BME’s Big Question #2: The Melancholy of Anatomy


Welcome to 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 topic:

Aside from not wanting to work on a minor, have you ever refused to do a certain procedure? What would make you refuse to do one? Are there any you’ve done that you now regret?

* * *

Ryan Ouellette

I refuse stuff all the time, or, more often, I ask people to book appointments a few days away. I don’t get picky with average piercings, but with the trickier stuff like microdermals, surface work, genital piercings or complex cartilage I really prefer the person to have some kind of understanding of the “risks.” If someone seems a little blurry on the details I’ll explain the basics of healing and aftercare and the chances of a problem coming up. If they seem to get it then I’ll either get them on the spot or have them book an appointment. If a person just gives me that blank stare when I explain something or is obviously trying to rush into something, I’ll usually tell them to research it more and come back at a later date. I understand that it’s their body and choice, but I don’t want to deal with a serious problem coming up because I valued someone’s money over my own reputation or ethics.

* * *

Joy Rumore

I have not refused to do work based on the image to be tattooed, nor have I refused to work on someone because of differing beliefs. I’ve tattooed gang members, white supremacists, and a variety of unsavory characters in general. Few and far between are those I flat out refuse to work on, but they are out there.

Occasionally, a couple will come in where the woman is supposed to get the tattoo, but her husband/boyfriend is doing all the talking. It’s always the same set up: The man will describe how he wants the tattoo on her, what colors I should use, how it should be angled, how it will look most sexy, and she will just stand there looking nervous. The dude will make some snide remarks about me being a female tattoo artist and then expect me to carry out his every whim. When it is clear that she’s terrified, I walk past the man and ask the woman if she wants to get tattooed. There’s generally some shrugged response about, “Well, he likes it,” and zero eye contact. Then, usually when I turn to the man and announce, “She can come back when she wants to get tattooed, but I will not be tattooing her today,” insecure and dominating men don’t like it when a woman tattoo artist tells them how things are gonna be. Curses are shouted and they go away. No big deal.

Other times, I have refused to work on people based on their interactions with me and the “vibe” they’ve given off. In one of these cases, I ended up feeling threatened and unsafe.

Before I owned my own place, I worked at a shop in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. I had a customer approach me about doing two dog portraits. I was game, he was game, it seemed like it’d be a fun time. He brought some pictures in and we started to set up a date for the appointment. I also informed him at this time that he needed to bring in his ID and fill out paperwork on his appointment date.

He said that he didn’t give out information and he wouldn’t let me copy his ID. He raised his voice and continued that he didn’t do that kinda stuff, alluded to problems with the law, and said he couldn’t leave a trail and allow people to find him. I apologized and I told him that those were the state’s regulations I was required to follow and that I would lose my tattoo license if I did not comply. He got agitated. I repeated what the problem was and further explained that the paperwork doesn’t get sent to the state, but rather sits in a box, filed away, for seven years. He still was nowhere near happy with the situation. He raised his voice more and began to verbally turn his anger on me. After going over the same questions for another 10 minutes or so, I apologized again, and he finally left the shop all pissed off.

This is where it gets weird.

The would-be customer began to drive by the shop everyday very slowly. Sometimes he would park outside the shop on the street and just stare into the building. Sometimes he would get out of his car and lean against it just hanging out for no reason. After about a week of this behavior, he came back with the pictures of his beloved pooches in hand and he told me he wanted to get the tattoos done. I reminded him that I could not do the tattoos without ID and paperwork. He got agitated again. Began saying things that didn’t make any sense — almost like he was pleading his case. By this time, I had made my mind up that he was more trouble than he was worth.

I informed him that I could not do the tattoos. He conceded that he would get his ID and fill out the paperwork as long as I promised no one saw them. I said I couldn’t promise that because the Health Department has every right to come in and inspect them whenever they would like. I continued by explaining that I would not tattoo him at all. He was confused. I told him I was uncomfortable with the situation. I didn’t like him driving by being menacing, and that I was simply refusing to work on him, period.

I thought he was agitated before? Ha! He yelled at me, told me I couldn’t do that, stomped around, called me a few choice names, and finally left the building after I yelled back at him. He continued the weird drive-bys and hanging-out business for another week. I let all the guys I worked with and the business owners on the same block know what was up in case something escalated. It never did. He was creepy for a while and yelled things occasionally. Finally, he stopped hanging around and I never saw him again. I’m really happy I never did those tattoos and I have refused to work on people here and there who present the same sort of attitude.

* * *

Steve Truitt

I have refused to do a lot of procedures over the years. Everything from people wanting their tongues pierced that are far too short for it to be comfortable for them and people with inappropriate navels wanting them pierced to people wanting far more extreme modifications.

If I don’t think the procedure has a good chance of working out in the long run, then I don’t do it. Also, if I think the procedure is too dangerous, or the person doesn’t fully understand what they are getting into, or the person is obviously mentally unstable I don’t work on them. There are also procedures I’m just not comfortable attempting even though I’m sure I have the skills to do them. For example, I’ve had a certain IAM member ask me on numerous occasions to do a penectomy on him. While I know that I could safely do that procedure, it’s not something I would ever attempt on anyone. I also wouldn’t amputate anything on anyone and have been asked to do that quite a few times as well.

All the procedures I do, I do because I like them — either how they look once they are finished, or doing the actual procedure. If I’m not into something, I don’t really have a desire to do it. I know of quite a few artists that are motivated by the money, but for all the more extreme mods I do, I don’t really care about the money. I do them for the pleasure of doing them and/or the end results. Because of that, I can’t think of any mods I’ve done to someone that I regret doing.

* * *

Allen Falkner

Regret? Well, regret is a strong word. Yes, over the years I have made my share of mistakes, and no, not every modification I have done has turned out perfectly. This is true for any practitioner. However, I have always tried to work within my abilities. Not to say I haven’t done quite a bit of experimentation and exploration over the years. I have tried my hand at tattooing, scarification, implants, branding and various other things. In the end, I discovered piercing, suspension and now laser tattoo removal are my real passions and the other arts are best left to people that can devote more time to them.

As for refusal, the list goes on and on. In the early stages of my career, there was almost nothing I wouldn’t try. OK, maybe not the uvula. I remember when that piercing started to get a lot of notoriety. Do I think I could have pulled it off? Sure, but I felt the risks were too high so I left that one alone. In fact, I think it was that piercing that shaped me and made me realize that I had my limitations and should work within them.

This actually brings me to the real issue. One of the biggest shortcomings of the body modification industry has been and always will be ego. Not to say I don’t have one. We all do. It’s human nature. My point is that practitioners should work within their abilities and not let ego rule their decisions about what they can and cannot do. I’m not saying we shouldn’t push our boundaries. The only reason our industry has come so far is because of people constantly striving for the next great mod. It’s just that people should work within their abilities. Having every procedure imaginable on your resume might look good to you. But practitioners should really think about their client’s well being before attempting something that they’ve only seen on BME.

* * *

Meg Barber

In this line of work, there are often occasions that arise where it’s best to not do a certain procedure on a client. Situations that immediately come to mind are those in which the client doesn’t have the proper anatomy to support the piercing that they are interested in, the client being intoxicated, the client being flat out belligerent in dealing with me or my staff, etc.

I’ve turned down scores of people over the years for those reasons, the most common one being anatomy related.

If I have a client interested in an industrial piercing who has no defined curl to the top of their ear, I will explain to them why that particular piercing isn’t the best option, and work with them to find one that is. And there’s always the classic issue of not having the best navel to support a piercing …

But I can’t say I have ever done a piercing I really regretted doing. I’ve always been pretty adamant about sticking to my guns when it comes to putting my client’s safety and successful healing first. I feel that as a piercer, we need to have the ability to say “no” to our clients when it’s warranted, and nine times out of 10, the client will appreciate it.

The thing I have noticed more and more in recent years, though, is the willingness to experiment on clientele for procedures that we aren’t sure of. It used to be, if there was a new or wacky thing you wanted to try, you did it on your roommate, or your lover, or on yourself … and those were pretty much your options. These days, it seems piercers are drawing from their client base for these experiments, and that is simply dangerous and foolish.

It really brings to the forefront the questions of, “When is it OK to experiment on clients?” and, “Why isn’t the word ‘no’ being used more in circumstances when it would be?”

The simple answer is a blanket “never.” A more in-depth answer would be, “When the procedure is in fact tested, just not in this particular situation.” A good example would be fully informing a client that they have a less than ideal navel for piercing, them insisting on having it done anyway, and then the piercer using a different placement to make it work. Remember all the 45* angled navels of the ’90s on those less than perfect navels? Case in point. No harm done really, just a little trial and error. And a few funky navel piercings as a reminder.

(The last answer, and the most common it seems in terms of today’s hot-shot piercers, is, “Always! I have ideas I need to test!”)

The next question that begs to be answered is, if clients are acceptable guinea pigs, then, specifically, which clients are the best for this?

Again, going back to basic answers, you have, “The heavily pierced client who is extremely careful and knows their body enough to understand what may happen,” who would be, of course, the best person for that role, and, “Who cares. If I tell the client the risks, and they still want it, OK.” Which is, of course, how it seems things go these days.

Personally, I will admit to playing around with different theories on how things will heal with clients. But — and there is always a “but” — I was very careful to only do things that were deemed “experimental” on clients that were heavily modified, who were fully informed, and whom I knew I would see often enough to keep tabs on the healing and any complications. Over the years, I have had three test subjects, and I saw all of them at least weekly.

We as piercers have a certain responsibility to uphold basic standards of ethics and morals with our job. We wield a lot of influence and power with our clients, and it needs to be used in a positive way — for positive education and helping the growth of our industry, rather than taking the risks presented to us to potentially destroy it.

Sometimes, “no” isn’t such a bad thing.

* * *

Derek Lowe

I can’t wait to once again be labeled as “anti-modification” after I answer this question.
 
I choose not to do procedures (in my case, pretty much just piercings) on a semi-regular basis. While it is physically possible for me to pierce pretty much anything that walks through the door, that doesn’t always make it a good idea. There are a few reasons it might not be a good idea, but the most common one is simply the client’s anatomy.
 
The human body wasn’t created with piercing in mind, so not every person is well-suited to have every piercing. If I feel the piercing has a very small chance of working out, or I feel like it is going to cause “collateral damage,” I will opt to not do the piercing. One example would be someone who wants a surface piercing but has very little loose skin to work with. In that case the piercing is very likely going to reject and in most cases I’ll not do the piercing. Surface anchors are opening up some options in those situations, but even those aren’t the be-all end-all some people seem to think they are.
 
The most common situation in which I won’t do a piercing is if someone wants a tongue piercing but they have a very short tongue. With a very short tongue, the piercing is going to have to be done further towards the tip of the tongue. This is going to greatly increase the likelihood of the barbell doing damage to the gums and bone under the lower front teeth — collateral damage. Some piercers will opt to do the piercing at all sorts of angles to try and counter that issue, but those angles often don’t work and can lead to other issues. I feel it’s simply best at that point to not do the procedure.
 
Some will say that people have the right to do whatever they want to their body, as long as they understand the risk. That’s absolutely true…they do have that right. At the same time, I have the right to choose not to do the piercing. I am under no obligation to perform a procedure for someone if I think it is a bad idea.  As a piercer, my number one responsibility is to do safe piercings. While there are risks associated with every piercing, most of those risks can be mitigated almost to the point of non-existence. If they can’t be mitigated, that’s when I have to make a decision about whether it’s best to proceed or not.
 
 There are also the situations I think every piercer has to deal with: clients who are under the influence of who-knows-what, clients that seem to be mentally impaired, clients who are clearly being pressured into the piercing by a husband/wife/lover/friend etc. Those are often not pleasant situations to deal with, but handling stuff like that is part of what goes along with being a professional.

* * *

Stephen DeToma

I think if you are a piercer working today and you are not willing to refuse a piercing, there’s something wrong.

The biggest contributing factor to me refusing to do work on someone has to be anatomy. Fair, thin brows and ears not built to support a traditional industrial piercing are fairly common and make up the bulk of my refusals. Telling someone they cannot get the piercing they want can be touchy, but it’s not hard to steer someone who may be looking for a traditionally placed industrial towards something similar. I’ve often turned to other ear work, daiths being my favorite, as well as placing industrials in anatomy that will support it using different jewelry such as curved barbells. Sometimes it’s hard to explain to someone who comes in with a friend why they are unable to get a piercing their friend is currently wearing, even when it’s painfully obvious to us. The call of, “She got it, why can’t ?I” is a common one and a reminder that, in one sense, we are not all created equal.

I’ve also refused to do many different things that are either out of my range of experience or my personal comfort zone. I’ve been approached by friends over the years looking for tongue splits and transscrotals, the former of which I think I could undertake but my lack of any real practical experience prevents me; the latter is something so far out of my range I don’t even consider it.

I think artists get a rush out of creation, be it from painting or writing, and are constantly striving to reach a new level. I think it’s this sensation that drives body piercers to become body modification artists, that is, broadening their base of procedures that they perform. I think a lot of it is a genuine need to create; piercing can be limiting in its scope of application and a passionate artist will strive to touch on new ground, though there are a great many still who seem to want to make these modifications to earn their stripes, make their bones. It’s like a kid who has to commit a crime to prove he’s down with a gang; that may be a bad analogy but it’s the first that springs to mind.

And so, because of these feelings, I reassess my desire to be a piercer. There is a ceiling that one reaches when doing this work and when it is reached, I think it helps to focus you on your work. Maybe that’s what inspires some people to step away from it and move into heavier modifications. Maybe that was their plan all along — who knows? I won’t fault them for their choices. But when someone comes to me looking for a meatotomy for example, I can refuse easily knowing that there is a lot I still want to work on in the world of piercing alone. Though heavier stuff interests me a great deal, presently, it’s not for me.

When I turn someone down, I try to be as clear as I can with them as to why I am doing so. Being honest and sympathetic lends a great deal to making sure that the person understands why they won’t be getting pierced. Sometimes it doesn’t click until I tell them that I would love to charge them $50 for what they want, but I just don’t believe that would be right. Turning someone down sometimes means that they will simply walk right down the street to the first person who will do the piercing for them, but if you’ve been forewarned and decide to go through with it anyway, you can’t say you weren’t warned.

I try to get to know the person I’m piercing before we get down to work, so that if a girl comes in looking for a facial piercing days before she starts soccer camp — knowing full well that it won’t fly with the coach — I can suggest she wait until the end of the season.

As I write this, I just had a young lady come in looking for a septum piercing. She had been through 12 reconstructive surgeries around her nose and lips since she was a baby. I had her come in and sit down so I could look at her, already thinking that this wasn’t going to work. After a few moments feeling around, it was clear what was left of her septum wasn’t going to be suitable to be pierced. She was pleasant and said she had expected as much and we began discussing other piercing options.

Juxtapose that with one of the biggest disagreements I’ve had recently: A woman came in with her husband and daughter looking for a navel piercing. She had had breast augmentation less than 3 months ago and had gone through her navel. I was not comfortable with the state of the tissue or the length of time she had waited to do the piercing so I asked her to check back with me at 6 months to see if it had changed, warning her that it may be up to a year before the tissue was ready. The short version of the remainder is, she interrupted two separate conversations trying to explain that she was willing to take the risk and by the third I had to explain to her that there was no way I would be doing the piercing for her that day. She threatened to go up the road to another studio in town and have it done there; I wished her the best of luck.

Threatening to visit another studio when I refused, I explained, was like a teenager walking into a bar, demanding a beer, being refused, and threatening to go to another bar if he isn’t served. It’s senseless. If another studio would like to take the responsibility for the piercing, answer the questions that are surly to follow and deal with the inevitable headaches that the client would provide (judging by her interaction in the studio) I can sleep well at night knowing that I refused her.

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

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46 thoughts on “BME’s Big Question #2: The Melancholy of Anatomy

  1. Pingback: BME: Tattoo, Piercing and Body Modification News » ModBlog » New Article Posted!

  2. Refusing to do work is often an excellent indicator of a good practitioner – one that knows something is outside their abilities and/or simply not a good, feasible modification. With a group of respondees (all solid professionals who have earned respect) like these it isn’t surprising to see the responses given. We can only hope others are reading and learning from them.

    And since Allen was too humble to plug himself, his current business Fade Fast (www.fadefast.com) helps people deal with their regrets and mistakes. I understand why he chose not to do so (per his iam entry) but it presents the following query to my mind:

    Allen, is there a tattoo removal situation you can imagine where you would refuse to do the removal?

  3. I would love it if more people in this line of work would carry the view that anatomy is important, I definitely agree that piercings should not be done if the person isn’t built for it. Unfortunately in my town i see far too many people with rejecting and poorly done piercings simply because the artist wouldn’t say no to money.

  4. which monkey would you be the one that is eating his peanuts at the zoo or the one jumpin and flippin around at the circus??? me i dont know but it makes me think…..

  5. I’m so pleased to read this. I went with a girlfriend once to get pierced and I couldn’t have been more anxious for her. She wanted the webbing of her thumb pierced, and because I worked with her at a bakery, I knew that it was a really bad idea for her due to the type of hands on work we were doing.
    We went to her choice of parlour and I was immediately critical. The piercer was quite late for her appointment, and when he arrived, he took her straight into the room and proceeded to set up without washing his hands (I don’t know about anyone else, but I sure do hate cigarettey piercers…). At this stage he asked her what she was having done!
    I was surprised when his face fell and he declined after inspecting her hands. It just wasn’t going to work out and he knew it, and even though I found some of his other work ethics questionable, I was dead pleased he had that limit.

  6. I find it reassuring that the professionals above refuse to do certain things. I also find it reassuring that they often provide options.

    I’m currently in the middle of a piercing project that is being done by one of the individuals above, and I recall asking if I could have the project (20 piercings) done within 2 months. He told me that my body couldn’t handle it. I was miffed at first, but I figured that the pro knows more, and I’m grateful that I listened.

    Also, at one point, I asked about having six done instead of the usual four, and I was told that we’d go through the initial four first before worrying about the others. I’ve had 12 in so far, 4 at a time, and now I know that 4 is my max, because I’m exhausted by the time we reach 4. He also checks on me frequently, to make sure that I’m still “there” and able to continue.

    Oh, and for reference, This project started in June.

  7. Steve, Steve, Steve… I already have my tongue split and I’ll let you whack that little piece of scar tissue that forms in the back out, if you want. I DO NOT work @ a shop, and I am NOT a piercer (although I hang out enough to know somewhat what I’m talking about because my brain is like a sponge) but I do have scalpels (of my own) and I can walk you through it if you like. Every now and then I stand in the mirror and take a good quick cut on the fucker, just to get it to where I like it. It’s a pretty insignificant slice to say the least, but it beats waiting @ the shop for somebody that is swamped w/work to do it for me… Maybe then you can say you wouldn’t be so worried about doing an actual “full split.” I’m just offering it up buddy, and you know I’m good for it. See you on Sunday :)

  8. dude, i tell people “no” to performing certain procedures on them all the time, and i’m not even a mod artist. go figure.

  9. i’ve been refused procedures before but my piercer always tried to find a way to do something similar to what i wanted in a way that was safe but would still have me leaving happy. and that impressed me that they were concered enough to say no but willing to try and work towards something that would just as fantastic.

  10. I was rarely able to refuse a client at the shop i was working at. They we’re about the money not the client. If we didn’t do the work we would be fired on the spot type thing. Theres been times when i have raised my opinion of whats going on and got nowhere.. It was lucky tho my staff new my limits. But the manager believed that it was her right to force me to do piercings to minors. By hiding the age on our deeds of agreement.

    One day pierced 2 brothers tongues(16 yrold age limit in Oz) i even asked them there ages they said yep 16.. Found out afterwards that they were only 13-14 yrs old, i was pissed abused the manager. Shortly after was fired for stupid reason.

    I have been in the industry as a piercer for several years now, and places that believe the dolloar is more important should not exist. A piercer or tattooist should always be control of the room and be able to refuse a client for age or stupidity..

    Cheers
    Dion

  11. I am greatly enjoying this series and hope to see it continue. This is almost at the opposite end of the spectrum as last weeks; turning business away instead of what you compromise (not always a bad thing) by way of appearance by working in a mod shop.

  12. i am very new to body piercing, so turning down clients is nothing out of the ordinary for me. i simply don’t feel experienced enough to perform certain piercings. i know my boundaries and i will not cross them, even if it does mean that i lose a client.

    also. like most of the panel said, anatomy has a lot to do with turning down customers. usually they handle it pretty well. but sometimes it can be a bit stressful to tell someone they don’t have the right anatomy to support a specific piercing.

    i think that people need to get the proper practice they need by asking friends and family to be the guinea pigs. not paying clients.. its not fair to the client to have to deal with any mistakes that may be made because of inexperience.

    i think that if a piercer or tattoo artist is willing to pass up getting paid for the well being of a client, it shows that they are serious about what they are doing. turning down clients is something that should be done if need be, for whatever reason it may be.

  13. How about some tattoo artist’s input on areas that they will/won’t work on depending on how modified a person is. I’ve been told many times that the amount of coverage I had recently (mostly under the shirt tattoos, shoulders, chest, back, hips) was very low for being able to get my neck, knuckles and now hands tattooed (not aboutt whether it was a bad decision of mine, just that many artists wouldn’t usually do work on someone like that)

  14. 18: Cory, I ‘grew up’ around tattoo artists that regularly refused to tattoo hands/neck/throat on people who were not already significantly covered. There’s a class of tattooists that believe there an order of operations when it comes to getting tattooed; you earn the right to have your throat or hands after getting the vast amount of other areas covered. As Derek said, it’s everyones right to do whatever it is you want with your own body, but everyone else has the right not to put jobstoppers on you if they don’t feel like it.

    And to be honest, Im glad that belief is still held.

    Just my 2cents..

  15. Joy Rumore’s freaky dog-tattoo guy reminds me of a stalker guy who usd to come into a retail shop I worked in. He never bought anything…just hung around and looked unsavory until he was asked to stop loitering. Then he did the hanging outside the shop and down the way and even followed me home.

    Creeeepy!

    And I agree, there is def a time to refuse service to a customer. Piercing, tattoo or otherwise.

  16. cere: i do have a fat ass and most people are in love w/ it.

    coryvictorious: i haven’t refused to work on anyone due to some order of which someone should get tattooed. i’ve tried to change people’s minds and tried to explain that by getting visible tattoos they are severely limiting their employability. (sp? is that even a word?) usually it’s younger people (18-22), which relates back to the comments and discussion of the last big question, who are convinced they’ll be set-for-life in whatever field they choose. since it’s not my body and my financial stability, i’ve done the tattoos – yes, even necks for a first tattoo – i’m not their mom, so i’m not going to deny them something they want as long as they are an adult according to the government’s standards. more recently, i’ve been declining genital tattoo work because i just don’t want to do it anymore. i’ve had too many scumbags to deal w/ who say/do completely inappropriate things while i’ve got a needle to their dicks. but, yeah, there….

  17. A) Bravo! I agree withe everything.
    B) That made me laugh out loud, Cere.
    C) You guys should just stop paying attention to Bradly. Getting a rise out of you is what he wants.

  18. I am seriously loving this feature. It’s so interesting to hear the range of viewpoints and personalities and philosophies at play. Keep it up, you guys!

    In terms of the question, I think that artists turning down work is a excellent indication of their professionalism and care for the client in question (much like The Lizardman had to say). The responses relating to turning down service based upon the amount of modifications that the client has previously had is also very thought/discussion provoking. As someone who is quite lightly modified and beginning to work my way into more visible and large scale pieces (tattoos specifically) I totally agree with the idea of a hierarchy of modification. Jumping right from a little lower back piece to a facial/hand/neck tattoo isn’t usually the best idea, IMHO. Of course, it depends heavily upon the artist’s discretion as well as the type of client requesting the modification, so there is always a huge grey area…

  19. Well, I seriously reckon its a good thing turning away customers based on experience.

    I just got told to come back on tuesday, becuase the piercer they had in at the moment wasn’t comfortable or experienced enough to pull off a septum, and the more experienced piercer will be in on tuesday.
    I was absolutely thrilled.
    To quote the exact words “I haven’t done enough septums or even seen enough septums done to do a good job on one right now. I’m not gonna start experimenting on you, that’s just not right.”

    Grade A, top notch, perfect response.

    So tuesday, here I come!

  20. #25 i call u afacist if u let me pull ur hair while i/we do it if so contact me right awayI will takr a grteyhound bus and b right there

  21. Actually Im completely PRO-mod. I believe that anyone should be able to do anything that they want to their body under ANY circumstances.

    Someone wants a microdermal in their eyelid? AWESOME!

    Someone asks me if they should cut off their nipple and sew it on their arm? GO FOR IT!

    Someone wants a nose removal? SURE! Others have it and THEY lived!

    Fuck, I dont even like age limits. I think people SHOULD be able to get work when they are underage, drunk, high or mentally handicapped.

    Even Bradley should be able to get some work!

  22. haha, you guys crack me up. People may be able to do whatever they want with their body, but it doesn’t mean you have to *help* them do it, especially if it looks like a bad idea.

  23. Cere: You do realize that you are an anti mod, old, fat ass, facist right?

    Erik: Yes, I have actually turned away several people. The main two reasons are 1) If tattoos are too close to the eyes, I wont remove them. I have eye shields that I use when removing things like eyebrows and tear drops, but things like eyeliner or eyelids are very difficult to protect from the laser. If there is a risk of blinding the person, I wont work on the client. 2) If I feel the person expects unrealistic results. A good example of this is a client I turned away the other day. His eyebrows were tattooed and wanted very tiny corrections. One I explained to him that it would take numerous treatments and that removing fractions of a millimeter just weren’t realistic he decided to just got back to the tattooer and have them touched up.

    Oh and Erik, thanks for the Amy’s…next one’s on me.

  24. soul survivors in Winnipeg has a ‘no tattoos under 16 yrs. old’ rule and i think its great. a tattoo is a big commitment when your that young, heck it’s a commitment at any age. i respect them for having that rule in place. though what really really sucks is when a good, clean, smooth running establishment turns down work because they know better and they knows it won’t be a good idea (due to age, anatomy, etc) and that said individual goes to the first hack shop down the street- and of course, they’re on board to do the said procedure. when a practitioner refuses to do a procedure and lists good vail reasons- i hope the client is listening and not just thinking, “what’s the closest shop to this..”

  25. hmmm bad idea as far as medical,not stable such or bad idea like i just dont like your idea???

  26. Way off topic but, is it just by coincidence that the title of this article, “The Melancholy of Anatomy”, is also the title of a Shelley Jackson book? Jackson being the author/instigator of the Skin Project.

  27. Pingback: Tin Foil Soldier » Blog Archive » Piercings and Anatomy

  28. great to see such good examples of ethics and morals in this community.

    a friend of a friend who was underaged wanted two mario-mushrooms tattooed on his elbows. he got turned down but went to another scratcher. what a dumbass.

    let’s just say that the hong kong government doesn’t regulate this industry at all and it’s up to the artist to regulate his/her own shop.

    that saying… only 1 studio out of all the studios here (that i know of) actually have a sink in their work-room. how scary is that?

  29. Great piece.
    Last year I found a piercing place I really trust and they done my last 3 piercings, it was more than the fact they were clean, friendly and very experienced, but the fact whilst I was there they once refused to pierce a girl’s belly button because she was not built for it. Where I live most piercers care only for the money and will do anything on anyone. So to actually know a piercer refuse someone made me really trust them to always do whats right for me.

  30. wait. let me clarify. the only studio here (that i know of) that has a sink in their workroom… has two sinks in there. one for hands one for equipment. needless to say, i will not be supporting the other studios.

  31. Yeah. The shop that does my piercings refused my navel project a few months ago. I had my top one done and I wanted four more to make a star. The piercer told me that my navel was absolutely too tiny and that he would do two bottom ones with smaller gauged bars but that was all I was getting. He made me come back in and check with him every week for the first month and once a month after that to make sure everything is going well with them.

  32. I had a client a few weeks back while i was working at a recent tattoo show, who asked for a dermal anchor on her hand, she had one in the same placement but that one had ripped out (active life style) and incisted that she wanted it re-done.

    She got really angry when i refused, and actualy got madder as i explained the risks that caused my refusal (the fact that it had ripped out before didn’t seem to discorrage her at all!) she got angry, and then whiny, and then tryed to flatter me “if YOU do it them i’m SURE it won’t rip out” and i still refused… by this time her daughter was standing by backing her up and things were getting heated.

    In the end she left and returned 4 times, the last time she walked up and told me i was a disgrace and that i gave our studio a bad name and that i was a horrible person and a terrible piercer… she shouted this at me while i was working on a client!!

  33. 45 i would have told her that she was past a piecer and learn to do it herself propperly …u r both whinny bictches…

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