Survey says…

I’m hoping you guys like when I pose questions to you so I’m doing it again. I really love hearing all the different answers. Today, I was out (on a garden tour, with my mom and her friend, shut up) and ended up becoming the focus of attention for a few minutes. It started, as it often did, with a lady wanting to read the script on my arm. Then they wanted to see the half sleeve on my other arm. Next thing I know I’m standing on a stranger’s front lawn with my shirt being pulled up and a small crowd gathered around me (ok, I’m being dramatic, but that’s about what happened). Typical Saturday afternoon right?

I realized, as I was standing there with my shirt up that I don’t really react to this public groping, if you will. Maybe I just go into a happy place until it’s over, I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m not alone in having my tattoos touched by strangers. I also know that my reaction is not necessarily how everyone reacts. So, what I want to know from you, ModBlog readers, is this, do you find that you have your tattoos (scars or piercings) groped by strangers? Is this something that happens often? How do you react when it does?

I saw this recently submitted tattoo, done by James S. Monteiro at Lucky 13 in Toronto, and found her facial expression to be appropriately fitting for this entry.


132 thoughts on “Survey says…

  1. People aren’t usually very willing to touch my stretched lobes. They’re treated like a disfiguration sometimes, a contagious one..

  2. I can appreciate that a stranger may let themselves be fascinated enough by modifications to stop what they’re doing and investigate, even if that means random physical contact. However, I respect personal bubbles and will sometimes have to find myself trying to not be annoyed with a curious stranger pulling up my sleeve. I’ve never had any unpleasant or rude reactions when that happens so I just grin and bear it.

  3. The day after I had gotten an anti-eyebrow piercing I was at work and a man tried to touch it. Not sanitary.
    I’ve also had a lot of people try and put their fingers through my lobes….
    Its mostly awkward.

  4. all the tattooed girls i know have experienced this, but none of the guys. i mind mainly because i don’t have ‘please touch’ written in any of my tattoos and if someone just groped some untattooed woman on the street to look at her arms or lifted up her shirt to see her back they’d probably get punched in the face.

    it’s understandable that people are curious, and i don’t mind showing my tattoos if people ask (except for my backpiece), but there is such a thing as personal space and it’s a bit disturbing that people are more aware of that when they’re staring at a tattooed guy than at a tattooed lady.

  5. I don’t have tattoos, but my friends seem endlessly confused/intrigued/curious about my industrial. Honestly I dislike when they poke at it (sometimes they’ll move it back and forth without warning). It kinda freaks me out. It just feels weird. It’s not so bad if I expect them to do it, but when it’s a “SURPRISE! *grabs at ear*” it’s pretty unpleasant. I have definitely yelled at friends before about it. Haha.

  6. It happend to me for the first time just the other day; as I was waking shirtless in a park, a man approched me and asked if he could touch my (pierced) nipples. It was somewhat odd, but I suspect that the man himself was not any ordinary guy. I sad no, mainly of saitary reasons, but afterwards I was thinking that almost anything could have happened. But ofcourse, they usually don’t… :-)

  7. I typically don’t let people touch me as a rule, especially my tattoos. My friends can see and touch my tattoos but beyond that I tend to tell people to back off when they touch me. My boyfriend is a lot the same way, he is much heavier tattooed than I am and works in a bar and deals with this day in and day out. We both have a hands off for strangers rule.

  8. I would rather have people ask me questions about my tattoos/piercings than just stand there gawping at me as if I’ve just dropped out the sky from some far out planet. If people ask me about them in a nice way and are genuinely curious, it doesn’t bother me if they want to touch them as long as they ask first. I would hate it if some random person just came up and touched me without at least having the decency to talk to me and ask first, that would be weird.

    In my opinion, if we react in a rude way towards people who are interested in modifications then we only encourage the prejudice and stigma that many of us modified people face. I like to think that by responding to other’s curiosity and questioning, and sometimes the need to touch or feel a particular tattoo/piercing/modification we can help put an end to the judgements that people make without really knowing/understanding what they are talking about.

  9. I can’t say i enjoy it. I don’t want strangers touching me in general. If they just asked me of they can touch it and look before simply coming up and grabbing at my arms and legs, I would be fine with it. Just ask me. Just be polite and considerate of other’s personal space. And you can’t more personal than someone actually touching you. A simple ‘May I” would suffice and make me much more comfortable.

  10. As I don’t have any (visible) modifications besides my stretched earlobes (as I am underage), I more find myself in the situation of defending the modified community. Usually, a person, or group of people, will noticed my stretched ears and become catapulted into a subtly repulsed state in which they pretend I’m not there and share stories about the “freaks” they see on television and the internet. Making statements like, “I just don’t understand why someone would want to do that to their body.” and, “Do they really think that that makes them look prettier?” I then try and calmly explain different reasons for people wanting to become modified, while trying to hold my tongue about how terribly hypocritical they’re being. (because of the connection they fail to make between less mainstream modification and the socially acceptable modification that is largely more somatic and gruesome.) This situation turns into what feels like an attempt to give a lecture to a blind and deaf audience. And usually ends in the opposing party dispelling me by saying something like, “Well I just don’t understand it.” followed by and under-the-breath “and I don’t think any sane person does either.”
    I’m sorry for the rant, I realize it’s a little off-topic, but I just felt like I really needed to say it.

  11. I have stretched lobes and I always get asked questions, like if i ever take them out. I will occasionally get asked if I could take the out so they can see what they look like. Girls seam to be more likely to want to touch them or stick there finger through them. But I don’t mind the questions or touching as long as they ask. The way I look at it is, if anything it is helping educate people on modification.

  12. I show mine off when people ask to see them, but usually, there are enough boundaries that no one just grabs me. A lot of the time, people assume that I only have one or two, so if they can see them they figure that must be it. I regularly hear “I had no idea you had so many!”

  13. Among my other tattoos, my only publicly-visible one is on my inner forearm right below my wrist. People have an annoying tendency to grab my arm and twist it around so that they can see what the writing says (it’s a short phrase tattooed above a flying bird silhouette). Mostly it’s only people who know me who physically grab me to read it, but I certainly have had strangers craning their necks obviously to read it. Just ask me, and I will turn my arm in a manner so you can read it! Geez. For this reason only, I kind of regret getting such a visible tattoo with writing. I love it, but constantly having people straining to see it, and then always having to explain it, definitely gets old.

  14. If I’m asked, then fine. I’ve made a decision to have cute/friendly content in the lower half of my sleeves. So when people notice I have an Alice in Wonderland sleeve, as cliche as that may be, they’ll usually ask to see it. People like comparing the woodcuts from the book to my arm! But most of the content of my tattoos inspires far too much questioning: “Isn’t that the Devil?” “Why is that crucifix upside-down?” “What’s with the goat star?” “What does ‘misanthropy’ mean?”

    Shit like that.

  15. I cant stand when people treat you like a freak. I have 2 in lobes and I constantly get people asking if they can touch it and acting all grossed out when they do. Not to mention the questions and groping involved with the tattoos. Them trying to twist you around when they want to see it. I dont like having strangers just walk up and think that they can just touch or feel all over you just because you are different from them. Would it be appropriate if you saw someone with no legs to ask if it hurt or if you can touch the nub. I usually tell people that try to touch me to get their hands off or I will just grope back if I see something I want to touch that they have. FAIR IS FAIR RIGHT.

  16. All of my tattoo’s are on my legs and my hips. People are always asking what my left hip says, but respectfully don’t touch me. When I got my first tattoo and my corset piercings though people kept wanting me to take my pants down to show them. Generally if it was a girl I’d be okay, guys sorry.

  17. This reminds me of when I went to Schlitterbahn in Texas a couple years ago and my friends spent the day laughing their butts off at the people staring at my chest trying to read the script that goes across my lower ribs. Out of the whole day I only had 3 people actually ask what it says. I haven’t been physically groped by a stranger in a good while but when that happens all I can really do is grin and bare it. As long as they’re not making derogatory comments towards me, other tattooed women or the modified community in general then I’m okay with sharing.

  18. I don’t have tattoos, but I do have several visible piercings. Usually people don’t try to touch them without asking, but every now and then someone just can’t help themselves (maybe they don’t believe the piercings are real, I have no clue). It was especially irritating to go in for a doctor’s appointment where the nurse decided to touch my inner conch without asking though.

  19. I don’t understand what the thing in the right hand foreground of the tat is supposed to be….

  20. Yes it happens a whole lot. With my tattoos, Piercings and such. I’ve been asked it all as I am sure you all have too. Had a bum really want to touch my coil weights once and my lobes. I said no graciously.
    I usually use it as a way to educate and show that Modified people are nice and smart. and then I act like myself and all is ruined…

  21. You never complain when I touch you! Wait that sounds dirty. Nevermind!

    I’d forgotten about that article.

    sazmatazz – Her shoulder?

  22. I definitely think being taken off guard by it is worse. At least in my experience, when I wasn’t expecting it and someone just randomly grabbed some part of my body, I react by pulling away in horror. I had someone repeatedly try to touch my tragus piercing. She kept pointing at it and trying to touch it and I kept pulling away and saying “Don’t touch me.” Didn’t stop her from trying!

    A few years ago I went on a coffee run with a coworker. While we were in there, a guy came up to me and started asking about my tattoos and inevitably, touching my arm. After we left my coworker was horrified, she asked me if that was something that happened often and I said it was. She just couldn’t believe that a total stranger would walk up to me and touch me uninvited. We got back to the school and she proceeded to tell everyone else in the staff room about it and everyone seemed equally surprised that this was something that happened on a regular basis.

    Honestly, today I didn’t mind. Mainly because it was all women and it felt comfortable and safe and it came first with a request to read one of my tattoos. Generally though I just stand there with a frozen smile on my face!

  23. That actually has never happened to me, at least with someone I didn’t know. But then, I’ve been told by people who know me that I’ve kinda perfected the ‘please don’t talk to me or touch me’ bitchy aura and stare.. so I guess it’s not surprising I never get questions/etc about my work when out and about..

  24. I’m often asked about my mods at work, but it’s worse when I’m in the checkout line. It gets aggravating when people ask “did that hurt” “why would you do that to your pretty face” “are you one of those freaks” “what does the text on your arm say- I’m too lazy to read it…” and so on. Why would you ask me if it hurt? If I say yes then you got your exact answer. And if I say no, then you proceed to ask me personal (rude) questions. It’s like if I have a twilight jacket on and you ask me if I like twilight… no i hate it soo much I’m wearing the jacket.

    I’m always polite when it’s natural curiosity, but I’ve raised hell when it became insulting. When people tell me I’m messing up my pretty face I usually tell them to mind their own damn business and don’t tell me jackshit. Though when I’m at work I’m forced to be nice to these people who insult my tattoos, and tell me my ears are gross. With the touching aspect, I NEVER let anyone touch me. I once had someone ask to see my arm tattoo, tell me it wasn’t real, and grab my -extremely fresh- tattoo to see if it was marker. As a result I punched him in the face, because that IS assault. Just because I have modified myself does not mean that you can touch me or treat me as if I am five years old.

  25. My worst tattoo-groping story involves me showing up at my grandparents’ village (population 25) over the summer right after getting my first tattoo, which is on my back. Luck had it that it was the town fiestas that weekend and everyone’s families came, skyrocketing the 25 people to 250 or so. My grandmother told one person, and it spread until the yearly ritual (“Hiiiii, do you remember who I am? Of course you don’t, you were too young. But I’m Blankity Blank, how’s your mother?”) was altered so that it could happen with my shirt mostly off. Mostly, because I’m a pre-op FTM.

    Anyway. I don’t mind it much if people ask for permission and they don’t call others over. But when the crowds start gathering, I take issue.

  26. The only “unusual” piercing I have at this point is my septum, and given the location, people generally don’t want to touch it. I do get questioned about it a lot, to the point of asking me if I can pull on it or something myself. Generally, it’s the usual “didn’t that hurt?” or “Wouldn’t that really hurt if you caught it on something?” Which I respond to by saying “No, not unless it REALLY got pulled” at which point they ask me to pull on it to demonstrate.

    As for tattoos, I have a dead language tattooed down my thigh which is basically just lines and dashes. People often ask me what it means, and I have no problem telling them. I think, again, location helps with people not asking to touch it, given that the thigh is getting closer to some more intimate places. It does usually spur a conversation as to why I got it, and that leads to having to show my tattoo on my other hip, since they’re both celtic in nature. Either way, I don’t mind, as long as I’m not wearing a dress (can’t really show off my hip in a dress without flashing my business).

  27. i’ve had people touch my ears, usually when i have my glass plugs in which freaks me out, more about personal space at first then them touching me. its usually afterwards i feel the need to sterile my entire head.

  28. Ugh, this. I don’t even have a particularly large or striking collection of visible mods, but I have definitely had both friends and strangers do the “OMG DID THAT HURT -lurches forward and grabs-” thing with my piercings. This was especially bad when my nostril was still healing and people would unexpectedly loom in and try to tug on it. No, it didn’t hurt that much to get it pierced, but someone attempting to put their grubby fingers on my fresh piercing is certainly a painful and unwanted experience. If you would respect someone’s personal space and health otherwise, don’t make an exception because you’re distracted by the shiny thing in their face.

  29. See also: dental hygienist poking at my smiley without asking and almost calling in all the other hygienists to look at it before I asked her not to.

  30. I have a scarification piece of two angel wings on my upper back and I was at a beer festival in summer… suffice to say I had a LOT of drunken strangers asking if they could touch them!! most people were suprisingly polite and asked, most were even genuinely curious! I did get a bit over answering the “didn’t that hurt?” questions!!! most of my work is covered when wearing jeans and a t-shirt so it doesn’t tend to come up except in summer when I’m wearing skirts (work on both calves) and singlet tops… provided people are polite I don’t mind, its the whole attitude of “ZOMG you haz tattoos, I can touch?” personally I don’t tend to want to touch other peoples piercings/tattoos!!!

  31. i really don’t like being touched unless it’s someone i’m close to but
    if people are polite and ask with tact then yes i usually let them.
    but if they’re rude or just go at it without asking i’m quick to stop it from happening
    and ask them nicely not to touch

  32. I went to a festival a while back and the whole day people were sticking their fingers through my stretched lobes, ain’t all that fun when you’re trying to watch a band and all of a sudden you feel something touching you and you see a finger in the corner of your eye; i don’t go touching random people’s ears either.

    And what i have noticed working with children a lot is that children tend to be way more polite than adults. They will look at you, trying to figure out what it is and then ask you about it hesitantly, adults just stare and grab.

  33. Don’t know really, it does depend on wether I have the choice or not.

    I have had someone pulling my shirt to look at my half sleeve, and I almsot punched him. I have had many people asking to see my back and there was no probs. I guess it all comes down to people being polite or not concerning my mods. I don’t need them to like them, I just want to have the opportunity to show them or hide them.

  34. I don’t usually have people try to touch my tattoos, although with the exception of my feet they’re rarely visible. If someone finds out I have genital piercings they quite often ask to see them, which I think is totally weird, and a request I tend not to fulfil except with my good friends. People do sometimes ask if they can touch my lobes, but they don’t usually just go ahead and do it. The only time anyone has ever just reached out and touched me was the creepy man who worked in my local 24-hour shop, who once told me he liked my septum piercing, and then actually put his hand over the counter and touched my nose! He was a creepy dude all round though, so he may just have been glad of an excuse to fondle someone.

    I never say anything to people because I find it’s better to just be polite and not cause hassle, but if someone tried to start taking off bits of my clothing to look at my work I think I’d have to speak up!

  35. I personally get it all the time. I live in an average sized town in New Zealand where tattoos are not hugely common, especially on females, unless its a tramp stamp. Due to this, I tend to incite a fair bit of curiosity as a have my arm sleeved and hands tattooed and back of calves and a few other small ones. I get people grabbing my arm allllllllll the time. I find it especially awkward standing with my arm hanging out while they take there time looking. Having said that, I get very few negative comments if any, and the most surprising is the little old ladies who love them, especially the colours. And kids love me due to me looking like a walking cartoon, which is always fun (especially when it upsets the parents…haha.)

  36. I get touched and groped all the time. At least once a day by people downtown and on the metro. I usually let people touch my implants, and knuckle scars because they are so interested and It makes me smile. A couple of weeks ago, a man literally put his fingers in my mouth and grabbed my labret plug. I did not handle that well at all, I was just like “Seriously, did you really have to put your fingers in my mouth? Ever hear of the expression “look with your eyes and not with your hands?” and I stormed off. I’m still not over it. An elderly woman told me my ear lobes were an optical illusion once and put her finger in one of them and pulled. I generally don’t mind when people ask, but no random touching.

  37. I get questions and comments and people wanting to touch allllllll the time. The vast majority of the time its genuine curiosity and people only have good things to say, are surprised that it can be done, or say it suits me. Most of the time people don’t automatically try to touch without asking, and the few times it has happened I’ve just become so taken aback that I froze. Once a man just walked up to me and touched my chest scars and started asking questions…I didn’t appreciate it, and my friend who was with me asked me why I didn’t just punch him.
    How I react to these people generally depends on my mood. I’m lucky if I don’t get asked a question about my modifications every day, and when I’m running on a real long streak of constantly having to explain myself I start to get grumpy and hesitant to repeat my spiel. When that happens I just politely decline to reveal whatever work theyre asking about, and just tell them that I don’t really feel like talking about it at the moment. Nobody has ever pushed the matter after that.

    I do wish that I could walk around unnoticed many days…It’s summer…I want to wear tank tops and skirts and not have to answer a million questions every day that I do.

  38. I have half of my black arm done, from wrist to elbow- so it’s almost always visible, and people at work (I’m a barista) will reach over the counter and touch my arm all the time. Other than that though I’ve had people put their fingers through my ears and one guy who came up to me and tried to stick a magnet to my tunnels. I’m not exactly charmed by it, and I don’t understand the compulsion to touch. I’d much rather prefer someone asking me twenty questions than touching me for a second.

  39. My coworker thought my microdermal was a fleck of something and tried to rub it off. That was fun :/

  40. My boyfriend and I are both decently modded, and anytime we’re together we’re pretty safe from touchy-feely people- he’s not the most approachable looking person (his mother says he looks like a criminal, it’s quite amusing =P). HOWEVER, when I’m alone I get comments everywhere I go. The only touching problems are with my red hair, surprisingly- a very irritating habit people seem to have.

    I’m not too fond of these unwelcome comments and questions about my tattoos and lobes because I feel like mods are very personal, but I understand that they draw attention and some people have no filter on their mouths. It’s a part of the deal, I guess, and I’m willing to deal with annoying people in exchange for feeling beautiful and comfortable in my modded skin. People are just curious about the process and meaning behind things and I guess you can’t fault them for that. The only instance that’s ever truly bothered me was when a man told me “I’d be so beautiful without all those tattoos”- he got a loud earful, and in line at the bank too! Can’t say I didn’t enjoy that ;)

  41. I used to have 3 microdermals in my chest, one in the center and one below each of my collarbones. I can’t even begin to describe the amount of times people would just come up and poke me in the chest, friends, new people, people on the train, the lady who worked at the 7-11 around the corner. I had to keep sterile wipes in my bag just to make sure I could keep the damned things clean because of all the dirty hands coming at me at all times.

    Its amazing. For the most part people asked if they could touch but be in the process of going to touch as they asked. It’s like knocking and then entering without waiting for a response. I mean these things were right about my boobs… you would think that the random guy on the subway might at least ask before reaching for my tits in public.

  42. With a lot of people there is still a lot of negative reactions. They typically think that it is grose and they shudder and go eeewwwww.

    But I still do have people that ask to touch some of my piercings however. Normally it’s my lobes which are stretched to 1/5 inch. But I also sometimes get people ask to touch my Bridge piercing or my mirco dermals on my sternum and clavicles. Most of the time I let people touch it, I sort of like the attention when people are generally interested or curios about my mods. However I feel that people asking why I would do it is a very personal question which I feel strangers don’t deserve to know.

    It is an on going joke with my friends to press my button on my finger (I have a power button tattooed on my middle finger.) Sometimes it is to turn me on, other times to shut me up.

    Like many people seem to be mentioning, I have never had an experience of someone just coming up to me and touching my mods, I have always had people ask me.

  43. Well, it can be annoying..
    I don`t like when strangers touch them, but if they ask before that it is ok…
    But some don`t and that pisses me off!

  44. I am, on a daily basis (when in public) stopped and asked “oh what does that say on your chest?” “oh what does your arm mean?” etc, I am a pretty shy person but typically i am pretty polite to people. sometimes i get snippy with the assholes who ask “Why would you want that?’

  45. One of my visible tattoos when I’m clothed fully is a fat happy buddha, the bottom of which ends just above my knee, so it sticks out when I wear shorts sometimes. People can’t tell what it is from the inch or so that they can see, so they ask and then often end up poking or rubbing him on the belly without asking.

    I wonder what would happen if someone asked to touch one of my tattoos and I asked them why they wanted to touch it. I mean, there isn’t really a reason, right? It’s not like it feels any different than the rest of your plain skin. I don’t think that’s very hard to understand, as I’m sure everyone out there knows at least one person with a tattoo. I have a feeling asking the toucher why they wanted to touch me would kind of stop them short maybe when they realize they have no answer. Maybe I should try that some time…

  46. If people just grope at my tattoos without asking, I will actually freak out, probably start to cry and run away. I do NOT do well with interaction with unknown people. HOWEVER, if they ask politely, i am glad to oblige as interested curiosity is much better than groping.

  47. In the summer especially, when wearing anything more than a tank top is unbearable, almost daily I’ll have people come up behind me and ask, “Is that real??” and ask me to move my hair out of the way (but at least most of them don’t do that themselves). However, the physical bubble invasion happens at bars or when people are drinking, especially when I’m wearing a sundress. I’ve had many people come up behind me and grab my shirt/dress and try to see under my clothes (I have a back piece), asking if it’s real and all that. (Not sure why people constantly ask me that) It’s a HUGE invasion of personal space. I don’t mind friends asking to see it and the meaning, but strangers grabbing is completely out of line. I generally roll my eyes, and walk away. You don’t go up to a stranger and grab their face in both hands to start a conversation, so why would you grab someone’s clothes and partially undress them? Yeah, it’s visible, but visibility is not an invitation to physical contact.

  48. Kia Ora Kayla! I’ve never been groped – must be something to do with being 6′ 7” guy that puts people off.

  49. My favourite was a barber who tried to rub off a tattoo behind my right ear. He thought I’d gotten pissed and someone’d drawn on me.

    I have been touched plenty of times, had sleeves pulled up so people can get a closer look, and that all too common question “did that hurt?”

    One thing I found is that people assume that mods of a sexual nature automatically give them licence to try it on, or molest in some way. They seem to assume you’re happy to get your shirt off or hang-out-with-your-wang-out for their entertainment. Obviously a nipple or genital piercing is sexual in nature, to a greater or lesser extent, but that doesn’t automatically make you a raging deviant. It IS more likely though… Let’s be honest with ourselves instead of bleating about stereotypes and pigeon-holing.

    I had a serious problem with one bird who wouldn’t leave my nipples alone (and one guy too until I said if he just wanted a fuck he should ask nicely, that put him off). Her theory was that I obviously had them pierced for a reason, and that she should be able to play with them if she wanted. I hate my nipples being touched, they were purely cosmetic, and was in a long-term relationship anyway. She wasn’t right in the head.

    Obviously a PA isn’t visible, not even on the beach, but there are plenty of “sneaky lookers” at urinals. It’s funny when you catch them. Their expression is priceless, especially when they know you know they’ve been looking. I did have one bloke who was honest enough to say “Fuck, you wouldn’t want to lose them!” I had a kid stare when I was in a pub having lunch, and was hoping he wasn’t going to go running to mummy. Obviously the pierced are child-molesting weirdos.

    One thing that strikes me is people with stretched lobes having them grabbed. Nobody would grab a regular lobe piercing, so what’s the attraction? Tattoo-lookers I can at least understand, if not endorse, but piercing grabbing just strikes me as phenomenally weird!

  50. I have a large tattoo on my chest and I find that the only people that try to touch it are guys that don’t have any tattoos themselves…and everyone asks what it says! You would be surprised at the number of people who don’t know what arugula is. I guess because it is following the words united states of, could make it confusing…

  51. I have a tattoo on the right side of my chest, and you can’t usually read the whole thing. Apparently, this is an invite to move my hair, shirt, and/or hoodie without my permission in order to read it. I really dislike when random people come up to me and do this. If you just ASK me, I will gladly move whatever’s in the way so you can see my ink. As for piercings, people don’t really want to touch them.

  52. People seem to have no problem touching tattoos, but once they get around to my scarification, then all of a sudden they change and almost nobody is willing to touch it, even in a group of friends i find people timid to the fact of touching it. I guess I kinda take the same approach as to going into a “happy place” as people gauze at the artwork I poses. I much rather run into a group of people whom don’t seem to care much and would rather look at the artwork and ask about it, than deal with people who just look at you like you should be catching on fire, although the occasional stare of that variety can be entertaining as well. I do enjoy The Lizardman’s scenario when he says that being touched unwantedly is assault and should be met with a swift punch to the assailant, however this may not turn out well if you were to hit and elderly or otherwise unequally matched opponent.

  53. The only time I have had my piercings or tattoos touched without permission is from children, and they are for the most part, gentle and just all around curious. Otherwise I actually don’t get a lot of people asking to touch my modifications, I just get compliments or questions. I am sure this will change in time as I recieve more tattoos.

  54. I’ve never had anyone physically restrain me to see any of my tattoos – but I’ve had plenty of people (men, mostly) comment on them by means of an icebreaker.

    Almost as annoying as groping.

  55. I’m fine with people asking questions, especially if it means I can point them in the direction of good and helpful information or good studios, but I don’t like being touched without permission. I had a complete stranger come up behind me and lift up my skirt to see my leg tattoos better a couple of weeks back, which was totally unwanted. I’ve also had friends reach out to touch new piercings with their unwashed hands. Boo. :(

  56. I’ll happily answer all and any questions that people have, and am guilty of asking to see people’s sleeves and such like when they’re particularly interesting. However, no one has ever grabbed me or anything like that so it’s not too bad (my tattoos are on my leg/lower back and my brand is on my thigh so they’re not on show often.)

    I did have someone trying to read the script on my back in the pub the other day and because they didn’t get a chance to finish reading it, one of them came up to ask me what the rest of it said so I told them and explained that it was a Robbie Burns quote. No touching though so that was fine. My friends have asked me to get my brand out or show my suspension pictures to people I’ve just met, which I tend to find amusing but I’m quite happy to be a freak show for a bit if it helps educate people.

  57. I find myself being both irritated and comfortable with the reaction of strangers. I don’t have any tattoos…yet. But I do have nine facial piercings that are all a bit crowded and I have stretched lobes. I’m comfortable with it when it’s my friends, or when people have the decency to ask me before they want to touch something or get all up in my face. However, I always get the notorious “DIDATHURT” question, and for my cheek piercings…”is that a long ass bar that goes all the way through your mouth?”. Like, uh. Yeah. Yeah I’ll go with that. ‘Cause I’m talking, smiling and eating with a barbell that goes from one side of my mouth to the other. Ignorance. Anyway, when people touch any of my piercings, it’s usually my cheek piercings. It seemed like people did it the most when they were healing. How sanitary, right? That shit always pisses me off. I mean, how do you react to that? How do you handle that? A stranger coming up to you and pulling on a fresh piercing? That’s just fucking rude. Now I like when people seem to be genuinely interested and have atleast somewhat intelligent questions to ask. I’ll be friendly and give them the time of day, and answer all questions as honestly as I can. But if someone is ignorant and rude about it, and generally has the ‘that’s gross and weird but I’m ignorant and curious’ attitude then I’ll just say back off, you know? And to think, I’m not even tattooed and my lobes aren’t even large yet. Oh boy.

  58. I have pretty much a full back piece now. I find people yanking on my top to see “ALL” of it to be horribly uncomfortable even if they are people I know. I spend all my time trying to keep my top pulled down at the front as they yank harder and push up a seam here and there. All the calls of that is so beautiful does not stop me cringing up totally. After one or two experiences of this the photo idea happened. I have a photo on my phone of all my Tattoos. If people want to see them I show them the pictures. It easier for me to show them and point out what things are. Problem solved. Then I get to show my ink off as art rather than my body.

  59. Oh and, my boyfriend is visibly modified, and just this fourth of July we were downtown and some woman asked him if she could touch his lobe, and before he even answered her, she practically had her finger through it. People seem to take more kindly to my piercings than his lobes. I guess that’s because they were naked, and most people aren’t used to seeing that. But still. Common courtesy. I understand that the strange stares and rude comments come with being modified, but come on. Touching? Really? In my opinion, doing that without asking first is dirty and rude. People are really ignorant.

  60. I don’t mind if they ask first, I’m pretty easy-going and I enjoy the positive attention.
    I loathe when someone just grabs it but I don’t say anything because I am aware they’re not being malicious about it, they’re just stupid and curious and obviously feeling pretty chill in my presence.

  61. i love the question “do you actually think that looks nice?!” about my ears……at that point i usually get a bit sarcastic,ha!

  62. My only ‘real’ visible modification is my stretched lobes… they’re at that stage where they start garnering attention from virtually everyone you meet for the first time (currently 1″) and they can be a good ice breaker in normal situations.
    However, you do get the random person that comes up and sticks their finger straight through your ear. I wouldn’t really have a problem if they were courteous enough to ask, but they often don’t. That annoys me. Almost as if as soon as you step outside the ‘norm’ people have the licence to poke and prod like you’re a freak or something.
    As for tattooos… I always ask people to see them. Currently saving for my first sleeve so any inspiration is a good thing! I’m always polite though, no pointing or staring from me! I know what it feels like!

  63. Sure im not comfortable with people touching my stuff, but im in Sweden and i have to stay calm since i dont want to create any kind of trauma which might lead to further misunderstandings. i do tell people kindly to back off or atleast ask me first before touching stuff thats not theirs.

  64. i too have been asked the typical “did that hurt” and “let me touch that” about my tattoos and piercings. I usually dont mind, answer truthfully, and move on, trying not to make a big deal out of it. Where i take issue, however, is when people assume they can judge me for my mods and not offend me. No, i dont think im “ruining my pretty face with metal”, (i only have a tongue piercing, a septum ring, and stretched lobes) and i certainly dont want to hear about how my modifications make me unfeminine. Im really surprised with the amount of people that comment that i “look like a real girl” or look much more attractive and approachable when i have my mods hidden. It bothers me because i dont think modifications detract from being feminine or masculine(unless, of course, thats their purpose) and i dont think its appropriate to blatantly insult people and then use ignorance of modification or in general as an excuse. (sorry for the rant, im usually a lurker, this just kind of hit a nerve)

  65. I really like it when seem to take interest in my body mods. They think is neat that I am so young and have tattoos and piercings. They always want to stick things in my lobes and they always want to tug on my septum ring and always want to see my tattoos. I love it when people ask and want to know more. I really appreciate the fact that so many people like my body mods just as much as I do. The only thing I hate about it, is that people tend to judge me. They think I am rough around he edge and am incapable of being sweet and kind, which is reality I am one of the nicest people you could ever meet. I am always asked if it hurts or why I ruined my face which such a thing and I answer them honesty. It was pain I was willing to deal with because I think it is beautiful and that it makes me beautiful and if they don’t like it then they can stop looking at it.

  66. I’m forever having what I call “the tattoo conversation”. “I like your tattoo. What is it? Where did you get it done? Why? Did it hurt? Do you have any more? I’ve always wanted one but have never had the nerve…”. Etc… I sometimes feel like I should record the answers and just press playback. BUT I pretty much always answer, I’m polite, friendly but not too friendly – in an over-coming stereotype type way. Hey – tattoos fascinate me, so it’s only reasonable that mine should interest other people. Having said that, 2 of my tattoos are usually not visible, and if I don’t want to show them to people, I just don’t tell them I have them…that usually avoids any awkwardness.

    Mostly though it’s pretty much always been people wanting to talk, or look, not touch. Not my tattoos or my facial metal work. But then I’m not a touchy feely person and could easily be giving off “touch me and I’ll hit you” vibes…*grin*

  67. People always walk up to me and stroke my tattoos when they see them. They don’t even ask! And I do not like to be touched by strangers.. mean :(

  68. People always walk up to me and stroke my tattoos when they see them. They don’t even ask! And I do not like to be touched by strangers.. mean :(

  69. I’ve had people try and stick their finger through my ears on a bus which I find disturbing (as they are not THAT big) To which I do not find funny, so to prevent it I make sure I wear plugs in. I also have script on my forearm which goes around my arm, which I’ve obtained bruising and (what felt like) a pulled elbow. All of which was done by people who assume by the fact I am talking to them gives them a right to jerk and pulI at my arm in an attempt to read it. I’m mostly patient with them, but I have been known to throw a few “get the f off me”s around.

    I’m not so annoyed by it, as when I began getting moy mods, I expected a level of curiousity. But I do find the grab over looking approach a bit far. Especially as I am female. None of my male friends have ever just been grabbed. They always get the questions. No fair!!!


    This is why I don’t wear eyelets anymore.

  71. Here in Finland, I’ve found that people don’t usually care about tattoos. My friends always ask to see the newest one I get, but they won’t touch. In bars and such, I’ve never had anyone ask me about my tattoos. Not even gamers ask, even though my 16-bit starmen are pretty huge and really visible since they’re on my chest/shoulder area. I have one friend who likes to show off my “We’re all mad here” chestpiece whenever we go out for some reason, but other than people telling me it’s cool I’ve never had any touching/questions.

    With piercings, some people try to touch. I had one friend who had the guts to touch my cheeck piercings and I was furious, since they tend to act up every now and then although I got them done almost two years ago. I’ve had friends ask if they can touch my lobes, and that I don’t mind, just don’t ram your fingers in. And people seem to love microdermals way too much, so I always swat their hands away. Mostly it’s just the stare, point and laugh procedure in the bigger cities though, down north everyone seems to care a lot less. I do get questions asked whenever I meet new people at work etc, but random people never pull me over on the street.

  72. I feel like a walking freakshow at times, almost like public property. My visible mods are; 10 facial piercings, 1½” lobes and a neck tattoo. People love poking my plugs, but they never actually touch my lobe. I’m constantly asked if my ears hurt, and just a week ago I was asked if I was born that way. Hm.. Strange ideas people have, hah.

    I don’t get offended when people seem genuinely interested, or ask me if my tattoo is real, etc. But I get far more negative reactions than I get positive ones. Mostly it’s old people being extremely rude. Not too long ago an older man stopped me on the street and told me I scared him, that I looked weird. Mind you, I was just listening to my mp3, wearing a floral dress and it was 8am. I was in my own world, smiling in the sunshine. Still it’s as if people think they have the right to tell me things about the way I look; that they’re disgusting, scary, weird, that I’m craving attention, that I’m gonna regret it all one day when I wake up and realize how fucking stupid I’ve been. Now, this has all come from strangers, at public places.
    I never know how to react. I’m extremely shy, and I usually just become too shocked to say anything back. But it can get extremely hurtful, even if I’ve been this way for several years now.

  73. I don’t mind showing people my piercings, my dermal anchor, my tattoo or even my recent scarification. However, I DO mind being touched. I completely freak out whenever someone reaches out to touch me without warning or without asking first. I have PTSD so I see any touch that isn’t initiated by me as a threat. I even wrote about it on my facebook page yesterday.

    Thank you Jen for bringing this up.

  74. I’m constantly pulling up the side of my skirt or shorts when people ask to see the tattoos on my leg, but that’s about it; and I don’t mind that. Sometimes friends ask to touch them, and that’s okay, but I WOULD mind if a stranger just started touching my tattoos. I’m not sure if I’d yell at them or shove them, but seriously, that’s not okay; it’s also equally creepy when strangers touch other women’s pregnant bellies. Their stomach didn’t become public property once they got pregnant, and people with mods aren’t public property either.

    I too have had people ask if my tattoos are real…I don’t seriously think they believe they’re fake, I guess it’s just a default question they ask without thinking. I like seeing people’s eyes bulge when I tell them how much it cost. No, that’s NOT alot to pay for a tattoo, at least if you want quality for something that’s going to be on you for the rest of your life. And yes, it hurt like a mother fucker. I’ve never had anyone say anything negative about my tattoos, sometimes strangers compliment me, or just stare with a disgusted face, which I don’t care about. I wonder why so many other people seem to get strangers saying negative things to them, but I don’t? Also, I’ve never had ANYONE ask why I got my tattoos, or what they mean. That seems like a pretty basic question.

    @ScottNash – I agree completely. A while ago I’d wanted a septum piercing (never did get it, and at this point it would be bad for the work place so I’ll probably never get it), and my parents were completely against it, because I’d look like a bull. But if I got one of those side nose piercings with a little stud, they said that would be just fine, because it would make me look more “Indian” (I guess pretty common for Indian girls to have those). Both very similar mods, but one is magically socially acceptable and the other isn’t.

    @75 – I don’t have any *major* mods, but if I was in your situation, I’d think of something to say to people like that. I’m shy too, so when that type of stuff happens I usually wind up in shock too or don’t know what to say, so I think of something I could’ve said later. That way if it happens again, I’ve got something ready, like “If I’d known this would offend you, I wouldn’t have gotten it, because I really care about the personal opinion of a stranger”. That you want attention: “Actually, you’re the one that wants attention; you’re the one telling a stranger your opinion.” For the guy that said you scared him, “I’m sorry I scare you, and I think you’re weird for telling a stranger that they’re scary.” and just go back to smiling :-) (I am SO ready for the day someone says shit to me about my tattoos haha)

  75. I don’t mind showing off my tattoos and even my almost private brand every once in a while. But I hate the none stop “did that hurt?” question.
    I was at six flags just the other day and an employee upon noticing my 1″ stretched lobes shouted at me in a very unprofessional way ” Oh my god did that hurt?!” To which I replied “Not as much as working at six flags.”
    The touching doesn’t bother me as long as they ask. Otherwise I tend to smack hands away just as a reflex.

  76. In Poland, where I am from being modified can cause really hard time sometimes.
    I’m not really modified, but tattooed (two sleeves, one calf), and when it’s as hot outside as today the show starts;) Really, there’s noone who wouldn’t care of how I look, all these “such a pretty girl and so tattooed” or “have you seen that one? Is she crazy?”. Even those with ink can be really venomous when it’s about heavily tattooes ones.
    But sometimes all that turmoil can be really nice, when you meet a 70yo with a anchor tattooed when he was young telling a story about wanting to be more tattooed but wife who did’t like tattoos at all, or other inked ones you meet just because of the tattoo.

  77. Howdy!
    I have dermal anchors on my neck and people touch them all the time. I dont like it, but i try and be a good sport for the reasons that Sarah (#8) bring up. I have a scar on my shoulder but few people touch that for some reason. But the questions…. OH THE QUESTIONS!!! I AM NOT A WIKI ARTICLE GET THE INTERNET AND ASK THAT !!! But I just smile and answer any questions because I want people to understand.

  78. If you saw me on the street you’d never know that my entire back is inked. It’s funny to see the face of the people who discover my ink.

  79. My chest piece is the most visible mod I have, and whenever I go out it never ceases to amaze me that even little old ladies compliment it, but thankfully no one has ever tried to touch me. If I’m wearing a tank top people ask what the Latin on my shoulder blades means, and occasionally to see the rest of my back piece. I’ll tell them the translation, and might let them look down the back of my shirt to see if I’m feeling comfortable enough.

    Rarely do people ask the silly “did that hurt?” question, though I’m always tempted to be sarcastic when answering. I don’t mind other questions, though, as it’s always good to educate others on sanitary practices for mods, IMO. Plus, any time I see beautiful tattoos on someone else I want to know what artist did it and where, so it’s only fair I answer some myself.

  80. i don’t get touched, as the only visible bits are my nostril/septum piercings. but i did make a little boy cry the other day. usually small children are just fascinated by it, but he took one look and his face scrunched all up and he started wailing. he was like “Mommy!! her nooooosssseee!” i wasn’t sure whether to feel bad for him, or just be amused.

  81. I’ve had a pretty positive reaction with my visible mods. I have a white tattoo pretty much covers my whole chest but as its white its not that visible unless I get a tan. So most people who ask are people I’ve met a few times and generally interested as white ink isn’t common round here. As for my piercings I get asked about my microdermal (madison placement) most then my lobes. I’ve never had any one just come up and touch them but I do get requests to touch my lobes often.

    I very rarely have a negative reaction so I guess I’m pretty lucky in that sense!

  82. I have got creepily touched on my nape surface peircing before, and its a very sensitive bit of skin so needless to say it was not pleasant. Also, the other day I was having dinner in a restaurant with my boyfriend and a guy walked up to me and I knew instantly he was gonna ask about a piercing because he went ‘ I hope you don’t think I am rude…’ giving me no time to answer, ‘but is that a piercing in your face?’ pointing to my dermal anchor – now I can’t speak for everyone but when you are in a restaurant having an intimate dinner with your significant other and some stranger comes up asking questions you can’t help but be a little put off. I mean, piercings aside, its common decency! You wouldn’t go poking some persons mole or bald spot or something. Well, maybe you would. I guess I don’t mind, but getting asked the same thing over and over can be annoying.

  83. I just wanna say kia ora koutou to all the new zealanders who’ve commented, it’s good to see people from our part of the world round these parts!

  84. I think the most frustrating part is that people seem to think i got my mods for them – so they will want to touch them/ask about them, and get attention. I’ve never had anyone touch my piercings – again due to the area, my smiley septum and nostrils aren’t in the most accessible places. same with my tattoos, but thats mainly because the only really visible one is on my chest. I’ve had rude comments about ‘how far down my chest tattoo goes’ or ‘do you only have piercings on your top half’ and the obvious pointing and staring of immature strangers, but to be honest the worst is my hair.. i have a mohawk with synthetic dread extensions and people seem to think that they can grab and pull on those. They usually get informed that I’d prefer them not to grab my hair, accompanied by a bitchy look that hopefully deters them from trying it again.

  85. i went to Portugal last summer, and it seemd like all the cousins i haven’t seen like in 15 years couldn’t stop staring at my arms and legs, but they were very nice “family eh” lol

  86. I love it personally, I mean I got modifications full knowing I was gonna be stared at, or touched. I mean I don’t get touched often, so it’s a nice change haha… Jokes… Sorta.

    But I mean, it’s things people can’t help, I mean I was at Warped tour just a few days ago, and my scar piece ended up getting more attention then some bands. Which is kinda saddening, but awesome at the same time.

  87. instruct my clients to perform ‘new piercing/ no-touch Kung-FU’ as part of thier aftercare!

  88. it does happen a lot that people touch my implants (teflon halfdomes in my left hand and a silicone heart in my right forearm) without asking and i deeply dislike it. if its not a customer in my shop i usually show them that i don’t like it but yeah, then you’re the rude freak!

  89. People are ridiculous. I am not very visibly modded (yet), but I used to have hair long enough to sit on and people would touch it, YANK on it (ow?), etc. Incredibly rude. I think I’m going to start poking people who have fake tans and Botox.

  90. People come up and touch my arms all the time, even grabbing them and twisting them round so they can see the whole tattoo. They usually ask ‘Can I touch it?’ and then touch it before I have a chance to answer. I can’t really understand why they want to touch me – what do they expect it to feel like other than skin? I don’t really mind, I’m just bemused and usually ask them this. The only time I got annoyed was when a guy grabbed my arm and pulled my shirt sleeve up, at which point I yanked my arm away. That is just rude. But generally I don’t mind, people are just curious, and I have never had any negative comments.

  91. I hate the ‘does it hurt?’ question – as if all peiercings and tattoos leave you in constant pain….
    then comes the ‘can I touch it?’ errrr NO!

    I would never approach a random person and express my opinion on their physical appearance, nor would I ask them if I could touch any part of their body! If they had a dog though, I would certainly touch the dog. :)

    @22 – I think it is supposed to be her shoulder however it doesn’t look right to me – if you look at the lines on her neck, it looks like she’s standing face on… so the shoulder doesnt match that. Hm!

  92. That’s a fantastic tattoo but my first thought was that she was holding up a popsicle stick – possibly the icecream had fallen off (or she had finished it) and that was why she was so sad.

  93. I have absolutely zero problem when people approach me and ask to touch/look at my tattoos and lobes. I actually enjoy it because, this is more often than not, a good opportunity to talk up body modification and squash even a few bad stereotypes (even if its only 1 or 2 people at a time). With that said do not sneak up behind me and grab at my ears or my arm and lift it up to look at it! Also a no no for old guys to reach at my chest and move my hair to look at my chest piece! Its not ok to grab and grope a “normal” person so don’t to it to me. Im at work not on display!!

  94. people touch my sleeve all the fucking time. depending on the person i might be hesitant. cute girls feel free to grope me, sorry i like women. but it honestly doesnt bother me when people touch me as long as the get my visual consent first. I have struck a dude for grabbing my freshly tattooed forearm at a bar before. regardless he was drunk, but fuck, you can tell a fresh tattoo when you see so dont touch it. And of course once people start groping my arm they somehow get a glimpse at my collar so i have to pull my shirt up and show off my chest and ribs, and honestly, in certain crowds, can be a bit degrading. Or in other circumstances, I have felt like a side show freak, where you can easily tell that people are disgusted and you can hear them grimacing and make snide comments as quiet as possible, but loud enough for you to intentionally hear them to proclaim their superiority over the “weird tattooed dude.”
    As it comes with stretched lobes, people do not touch and pretty much wont even if i tell them they can. The only time i can think of when someone has was because they didnt believe me that lobes can smell particularly unpleasant at some points. And check mate, i won that battle, and now your finger smells terrible. haha dummy.
    but people groping and gawking at my tattoos would never and will never stop me from getting more. all and all, i understand people curiosity so i dont blame them.

  95. Jen, it’s probably because you’re a good looking woman! I only draw attention occassionally and it is nearly always from women. If they only knew what they didn’t see…..right??

  96. I find it odd that people would want to touch a tattoo. what do they expect? it still feels like skin.
    As for piercings touching is a NO. I’ve had people ask to look at my ear that has multiple helixes and an industrial and before i can stop them, would touch it. It’s very unsanitary when people you don’t know touch your piercings besides I personally don’t like it. I definetely don’t mind answering questions if they’re really interested but i hate it when they ask those annoying questions already mentioned aboved b/c they ask them in a rhetorical manner. I imagine the people who uninvitedly touch people with mods are the same people who pet your dog without asking and are oblivious to the “please do not touch” signs in museums.

    the tattoo is artwork from Angelina Wrona. I’m pretty sure that is her arm.

  97. I’m never incredibly fond of it, unless its a friend of a lover showing the attention. I hate it when people touch my scars. They have no right. I tend to recoil quickly and tell them straightforwardly its not their business, in a polite manner of course. With my tatttoos, Generally, I bear it. Bars and clubs are the only times I don’t like it. I work at a strip club and I hate it when the customers try to touch my tattoos. I’m okay with showing them and explaining, but dude, I work at a no touch bar, that includes my tattoos. With that behavior, I will definitely avoid getting tattoos near my tits or on my thighs until I stop stripping. Otherwise, it doesn’t change my desire for more tattoos, It just changes the way I tell people off. I don’t think that I’m obligated to show off a tattoo just because someone asks. If I don’t want someone to touch me or treat me like a oddity, then I just politely say “no thank you”.

  98. Hate it, hate it, hate it! You would never touch a stranger without tattoos so why would you go ahead and touch someone who does? Of course, since they’re visible, I don’t mind people asking to see them, but i don’t see why people have to touch them! Being asked to see them goes hand-in-hand with the “does it hurt” question so it’s cool but touching them, especially by big sleazy guys (it’s ALWAYS sleazy guys that touch my tattoos) is just a vehicle for them to cop a feel.

  99. woah, seems there are a lot of touchy plainskins around!
    as the sudden centre of attention i tend to also have a frozen smile and feel like a bunny in the headlights
    i think your stature, gender and personality affect how many strangers wanna touch… as a small female, i get a lot of guys wanting to stick their fingers in my ears, and have even had people lift the back of my skirt (without warning) to see the tatts on the back of my legs.
    Yeah, and don’t forget the “is that a real tattoo?” and “do you like pain?” questions.
    From my experience (in Cape Town), most (certainly not all) of the people that ask questions don’t care what your anwers are, they’ve already made up their minds that it looks stupid and that i must be a mentally retarded freak for wanting to alter my appearance. Mostly that just upsets me until i console myself with the fact that i have front teeth and can read ;-)
    i agree that children are way more polite (one could even say civilized)… kids ask questions, without touching first and have a nicer way of asking too. A 5 year old even suggested i wear my hair up more to show my pretty’s.
    i often get cashiers and such telling their friends to look, but they say it in another language because they think i won’t understand. Once a cashier, after asking about my stretched lobes, comfirmed my mental strangeness by loudly stating that i must have been drunk. (throughout the stretching process of over 9 months)
    if the inquisitiveness is genuine (often it isn’t) i’m happy to answer question and give back respect.

  100. proud to say that a few times when asked “didn’t that hurt’ when it’s pretty &*%@ing obvious i responded with: “no, someone did this to me while i was sleeping”

  101. I don’t like being touched by people I’ve just met.

    I’m not a huge fan of the fact that my tattoos have become a conduit for this.

    However, I do appreciate that they’re a handy conversation opener. Guys can’t compliment my purse and get to know me as easily as they can my tattoos.

  102. most people don’t notice that my lobes are stretched, (they’re only 00 gauge) they just assume that i’m wearing large earrings, then when they actually notice they look disgusted! it’s really sad!

  103. I really wish we could get some “plainskins” to comment here…I’d like to know what’s going through their heads when they start poking and prodding a stranger without asking, or even interrupt a stranger by asking tons of questions about their mods (sometimes that’s okay, but from what I’ve read here, it can be really annoying). I don’t go around asking strangers why they got such a weird haircut or ask why they bought that fugly outfit.

  104. I have a few realistic maple leaves tattooed on my chest and shoulder, and this Canada Day I went downtown to enjoy the festivities and fireworks. I was wearing a sleeveless dress and I DEFINITELY experienced a huge amount of people touching the tattoos or grabbing or pointing… I also got a lot of people saying things like ‘oh look how patriotic you are..’ etc etc..
    definitely an overall awkward Canada Day. haha

  105. well around here it’s usually not groping that goes on but a light touch most of the time like people caress your tattoo. And since I’m in the process of finishing both my leg sleeves that’s where they caress me and I find that akward most of the time. People always ask if my lobes hurt and that gets really annoying.

  106. as a plainskin, i wouldn’t just go up to a stranger and start feeling up on their mods, especially putting fingers through lobes. I find it rude and a little freaky. Asking questions is alright, but touching without asking first is a big no no. Modded or not, everyone has their personal bubble.

  107. @ banana I’m a plainskin, but I adore tattoos. I would never ever grope someone else’s skin, or ask prodding questions like that. It’s not about plainskins vs modded people, it’s about polite vs rude people. I can’t imagine what goes on through those peoples’ heads either that reach out and touch your mods or a pregnant woman’s belly… nor can I imagine why strangers feel it necessary to ask very personal questions of someone they don’t know. I don’t think anyone can really answer the question of why they do it. Obviously, to them it’s just their way of life to be nosy.

  108. I find that about 50% of strangers do want to touch my tattoos, and my scars, but never my piercings. I find it ridiculously funny that people think tattoos will feel different to other skin. It doesn’t bother me unless the person is gross or rude, I’m cool with it so long as they ask politely first and are respectful. People walking up to me and just poking me and thinking I will be ok with it, that I ‘asked for it’ by getting modified, are outright rude and I refuse to let them touch me. Yerghk. I think my outlook is fairly reasonable?

  109. When I had my script armband, I had people grab me all the time to try and read it. Literally GRAB me from behind to read it. I punched a guy in a store once because he surprised me, and what’s a girl to do when she thinks she’s being assaulted? Outside of that, I’ve never had people really touch me. Every so often, when they’ve asked about it and I feel like explaining the ENTIRE story behind my sleeve and each of it elements (urgh), people will turn my arm around to see the whole thing.

    I will never EVER let people touch my piercings. That’s gross. And they always wanna touch my sub-clavicle microdermals to see if they’re real. Let ME show you that they’re really stuck in there, rather than have you get your dirty grubby fingers all up in my chest.

  110. Jagger – It’s definitely the script on my less tattooed arm that seems to invite the touching more than my half sleeve.

    Apart from this super weird chick repeatedly trying to touch my tragus piercing I’ve never had people try to touch my piercings and well now I only have stretched lobes and no other piercings.

    There were really only two bad experiences that I’ve had. One, I was with my mom at the book store and we were in the middle of a conversation and some guy came up and wanted to know what my tattoo said. I was annoyed because I was mid-sentence when he comes over and asks so I said “I’m having a conversation” and he starts persisting that he wants to know what it says. I think that’s the only time I’ve ever been flat out rude to someone because he wouldn’t go away.

    The other time I was in Starbucks working on a paper and this guy came over and started talking about my tattoos. I indulged. He offered to buy me a coffee, I said sure. He continued to ask about my tattoos then asked me if I liked pain. I was like WTF?! Why I only seem to attract the weirdos is beyond me… Maybe I should stop being so friendly.

  111. Also I agree with meow, I don’t think it’s about plainskins so much as it is about people with no manners. I mean at the very least ask before you start grabbing at me. I know a lot of people think tattooed skin will feel different and generally I don’t mind people touching them as long as they actually ask and aren’t being super creepy. Generally I get more women grabbing me than men which is good because it definitely freaks me out a bit to have guys grabbing at me unannounced.

  112. Jen, I have this experience all the time at work when I wear flip flops and tank tops. For some reason last Sunday was the worst I’ve ever had it. The majority of the people just walk up to me and stare quite intently at my Invader Zim half sleeve or they shout “I LOVE YOUR INVADER ZIM” I don’t mind the staring or the compliments, it does bother me when people come up to me (I’ve only had men do this) and lift up my shirt sleeve when they can only see the bottom half of the piece. Not only is it extremely rude to not even ask, but you are a complete stranger touching me and moving my clothing.

    As for my left foot tattoo (“Your eyes must do some raining if you are gonna grow” in script) I’ve had people come up to me and ask if they can read it, to which I reply extremely politely to them that yes, they may read it and everyone loves it. I’ve also had this one guy walk up to me, read the tattoo aloud, say “I don’t get it, but it’s nice.” and walk away. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that because it was so strange.

    I’ve also had my tattoos be used as an “icebreaker” to hit on me as well. It’s awkward.

  113. Some waiter at a Korean BBQ restaurant touched my wrist tattoo, and I was not happy.
    One of my friends asked if she could touch my microdermal on my chest, and I was WTF?
    …I have problems when people want to “touch” my mods… My first reaction is “WHY?”.
    When people ask about them, I kinda want to say “its none of your business!”, but I have to agree with some people’s opinions, they do become a good ice-breaker from time to time.

  114. when I was still in high school everybody would always put their fingers through my lobes. but it wasnt weird or anything because it was an arts high school so it was a different atmosphere and everyone was pretty close.

  115. Sorry about the use of the term “plainskin”, I just saw it in a previous post and thought it was a funny term :-)

    I agree that it’s not about whether or not someone is tattooed/pierced/has modifications; but that people that touch others’ modifications without asking (or waiting for a response) generally don’t have mods, which is why they don’t understand I suppose. I’m guessing that of the rude people that harass the modded, they really aren’t thinking about the fact that they’re touching a stranger or interrupting anyone. I just wonder what their response would be, to a thread like this, and if they’d say stuff like “if you didn’t want the attention you shouldn’t have gotten the tattoo/piercing/etc.” (I know it’s illogical, but I just can’t think of ANY response to “You’re a stranger, why the fuck did you just touch me”)

  116. Ooh! “Plainskins” indeed! Whatever happened to the tolerant, all-inclusive “modded society?” A myth if there ever was one – look at the flamewar that erupted over the eyebrow removal post (and the leopard skin eye makeup tattoo) a while back.

    It seems that we are all too ready to slip into a “them and us” mindset, which is far too close to out and out racism as far as I’m concerned.

  117. I have a lot of people ask about my tattoo and piercings, but I’ve never had strangers try to touch them. I’m shocked by all the people who have had people try to touch their piercings without asking- how rude!! Touching a tattoo on an arm or shoulder, while still an invasion of personal space, is not nearly as bad as touching someone’s face! Not to mention the sanitary issues. I would be pissed if a stranger tried to touch my piercings without asking.

    I mostly get questions about the dermal anchor on my chest, especially since it’s a less common piercing. I sometimes like the attention, and I don’t mind that people are curious, but it gets annoying answering the same questions over and over again: “Is that a piercing?” “How does it stay in?” “Can you take it out?” etc. It really annoys me though when I get questions like “Why would you do that?” or when people act disgusted. I get a lot of “eww”s, but I don’t understand what makes it any grosser than any other piercing

  118. I don’t mind questions about my piercings and tattoos, when they’re sensible — where did you get your sleeve done, how long was your last session, how does a dermal anchor work, how long have you been stretching your ears, etc. I’ve pulled off my shirt in public in order to show curious acquaintances the tattoos on my back — but I don’t mind being looked at. Hell, I’ve stood around and chatted with a guy while wearing nothing but a newspaper skirt and electrical tape on my boobs, talking about my nipple piercings.

    That said, touch is a completely different animal. If you don’t know me, you shouldn’t be touching me — but it’s happened quite a lot. After I got my nape pierced, one of my cousins literally pinned me against a counter in order to poke at it, despite my incredibly loud protests. “Oh hey,” he said, “you can feel the bar underneath, that’s so weird.” Hey, you know what’s really weird — the fact that I told you repeatedly not to touch it, and being forced to acquiesce to having my neck groped.

    I’ve had a random, creepy, older guy walk up to me, and without warning start stroking my tattooed arm. I’ve had people at concerts randomly reach out to touch my piercings.

    In my experience, it’s usually men who seem to be under the impression that because I have breasts, my body is public property and they can grope at my modifications.

    That said, I don’t mind it so much with friends — I’ve invited people I’m close to to touch the tattoos on my back, where you can still very slightly feel the raised lines of the ink. But it’s an invitation type thing, or possibly the kind of thing where it’s acceptable if I’m wearing a tank-top and already snuggled up with someone I’m incredibly comfortable with. I love physical affection — but not from random creeps who treat me like some kind of oddity.

  119. I neglected to mention: I always try to compliment people and ask before I touch anyone. I figure if being touched causes me so much pain I should be as careful with people as I would want them to be with me

  120. I have a large tattoo on my arm, which I am very thankful that no one has tried to touch. I really don’t like being touched by strangers. I have found that tattooed folks and women tend to complement it and untattooed guys seem to think it’s a good way to pick me up. I’m not going to date you because you noticed the giant tattoo on my arm.

  121. More than anything, people seem to be more compelled to ask to touch my turquoise death hawk- as though blue hair feels different to brown hair? -_______________-”

    Ugh. My first piercing was my septum- about 4 years ago, when I was still in high school at some hick school where ‘freaks’ like me just never happened.
    One of my friends asked if they could touch it, and before waiting for my response, yanked on the 2 day old piercing. It split 1cm up inside my nose, which still hasn’t really healed that well, even though I’m now in my 20s >.<

    I had my ears surgically pointed and the DAY the stitches come out, my friend grabs my ear and says “Didn’t you want it to be more pointy like this?” and SQUEEZES IT. I nearly passed out from the pain.

    Needless to say, if anyone tries to touch anything of mine, I rip their arms off and beat them to death with the wet end.

  122. I find the only thing that bothers me is when strangers grab my arm and then ask (with a death grip on my wrist) if they can look at my tattoos. I never mind if someone asks questions because they are honestly curious, although asking if it hurt gets old. The most common thing strangers want to do is touch my tattoos because they think that my tattoos make my skin feel differently.

    My two tongue piercings are a topic of conversation with strangers as well, mostly younger kids who ask me to stick out my tongue all the time. A quick “blah” with my tongue hanging out and a little giggle from them is usually all it takes and they walk away…

    In short, I don’t mind the questions and giggles as long as no one grabs me. x

  123. It actually surprises me how much people will willingly touch you even in semi private areas just because they’ve stopped seeing you as a person and just a thing now. I really hate that, a lady full on grabbed a dermal only inches away from my bra line, maybe 30 seconds into my first interaction with her. I am so open to people and love to educate anyone who’s curious, but i’m not a robot with bits and pieces to touch. Same with my fresh tattoos, fuck off!
    It’s just ignorance more than anything, i get a lot of people asking really intelligent questions or are genuinely interested without a motive to just attempt to mock or make me feel bad for how i live.

    On the flipside though, being heavily tattooed has made me more comfortable in my own skin and now i am willing to drop trou’ just to show someone my thigh piece who’s interested. Part of me thinks this instinctual feeling to ‘admire’ (even if the person ‘admiring’ appears disgusted, they’re still interested) is something ancient in humans and cultured. It makes me sad when people touch and look at my tattoos and say ‘oh i wish i could’… i tell everyone they can and they should because it almost feels like you’re fighting nature not to evolve how you want!

  124. A lot of times I don’t leave myself open to be touched, unless it’s children. I work with kids and the smaller they are the more they like to grab and rub my skin because they think tattoos are cool and awesome. Usually, I don’t mind because it can spark a lot of conversation, but when it’s their parents or other adults in general I feel like fighting. I don’t grab at people and I expect not to get grab at in return.

  125. Me: female, 5’7″, lightly pierced and tattooed.
    I’ve had all the usual, including some borderline painful grabbing and insults, threats, etc. The worst was over my oddly colored hair, though; one time when I was 15 or so a grown man in a truck threatened to hit my attention-seeking ass as I crossed the street. I think my favorite response was from a man who was from a tribal culture (sorry I can’t remember which one, it was a while ago) and he asked me quite sincerely if I was a witch. He seemed to think it was a compliment, so that word must have some sort of positive connotation where he was from. I think the elderly and children are the most positive about my big septum piercing, but teens and adults are just awful sometimes. I’ve overheard parents using me as a deterrent toward their children by telling them that they’ll end up a useless freak like me if they get that henna tattoo, magnetic earrings, etc. I suppose I don’t have anything amazing to add to the discussion, but I do wonder why it is not okay to mistreat someone who is born different, but if they deviate later in life, it is suddenly acceptable. I see this sort of treatment from sexists, too. “Hey why do you look like that if you don’t want attention?” Whether I am treated this way because of my breasts (natural) or my septum piercing (unnatural, obviously) it’s always hurtful and I do correct people.

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