11 May, 2011

Pull It Together, You Masochist!

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those only of the author and may only coincidentally reflect those of Mystic Metals, its employees, or associates. All responses should be posted as comments here, or mailed directly to the author, A. Robert Basile, at ihatebasile@gmail.com. Mail sent directly to Mystic Metals will not be read.

Pull It Together, You Masochist!


You know who wrote better songs than Bill Withers? No one. Man, that guy was awesome. See also, “Grandma’s Hands,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and “Who Is He (And What Is He To You)?” This dude was outrageous. He’s one of those cats, I think Tom Petty is another, who lyrically just puts down exactly what is rattling around in your head. See also, “I can’t keep looking at loneliness and trying to call it freedom.” Excellent stuff.

Hypocrisy is a great word. Say it with me: hypocrisy. We all know what hypocrisy means, right kids? That’s a good class. That looks like it’s the word of the day. Let’s come back to it a little later. For now, let’s talk about a modification that I like to call awesome. Actually, it’s called a corset piercing. I just really like it. Moving on…

A corset piercing is a series of parallel surface piercings into which captive bead rings are placed. As the two rows of piercings descend down the skin, a ribbon is fed through the captives in a crossing pattern, mimicking the appearance of the laces that hold a corset together. Traditionally done on the back for full effect, the corset piercing can be placed wherever there is enough surface flesh. On the upper arm, on the backs of legs, on throats and bellies. Pretty much anywhere within reason. Typically, this mod is temporary, as with most surface mods. They push out in a matter of weeks in some cases. I was lucky enough to have my throat pierced for several months before it decided to evict itself.

Why are you talking about this now? Didn’t you write an article about corsets and corset piercings years ago on this very blog? I did, voice in my head. And for the last time, voice in my head; I won’t kill my neighbor’s chinchilla to show my obsession with Peter O’Toole. I read an article today for a paper of news in England about corset piercings. The article was about the corset, not the paper. That was a poorly constructed sentence. Anyway, ignoring the dumb title and how misinformed it in itself is (“Surgeon blasts new 'corset piercing' fad where pierced skin is pulled together with ribbons”), let’s get into the modified meat of the article.

The article pretty fairly talks about the mod, how it’s done, and the aesthetic result of it. It does occasionally call it a fad, which is kind of irritating to me, but that’s forgivable for those out side of the community. It also uses Lady Gaga as an example of silicone implants, which is also irritating. The Enigma and The Lizardman called; they said hi. And it also uses the word trend a couple times. But that’s not what is eye catching about this article. The article used a ‘medical expert’ for context who is a council member of a thing called the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. (I bet none of them stands next to the radiator at their meetings.) This surgeon, Kevin Hancock, had some poopy things to say. Remember the hypocrisy thing from earlier?

Plastic surgeon Kevin Hancock (and no, I’m not going to make a cock joke), said the prerequisite things about infection and rejection and all that. As if we who mod don’t realize we have to clean our shit. He seems very focused on the scarring from the inevitable rejection of the mod, again as if we didn’t know that is going to happen. But there were a couple of choice quotes in there that I’d like to address, if I may. Dear quotes… (That joke is terrible.)

The very first thing quoted from this surgeon cat was this, “I can't believe it's something that people would be attracted to.” Let’s hit the brakes right there. You can’t believe it? That tells me that when someone shows you the mod, you think it is something of some divine origin that is beyond the realms of your comprehension. Can’t believe or can’t accept? Those are very different things, Mr. Kevin Hancock, master plastic surgeon. And let’s take note of what you do for money. You’re telling me that you can’t believe that people would want participate in an aesthetic practice thousands of years old, yet you can believe, I assume, that people would want to participate in an aesthetic practice that you perform, such as a nose job? Yes, I know the earliest evidence of a nose job is somewhere around 800 BC in India, but seriously. Let’s keep some perspective here.

My man, Kevin ‘the Kleaner’ Hancock (I made up that ring name for him), discusses the scarring, using the word “horrendous” at one point, and says that after having seen photos of a corset piercing (not necessarily the piercing in person), the process is “…absolutely barking to me.” Though I like the phrase, ‘absolutely barking,’ this seems unreasonable to me that a cat who sees the insides of peoples faces every day can view this mod as “absolutely barking.” We’ve all seen photos of nose jobs and tit jobs and liposuction, right? Image search that shit if you want to see some horror that is absolutely barking and horrendous.

And then the two words that every modification ignorant person uses in defense of what he likes and offense for what he distastes. Say them with me, kids: “bizarre,” and “masochistic.” Can we please, for the love of God who is all that is great and loving, stop with the masochism shit? What a sieve of an argument that is. It has no weight at all, and it has gotten very old. It’s almost as if people who want to shit on mod who can’t form an intelligent argument goes knee jerkingly over to the masochistic argument because it seems easy and reasonable. It isn’t. Yes, there are people in our community who garner pleasure from pain. I’m not denying that. There are also people who are mothers and fathers, businessmen and congressmen, teachers and bakers, gays and straights, and maybe even that woo girl right at the front of my side of the stage during a gig holding her Miller Lite proudly in the air while singing the words to the terrible Katy Perry song I’m playing. All of those distinctions have people in their communities who subscribe to masochistic tendencies. It’s true. People like different stuff, is what I’m saying. So just fucking stop with the masochistic argument. It’s really stupid. Why does no one call a woman who gets her face and legs waxed regularly a masochist? That shit hurts a lot more than a surface piercing. And this plastic surgeon, Mr. Kevin ‘the Killer’ Hancock, is honestly going to talk to me about the pain of modification as he visits a facelift victim in post-op all bandaged up like the Invisible Man and being fed an ungodly amount of morphine to quell the agony of having his face turned inside out? Sweet hypocrisy. Tastes like Yoohoo, only not as awesome as Yoohoo.

The article also quoted a modification artist who has performed the corset piercing many times and who herself has had the mod. She talks about the technical aspects of the mod, but then, just as any mod artist quoted in a slanted article about the ‘horrors’ of modification, defends the art as safe. She even goes so far as to cite an example of performing the mod on a forty-five year old in a sort of ‘see, normal people do it too’ kind of argument to clearly define that everything is on the normal.

At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, I am a defender of beauty in all forms. I support plastic surgery as modification; I support it as a heavy manipulation of the self in order to more closely achieve an internalized beauty and aesthetic. After all, most plastic surgery is a much heavier modification than I am willing to get. But it seems as if that appreciation is so very rarely reciprocated to the modification community. That is very unfair, I think. Regardless of how the modified person wishes to be modified, isn’t the important thing that the person is attempting to achieve a comfort in his own skin? We are tethered to our decaying carbon meat bags for the rest of forever, and doing what we will with it helps us enjoy the stay. We are all beautiful, regardless if some dude with a mirror on his head (please tell me doctors still wear those) chisels out our septum, or if an artist at a tattoo shop adorns our flesh with a corset piercing or other mod. The goal is the same, and the starting point is the same. Both the starting point and the ending point are beauty. I just wish these plastic surgery people would get off their hypocritical horse about what they do and what a modification artist does. The only difference is that a tit job, a nose job, an eye job are all big socially acceptable productions involving waver forms and insurance policies. A piercing or a tattoo is an invitation into a welcoming and beautiful culture and society. Maybe I just see it too simply. Stay beautiful, kids.

*Extra Bloggy Goodness!*

Here is the website of Kevin Hancock. http://kevinhancockcosmeticsurgery.com/index.html Tell me what’s creepier: a piercing through a forgettable piece of flesh, or the descriptions of the procedures that this cat provides. Maybe it isn’t we who are the masochists, but rather everyone is a masochist if all we want to do is hack and cut and slice and pull together our skin and guts. Let him know that I talked about him, kids. Posting a link only takes two seconds.



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