Piercing fans modify their bodies with scar, brands and amputations

There are people, who want to cone their teeth, bisect their tongues, or make elf ears

Tattoos and piercing does not surprise anyone now. One may observe the new fashion nowadays – the extreme body modification. When I was riding a bus one day, I saw a girl sitting opposite me. Her eyebrows, lips and ears were all pierced. It seemed that she had about 500 grams of little metal things hanging on her. I realized that I was staring at her too later: she noticed that. However, it seemed to me that the girl quite enjoyed it. In a minute she winked at me and stuck out her tongue. That was an eye-opener! As it turned out, the girl had two tongues! She apparently liked the expression of horror on my face – she burst out laughing and stuck her horrible tongues out even farther. I then realized that the girl had her tongue bisected – it was reminiscent of a snake tongue. When I got off the bus I kept on thinking about the girl – whether it was possible for her to get rid of such a horrible defect. Needless to say that I was shocked to know that it was not a defect at all.

It turned out that a bisected tongue was one of the latest fashion trend in piercing. Such a service costs about $500. The fashion appeared in the USA and now it has reached Russia. The service is available in several Moscow pierce and tattoo shops; it is called the body modification. “It takes quite a time for the two parts of the tongue to acquire an ability to move independently from one another. Some people do such an operation to impress others. Someone perceives it as a mystical ritual, others like the idea of unusual feelings in the mouth,” a specialist of one of the piercing shops said.

Tattoos and pierced body parts do not make the maximum of what young people can find in the modern society. One may get a crystal tattoo, when tiny crystals are fixed directly on skin, or a scarring tattoo, when human skin is “adorned” with scars. Scarifaction has become rather popular in today's civilized world. Some people think that facial scars can be highly erotic. The service of scarifaction is now added with a 'kiss of fire,' 'branding' or a stigma, when skin is branded with red-hot iron. For the time being, there are about 200 shops in the world, where people can be branded like cows or horses. However, it is not ruled out that the service will become widespread like bellybutton piercing. As a rule, people decide to brand themselves in order to celebrate an important event in their lives: a wedding, a divorce, a birthday. A branding ornament is not so distinct as a tattoo, for example, but branding fans say that it is full of ritual power.

To all appearance, ”modificators” do not wish to stop at scars and stigmas. There are people, who want to cone their teeth or place silicon implants in various body parts. Characters of the horror movie “Hellraiser” are out of competition at this point. The last word of body modification is elf ears – it became rather popular among Tolkien fans. To crown it all, there are individuals, who venture to undergo a complete modification of their bodies. They want to have their fingers and toes amputated; some of them want to be castrated.

Some researchers believe that such a horrible cult of piercing originated from the book “Modern Primitives” by V.Vale (published in 1989). The book tells of members of a certain underground subculture – men and women, who have a variety of tattoos, scars, piercing and brands. Those people, the pioneers of body modification, were inspired by primitive tribes from India and South Africa. It is well known that tribal men from Central Africa implant small plates in their lower lips. The men replace those plates with bigger ones, as they grow. The Maya practiced all kinds of penis decorations. The practice had both a ritual and a sexual meaning. Psychologists say that contemporary people decide to use such services in order to attract other people's attention or simply shock them.

Vadim Samokatov

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Author`s name Olga Savka