Sunday, December 18, 2011


Yesterday I encountered a situation that I find all too familiar on a personal and professional level. I thought I might share the story because I'm sure I'm not the only person who can relate.

It actually started 4 days ago when a young college student came in to get the right side of her lip pierced. She was twenty years old and had just finished her final exams for the semester. She informed me she had been planning the piercing for some time now and she was buying this piercing for herself to celebrate the semester ending. She was quiet,  polite and friendly. Their were numerous piercings on her ears and a piercing through her left eyebrow. She wore all black clothing and a leather cap. As she got rung up I walked back to my station to set up for her. Everything went very quick and smooth with her piercing. She looked very excited upon looking in the mirror and told me she liked it very much. I explained the after care and sent her on her way.

Yesterday, she came back to the shop looking uneasy. Following her was a young man who I later found out was her boy friend. It was busy when she came in. She fidgeted and was unable to stand still as she waited for her turn. When I finally was able to speak with her I asked her how she and her piercing were doing. She said nothing at first so I asked her how I could help her. Immediately she began to tear up and asked me if she could have a refund if she didn't want the piercing anymore. I told her our shop policy was not to give refunds, especially if their was nothing wrong with the piercing. With her boyfriend right behind her I ask if she really wants to take the piercing out. She looks at me in the eyes with tears streaming down her face and shakes her head. Right away I knew the situation in my head. I was taken back to my first years of high school. I had started piercing myself pretty frequently and had proudly pierced my own septum. My very first real boyfriend and love of my life at the time told me the piercing looked disgusting and I, of course, took it out right away. This happened 2 more times until I finally kept it. First, I ask if she wants to go back to my station and talk to me about the situation in private. She sort of mumbled an unsure reply. I look at the young woman and tell her that I would be in the shop all day and perhaps she would like to walk around for a little bit and think about it some more. She tells me "no" and that it has to come out. I tell her that I have a piercing to do first but then I will help her take the jewelry out. When I return from doing the piercing I see her boyfriend nudging her out the door and I assume she changed her mind.

A little while later she comes back by herself telling me she must take the piercing out, and so I lead her back to my station. When we get in the room she keeps her backpack on and does not sit down on the massage table. I ask her if she is absolutely sure she wants the piercing out and she replies "No, not at all". I ask her if her job or parents are forcing her to remove the piercing.She shakes her head and begins to tell me  that her Korean boy friend and his family do not approve. Again, she begins tearing up and tells me she loves the piercing and does not want to get rid of it. I knew exactly what she was feeling. I hand her a paper towel and tell her that if the piercing is this important to her she should do what she wants and keep it. She explained if she keeps the lip piercing it will ruin her relationship. I had been in this exact situation with at least 4 boy friends in the past. This was making me sad. I understood that intense wanting to make your significant other happy. The dilemma was confusing for her and irritating for me to watch because I knew that in the end I had always regretted not going with my gut and taking control of my own body. I felt like consoling her and comforting her but I did not want to butt into a customers personal life. I wanted to keep the situation professional but at the same time it was so hard for me to contain myself because I felt so empathetic. I wanted her to stop crying, so I tried to soften the awkward situation by telling her about an ex boyfriend(different one) of mine who was disgusted at the thought of me getting my nipples tattooed; something I had wanted to do for some time. I stalled the tattoos to try and salvage the relationship, but of course it ended up crumbling. As soon as we broke up I ended up getting the tattoos and have been ecstatic about them ever since. I told her that while I could not tell her what to do, in my personal experience I felt too much resentment towards the man I was with to make the relationship work. I could see in her face she knew I was right.

We talked for about 15-20 minutes until I recommend something I wouldn't normally do this to a 3 days old piercing. I suggest a sterilized quartz retainer, and that while she would have to be extra gentle with the piercing(the retainers fall out easier) that she may be able to have her cake and eat it too. She goes back outside to ask her boyfriends permission and she comes back in with her. I get out the appropriate retainer and put it in her lip piercing for her, all while her boyfriend stands close by her. The jewelry transfer went smoothly. Her piercing had hardly swelled. Her boy friend keeps telling her the entire time we are in my room that the retainer wont work and his parents will still notice the piercing. The woman kept looking at me so I tried to reassure her that it was worth a try and that she could easily remove the retainer herself if she changed her mind. She left looking slightly hopeful, but I have not heard from her since.

I feel for women who constantly alter/keep from altering their bodies just to please a significant other. At a point in my life where I am finally comfortable in my skin and I am in love with my job and the fact tat I am fortunate enough to be able to look however I want, I just want to help other people feel as confident as I do.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Where did everyones manners go?

So recently I feel like I have noticed more that no one has manners anymore, especially when it comes to dealing with people who are modified. I feel like I cant even ride the metro to work and listen to my ipod without someone asking me "Did that hurt?" or trying to grab my arm to look at my tattoos. Just becuase I have tattoos does not mean I am inviting a stranger to come touch me. Maybe being a piercer has made me a little OCD, but I have my own personal bubble space that I would prefer people don't invade without my permission. What I'm getting at has been stated so eloquently in this article I read today. It's called "Tattoo Etiquette 101". The writer made a list of what you should never do to someone tattooed, but the rules definitely apply to someone with any body modification. The rules are stated below, but you can find the whole article HERE.

1. Don’t touch anyone without their consent.

I seriously can’t believe I even have to say this. But just don’t. Don’t grab my arm in a store, sweep my hair behind my ear while we’re standing in line, touch my leg, etc... I don’t care that you’re just trying to “get a better look.” I don’t know you and you’re touching my body.

2. Do not lift up someone’s clothing!

Ahhh! I still can’t believe this happens. And I’m not alone -- every single one of my tattooed girlfriends has horror stories about people grabbing them, touching them, lifting up sleeves, shirts, or even pulling on their waistbands. WTF?!

3. They don’t all have a story.

Actually, most of them do -- but a lot of them are personal or private. If I’ve just met you and you’re grilling me, I’m not going to want to share them with you.

4. Piggybacking on the above -- don’t make a snide comment or insist that I defend them to you.

I’m not going to walk around telling everyone that they should have tattoos or pink hair or mullets or glasses or whatever. It doesn’t bother me that you don’t have tattoos, I don’t see why it should severely offend you that I do. (The “you” here being random stranger, new acquaintance or drunk relative I rarely see).

5. If you’re a medical professional, it is not appropriate to comment on my tattoos unless their presence directly affects your ability to treat me.

Appropriate example: My new allergist says, “Alli, since your arm is heavily covered is it alright with you if I do the prick test on your back? We’ll be able to see it better there since it’s less covered.”

Inappropriate example: A doctor (who I no longer see), right as she’s doing an internal pelvic exam, says, “You’re so covered, you’ve even got ink on your stomach.” Lady, your hand is up my vag -- if we’re not getting sexy, I don’t want to talk about my tattoos.

6. Don’t feel bad for my parents.

Dear friends, and commenters, I know we’ve all heard this before -- for any “questionable” decision we’ve made. “Oh what do your parents say?” or “Oh your poor parents!” Listen, random stranger, my parents may not love that I’m as decorated as I am but they do love that I’m happy, self assured, successful, and independent.

7. Please don’t show me yours.

Drunk dudes seem to sincerely believe that girls with tattoos are going to jump their bones the second we see the faded, scratched, tequila worm or Tasmanian devil they got when they were drunk in college. I have fun talking about my tattoos with fellow collectors, or nice, interesting, earnest people -- I don’t so much enjoy seeing a dude I barely know start to disrobe in the middle of a bar because he wants to show me something. (This seriously happens All. The. Time).

8. Don’t point at me.

I’m sure your mother/third grade teacher/auntie told you that it’s rude. The end.

9. Do feel free to introduce yourself and tell me that you were curious about my tattoos.

If you’re a nice, non-invasive person willing to talk to me like I’m human, sure, I’ll chat with you. Will I lift up my shirt in the middle of the bar like the aforementioned dude-guy? No. But I’ll happily take five minutes to have a polite conversation with you -- all you have to do is treat me like a person.

10. Do feel free to ask me where I got them done.

The people who tattoo me are amazing -- talented, friendly, kind. I’m happy to send you their way.

Any other tattoo dos or don’ts? Etiquette questions? Think I’m a jerk? Reply in the comments.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I Just have to share this!

This photo has been all over Facebook and I felt like I just had to share it. It's just too funny!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hot Topic Fail!!!!

For some reason they dont put this up in their actual stores, but on their web page they post this warning under every piece of body jewelry they sell. Now I have yet another reason to bash their body jewelry. Remember guys; It's worth spending a little extra money on something you're wearing inside your body.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Information is great!!!!

It makes me so happy when I see articles like this start showing up. More and more people are realizing the dangers of piercing guns FINALLY! This article was written by a mother who clearly explains why she would never take her daughter to get her ear lobes pierced at one of those mall kiosks. She makes some very valid points. Kudos to this mom for doing her research!

Industrial strength

Some of my friends over at Pangea Piercing made a video recently where they get to visit the Industrial Strength factory to see some of what goes into making quality body jewelry

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holiday Shopping

The holidays are approaching rapidly, and I bet a lot of have already started your shopping. If you're having trouble deciding what to get a friend/significant other/family member; stop by Fatty's Custom Tattooz and check out some of the awesome jewelry we've got in stock right now. Don't know what they would like? We also have gift certificates which can be used for anything at our shop including tattoos, piercings and even Fatty's merchandise. We even have earrings for those of you who dont have stretched ear lobes; so come check us out before you head to the mall for some generic holiday gift set from Bath and Body Works :P