Discovering our inner rebel
Dazed and Amused
People have always tried to do things that set them apart from the rest of the crowd. Non-conformists for years have changed their clothes, hairstyles and hair colors in order to look different.
The problem has always been that with everyone trying to look different, everyone ends up looking the same. Because it's so easy to change clothes and hair, we've come to the point where there's only one really sure fire way to insure your individuality: endure intense pain voluntarily, and pay ridiculous amounts of money to do so.
No, not Orgo. I'm talking about tattoos and body piercings. Though no longer as rare as they used to be, tattoos and piercings still are not quite in the mainstream.
After intense sociological study in several different geographical areas, I've discovered that the reason tattoos are not even more popular is that they hurt a lot and scar your body for life.
After conducting the same study with regards to body piercing, I realized that body piercings may not be on every man woman and child because it involves sticking sharp pointy objects into your skin.
Tattoos and piercings aren't as easy to procure as thrift store clothing, bowling shoes and Buddy Holly glasses, because it takes a special kind of person to get them, a special kind of sick and demented yet somehow cool person.
Which is why I had to get one.
Well, not really. Tattooing was never an option for me, because, well, having "Lafortune Building Managers 4 Eva!" sprawled on my back at age 70 didn't sound too appealing.
But because body piercing is relatively painless and not nearly as permanent, I thought this would be the safe way to realize my inner rebel.
But, as always, my desire for approval beat out my desire to be a non-conformist. After running my eyebrow ring idea past friends and the entire ndtoday.com community and getting responses ranging from disgust to … disgust, I decided piercings weren't so cool after all.
A couple of my friends, however, were still willing to endure torture in the name of individuality. One wanted a shamrock tattoo (because, you know, not many people here want that), and another friend wanted her navel pierced.
Though piercing was no longer in the cards for me, I thought I could at least be rebellious vicariously by tagging along … plus I was putting off writing this column.
Because we are oh-so-non-conformist, we decided to patronize Michiana Tattoo, the place where all Notre Dame students go for their tattooing and piercing needs.
Yeah, not too crazy, I know, but at least we got to cross the state line to do it, making the activity feel somewhat illicit, like gambling or getting extra deposit money on bottles.
My friend wanted the most sterile masochistic experience possible, so she asked numerous questions about cleanliness, infections, Hell's Angels meetings, et cetera, and indeed, the place was relatively low on the shady scale.
However, the one thing my friends neglected to find out was whether or not they had time to actually tattoo or pierce them with their impeccably clean pointy sticks.
After getting lost in Niles and making a U-turn in front of a scary looking NASCAR enthusiast we arrived at the place only to learn that all the employees were booked for the rest of the day. Apparently, all those wishing to thwart authority and throw caution to the wind need appointments.
So our afternoon was pretty much a bust. My tattoo-wanting friend made an appointment for next week, but my piercing pal could not fit poking herself into her upcoming schedule.
So who knows when they get to be different from the pack, or if it will be anything different by the time they get it done. As for me, I have an appointment at Abercrombie I'm late for.
Amy Schill is a junior English major. She can be reached at Schill.firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column normally appears every other Monday.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
All Viewpoint Stories for Thursday, September 27, 2001