12 August, 2010

A Room With A Modded View

A Room With A Modded View


“In other words, please be true. In other words, I love you.” Name that song. It’s the song I’m listening to right now. I guess that isn’t really a clue since you’re not in the narrow space between my obnoxiously large headphones and my earholes. And if you are, then you’re probably a one celled organism, or some kind of unwelcome virus or something, in which case, please don’t infect my earhole with whatever nastiness you’re designed to create. Let’s talk about modification now, OK? Here we go.

If you’re one of my modified readers, then two things are true. One is that you have piercings or tattoos, and the other is that you have a job. Mods aren’t cheap, and if you’re smart, you pay good money to good artists for good art. So you need the job to finance your beautification. One of the more frequent questions I get about modification is, ‘where do you work?’ That’s right after, ‘what gauge are your gauges,’ with is usually followed by a pretentious eye roll from me. It makes a slurping sound, right Izzy? Usually, I answer them that I do a ton of work for no money, but that doesn’t really answer their questions. But it seems as if people are terribly vexed with the idea that modified people, and more heavily modified people specifically, can maintain jobs with the unconventionally beautiful aesthetic that we wear. This seems to often be the subject of stupid polls and uneducated people’s message board comments, and that’s what we’re going to talk about.

On the USA Today website, I came across a little thing that applies to what I’m talking about. Specifically, the article spoke of modified people in the hotel business and if guests of hotels prefer modified or unmodified people working at them. The overwhelming result of their stupid poll was no; people would prefer to not see mods on the employees of hotels in which they stay regardless of what type of modification it is. Readers’ comments ranged from fair to absurd. One said that he believes the employer has the right to limit modifications and other elements of appearance of his employees. I agree with that, and that is never really an issue so long as we all know that going in. If I go to a job interview with my 1 ⅛” lobes, labret, visible tattoos, and six gauge septum, I would hope that the employer would make me aware of those policies up front and politely honestly rather than waiting three weeks later during interview four with a sentence that starts with the phrase, ‘by the way.’ But the comment of limiting mods is a fair and polite one. Others, like the one that calls mods “this stuff” are slightly less polite.

Another topic in the hotel mod bullshit conversation was the idea that those of us in the culture ought to be prepared for fewer career opportunities than unmodded folk. I think we know this, and if you’re heavily modified and bitching about not getting a job on Wall Street, then you’re an idiot. It’s like the antismoking commercials that preach to me, a smoker, about the bad shit smoking does to people. Yeah, no shit. I’m not an idiot. To point these things out is an insult to those at whom the comments are directed. We’re not stupid. The commenter that brought this topic to light could have stopped there and saved some face, but instead, he continued to let horseshit fall from his mouth when he said, “If a four-star resort wants to hire 'lizard girl,' they must also tolerate the loss of business if the clients don't come back.” Too far, brochacho. There is an inherent assumption here that ‘lizard girl,’ as this dickhole calls her, is a polar magnet to those who would typically stay at four star hotels. Perhaps he forgets that our modified money is just as green as ‘lizard girl’s’ skin.

Commenters continued the discussion with quantifying where mods are more appropriate than other places. One said he wouldn’t care at a Motel 6, but at a Hilton he would mind. I can understand where that comes from, but I can also consider the absurdity in that assessment. Both establishments have a bed, a TV, a breakfast that often ends way before I get my lazy ass out of bed. Both establishments have the same basic service. People take your money so you can sleep at their place. It’s like an inn right out of Dragon Warrior III. No, IV. No, III was good too. It’s the perception of what a Motel 6 is and what a Hilton is. Ironically, the Hilton brand is still considered upscale regardless of how intolerably disgusting young Paris continues to be. But the idea that a modified person is more acceptable in a theatre that is perceived as lower class speaks to me that the modified person befits the lower class establishment, making him lower class. See how that’s insulting?

This quote from another reader was priceless too. “There was a chrome (piercing) hanging out her nose and when she spoke there was a ring in her tongue... ...I was going to gag.” That guy can go fuck himself with a sandpaper dildo. (Thanks to Doug for ‘sandpaper dildo.’) Gag? Really? If this dude is moved to gag from a modification, then he probably needs to see one of those ear, nose, and throat doctors because something is definitely medically wrong with him in the esophagus area. Any insinuation that someone’s aesthetic causes a violent bodily reaction is terribly misguided, overstated, and absurd. That dude is honestly going to tell me that looking at something on someone’s face makes him ill? Listen to yourself, dickhole, and see how ignorant and intolerant that makes you sound.

One intelligent commenter on this article offered first hand experience of being modified and working in the service industry. The reader talks about covering his mods, and then smartly adds, “The focus needs to be on the service provided - not what the person providing the service looks like.” Thank God for reason, and I appreciate the article representing more than a single faceted point of view.

What does all of this bullshit mean? Not too much to us modified people. Good thing I wasted a thousand words on it. What it does mean is that the intolerance toward modified people to do a job that in no way is affected by their modifications is growing in its myopia. We do these things to ourselves, kids. Make no mistake. We have limited our opportunities by adding to our own beauty in the ways that make us most comfortable. Anyone who would argue with that is an idiot. It’s not like a race thing or a sexual orientation thing. These things we can’t help. But I would have to argue that we oughtn’t be limited in our expression of beauty because jobs are resistant to our cultural expression. The reason for modification seems often to be the most forgiving attribute in these theatres of occupation. For example, my faith requires me to have a septum piercing. Even though that is in no way true, if I could prove that to an employer and he refuses to hire me, then I have a legal backing to press the issue. Does it make my six gauge septum any different looking? No, but faith is protected and our individual realizations of beauty are not. The septum is the same. Twenty-two gauge, diamond stud earrings are socially acceptable for women to wear at a job, but my 1 ⅛” tunnels are not. Fundamentally, aren’t they the same thing? That might be splitting hairs. The point is that there are those who would honestly avoid certain places because they employ people with modifications, and in today’s society which is supposed to preach this bullshit premise of colorblindness, progressive acceptance, and a government that reaches its hand toward people of all shades, shapes and sizes, the open admittance that someone with a tongue piercing or a nostril is the flavor of person that oughtn’t be employed by a certain type of place seems grossly hypocritical. Maybe people like me should just stay at Motel 6 and avoid the money spenders over at the Hilton. But how prestigious could any hotel be when they have William Shatner busting through walls and telling me to bid lower? Stay beautiful, kids.


Talk to A. Robert Basile on AIM at Basilephone
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  1. This is a conversation you and I need to have over coffee. I don't really feel I can say anything without a conversation but I will try. I judge with my eyes. Everyone does. If I see a modded person in a customer service position, do I avoid them? No. However, if said modded person answers my question like a douche...he is a douche and I will most likely react with fury, blame his mods, and his boss for hiring someone stupid on top of having mods. Double standards, I know, considering my profession. It doesn't stop at mods though. It's a judgment based on whatever I perceive that person's weakness to be. My boss is pretty cool. So far he hasn't limited me, I limit myself. I know that people will judge me and that I will have to prove myself to some people so I go above and beyond with my customers. I don't draw attention to things they can judge, which in turn allows put a new spin on their perceptions. On first meeting, I cover up, as I want to put my best foot forward. When I prove who I am and what I'm about, I can loosen up about my appearance. Is that right? Not necessarily. Is it wrong? Maybe in some ways. In the end, you do what you have to do. There will be some people who are completely accepting and others, not at all. The best you can do is show them what you have and not make yourself your mods.
    As Beck's Dude just said, we have alot of work to do to make up for the losers.

  2. AND as for the "I was going to gag" comment. Everyone is different. Beck's dude won't help me put an earring in because it makes him sick. This dude...even though he may seem irrational, his feelings are still valid.