I am not a Body Modification type of person. I have not one tattoo, no lip plates, no neck-stretching rings, no 2”-long Lee Press-On Nails, no Michael Jackson Brand Creepy Permanent Eyeliner. Why, I don’t even have pierced ears. Never have, either. No, I prefer my appearance changes to be impermanent and flexible. I was able to bag the purple hair in 1987 when it attracted more attention than its shining grape-juice beauty was worth, and every trendy piece of clothing has been easily shed and replaced by another equally-hideous trendy piece of clothing. I am not committing to anything more than chunky highlights and waterproof mascara.

I come from a non-bod-mod family, in fact. My father, despite five years in the United States Army, never got a tattoo. Many of his Army buddies did, however. For most of the years I was growing up, the buddies would reunite on some late-summer Saturday at a local Wisconsin park. They would grill hamburgers and hot dogs, drink serious amounts of beer, and after enough burgers and beer were consumed, would then bring out their various instruments (they had all been in the Army band together), and squawk away: mercilessly, to me, happily, to them. I remember seeing their old (to me, then) and tanned arms, and the faded blue tattoos with “MOM” or a busty ‘40s girlie or some gritty-looking animal holding a gun. The ink had softened over time, skin sagged, and the once-sexy girlie tat ended up looking like some blurry alien mimeograph. The men always seemed somewhat embarrassed by these remnants of their overseas youth, and explained them away as the outcome of too much gin during R&R in Australia. Some of the men went so far as to always cover their tattoos, they hated them so much, roasting in long-sleeved shirts, or never took their shirts off to swim in the lake. Who knows what I missed seeing? My dad seemed quite proud and relieved that he came away unscathed, which was surprising because he seemed to drink the most of them all. Perhaps he passed out in a Sydney alley before he could get inked with an image of a smiling red-lipped grenade with boobs and a garter belt or something.

My mother never had her ears pierced. When I realized that other women actually MADE LITTLE TINY HOLES in their ears and hung jewelry from them, I was just amazed. Wow! Hardcore, ladies! I asked my mom why she did not do this. Her reply made so much sense that I took it, and have used it myself all these years: “My hair hangs down and covers my ears all the time anyway, so why bother?” It is so damn sensible. That, combined with the viewing of my teen peers’ ears battling reddened, crusty, oozing earlobe infections, settled it for me. No piercings.

So that is where I am coming from. My opinion (and if you don’t like it, go spend 10 minutes and set up your own blog, stupid) is this crap is short-sighted and sleazy and so far played out as to be comical. OK, you just turned 18 and you and your pals think it is WAY COOL to go and get a tattoo, all together in a big group of obnoxious. Take a look at your tattoo “artist” for a minute. That’s the dude that sat behind you in Algebra I scribbling bad cartoons of dragons and skulls and giant lady boobs and knives going into hearts in his notebook. He is now going to take a nasty needle and poke the same drawings into your skin for LIFE while you pay him for it. This is not Rock, this is not Edgy, this is not Alternative: this is never in a million years going to make you any cooler and in fact makes you look icky or ickier. Yes, even the teeny tiny little star or heart or baby unicorn or snake around your bicep or the dreaded “Touch of Class” rose. All of it is horrible, and when you are 70 it’s all going to look like melted crayons anyway. If you are over 30 and getting a tat, you are either a circus freak or retarded, or a retarded circus freak. If that’s the case, go to town. Another exception would be a full face tattoo for that lady who just got the face transplant. It couldn’t hurt anything there.

Listen, if you are going to get a tattoo, at least make me laugh. Get one of a nice-looking sheep, and surround it with the words, “Me And My Friends Got Drunk All Together And All We Got Were These Lousy Sheep Tattoos.”

Now piercings. Hey, if you want to have pierced ears, that’s swell with me. I can’t see your earrings anyway, and I don’t have to take care of your holes. But let us be realistic how piercings on other parts of your face really look. Again, not cool – from anything more than a foot away, your nose stud, eyebrow ring, or lip bolt looks like you have either a crusty booger sitting on your face or a bird crapped on you and you don’t know it. It’s disturbing. People want to come up to you and quietly tell you that you have some sort of waste ball on your face, and then they see it is a piercing and have to go, “Ohhhhh.”

Piercings on the tongue or genitals just tells me you want people to think you are sexually freaky, but you probably are too self-absorbed and weird to be any good. Ewwww.

But, of course, if you LOVE LOVE LOVE your bod mods, more power to you. Enjoy them in good health and be proud. But don’t get mad at me if I try to flick your nose stud off with my finger sometime. Just trying to help.