Column: Auntie Says… Sometimes less is more.

Let’s have a chat about tattoos, piercings, and stretching. For the most part, people aren’t too shocked anymore by these things.

Brow, cheek, or lip piercings, for example, if done professionally and in moderation, can be attractive. The biggest problem might be catching them on your favourite sweater.

Other body piercings that are, shall we say, more private, are nobodies business. My advice to you though is to always use a professional to do them and follow the rules of hygiene.

The nice thing about piercings is that they can be removed and don’t have to be a permanent part of who you are.

Tattoos, however, are different in their permanence and projected (sometimes unspoken) message to the world. If you’re planning on getting one, slow down and consider your options. What may seem funny or cool when you’re 18, may not be so appealing when you’re 30. Tattoos can be a work of art or they can be an embarrassing ink stain on your body for all to see. The decision to get tats or not, is ultimately yours, but I make one plea to your senses, please no tats from the neck up.

Things like a tear tattoo, Nazi symbols, or language on your face, neck or head, steps over the boundary of good taste. Stop and think, if someone is pressuring you or trying to talk you into something when the little voice in the back of your head is saying that it’s not a good idea, then tell them that Auntie said you had to wait. Blame Auntie … it’s all good.

Self expression is a good thing but if you’re moving forward without taking the time to weigh the pros and cons (or making the decision while angry, drunk or feeling spiteful), you can neglect common sense, dignity and self respect. Expressing yourself should be about you and not just to shock others in a negative way. If you tattoo ‘screw you’ across your forehead, what you’ve actually done is screwed yourself with a forever label of loser.

And let’s have a word about gauging or stretching. The other day I saw a man (he was probably about 35 years old) leaving a store. He had holes in his ear lobes big enough for me to put my fist through (this may be a bit of an Auntie exaggeration, but not by much). Given the opportunity I would’ve asked him why he’d done that to himself, and did he have any regrets. I would’ve also told him that I thought it was the ugliest thing I’d ever seen. Yuck. Gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.

This whole lobe stretching (some do it with their nasal septum as well … yuck), in my opinion, is just gross. Whether you’re doing it for attention or shock value, you definitely can’t disguise or cover it and you may not be able to fix it later. Ask yourself if that’s what you want. Do you want judgement passed about you before you have a chance to even present who you are?

Gauging is a slow process (and apparently painful) so there’s no reason why you can’t pull back before it gets to the ridiculous proportions like the guy I saw (shiver). According to Wikipedia, the “point of no return is 10mm.” Consider the fact that sometimes less is more because once the lobe is stretched past that point, the elasticity of the skin is compromised and the holes won’t close. Mind you, this could be helpful when Auntie tells you to give your head a shake and you’re slapped upside the head by the floppy elephant sized lobes for doing it in the first place.

Be safe. Have a good week.

Faye Arcand is a freelance writer living in the South Okanagan. www.fayeearcand.com, faye.arcand@icloud.com

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