25 u dont neen me 2confirmur self worthless u stated it just fine urself in ur parigraph of nonsense. u caN twirl ur hair nsum fancy clubwhile me and my bi–tch blow up insum back alley way inthe beem of the taxi lights

  22. Bradly is seriously one of the all-time great trolls. He’s like a unicorn. We’re truly blessed to have him here.

  23. i can say that as a relatively young and some what heavily modified individual, my appearance hasn’t greatly affected my ability to find work, even in shops that strive for that boutique feel. i may be one of these “young and dumb kids” that have been mentioned in this article but i hope that my work speaks for itself. i previously worked only blocks away from your location meg, hell we had some of the same clients and even worked along side each other and i dont think i had a client ever feel uncomfortable with my appearance. i would like to think that the modifications i have chosen for myself are flattering and only enhance my appearance. all in all i think that it has a lot to do with how one presents themselves to their clients. ive met plenty of other practitioners who do great work, are less visibly modified nowadays, but have a terrible bedside manner. well thats all

  24. When I first got pierced over a year ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I had read reviews on BME and gone to the APP website to find a studio. I barely even noticed how modified the artists were, but I did notice the care and concern and respect shown to me. Now I actually notice the changes more, but I also know that I’m in competent hands, and if one of them “happened” to get their face tattooed, I’d notice, but my opinion of them wouldn’t change at all. It’s all in the attitude.

  25. Bradly, I am hardly a “loser” for stating my opinion……everyone has one as do you…are you a loser for having an opinion? I guess anyone who doesn’t agree with bradlys opinion is a loser……

  26. Well I would definitely say that I’m one of those ‘young, dumb kids’ being 20 with my neck and hands (and continuing more work on my hands) tattooed and several facial microdermals. i work at a mall store right now (being at school and not needing that serious of a job yet) and have noticed many trends in the difference between our modified employees (my boss and me) and the unmodified (the rest of them). We have many customers (oddly, it seems that mostly foreigners, especially hispanic customers) do not respond well to my boss and me but fine to others. However, when it comes to other customers, we often get better responses due to having a permanent fixture for our customers to focus on and relate to us with. Then again this is a difference between moderately modified and non-modified people, not heavily modified vs moderately modified.

    The best input I can put on the situation is with a piercer I have gone to several times. When I first started going to his shop I would have classified myself as unmodified and then would have considered him heavily modified, although now I would say moderate to heavily modified. He had the first dermal anchors I had ever seen in person, large stretched lobes and tattoos down his arms. He is also a ‘big and tall’ type and thus a physically imposing person. However, as soon as we sat down for the first time to discuss a piercing and showed me that he had the best bedside manner ever, all physical traits were quickly forgotten.

    People will always be quick to discriminate. They have to be comfortable with the person they are being worked on by but that doesn’t mean that their level of modification is their only criterion. If the artist/piercer is black, female, too fat etc. then someone is just as likely to not go to them if they have a biase. The only thing that transcends these biases is being able to make people see past them through intelligence, kindness, or whatever it is that a person may be looking for in someone to work on them.

  27. 14 i cant believe iactualy re read ur post it suck and u swallow andstop postimg here noonecares what u think thats for sure and as far as i can tell this thread is all about nuthin so what do u think about fourtune cookie icecream cones filled with confusiuos tutti-fruiti says pinaples are delsisous on top of a glass of with a rainbow unbrella to read

  28. well i have been piercing for 7 years and i always dreaded the day would come when i woule need to have my ears and labret closed and all my tattoos removed

    finally were going corperate

    i agrree with the quality aspect of it i dont want to be pierced or tattooed by somebody with utter crap all over them

    but then again the two best artist at the shop im at are fucking sick as hell one has no tattoos what so ever and the other has random shit all over his arms and legs

    i just wonder arnt we being a lil-up tight about this yeah kids are being young and very dumb but god werent well all young and dumb at some point be it piercing yourself with random shit in the bath room or stretching your lip big enough to fit a coke can through and then relizing fuck i need a real job
    or fuck maybe that 18 year old kid with the huge lobes and the lip plate dosent have conventional plans for his life and is perfectly happy with that personally i hope to one day have a log cabin with no electricty and live off the land

    but im also a fucking weirdo

    i think we should lighten up
    if people wanna be dumb and do things they havent thought out its thier problem cause no matter how much we tell them there not gonna listen they might but the prolly wont

    its jsut like a client that wont stop playing with a piercing right after its done u tell them not to touch it or its gonan get infected,aggrevated etc…. and a week later they are back in your shop witha big boil on it or somethign resembeling the plauge on thier face u told them that its not good ot do that but they will do it anyway most times or even better example somebody doesnt like the length of a stud in their lip u tell them its to compensate for any swelling that might occur and that they can wait and switch it out for a shorter one in a few weeks

    if they dont like the sound of that their prolly gonna do it anyway with cheap mall jewlery and be back in 4 days wanting u to fix it

    telling people that they cant be too modified to get a job in the industrey is jsut gonna make them want to prove all of u wronge

    or thats how i see but thats my opnion and all that good jazz

  29. I really agree with Meg and Ryan on this. I’m planning on getting full sleeves and being mostly covered, but I would NEVER tattoo my hands/face/neck. I’ve also only got a couple visible piercings (snake bites, eyebrow, lobes, industrial, and a daith). Most people don’t even notice cartilage piercings since they’re so used to seeing girls getting them gunned at Claire’s, and my lobes are small enough (7/16″, probably won’t go past 3/4″) that they don’t grab too much attention. I know there’s the whole “it’s your body do what makes you happy blah blah blah” argument, but getting 25 piercings in each lip and 18 in each eyebrow doesn’t look good on ANYONE.

  30. I think it really is more about being approachable. If you’re too scary looking AND you’re not charismatic, you’re not going to be productive to business or the industry. You don’t have to look very different to be shunned if you’re not very charismatic. I know guys that have full black facial tattoos that can sell $300 nostril screws to middle aged professional women happily and comfortably without them even considering going somewhere else. And then there’s the other guy where people walk in, get bad vibes and leave. Be approachable and you’ll be employable.

  31. I don’t think any of us were saying people shouldn’t have sleeves, facial piercings, microdermals, anything in particular. What I was saying was that there is definitely a point that’s “too much” for certain studios and a lot of that does depend on the personality and professionalism of the person, not necessarily a specific mod.
    Also, it seems that a lot of the younger people with hopes of being a piercer or tattoo artist think that once they get that job they’re set for life so they shouldn’t worry about what they look like. I’ve been around quite a while (since 95), and there are very few piercers from back then still working in the industry now. Piercing is definitely not what it used to be, and I really don’t see it supporting all these people that are trying to get into it as a career long term.
    And for those people claiming we are saying things like this because we’re “in it for the money”, as business owners we have to be and have to do what it takes to pay the bills. Quality piercing jewelry isn’t free, running a quality piercing studio isn’t free, so if it comes down to hiring someone who looks more professional and less intimidating to the “normal” clientele over someone who is extremely modified and scares customers it’s a no brainer. I’m pretty heavily modified myself (transdermal horns and third eye, subdermal implants, facial microdermals and piercings, facial tattoos, sleeves, hands, neck, etc) but in my opinion I wear it well and it doesn’t look out of place on me.

  32. Why not take a pole on the folks that are actually going in to a shop to get a tattoo and/or piercing the same question? I’m willing to bet you’ll get a better variety of answers on a much larger spectrum than just the small amount of the modified communities view on it. It has to be a very wide spectrum of poling as well, not just one catered to, lets say, 1,000 people all on the West to Midwest… A question/answer forum like this needs to be on a global basis, not just subjected to what people in the “industry” think, but aimed @ people who are not in the industry… Their answers, along w/the numbers they gather simply by seeing the few people that come in for small – heavy work is inconclusive… Have the “industry” take poles @ random points, on random strangers, asking them what they might think about it… I’m willing to bet the numbers will change drastically if you hit thousands of random folks…

  33. Is it me or do all these industry people sound more like businessmen/women and less like artists.

  34. Who would’ve thought that all of you would have such great writing skills and fantastic vocabulary for being such modified wieners……kidding…your mom’s must’ve proof read all of those! ;)

    I could be mistaken, but I didn’t read the word “F*ck” in any of those…impressive!

    I believe that this article is comical from a few different perspectives:
    We were all pioneers in our own little ways. We might not have been the first to do something, but we might’ve been the first to do something in our own communities which has a much more considerable impact because people can converse with us, and not just view it in wonderment on television. The way we “professionally” conducted ourselves is the way the surrounding society learned to deal with things, and learn about new advancements. Some of us do great jobs at that, and others do very poorly.

    The majority of people are too lazy to think more than one step ahead. Many of our customers are wasting thousands of dollars of other peoples money trying to figure out college, changing majors, discovering how to successfully put condoms on, or which end of the beer bong you put your mouth on. So why do we as professionals get irritated when they don’t bother to listen to us and care for their piercing/tattoo at all? Why are we so expecting?

    People minds are so diverse that it is just so unfortunate to have to lump us all together and take an average consensus about what might be too wild or Modified. For instance…Some customers would vote us into presidential office, and others don’t pay attention to a word we say. They’re are so many views of what’s right or wrong, what’s too much or not enough. What some people see, others may not. I personally do not like eyebrow piercings (never have, never will) can’t stand ‘em. The next piercer will talk their client into two of them. Who am I to say? I have 5th gen horns in my head. Did I take it too far? Probably… But did I really? Some people love them, some people hate them. I hear from many people that wish they could have them. Most people comment on my 1.5″ earlobes before they even notice that I have huge HORNS. Though some people notice my horns from automobiles across from me at 4 lane major intersections. I’ve had police pull me over just to talk about my looks…*shrugs*. I can’t explain it…I don’t want to know an explanation if there were one.

    Why do some customers trust piercers to be knowledgable because they’re covered in tattoos? Why does a girl ask me (the tattooist) what she should do about her infected navel before finding out I’m a 9 year piercing veteran?

    What’s too modified? I don’t know. Do any of us “professionals”know? Think…some of us ARE reversing lots of our incredibly modified work nowadays. So who and what is too far?

    My personal advice as a tattooist/piercer/modifier is that I do know that when I’m in an establishment that allows employees to have piercings and one shows up with some poorly sized oozing piercings all over…that’s tasteless and unprofessional. Fix yourself please. Heal one thing at a time, then you’ll learn what tasteful might actually be.
    ***Know your limits!!!***
    What does THIS mean? It means that if you have a weak personality, cannot converse with people well, or are a poor salesperson…you might not want to have very many modifications that will further discredit your “professional” showmanship. If you have a strong personality, are educated, or could sell scratch-offs to the blind, by all means have at it and look how you want, but be also prepared to be discredited by many just on general overall appearance.

  35. LOL at bradly.

    Apparently trolling on modblog is the new way to spend time? Please take your bitch and go back to the alley you crawled out of.

  36. bradley why dont you just stop being a bitch and respect other peoples’ ideas?
    afterall tis is a community of people hanging together to talk about body modification,their expierences,their thoughts..
    if you dont like it, like you made it clear at first point,
    then just do not post.

    isnt that easier for everyone?

  37. I found this article very interesting. From a client’s point of view, the first few times I went into my favourite piercing shop the only thing that made me hesitate was that there were heavily modified helpers everywhere and I had nothing done. I felt embarrassed, but it was my hang up and I got over it quickly when I discovered how lovely they all were. Being approachable goes a long long way.

  38. Sarin Please do not replicate these tattoos. u are one of thebiggest wsate of skills i have seen to date maybe oneday u will all wake the freckles up this post has nuthin to do with me cuase im a winner and ur not so there and 46 thx but at this point in time i haveno desire to talk to my mom but im waitin on edan to wake up as we speak boy she’s acutie and i do luv her and this is my blog

  39. it suck andstop postimg noonecares delsisous with a rainbow unbrella to read
    ……See why drugs fuck you up?…just say no :)

  40. Blueboy – it’s pretty impossible to be an artist in this industry for any length of time and NOT develop an interest in the business side of things – if you can’t pay your bills doing what you love, then you generally have to do something else for a living, no?

  41. I am 19 years old, I have 2 neck tattoos and a throat tattoo/other visible facial mod’s. I have thought long and hard about my modifications. I don’t think age has anything to do with it….18..47 what’s the difference? I am mature and well set in all decisions I make to modify myself. My line of work allows me to be myself and I would have it no other way. I am a freelance Photographer now and plan on attending college for four years. I knew at an early age where I wanted to take my life/ career, and again you could be 18 and be more mature than a 30 year old….sad but oh so true.

  42. Well, I think it depends on situation, I have worked in some countries and have experienced different things.

    This is a funny experiment, get two guys, one full tattooed and one with “clean” skin, then wait for a client, and once he/she asks for a tattoo, let him choose his tattooist, surprise! He’s not going to take a look at his portfolio, he just wants to be tattooed by the ALL COVERED with tattoos guy…this happens about 80% times.

    with piercing is so different…I have to agree with Meg, I’m not that modified, but people never stops looking at your lobes, or whenever they see your portfolio, you can hear things like:

    OH SHIT! <————OH SHIT!!!
    OH GOD; why people do this!?
    tio pero como te haces eso en la polla!?

    (no blood on pictures)

    I usually try to explain people everything they ask for, but each mind is different, I have an ex girlfriend and 10 years later she still doesn’t understand why I do suspensions, and I’m sure she will never understand. You can’t change your points of view if you have grown with restrictions, etc etc.

    now you have to choose between your body and lifestyle or the business, if you think your appearence is something basic for your work, then do what you have to, but please, I have visited studios with piercers with LOTS of red, crusties and rejecting piercings, blowed out lobes, dirty nails, etc…and this is obvious, you will never get a customer with this aspect! is unsafe, lacks of cleanliness…

  43. BlueBoy:
    We ARE business people.
    When I go to work, yes, I do piercings and general installations and stuff, BUT.. I also process client orders, handle computer related issues, deal with some of the monetary happenings, make bank deposits, set up the store, work closely with the owner on making orders, answer client inquiries and emails through our website, and other “business” like duties.
    As Lori said.. in this industry, you DO develop an interest in the business side. Whether you are an independant contractor through a company, or an on the books employee, you do see the different sides of the business, and at some point you will realize one important truth.

    Just because we are working in an unconventional industry, we are still expected to run our business in a professional manner.. no different than the most mainstream boutique on the block.

    I first and foremost DO consider myself a piercer, but I also take the role of business professional as well.

  44. I met bradly in real life once and I have to admitt, He’s right ….” we are still expected ” posted by MEG
    Living to meet others expectation’s can damage one’s true self ~OM~

  45. Real world, Nursery and landscape design customer service, 3/4″ lobes, Full sleaves, legs heavily, punched conches, hands and side neck tattooes = ok so far, the septum has to be flipped up thats what really scared em in northern virginia a 6g septum WOW

  46. Awesome. I’m definitely one of those “young dumb kids.” I’m 17, and I’ve got 5/8″ lobes, a 4g philtrum, 2g conches, and 8g nostrils. But guess what? I work a full time job. I deal with customers all day. I do tech support over the phone, and in person. My appearance hasn’t messed anything up. Some people see me and are a little apprehensive at first, but when I fix the problems that’s stopping their business, they realize I’m not stupid and really enjoy my company. It’s not ALL about attitude, but a really large majority of it is.

    The office in which I work is an extremely professional environment. Most of our customers are 40-60 year old men. Something I’ve noticed about them is that a lot of these guys don’t care what I look like. It’s mainly people who are in their late twenties through late thirties. They’re really becoming the one thing they used to hate, and it makes me pretty sad.

    Sure, I’ll probably be criticized for posting this, but it’s not like it matters. I know that I’ve got healthy modifications. I know that if I really needed to, I could support myself with absolutely no help from my parents, and I believe that’s what separates me from everyone else. I may have visible modifications, and I may be young, but that doesn’t make me immature or unable to see that things may change in the future. Yeah, things will probably happen at one point, and I’ll need to get a different job, but what’s the point of even trying to get a job if you won’t be accepted for who you are? I used to want to be a piercer, I did for 3 years, but after seeing how some of the most highly revered practicioners act, I was turned off. I don’t want to work with other people who will constantly judge me.

  47. As a very heavily modified piercer (numerous facial implants, facial scarring and heavy gauge piercings) in the Australian industry, I feel that most of the views displayed here are quite accurate.

    I get more positive feed-back from my customers about my self that I do negative, however I believe it is because I am a very easily approachable person and always first greet new customers with a smile.

    A good smile can easily overcome the craziest mods and put a customer at ease instantly, the same way that a ‘clean’ individual will push-away a customer if they appear in a bad mood.

    I know for sure that I would not have made it as far as I have without this personal trait and acknowledge that most people view me as ‘a bit overboard’ (this includes other artists in my studio).

    I think in a retail industry (say what you will, mod shops=retail) its more about personality and then secondly appearance.

  48. No one is saying don’t get your face tattooed. We’re ALL just saying that you need to face the ramifications of your actions. Over the last few years BME has been a ‘reality bubble’ where the downsides to a lot of these decisions were glossed over or covered up. I’m really glad to see that the older generation is finally taking an interest and putting a counter opinion out there.

    And it’s the luxury of youth to think that you’re mature enough to make these decisions and that you have every right to do what you want. We all thought that, too. And now I’m just glad that Decker is here to remove my lobes, Allen is here to laser off those mistakes…

  49. “Young dumb kids” with good jobs: You’re either very intelligent or lucky. Don’t fool yourself, or your peers, into thinking that the world is your oyster.

  50. as a person im reasonably well modified, i have 65mm lobes and 10 facial piercings including a 10mm labret, and various others, but again as with alot of aspects in the piercing and tattooing industry its not what you have it, its about HOW you wear it.

    i’ve been around this trade for more years than i care to think considering my age, and have meet thousands of ppl in it, around it, looking on at it and can recount on 1 hand the amount of negative comments ive had, but mainly its positive and that most view my piercings as “well suited to me”

    we see too many kids that shove 10 lip piercings in and wear massive ball closure rings in them and they look messy, therefore they don’t get a start as they have no concept of artistic integrity, or placement. you get the others who look dirty as they are just cluttered in rings balls and stuff but hey thats up to them.

    and at the end of the day customers will come to you should you have loads of mods and are good at your job!

    one thing i hate though are kids that wack their ears up to daft mm and they are blown out and fucked, basically mods should be a labour of love and few get it. also too many don’t think of the consequences of their actions.

    for me mods are mt business and thats why i’ve got them if i was a bank manager id not have as many!

  51. I totally agree with Porter and company. I know the ramifications to looking the way that I do, and know that I can almost count on not getting work at some tattoo shops. Luckily, all my “mistakes” are not visible and are easily covered only showing the better quality work that people acknowledge. You can be too “modified” to work at a shop, and as with every aspect of your entire life will be changed by visibly modifying your body…with that said, why would career and profession not be affected? IT IS and WILL BE!

  52. Blueboy, they probably sound like business people because they are business people. Although, yes, body modification is an art, they also need to run a successful business. How else would they afford to keep providing their artistic skills for people? Artist and business person are not mutually exclusive. I think a look at any of their portfolios would tell you that.

  53. I love it when people say ridiculous thing like “you’re only concerned about money”. Um….no.

    I chose to only put the highest quality jewelry available in my clients. If I was only worried about the money, I’d be buying 15 cent Taiwan barbells and still charging the same amount and make a killing. If I was only worried about the money, I wouldn’t spend the money to spore test my both my autoclaves once a week. If I was only concerned about the money, our shop wouldn’t offer health insurance benefits to the piercers and tattoos artists. If money was the only concern, I would pay my piercers and tattoo artists significantly less than I do. And the list goes on.

    Dong things like that cost money…and a lot of it. We all work for/own/manage small business, not large corporations with millions of dollars to spend. To imply that we shouldn’t worry about how are businesses are run is just plain ignorant.

  54. # 59 (Eric) You have one of the best posts here I thank you for sticking up for us (young mature smart kids)

  55. I loved reading everyone’s opinions on this matter. Personally, I have to say from experience that It is equally the quality of your work, that you have at least some visible work, and your ability to work with customers eloquently and intellectually.
    Though I don’t consider myself “heavily” modified, many of the customers I had would put me in that category. Both shops I have worked out of have been small town street shops where most clientele would be interested in sparkly navel piercings, butterfly tattoos, and 9-11 Memorials. The one gentleman working in the shop who was far more tattooed than the owner and I, was the best at bringing in clients and selling them on better ideas than they had come in with, as it is our job to make a piece the best it can be. He was very charismatic and polite and easy to talk to.
    I am much more soft spoken and I think that helped me out a lot because of all the facial piercings that I have. Customers would tell me that they were slightly intimidated by my appearance until they talked to me and then felt perfectly comfortable for me to work on them and answer any of the annoying yet expected questions they had about my piercings.
    The owner had no visible modifications except for 5/8” lobes. She had no bedside manner, an introverted personality that would scare most people away, and would get annoyed when potential customers asked her where all her tattoos were and that it was funny that they often had significantly more work than she had. All she had was a small piece on her shoulders that was always covered by her shirt. Many customers decided thay would rather have me or the other guy work on them, understandably.
    I have also noticed that at least one poorly done piece can be helpful ( though of course, no one wants that) to show a customer why certain things just can’t be done. Several times I’ve had to use a piece on my arm to show people why sometimes lines can’t be so close or why size often times does matter and that you shouldn’t be able to feel your tattoo! Though the bad work is a burden on me, it has come in handy !

  56. #63 I consider myself a (young smart very talented kid) not (young dumb kid) who has worked extremely hard for what I want in life. The world is rarely anybodies oyster you have to make it so. Age is so irrelevant you could have a 25 year old and a 18 year old and the 18 year old could be completely more mature than the 25 year old. All I am saying is not to judge younger modified persons by age rather than by personality…attitude. You can learn a whole lot by conversing with someone. And as # 59 (Eric) has stated…. “what’s the point of even trying to get a job if you won’t be accepted for who you are”? – “I don’t want to work with other people who will constantly judge me”. If you have any doubts in your mind..that what your doing to your body mite one day be “unacceptable” then the world of modification is not for you my friend.

  57. I’ve got my job because I’m intelligent. I was chosen over other people because I’ve worked hard in the past. I guess the point I’m really trying to get across is that not every young person is just looking at the now. Some of realize that life will be harder, and we’re willing to work that much harder just to prove that we can make it despite our appearance. I know that people judge me for how I look, and I’m proud of the fact that I don’t fit their stereotypes.

    Maybe I’m just being a teenager, which I’m sure you’ll assume, but I’m content with all my decisions I’ve made over my body in the past. I don’t plan on changing that.

  58. I’m not sure there’s too much to add to this, it would seem everyones firmly rooted in their opinions and pretty much all the major points have already been stated a few times. But i will say that as a 21 year old with stretched ears, a moko, and scarification on my forehead, I’ll say there has been few to no negative repercussions in my decisions. I got my neck and hands tattooed at 19 for personal reasons and choices. No, I didn’t know I was going to end up in a tattoo parlor. I was a swim instructor for very young children, as well as being published in various magazines and whatnot for fiction pieces. I’m not trying to win a medal here, but more stating I never once felt limited; I am a college drop out, and no, I will never work in a law office or on wall-street. I may be young, but I’ve got a good head on my shoulders, and a consistency in my personality thus far in life. Should my career as a piercer not last as long as I hope, I have complete faith in the world and in myself that I will land another job.
    If you are looking for piles of money and a vacation house in the hamptons, you might want to give it a 2nd thought. But I know for me, going to work everyday and loving what i do is my priority. I can’t do something I dont love with all my heart. Modification for me has been with me my whole life, starting from being in a stroller pointing to every tattooed and pierced person that walked by. I know my personal modifications are done for myself and only myself, and I would never compromise making myself happy through it for a job, for fear of placement in society, of someone’s reaction, etc.
    I would like to think my work and my bedside manner and people skills would unlock any door I might go to in this industry; if it doesn’t, then so be it. But I know i’m happy and secure in my decisions, and since I stay firmly rooted in the present, thats good enough for me.

  59. in some circumstances its true that you will be judged on your mods and how many you have. This is a sad fact but a true one.

  60. You can be too “modified” to work at a shop, and as with every aspect of your entire life will be changed by visibly modifying your body…with that said, why would career and profession not be affected? IT IS and WILL BE! posted by ;Pineapple on September 19th, 2008 at 11:09 am now im back i thought i saw sum looser’s here until i camecross ur post now i really have seen sum lossers and pinaplle ur the biggest one of all…TO BAD 4U…guess the moral of the story is ….

  61. Ok I’ll just assume the question reads “Is it necessary to be pierced or tattooed to work in a tattoo/piercing shop?” – If I’m wrong someone tell me. Meh, I’m about to read the article anyway I’ll find out.

  62. p.s. if the mods u are doing to yourself are having a negeative effect on your personal selfworth and if they arnt empowwering to the next higher level then yes maybemost likely ur driving to fast like pinapple did so plz learn from mistakes even though he tries to hide them the best he can ….

  63. Ok, well, IMO, there’s no such thing as being “too modified”, as long as you look presentable and acceptable towards the client, and that will depend on the location of the shop. But I mean, come on, let’s face it, even if someone is “too modified”, if they look attractive, have a good personality and are skilled piercers/tattoo artists it doesn’t matter if they’re “too modified”, they’ll get hired. The term “too modified” in my opinion (for most people) basically means “so modified that they look sort of appalling and/or scary”. Obviously that’s not good for business, so I simply the answer is “yes, but it depends.”

  64. Agreed w/ #9, 14, 23, 45, 53, 59, 71, 72, 73. Word up.

    How are we going to change industry standards of appearance and the way the rest of the world perceives modified people if we just pander to the economy? I’m not the most modified person out there and wouldn’t consider myself ‘LOL XTREEEMEE’, but…

    Okay, so the argument is to hire moderately modified people (rather than heavily modded – just enough to make the client trust them, but not enough to freak em out) for the sake of the client’s comfort level. How are we going to change society’s perception of modded people if we as a community are guilty of judging the heavily modded in a negative light? We are being incredibly fucking hypocritical if we do that, IMHO. It’s just going in a huge big circle & not really achieving any impact on the masses’ perception of our community.

    That probably came off as very disjointed but I think Eric has basically summed shit up anyway…

  65. i have enjoyed this article. i find it interesting to hear other modified, more experienced piercers and tattoo artists opinions on subjects like this one.

    i am 19, i have one full sleeve and visible facial piercings(nostrils, medusa) i am by no means heavily modified, i agree 100% to the “dumb kids moving too fast” comment made by several people. i was 18 when i started getting tattooed, started with a 1/2 sleeve and about a year later started on the full sleeve. i put the time and effort into finding a reputable shop and a good artist to do my tattoos, i didn’t go into the cheapest shop i could find and i didn’t have my friend tattoo me in the basement of his mom’s house. i feel that if the quality of work on someone is great then it shouldn’t matter how heavily modified they are. i plan on getting my ribs tattooed starting the end of this year. then after that i am taking a break. because like most people, i do believe that you can get modified “too fast”.

    i believe that if young people, like myself, have a good head on their shoulders and actually think about what they are doing, then it is fine for them to get modified at a relatively fast pace. i have no plans to tattoo my face/hands/neck until i have been in the industry long enough to know it is for me.

  66. I loved the article and I loved the discussion even more.

    I am just a regular guy in my early thirties. I have a few tattoos and have had piercings in the past. I love the art form but have been careful since day one not to rush into something that is going to be a pain to remove or hurt my future (ie job). I appluad people who take the time to learn about the tattoos and piercings like I did and get it done right. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there and get heavily modified.

    I think the phrase ‘young and dumb’ is accurate but a little harsh. Generally speaking, I would say that if you are under the age of 25 you really don’t have a lot of experience yet. It is frustrating to hear older people say that you are young and you don’t get it or you are dumb. I felt the same way but somewhere along the line I crossed the line. You will understand what I mean one day, but let me make a point.

    I am a professional type of guy. I work in offices for big companies. I would say that hiring managers are probably not going to hire you based on your appearance. They are looking for professional looking individuals who are going to fit in rather than stand out and if you are heavily pierced and tattooed that is going to put you behind against your peers. I don’t care what your resume says. You as an employee reflect the company and the big bosses are going to want their quality staff look a certain way. People do judge you by your appearance. That is a fact. However, it is your call on what you do with your body. Just be ready to accept the consequences for it.

  67. I agree with some of the other posters that for me it’s less a question of being ‘too’ modified as it is a question of being poorly/unattractively modified. If someone has really well thought out and well placed piercings and/or tattoos, I find that they tend to blend into their appearance and be almost un-noticeable, even if there are an awful lot of them. On the other hand someone could have one shitty, badly placed piercing or tattoo and it can be incredibly distracting and intrusive.

  68. I completely agree with Ryan. Piercings and tattoos are quickly become more of a fad amongst teenagers; most don’t think of where they will be in 10 years, and only worry about having the ‘coolest’ new piercing or tattoo. Not only is it a fad, its a competition to see who can get the latest piercing, or the most ‘artsy’ tattoo.

    I should know;I’m seventeen and live in a sea of piercing/tattoo hungry teenagers. I go to a small town school, where there are many sheltered kids. I got a few simple piercings, such as my tragus, and industrial (I figured that ear piercings can easily be removed and/or hidden. but I’m stopping there. I realize the fad, and don’t want to be a part of it). Kids were amazed with these “unusual piercings” (yes, these were seen as unusual at my school. I should bring Roo in for show and tell one day), and one after one the piercings started to multiply. It was funny, because most of them were going to crappy places, having no idea what they were getting themselves into. They are also very competitive, seeing who could get the weirdest piercing. They get tattoos on their hands and wrists, not thinking that it could hinder their job opportunities in the future. Call me a hypocrite, but i sincerely think my views are much different then my modified peers. But, I recognize this ‘fad’ and refuse to be a part of it. I just hope piercers/tattoo artists don’t make judgements when they see a 17 year old girl with simple ‘modifications’.

  69. #82 Bradly “p.s. if the mods u are doing to yourself are having a negeative effect on your personal selfworth and if they arnt empowwering to the next higher level then yes maybemost likely ur driving to fast like pinapple did so plz learn from mistakes even though he tries to hide them the best he can ….”
    Who said MY MODS had a negative effect on anything? Not in my world. it did have an effect, but not negatively. You are making assumptions and make no sense in what you are saying. And the work that are “mistakes” I mean poorly done tattoos and I wish looked better… I think my visible mods are very functional, postive, well done, and most importantly improved my self worth! :) HAHA… Bradly, your so cute when your angry

  70. pineapple im not bad just feeling sorry u and ur crappy reghretful tattooos that u wish wherebetter but I understand ur post #66 is just u showing how weak u really are 2bad

  71. WARNING: BME/IAM does not pre-screen the content that users post to this site. Parts of this site may be adult and/or sexually explicit in nature, and graphic depictions of body modification related activities are inside. If you are not of legal age to view this type of material, please do not enter and view those pages!

    Then why are my posts moderatorted and deleted all the time ….

  72. Again, I’ll say it once again… This “question” should NOT be geared towards such a SMALL community of people. The answers (such as they are) along w/the “comment forum” (such as it is) is a far TOO SMALL to gather a respective vote of the folks that would actually make or brake a tattoo/piercers business. The maj. of the world (as noted in some comments) are only coming in for something very SMALL, like a navel piercing, eyebrow, lip, or etc… The amount of “heavily modified” people that hire/fire/employ/study these facts based on what their business brings in is insignificant to the actual “people” that create “profit” for such a “business” to even keep afloat… This forum MUST be taken to the street! It must have a NON-BIAS evaluation to even be considered for what may/may not be “too-heavily-modified” to work @ a shop. I agree w/the folks that say that, “people have nose-dived” right in to heavy mods, because I do agree that it should take a portion of your life to obtain a mental, emotional, and “spiritual” understanding of what you’re doing. But the fact is that times are changing faster than most of us can bat an eye @ it. And to complain, berate, or even dehumanize anybody in particular because of it only concedes your own self insecurity. I’ve been doing mods on myself for far longer than this site was even a thought in the “curators” mind… Those of us that have @ least SOME respect for ourselves should take in to consideration, NOTHING THESE DAYS IS NORMAL. Not anything in the “modified, economic, social, liberal, conservative, etc…” community. It’s like Bob Dylan said almost perhaps 30 yrs. ago, “…the times, they are changing.”

  73. Man, kids shouldn’t be so damn sure of themselves. It’s fine to say “I like this and I think I am always going to like this,” but it’s really arrogant to assume you know everything and will never change. You may be a smart kid and secure in your decisions, but you shouldn’t be so conceited. Things change, people change, and accepting that is another step toward maturity. Ugh. Hubris just pisses me off more than almost anything. I mean, I like to think I am capable of reason and I can think things through most of the time, but I’m not so naive to think that I am the greatest and everything I do now is the best ever oh my god I will never feel any different about anything. Plenty of supposedly mature adults do this, too. Everyone does. Just…man, don’t go saying “Excuse me, I am a really smart 15-year-old and these ppl don’t know what there talking about. My facial tattoos are awesome. Also I am the most mature person.” I find it embarrassing that I am associated with stuck-up kids like that, since I try really hard to be responsible and unpretentious. I’m not even heavily tattooed at this point because I want something I will hopefully always like. And then I get all rambly and it is just as embarrassing as being a conceited little brat.

    But I don’t know, maybe I just don’t understand those crazy teenagers, since I’m 20 and obviously out of touch with the young’uns…

  74. Splancha, this isn’t a scientific or statistical poll trying to get an accurate representation of the entire populations view on this subject, nor was it claimed to be. It’s the OPINION of several people in the mod community that are business owners, managers, practitioners, etc.
    If you feel the need, take it to the streets and make a controlled test of a few hundred thousand people and get some accurate statistics and let us know.

  75. I think its funny that this question was asked, because I’ve been turned down to work in tattoo shops because I wasn’t modified “enough”.
    Who says what’s enough and what’s not?

  76. i think its funny that this question was asked, because ive been turned down to work in tattoo shops because i wasnt modified “enough”. who says whats enough and whats not?

  77. Stainless, I totally agree w/you. And let me be very clear that I’m not in any way, shape, or form posting the idea in a negative form, nor am I bashing any of the people questioned, or the people that made follow up posts. I wish I could take a pole on the public, but even just me taking a pole would only have the results that I would acquire from the few hundred, to the few thousand (if that’s even possible for me to do before I tire) people, and wouldn’t be a relative enough number to justify the means. I was only offering up a suggestion. Because what it naturally boils down to is how well or how well-not a shop is going to do, based on an individuals bias to somebody that is either too modified, or not modified enough. It’s all the cash-flow game in retrospect. It’s about who will survive in the industry, and who will fail.

  78. These comments are getting ridiculous.

    In more important matters; Jordon, could you rearrange the collage of all our faces so it looks like Meg and I are making out. Thanks, she makes me swoon

  79. I was secure with the decisions I made at 21, too.
    21 isnt 34 though. Hindsight is an awesome thing :)

    Oh. And bradley- Falkner and I have a bet as to which IAM member (or former IAM member) you are.

  80. I’m sure I came off as naive in my post, the real question here is, is it worth it to put in the effort trying to explain individual motives and beliefs at this point? it would seem the majority feeling you can be “too” modified have preferred to just lump everyone into the same pool and shake their fingers disapprovingly.

    Which is disappointing since there are plenty of people on here that I would expect a higher level of open-mindedness, especially since there’s been a ton of voices that people truly look up to in this community.

    My grandfather was a 50′s man and beat the shit out of my father for being a “hippie pussy”. He didn’t understand that a vast amount of his experiences simply didn’t apply to the new generation. I think it’s easy to forget that the world changes with each new generation, and things that may have held true for you may not apply, or at least not to the same degree as they did for you.

    No one is doubting that you always grow, learn, etc, and that since there is clearly an older group in this discussion, you do have the upper hand in having lived longer and all the things that come with that. I just think its important that when dispersing this information not to sound like youre up on a high horse (and im not trying to call anyone out specifically here)

    If i’m not mistaken, (but my memory is rather shit, so if these are slip ups, feel free to correct them), but i feel like i remember reading about John Joyce getting his septum pierced rather young at maybe a time when piercing wasnt quite so acceptable? and Shawn Porter doing some heavy genital work with Jack when he was rather young? As times change and move forward, is a sleeve on a 19 year old not the same sort of thing?

  81. Shawn Porter #103, I can see coming from an older modified person (older than young adults)… the concern for views changing as one does grow older, career wise, choice wise,… it is a very important thing to think about……”will this facial tattoo or extreme modification affect my future in any way”. I am 19 and do have very visible modifications, growing up I was around a whole ton of kids (my own age) ( and younger) who irresponsibly pierced themselves, tattooed themselves, infected themselves by not modifying properly. Will a whole lot of those kids grow up and regret what they did?? Yes most likely they will, but there are some of us younger adults who have actually researched and took the time learning and waiting for the proper way to modify, there are a lot of us who have worked very hard to be were we are career wise/future wise. While a good majority have not put any thought into “where will I be” or better…”where do I want to be” . I feel so strongly it is wrong to judge by age rather than by personality, knowledge, maturity. I love my job as a freelance photographer, It is my dream and passion from a very early age, I have worked hard at a younger age to be where I am today modified and all….and I look forward to turning 37 and still be doing what I enjoy and love…being myself in every aspect!!!!!!!!! :)

  82. I just want to high five Derek on explaining how much it costs to run a GOOD shop.

    It is really insane to have to compete with shitty shops or bong shops that pierce (there’s one right across the street from me). The fact is, if you’re not in a super rich area and you’re trying to offer the best quality at someone reasonable prices – you end up with crazy overhead and a small profit margin. I probably make 17,000 or less a year.

    We’re making every effort to advertise and speak in dorms. We’re knowledgable (sp.) and nice and are generally neat in appearance (I may rock jeans and not wear makeup but I don’t look dirty by any means) but the bottom line for many people still comes down to the fact that a navel piercing at our shop is $70 and they can get it for $25 across the street.

    You ABSOLUTELY have to be business savvy in this business if you’re offering quality work and products.

  83. #103 i hAVE never once hadany desire to bea memebr ehere oneday ill buy this site and shut it down …til then blahblahblaha

  84. oh bradley.. no one really cares as to what you think, heck most of us here can’t even make sense of your profound jibberish.

    i’m a firm believer of that every single person has the right to have their own views about hundreds and thousands of topics, but never once should they enforce their views apon someone else nor discriminate them in any way because of their views whether that be verbally or physically.

    so do what you will, but stop trolling this forum… be a nice person :)


  85. music2ears=ink2skin: I’m not trying to lump all young heavily modded individuals together. But I will lump all young heavily modded individuals together who have poor quality work. Or who use the excuse that they are going to be a piercer. That is the deal breaker for me. If a young person has full sleeves and 2″ earlobes and has a job doing land scapeing or whatever, then more power to them. the point of this article wasn’t saying that you can’t get a job if you are heavily modified, the point was it is foolish to get heavily modified and say, “Oh, it’s OK, I’m going to be a piercer, or I’m going to be a tattoo artist.” Until you are one of those things it is foolish to think that it’s guaranteed that it will happen.

    And you’re right, I got my septum pierced when I was 17. I also got it pierced with a retainer so I could hide it at work.

  86. With Derek’s explanation of costs, that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg!
    A lot of it depends on where you are.. in Manhattan, not only are you in the most difficult place on earth to run a freakin’ business, but you are competing against every crap-tastic shop on the block while doing it.. which is why standing out by blending in works for us.
    Until you work here or do a guest spot here, you don’t understand the difference in how this shop runs vs most shops.. it’s a different world!
    But, as stated, we cater to a different clientele. Our clients aren’t the usual “2 steel balls” type of folks. We do alot of $5,000 navel piercings, and $1,600 rooks. Our client base is made up of models, actresses, musicians, and other very wealthy, very powerful people.. and generally, those are people that look down on the heavily modified. Not always, but it IS a common thing.. and so we present ourselves in a different manner to go with that, and also put modification into a different light FOR those people.
    (for example.. piercings are “installations”, micro-dermals are called “gem anchors”, we really don’t carry much in the way of steel or titanium, etc.)

    For us, and I’m sure this is where I should be dodging the stones that are going to get chucked at me, we would rather give piercing an upscale, mainstream feel. We want the idea of wearing stunning, high end jewelry to catch on.. and we want our clients to trust that we can talk diamonds with the best of ‘em.
    When you shop in a traditional jewelry store, what does the staff look like?
    Certainly not piercers/tattooists in general.
    That’s what we want to portray.. that not all piercers have to look like piercers. If that makes sense.

    That said, yeah, I’m heavily modified.. but Maria has been quoted as saying
    “How is she gonna sell diamonds with a freakin’ demon on her throat?!”
    I have proved that I can, and I have build up trust in our clients, but it took a lot of time. Much longer than it would of if I had no visible mods.

  87. I was fired about a month and a half ago from the walmart piercing studios of austin, atomic tattoo. I was told that I was too heavily modified and that I should assimilate to suburban culture to make them feel more comfortable coming in to get pierced and tattooed. So I opened My own studio. sure if you want to do high volume work catering to the whims and perceptions of those outside your lifestyle by using the lowest quality everything to bring cheap prices to the masses, and accommodate thier comfort levels for dollars then do it. There is an obvious niche for it. I choose to maintain the life I live on My terms. One of the biggest problems I find in our industry is how many of the artist bow down to the pressures of the potential clients. I will not let them dictate price to Me any more, I will not let them dictate My dress and grooming standards, I will not let them dictate how I run My business pressuring us to align our “alternative” lifestyle to match the mainstream. I dont want what they have in life to offer(not that it is bad or wrong, just not what I want). It is them that want what I have in this industry to offer. If they want it, I am all for it but it is on My terms not theirs. If they want it under their comfort model they can go to one of the hack shops or mainstream ones that get bullied into conforming to the wishes of the masses. I will only offer the highest quality in experience, standards, jewelry, and ability, all of which are reflected in My appearance. So I guess if you want to be a slave to the mainstream population then yes you can be too heavily modified to work in one of those shops. Otherwise do your own shit.

  88. going back to Cali #110 ur A LOSSER for sure every1 should think just like me ….aand megg is a Big Losser i refused to buy my cheesyburger from the chcick cuase she was fat and ugly(in book) bought i bought some chocliate chip cookies fromthe real hot momma never mind the meat and sugar

  89. it sounds like most of you have missed the point.
    if you are an employee in a tattoo/piercing shop you are playing by the owner’s rules. you will be hired and fired based on the performance THEY expect from their employees. if you want to make the decisions, open up your own business and look however you want and hire whoever you want… which is exactly what i did.

    no one’s sitting here saying you can’t do what you want; just be responsible for your actions when you can’t get a job because of your appearance or when someone misjudges you because of your appearance or when you’re significant other doesn’t want you to meet their parents because of your appearance.

    put on the big-boy pants. the world is not open-minded… remember that.

  90. #115 u look good butur portfolio sux so i wouldnt hire u (at least not at my tattoo shop)maybe selling sumthin at my clothing botique (but the beagel tattoo aint that bad)

  91. I hate it when I see a hot young black male here in Memphis, and he grins at me and I see nothing but shiney silver in his mouth. I don’t mean braces, but mouth “grills”. I think it is one of the gaudiest and most disgusting things in the known moded universe.

    That is my opinion. I am allowed my opinion. I know hundreds, if not thousands of people will or won’t agree with me. There is nothing wrong with that. You just won’t ever see me with a grill.

    However, I do think fitting your hand through a hole in someone’s overly stretched testicals is fucking awesome. Someone may find that disgusting. I think it’s hot.

    I believe those in the moded world, whether they have the standard 18/20 gauge lobe piercings only or an entire body full of metal, ink, plastic or other, should stop worrying about discrimination and the like. There will always be a person, or persons, who will not like what you do to your body whether it is your f*cking mother, your best friend, your toy, pet, coworker, boss, w/e. They have the right to not like what you do. The same goes for you not liking what someone else has done.

    Why do you care, why do you give a flying f*ck if it doesn’t stop you from doing what you will or won’t do?

    As Stephen DeToma said in the article, “I think it’s important to point out that, while it’s each individual’s right to do with their body what they see fit, it’s a business owner’s right to build their business in the same manner, regardless of if anyone else likes it.” If a buisness owner does or does not want a visibly heavily modified artist working for them, that is their right, it is their buisness. They want to attract a certain clientel, they will do it how they see fit. That does not make them lame, it does not make them losers, assholes, morons, jerks, bigots, f*cktards or w/e else you can imagine calling them. They have the right to do as they see fit with their property, just as you do yours.

  92. “and I look forward to turning 37 and still be doing what I enjoy and love…being myself in every aspect!!!!!!!!! :)”

    I’m still very much myself- it’s just that my concept of “myself” has evolved over the years.

    And the comment about me being modified as a youngin by Jack:
    Absolutely. And that generation taught me a lot about restraint, common sense and respect. I don’t see much of that these days.

  93. #118“I think it’s important to point out that ur a a losser and an ouitstanding what at that whats next dont hire blacks,or women or amputeees,or midget,or hookers(if i have the $ iwould) any takers for free(female only plz)

  94. lmfao! this bradly guy is my life.
    i really did enjoy reading all his posts…
    and i even more enjoy the fact that he said he wasnt posting on here anymore, then comes back and posts more nonsense.
    like you actually answer peoples posts within the hour they posted.
    kid, you need a life.

    and for my view as someone who loves being pierced,
    i dont really care if they are heavily modified or not,
    but i definatley trust the more modified people more,
    because it shows they are passionate about the entire scene,
    and that its not just a job to them.
    but, this is also coming from someone who thinks any type of piercing is a gorgeous peice of art..

    as a kid, i remember going with my mom and sister to get her belly button done.
    they guy doing it had full sleeves and neck tattoos, and a large septum ring in.
    i can see how a lot of parents would be turned off to see someone like that, especially someone like my mom, who was born in a completely different generation and brought up a practising catholic.
    but, she talked to the guy, and he was very nice, professional, and talked her and my sister thew everything.

    it definatley all counts on how you sell it.

    but, down in my small town in canada, more modified people work at the shops.. its just what is expected.
    it shows that their shop knows what they are doing, and arent inexperienced at all.

    but this is just my opinoin, and i completely respect everyone elses.
    after all, we were all brought up differentley, and in different places.

  95. (119) Shawn Porter, I never meant to sound rude…or in any way bash what you said, I was just stating my opinion, and over the years of growing up my “concept of self” has also changed many times.. and I think through out my entire life it will be forever changing. It’s just personally for me I could never want a career that I did not love to do, and I could never have a career that did not allow me to express my freedoms of self. I have always felt strongly about that, and I guess I am fortunite my career and plans allow me to not worry about “will this one day be unneceptable” But hell if I turn 37 and I’m saying why the fuck did I do this hahaha I will bow to you and forever be your slave!!!!!!!

    xoxo – Danielle :)

  96. Since I’m not one of the rich and bored getting thousand-dollar nose-studs placed in my surgically perfected nostril at a piercing “spa”, this is a non-issue for me. For shame that the upscale clientele should catch cooties from an experienced yet heavily modified piercer. (Or the cooties should jump into her designer handbag.)

  97. meg barber posted “some clients are too busy staring at my earlobes to listen to what I am trying to tell them!” then its obviuos that ur pretty from the outside /inn and ur words lack strenght both written and spoken hopefully one day the light will get hopefully just a little bit brighter for u…Maybe there should be a tattoo/body modification rating sysytem for shops like movies like most of u meg shops could be reated pg13 and mine would be NR yet nor never come onecome alll just plz get here because we want to feel your pressence Thx

  98. This generational gap that Shawn mentioned is interesting. I also liked Narcissus’ (#96) attitude.

    I agree with others that the most interesting issue in this discussion was in fact the extent to which some young people will modify themselves without considering their future. And when other people say ‘future’ in this context they always mean purely the issue of employment. I don’t like this. I suppose it’s important to nearly everyone but there are (arguably) larger issues.

    The ‘future’ I’m personally worried about affecting is my ability to relate to others and have fun in life. I won’t deny that stretching my ears/septum is very important to me and makes me happy, but at what cost? I can’t know. Ron Garza’s story about his travels may have slightly altered my perception of modification forever. And while my attitudes can still be changed in a few paragraphs I know I’m not even ready for the most discrete tattoo yet. While I admire the courage (some say stupidity) of these people, I don’t know how it would pan out for myself.

    I’ve actually been thinking about this a lot for months now. For a while I was of the mindset “if people can’t accept me the way I choose to look then I don’t need them” but that is sure one crappy attitude. However I do think large ears could force me down a road I feel more suited to, but again it doesn’t leave much room for mistakes or a change of heart. I need to be concrete in my philosophy behind a mod before I’ll do it.

    There’s a duality here, or a balance between logic/realism and idealistic creativity. music2ears=ink2skin’s post is a great example of why one side of me is unafraid of permanent mods. I’m not looking for piles of money in life and know I have good people skills – I’m taking a year off and may very well drop out of college as I am not enjoying engineering at all. But to fail to acknowledge that modifications may negatively impact my life would be ignorant.

    Large lobes are such a (comparatively) trivial mod within the BME society that it could make someone feel silly for deliberating over it. Despite this, I have a system to my stretching where I wouldn’t expect to be at extreme sizes until at least 2 or 3 years from now. I have a very deep interest in modification but I also know I shouldn’t commit completely just yet.

    I think that if you love something enough, you can wait for it. Either you’ll ‘grow out of it’ (I surely hope not) or you’ll appreciate it infinitely more when the time for it comes. This is true for me: by that time the fad or shock factor will likely be over or diminished and I can be certain that I myself am not a ‘young, dumb kid.’ I do want to live my life though, and will not compromise to be accepted by anyone.

    An additional thought: if you love modification so much at a young age that you have your ears at near maximum size, full sleeves and other large gauge piercings, you’re so limited in your ability to reflect growth through your mods! This would not make me happy. Thank you for this article.

  99. 96&126 Theere is no future…
    The death of a child is a tragic loss. Yet, every year, almost 10.5 million children die before their fifth birthday. That’s 30,000 children a day. Most of these children live in developing countries and die from a disease or a combination of diseases that could be prevented or treated if the means were there. Sometimes the cause is as a simple as the lack of antibiotics for treating pneumonia or oral rehydration salts for diarrhoea. Malnutrition contributes to over half these deaths.
    Missmegs”We do alot of $5,000 navel piercings, and $1,600 rooks” what a waste

  100. unn wow meg barber makes me sick now 5,000 buck navel piercing

    awsome u have a list of celebs that got pierced at your shop

    ur not cool ur not awsome
    ur just a stuck up bitch
    cool somebody famous got pierced at your shop
    i pierced howard sterns wife, ciara, and one of the dumb bitches from days of our lives
    big fucking deal i think im gonna get them to put a celeb list on our shop web site
    and im gonna start charging rediculous prices so i can have a snotty attitude as well

    ita not about being tow modified its about professionalism

    most of my clients are soccer moms and thier daughters they love me

    and come back wiht more and more of the lil suburban wives
    im heavliy modified
    but i maintain professionalism stay clean take good care of my shit and only modify my body in pleasing ways

    i dont have to do a 5 grand piercing to feel like i matter at the end of the day

  101. Meg Barber, you’re stupid fascist cunt really..Go lick the asses of your wealthy and powerful clients for a buck..
    To everybody who says that you can be too modified to work in a tatoo and piercing shop and approves that -you’re just being a part of this fucked up opressive system that rejects and dismisses those who step outside of it and push the boundaries. Putting down somebody devoted to bodymod for some rich sheep wanting a diamond navel ring is pathetic, stupid and disgusting, and hypocritical from somebody heavily modified. But yeah, destroying creativity,daring and ideas behind anything for selling it and making more money is the essense of capitalism, isn’t it? Didn’t know the bod mod “scene” absorbed this attitude so much though. Go screw your “industry” up your asses.

  102. I think the key portion of this issue that people tend to be glossing over or just plain confusing is, the question was not “Is it right that a shop discriminate against heavily modified individuals?” the question was “Is it POSSIBLE to be too modified to work at a shop?”

    Is it *possible*. Is it? Sure. Is it right? That’s another discussion.

  103. If your modifications present a logistical problem or a danger to the client, then yes, you are too modified (or at least need a change of jewelry). You don’t want to stick a 6-inch septum quill into a client’s eye! That I do agree upon. Just as you wouldn’t want a hairstyle that keeps falling into your eyes obstructing your view.
    Common sense goes a long way.

    Would you walk away from an excellent hairdresser who happens to be of color and dreadlocked just because she doesn’t have your average hairdo or look like a whitebread girl?

    I would hope not.

  104. I absolutely agree that you can be too “modified” to work ANYWHERE. And yes, that includes a tattoo or piercing shop.

    The participants of this article aren’t saying that you shouldn’t go “extreme”, but more that don’t have expectations that you deserve a job in the industry based on how you look. You may actually have to be qualified at what you do, or be able to handle customer interactions (scary thought).

    Over all, they’re talking about the “industry” and not the “community”.

    Business is business, and shop owners have the right to say what flies in their business. Because, overall your decisions affect more than just your own life when it comes to a work environment. What you do affects others around you.

    Being the boss means, you have to make decisions that affect every employee, and the overall state of the business. I know its a difficult concept to think about others over yourself, but you might want to look into it.

  105. bradly:

    Is it discrimination or discernment?

    Discrimination deals with prejudice not based on individual merit. The choices being made by shop owners are obviously based on the individual.

    So your logic is flawed.

  106. It is rather depressing to know the North American concept of appealing to the lowest common denominator is alive and well in the modification industry. But, perhaps the main problem isn’t with practitioners only caring about the kids who want a temporary piercing to look cool in front of their friends; rather, the problem is with the industry being more concerned about business than creativity. I’m not saying that every piercing has to mean something, but why are there three piercing shops on mile-long strips in one-Starbucks towns? If the aim is only to satisfy a finicky (and stupid) client base and reach profit goals, open a Hot Topic franchise. Or, thought of thoughts, find a job you actually care about and stop falling back on modification because you chose to permanently alter your body for no significant reason when you were young and aimless.

  107. Bradly,

    Ok, that proves nothing other than you know how to use Google.

    Read the document you reference, come up with an argument based on your own insight, using the source as a point of reference, and then maybe post something of merit.

  108. If u dont thnik that “Title VII ” applies to not hiring soemone how they lOOk than ur a really big losser and as far as im concerned u can google deezz nutzzz

  109. Mad props Inza!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m with you there 1,0000000000000000 trillion gabillion percent hun, I can’t take this bullshit anymore!!!!!!!! and that’s exactlywhat it is BULL SHIT hehe :) <3

    As far as I am concerned fuck bme

  110. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1969 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based

  111. Not being a shop owner/worker, I’m not really the best person to answer the actual question, as it’s for the industry to decide if a persons amount of mods would affect business or not. But from knowing a few different shops and tattooists/piercers – and from a clients point of view, the amount of mods someone has never comes into it, but their experience, knowledge base, h&s and artistry are key.

  112. “Meg Barber, you’re stupid fascist cunt really..Go lick the asses of your wealthy and powerful clients for a buck..”

    Hmm.. that’s a very, very powerful statement to make, and not one I take lightly.
    I’m a fascist because we run a different type of studio? Because we have a different client base?
    Please enlighten me on why you feel this way Inza..

    When I was living in Cincinnati, I worked for a studio that limited us to 5 visible piercings, and if we had a septum piercing, it had to be flipped up at all times, because it was considered a little too intimidating for clients to see. We didn’t have a celebrity client list, or do crazy expensive piercings.. we just maintained a very professional studio appearance. We even had uniform shirts we wore!

    And I don’t feel that having celebrity clients makes me worth more at the end of the day. Just today, I had an awesome kid come in with her mom to get her rook done. She spent 40 bucks, and was a delight to work with. Dealing with people like that makes me happy with my job.

    But, I do have to admit.. giving people a reason to love their piercings again feels great. When I have a gal walk out of here with a stunning diamond piece for a navel piercing she had done 15 years ago.. it puts a smile on my face. So sue me for enjoying that aspect of my job.
    And as for destroying creativity.. we are jewelry designers! We work with clients to make the perfect piece to compliment their piercing, whether it’s designing a huge, crazy navel piece, or a piece to work with a genital cage device for a male client..
    We foster creativity with the body.. just not in the aspect that you are accustomed to.

    I’m certainly not saying that people shouldn’t be modified, heavily or otherwise.. that would certainly not make sense coming from me and the life I live.. all I’m saying, much like everyone else interviewed, is that YES, you CAN be too modified to work in certain shops in this industry.
    I certainly haven’t sold out, and I certainly don’t consider myself in this for the money. I love modification, and the energy infused in it. But I understand that sometimes there are limits to what should be done in certain settings.

  113. MissMeg, you’re a very bright woman and you make a lot of sense. You have to make money to run the shop and that includes not scaring away clientelle. And I certainly understand that. There IS a limit.
    But it seems the limits spoken of is/are actually quite tame. But of course, the shop owner has the last word and that should be respected. 100%
    What I can’t fathom is from the OTHER end…the client’s end…to be intimidated by the very thing that you want to possess. They may want to possess just a small percentage of the modification, but they want to feel the same sort of self-expression and freedom, yet the client is afraid when they see freedom.
    I’m not afraid to walk into a Victoria’s Secret even though I do not have the body (or want) to wear all the clothing. I have no problem entering an upscale jewelry store. And I’m not intimidated to seek out products in small ethnic shops run by people who look different than me, speak different than me, and wear modifications that I do not. Why should I be? What, I’m not going to buy curry paste because the woman at the counter has a …nose ring *gasp* and I do not?

    It seems if the clientelle are intimidated by that which they want to possess, then maybe those people need to find something that they are more comfortable with. Another trend to follow.
    Like someone who goes and gets a Harley tattoo but is terrified of ever getting on one, going into a Harley shop…or of ever speaking to a biker. They got the tattoo, they’re happy, they expressed their freedom, good for them…but it reeks of shit.

  114. I agree, it certainly does stink.. but you cannot change each and every person’s view of what is “acceptable” in their own eyes.
    We just try to maintain a pleasant, welcoming feel to all of our clients, from our 16 year old kids who read BME religiously and want a nifty little daith piercing, to the 70 year old upper east side woman getting her earlobes pierced for the first time with .25ct diamond studs.

    We are all tattooed at this studio. We are all pierced, and visibly. All of us, at some point, either do have, or have had, stretched earlobes. I have scarification work that is visible.. and we are happy to openly discuss these mods with the clients if they ask about them and are interested.
    But not every client is, and we don’t want to shove our choices down their throats.. if it’s not their thing, it’s not their thing.
    An Indian woman coming in for a very traditional nostril piercing is most likely not going to be interested in the mods I have. It’s a miracle that she is coming to a professional studio to get her piercing done in the first place.. it’s just better to make ourselves seem approachable and easy to talk to.

    Do I miss working in a studio where I can wear a t-shirt and shorts to work. I do miss working in a studio where I can have rock and roll playing and it’s a laid back environment.. BUT.. I absolutely LOVE working in a studio that is trying to change the face of piercing to clients that traditionally don’t go in for it.

  115. #156 now u just sound saddd tryin to plug ur studiou here …what someone looks like has nothing to do with anything

  116. You know, I’m kind of jealous for people who don’t think they have to be a part of the real world, and at the same time not jealous for when that reality sets in.

  117. I ndo whatever i want to in my world it’s u and others the moderate in urs i dont hear ur voice in my head there is no realuty
    “There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.” – Copy to Clipboard
    — Herman Hesse

  118. and holly f—-ck ron garza u are a weakminded person try crayons for ur next tattoo Im a jew with a baddd ass swastika tattooed inthe middle of my forehaed and ur right if u aint got the stength it may over whelm to death but they had other isues also u ur just weak livingur life by ur dads weak willed wishes boy my mom would have loved to have s on like u cause i do whatever i want not what they want making promises about thier deathbed

  119. tif i were to agrree withu people then what next ////a reseraunt owner would have the right to refuse to serve mebecause my sightscairedc the other patrons or maybe i couldntgo to the movies because imadethepersonnext to meuncorftable hmmm what do mean I cant get on the bus ???? u let rosa on???

  120. So, unless my powers of deductive reasoning fail me, the question being asked is of someone’s opinion and the answers being supplied are based on people’s personal experiences. And yet, these people’s opinions, based on their personal experiences, are being called as wrong. Wrong because they don’t align with other people’s idealism. Wrong because apparently modifying your body is supposed to be something you do as some sort anti-establishment, counter-culture middle finger to “the Man.” Wrong because it isn’t someone else’s experience or not the experience they think it should be.

    Sure it’s nice to think Meg is some horrible banshee for working in a shop with standards but you know what? I traveled four hours one way to get pierced there. By her. I knew I’d be paying a higher price for a piercing, knew I’d be buying a piece of jewelry of higher quality than necessitated for a piercing….I didn’t NEED.

    As you read this, you’re either sitting at a desk or in a home full of consumerwhore goods, probably using high speed internet access (or god forbid, a cell phone) to post commentary on a site built around an industry. Maybe you’re sitting in a coffee shop. Or your employer is footing the bill for your time spent here. Unless you’re living in a yurt, bartering goods and services in a cash free subsistence community, and growing your own foods, you’re no different than Meg. Or me. Or anyone else who works for money to pay bills. Everyone wants to be respected but so few people want to respect where the other guy is coming from. Stop telling people their reality, their experiences, are wrong.

  121. this is such a great idea! a little Q and A, love it and cant wait to read the others!

    well done

  122. I’m gonna have to agree about being too modified. I was in a shop a few weeks ago where the tattoo artist looked like a tool. He had really bad tattoos, cheap jewelry and a bad attitude. The tattoo that he did turned out great. I still don’t trust the shop because of their piercer is shady and won’t get work done there.

  123. 164c besides tehfact that u look lke a man so i wouldnt hire u inmy beauty shop but if u want to dig sum ditches with thelabors go 4it .Nothin that u or meg has says about the work done in the shop has anything to do with someonesmodification ur just a losser164

  124. I understand everyone’s malaise regarding young kids getting too much, too quickly, but I cannot support any assertion that one can be “too modified” in anything other than a pragmatic sense.

    Of course you can be “too modified” to the point that your appearance bothers potential clients. That’s a truism. But the attitude hear seems to be that we, the modified, should bend to the whims of these clients. What we should be doing – those of us who are in a position to be able to do so – is attempt to change the opinions of these clients, not bend to their whims.

    Shawn – you’re a great example of this. You have a corporate job and neck tattoos. I’m writing a PhD and regularly work with, along side and for some of the most conservative academics in the world. We, as a community, should not be resigned to our fate as marginalised, unemployable freaks; quite the contrary, we should strive to be both highly employable and as modified as we want to be. Some tact, discretion and compromise is obviously necessary in the short term, but we should not accept the status quo for ever more.

    To people like Meg: if you’re working with high-end clients, you have the perfect opportunity, on an individual level, to change some attitudes for the better. You should not feel it is your duty to bend to them, you should realise that it’s your responsibility to bend their attitudes towards tolerance and acceptance.

    There is a difference between realising that mods will affect your life (which, I agree, too few teenagers do) and accepting these differences or even, deplorably, supporting or justifying them.

  125. “Shawn – you’re a great example of this. You have a corporate job and neck tattoos. I’m writing a PhD and regularly work with, along side and for some of the most conservative academics in the world. We, as a community, should not be resigned to our fate as marginalised, unemployable freaks; quite the contrary, we should strive to be both highly employable and as modified as we want to be. Some tact, discretion and compromise is obviously necessary in the short term, but we should not accept the status quo for ever more.”

    If my place of employment decided tomorrow that they could deal with hand and neck tattoos but that facial tattoos were going “too far” I’d pretty much say “a’ight”.

    It’s their dime. I just work for said dime.

    People need to get their heads out of this reality bubble, take the pacifiers out of their mouths and harden the fuck up.

    Inza? Calling Meg a “fascist cunt” for having a different take on a street shop?
    Being someone who knows fascists… I don’t think Meg or Maria qualify. That’s a hell of an ignorant/reactionary term to throw around.

    I blame this on the whole “plainskin” bs.

  126. re: 169 Thanks bradly! I know I’m a bit mannish looking; I’m getting my breast augmentation surgery and finish my transition surgery this year. I’ll be sure to send you pics to see if I end up looking femme enough to work in your beauty salon! I can’t wait until I get rid of these “man hands.”

  127. The truth is; body modification has come a long way as being accepted in mainstream society. Which can be both good and bad. Personally, I’m happy we’re getting more accepted than 10 (and def 20) years ago.
    Yeah, it was cool having a nostril piercing 21 years ago and being an exotic bird…and yet I endured a lot of shit as well. More shit over a little nosering than you can imagine. Lotta poop.

  128. 177 this post has nothin to do withme i do whatever i want 2 and if thats ur way of commiong on to a guy im not gay or bi try sum1 else , what u fail to realize is…..

  129. This has actually been a hot topic of conversation at my shop. We probably have the least pierced piercing staff on the face of the planet- its ridiculous. But I think that for our area, the mid west, it a good thing for us. Our clients are often come in expecting something entirely different, and are refreshed to find a staff of sane, down to earth people that they don’t feel intimidated by. Granted, attitude is everything, and we are super friendly people. But I’m pretty sure If I punched my nostrils, it would affect business. People have and will always have a preconceived idea of what a knowledgeable professional should look like. And in my area, the shock of seeing something that extreme would really over power the fact that they had a good piercing experience. It would very easily go from “man, I got a piercing at blah blah and they were so helpful and nice!” to “holy shit you wouldn’t believe what I saw!” So *just* from a business standpoint, and specifically for a conservative area, and think keeping it subtle is extremely beneficial…

  130. this was a really meaningless post Rachel

    I would feel more comfortable being tattooed or pierced by some one that has piercings and tattoos

  131. I just got pointed to this thread and I am humbled.

    I’m humbled that someone invented Bradley. Why oh why didn’t I think of this first!?!??

    Bradley is awesome. And meg IS a fascist cunt. But only because she bans me from spa days…

  132. Wow, this post got out of hand quickly! I want to thank Matt Volatile for a thought out post in the contrary point of view. What he seems to grasp that few others do is the concept of having too many mods, and its differentiation from an actual discreet number of mods.

    I’d like to take this a little further and ask people to think about the aesthetic value of various mods seen in tattoo shops and piercing parlors. Now I know that aesthetic value varies from person to person, from city to city, and from liberal regions of a said country to more conservative regions, but consider this:

  133. Wow, this post got out of hand quickly! I want to thank Matt Volatile for a thought out post in the contrary point of view. What he seems to grasp that few others do is the concept of having too many mods, and its differentiation from an actual discreet number of mods.

    I’d like to take this a little further and ask people to think about the aesthetic value of various mods seen in tattoo shops and piercing parlors. Now I know that aesthetic value varies from person to person, from city to city, and from liberal regions of a said country to more conservative regions, but consider this:

    Someone who has spent a little time planning their mods – both piercings and tattoos – and has a coherent style or “look” about them will probably garner more respect, from both the general public as well as those initiated into the mod world, than someone who looks like they’ve had shit done, just to have shit done.

    I’m sure we can all think of various people we’ve seen, or pictures posted on ModBlog featuring someone doing “too much, too fast.” Again, no one can pin a certain number down to define this, but the lack of forethought tends to show through in the final result.

    In this fashion, someone can very easily be too modded to work in various shops. I know I’d prefer to walk into a piercing parlor or tattoo shop and see people who look like they take their jobs seriously – modded, but with thought put into what they do.

    I can also think of a few people I’ve seen on the street in ultra-Conservative, ultra-Christian Oklahoma who are highly modded (generally no implants however; those don’t seem to be too popular here) and look damn good. These people would do just fine in shops.

    As for the majority of the comments posted in response to this article, I say this: Lay off the crack, think about your answer when you are sober, and come back and post something coherent so we may have an intelligent discussion.

  134. i do think as others do that it is not as simple a question. there is no basic answer. i would say it does depend on the type of customer base the particular studio owner is trying to reach out to as well as how attractive the modifications are. we all wear clothes. some have no clue how to dress themselves well and come across as slobs well on the other hand some can make a rather overbearing style look absolutely beautiful. it is the same with body modification. we are dressing ourselves in a more permanent sense. the placement, conditions of the modifications, and jewelry can go in either direction. one who has a good sense of what looks good will appear far more presentable than a person with chopped up teflon nostril plugs and batteries through their lobes. i think though it all comes down to the owners particular veiw on what will be accepted in their community. i also, as allen mentioned, think that intelligentence, manners, knowledge, and good self confidence may over shadow one who is very heavily modded and allow them to get into a studio that may usually look past these individuals.

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