Growing up I had one of those dads who thought any type of body modification was considered gay. Thanks to Dennis Rodman in the early nineties, my parents thought the idea of tattoos, colored hair and earrings were for insane people. I remember the first time my dad voiced his opinion outload. It was a bright sunny day and this man who had these long dangling earrings walked past us and into my dad’s office “Jr, you see that guy? He’s gay!” I go, “how so?” My dad’s response “he wear the earrings, this is for women, not a man. How you like me pick you up from school wear the long earring, say hi to all your friends!!”

Secretly, what he didn’t know is how bad I wanted my ears pierced. Maybe it was from over exposure of gangster rap music videos and seeing dudes with “bling” in their ears that made it cool. I was always so scared of getting a tattoo or piercing my ears, not at all because physical pain, because I knew my dad would think I was “gay”. Finally, after one year, I mustered up the courage and I went with my girlfriend to the mall at a little chain store called Claire’s. I was so nervous, like it was the biggest life decision I had come across yet. I held on to my girlfriends hand like I was getting a full back piece from Filip Leu. After a 2 second hole-punch, that felt like that stupid optometrist vision machine that shoots wind into your eye, I remember seeing the two little cubic zirconia’s sparkle in the mirror. All I could think was how cool and not-gay I was.

The next thing I pierced was my top cartilage. Eventually this became an obsession. I was listening to a lot of punk rock at the time, so it felt “cool” to have “body modifications”. One night, I got super drunk and thought it would be cool to pierce my lip. I wanted to look like Mark Hoppus from Blink 182 and I failed miserably. I ended up looking like one of those Asian emo kids trying be so different from the other Asians so they pierce their lip. Some faces were built for the piercings, like Hellraiser and those super pierced up guys we see at tattoo conventions, most were not.

I had an ex with nipple piercings and that was super-hot. I had a friend who had his nipples pierced and I didn’t know until we went skating one hot summer day and he took his shirt off- that WASN’T super-hot. I felt like my dad at that moment, I totally judged him. I started traveling around 2009 and when body modifications were abundant it was during the time every chick was getting the mole piercing, the “Monroe”. I felt like people were running out of ideas to pierce things so it led to dermal implants which was a process where it took people and turned them into Klingons. People actually put horns under their head. It’s not every day where you see your friend become the warlock from the movie Legend.

As a skateboarder I personally always looked at piercing similar to roller blading. There is technique for sure but only with the really talented ones doing crazy flips and stuff, it also always struck me as safer. No disrespect to any piercers out there, because it is a very complex procedure only few can do correctly but it’s not permanent. Holes can heal and people get over it. How many girls do you know now in their 40s rocking a “Monroe” or a septum piercing? Tattoos last for life, it’s a more complex decision that takes patience, timing and judgment. The majority of us who have been in this community have something so stupid we want to laser off right now but don’t for a variety of reasons- mainly it being that it’s not a quick and easy thing. You don’t “take out” a piece of ink from your skin and it heals and goes back to normal over time.

– George Wang