What is your biggest body modification pet peeve?  
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former staff member of BME's QOD.

IAM Page: saram

My biggest modification-related pet peeve is definitely all about advice. If there's one thing that drives me crazy, it's all of the terrible advice that's handed out by uninformed but generally well-meaning people. Aftercare advice, jewelry recommendations, medical advice, etc. Bad advice is everywhere.

Let's start with aftercare advice. This one is pretty pervasive. Why do people ask their friends and total strangers (online, especially) for aftercare advice? Why don't they ask the people that pierced or tattooed them? If you trusted the person to do the procedure, why not trust his or her aftercare recommendations? I see questions about aftercare everywhere, on bulletin boards and forums and chat rooms and web journals. And people are very eager to give their suggestions, which range from reasonable ideas to advice that could be dangerous if followed. Some of the advice is decent, certainly, but how could the average individual sort through it and pick out the good ideas? Really, I just don't understand why people can't consult a piercer, or a tattoo artist, or a doctor... someone who might have reliable information.

Similarly, it drives me nuts when people ask friends and strangers for a medical diagnosis: "Does my navel look infected to you?" "Do you think I'm having a reaction to the ink?" "Is my eyebrow piercing rejecting?" Again, the people most qualified to answer these questions are doctors and practitioners. If you really think you've got a reaction or an infection, SEE A DOCTOR. Don't ask a newsgroup! You need to show it to someone, in person, who knows what they're looking at.

I'm also annoyed when people blindly advise someone about jewelry -- the "right" gauge for something, or the "standard" diameter, for example. Piercers have different gauge and diameter recommendations, and people's bodies vary in size and shape. Again, ask the piercer!

Even with the best intentions, bad advice can be harmful. I hope that people who read this will consider their sources for advice, and think about what recommendations they're giving to others.

And that's my advice.


Piercer and manager of The Edge Tattoo in Rhode Island, in the process of organizing a Boston based suspension group.

IAM Page: goddam

Oh man, first off I guess I should say that the first thing that came to mind when I red this month's question was "where do I start?" I guess that's the nature of being passionate about anything. You love the good and as much as you can of the neutral you can, but you HATE the negative because you feel it taints something that you love? Does that make sense? Before I start with my answer I'd like to remind anyone reading that this is very much a "In My Opinion" type answer, I'm trying not to be offensive, but also trying to answer honestly so please take that to heart before you send me hate mail or think of me as an asshole or elitist.

First on the block, ignorance...on any scale in any situation willful ignorance is annoying. But ignorance plays many roles in what frustrates me on a daily basis working in this industry. It comes in many forms. I'll start with my fellow artists / practitioners out there; I take junk jewelry out of kids like shrapnel, on a daily basis. Deal with irate parents whose children are using aftercare products that I consider too harsh to wash my hands with and surprise, surprise are having issues healing. Bad placement, ridiculous jewelry choices, people thinking they can defy the very laws of matter and jam 3/4" of tissue into a 1/2" barbell without serious repercussions, and countless other things because some people don't think they need to evolve as information and resources do. There is no excuse in this day to be ignorant about anything. I hear about horrible work conditions, a surprising amount of piercers not wearing sterile gloves and on a few occasions heard about piercers not wearing gloves at all. I can only hope this is ignorance, though it seems like outright stupidity to me. I see practitioners doing brandings, cuttings, dermal punching, piercing etc wearing exclusively exam gloves, no masks and opening sterile packs in all kinds of wrong ways it doesn't matter if it's your gauze or your jewelry, if you're touching it with your less than sterile gloves you negate any good intention with cross contamination. WHY BOTHER? It is this almost-informed individual that seemingly knows what they're doing that makes this industry so dangerous. Why are there practitioners (and by this I mean anyone that works with skin) who haven't taken blood borne pathogens courses, or just ignore every bit of it? Why are artists opening up their clients and their friends to infection and possible disease transmission if not worse? Better yet, why aren't these practitioners being stopped? Why don't you the customer know better and stop these people before potentially killing you? Why do people continue to let these people do substandard work with materials we have known for years aren't good enough, use methods we know to be dangerous, WHY? Why don't practitioners know basic and relevant first aid? I don't feel like I'm asking too much, my mother always told me that a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing and I don't think I ever really saw that saying for its worth until I started working in this industry. Don't get me wrong, there are some amazing practitioners out there, some of the work I see blows my mind I have tremendous respect for all the artists out there. This isn't an easy industry to break into or stay in. However, working in this industry comes with responsibility that has to be paid attention to.

Next up, egos and unprofessionalism! Yeah, you're god, we know. What the hell is up with people and their egos in this industry? You're so rock and roll you should come to work hung over? You're such an amazing artist you can keep your appointment waiting for 3 hours? Intentionally over charging? "Stupid tax"? Intentionally doing something during a procedure that causes excessive pain? Mocking someone's choice of tattoo, body piercing etc? Since when did we all become so cynical? I hear complaints about being ignored, talked down to, yelled at, and basically treated like crap by a lot of people. "I went to go get a tattoo... but the guy at the counter laughed at me when I showed him what I wanted" you get the drift. My message to people like this is now and will always be as follows. If you don't love your job, and I mean LOVE your job, get the hell out, and move the hell on. You tattooed your hands neck throat and forehead? Sorry, your problem. There are far too many good artists out of work or in crumby shops for the "good jobs" to be taken by those who don't want to work them (the same is true with any industry) Whether we want to recognize it this is a customer service industry and many of us need to clean up our acts. (Except me, I'm an angel)

Last but not least (and for the sake of repetition I've omitted the common "did that hurt" and so on): Artist appreciation. If I ever hear the sentence "a trained monkey could be a body piercer" again I think I'll vomit. It was humorously thrown at me a few times by some people that didn't realize its offensive nature, hell telling anyone any skill they've devoted their adult lives to learning is downright mean and would generally be considered insulting...why would this be funny? Probably the same reason that there were recently people who raved about "the new piercing guns" finally we don't have to go to a shop anymore, finally I don't have to spend 40+ dollars on a piercing, Finally my friend can poke all kinds of badly placed crooked holes with a blunt pseudo piercing tool and I can be cool for the low low price of... Why didn't this, in a community based upon the appreciation of body modification, and apparently to my delusion body piercers and tattoo artists why wasn't this met with large scale disapproval and rejection? Why would we fantasize about laser tattoo machines that would eliminate jobs and why are we looking at these guns with anticipation? Because the sad truth of it is when boiled down, a lot of people don't appreciate artists/ practitioners. In every way artists and practitioners go unappreciated sometimes. From not simply thanking your artist for a job well done, to underpaying, haggling for prices, not using proper aftercare technique or products, not caring for your new work. Many artists and more so practitioners are grossly underpaid. For example if you look at the salary of your average body piercer versus tattoo artist you see a HUGE difference in many cases. The mark up on body piercing is pretty big I know I'm not letting any cats outa the bag here, but there is. And we all know it to be the truth. Now I haven't worked at every shop in the world but many piercers get paid way less than tattoo artists...why is this? I provide the same service a tattoo artist does but because my service only takes a matter of minutes I should hardly make a living wage? Body piercings typically bring in the majority of customers in most shops that offer both services. Why is the person seeing the most people and getting that traffic in the least paid? Hell why are most artists only offered commission? Why are artists and practitioners not offered paid holidays and vacations? Health benefits and life/health insurance as a general rule instead of something you hear about? Sounds like a lack of appreciation to me.

Starving children in Cambodia, yeah...I know there are injustices in this world greater than my personal beefs with this industry and so on, but it makes me wonder. If you LOVE your navel piercing or butterfly tattoo, or equally your chest piece or the industrial or surface piercing why don't you show your appreciation for it? I think if more people in general appreciated artists, artists wouldn't have to deal with low balling penny pinching sorry you're only worth minimum wage employers who are just trying to make a buck, just to be employed doing what they love.


the mind behind BME.

IAM Page: glider

Asking me what my biggest pet peeve with body modification is is kind of like asking me what my biggest pet peeve about my Porsche is -- no complaints -- I think they're both great! I have nothing bad to say about body modification and have no pet peeves regarding it. Some people misuse body modification in my opinion, other people water it down and try and commercialize it, and so on, but honestly, that reflects poorly on them, not on body modification. To talk about a Porsche again, if someone can't handle the power and gets killed in one, that's the fault of the driver, not of the car. However, the general public is just as stupid as the bad driver, and thus would rather blame the car than metaphorically point the finger at themselves. So my pet peeve is with idiots, not with body modification.


mod enthusiast.

IAM Page: Dragon Slave

Wow, what a question. I honestly have to say when people ask certain things about pieces I haven't covered up as of yet. I've moved on, and have done my best to tell the people that mean the most what NOT to talk about-- however every so often someone'll hug me and their hands will brush over it, almost re-triggering bad memories. Not really a pet peeve, but certainly annoying.

A REAL pet peeve would be the fact that, even when it isn't 100% obvious you've a tattoo or a piercing of some sort, people in the parlours will bump and grind their way past you if it's busy -- no 'oh, sorry,' or 'pardon me,' or anything. Yes, sometimes we may LOOK like savages, but it doesn't mean you should treat us that way as well.