Those men aside, there exists a group of people who I can not physically interact with without falling head over heels, knock-me-over-the-head-with-a-two-by-four, stupid in love with: tattoo artists and body piercers. There. I said it. I was honest. Am I aware that it's childish and stupid? Yes. Do I feel better having admitted it? Slightly.
I don't really know what my hang up here is, but I've fallen in love with every single person to tattoo or pierce me in the history of modifying my body. (Except for the woman who pierced my ears at the Afterthoughts in Lake Forest Mall, circa 1990.) (Although let's not lie, she had a shape to her too...) I'm sure you could make some terribly pseudo-psychoanalytical point here about how you give your body to a tattoo artist and/or body piercer and they penetrate you and it's kind of like sex when you think about it so how could you not be left with some attachment to them? But I'd rather chalk it up to: you're hot and heavily tattooed + I'm into that + now you're touching me = I have a lady boner.
And the physical attractiveness of said tattoo artist/body piercer is a complete non-issue. You could look like a cross between Sloth from The Goonies and Phil Spector and I'd still bang you out six ways from Sunday and buy us monogrammed towels if you've got a needle in your hand.
The very first piercer I ever fell in love with was a young gentleman known as American Dan who had a little piercing stand in an oxygen bar on the boardwalk of Ocean City, Maryland. (Hi. I caught crabs just from typing that sentence.) As is the tradition of Beach Week, I spent the week between the last day of high school and our actual graduation ceremony at Talia's grandparent's beach house in Bethany and we'd frequently go into Ocean City to explore the night life of America's preeminent White Trash Playground.
One night, we decided we'd all head to the boardwalk and get something pierced, as is another grand post-high school, pre-college rebellious tradition. (Except I don't think what I did could technically be defined as "rebellious" as I pussed out and only got my mid-cartilage pierced and called my mom first to make sure it was OK. But, you know, the road to rebellion is paved with small, cubic-zirconia-studded steps.)
Once seated in American Dan's sketchy back office, I immediately fell in love with him. Which is odd because if I remember correctly, American Dan had a Jew-fro and a dick tattoo, but still, there I was—a young girl smitten. He was all I could think about for the remaining week. I was convinced I'd let my one shot at true love with American Dan (god...) slip between my fingers, so when my friend Ali decided to go back a few days later and get her nose pierced, I immediately shotgunned being the supportive friend who got to go with her and hold her hand. It was our last night at the beach and I walked into that oxygen bar (Jesus Christ...) dolled up and ready to make my intentions known.
I had a very concrete plan on how to do this.
Step 1: hold Ali's hand and act incredibly cool. And apparently acting incredibly cool meant lying to American Dan and telling him that I was a 20-year old Sophomore at AU. Which, to be fair, was sort of true. Kind of. If you ignore...most of the truth. American Dan asked me where I hung out in DC and I swear to god I replied, "Well, we hang out in Adams a lot, but that scene is getting kind of played out." "Yeah, I totally know what you mean," American Dan responded. I was mentally peeing my pants. I had no idea where that line came from and I was shocked it actually worked. Because I didn't know shit about DC nightlife when I was 18. On any given weekend night in high school, I was doing one of the following three activities:
1.) Sitting in a booth at the T.G.I. Friday's on Rockville Pike eating a brownie sundae with my girlfriends, shamelessly hitting on male waiters to the point of border-line sexual harassment.
2.) Awkwardly holding a can of Busch Lite and desperately wishing I knew how to talk to the opposite sex at a field party in the middle of bumble fuck nowhere Howard County, Maryland.
3.) Driving around in my friend Billy's SUV getting high, ordering a gross number of apple pies from the McDonald's late night drive-through menu and acting extremely paranoid.
Those three activities were my high school experience in a nutshell. Never did we do anything remotely interesting in the city. So kudos to me for remembering some random shit I must have heard my sister say and being able to get it out with a straight face.
Step 2: Slip a note into American Dan's tip jar when he isn't looking and wait for him to fall in love and call me. What did the note say?
HERE'S A TIP: CALL ME! 301-221-####. - MEG
I wish I were kidding. But I'm just not. And the thing is, I thought I had such fucking game with that line. I sat down with pen and paper for like a solid 30-minutes trying to phrase that perfectly and when I was done I gave myself a high-five and walked around the house thinking I was a sex goddess.
So later that night, sexy note a-burnin' a hole in my pocket, I sat there holding Ali's hand in American Dan's piercing shack waiting for the perfect moment to slip it in his jar. (That's what she said.) (She being me.) (AND HOW!) Now, American Dan's tip jar was located on the counter directly above the drawer where he kept his packets of sterile needles. I waited until American Dan had all of his instruments set up on a tray and had his back turned to clean Ali's nose. Then I seized the moment, folded my note in half and silently slipped it into his tip jar. "SLAM AND DUNK!" I thought to myself.
And then the worst thing that could have possibly happened, happened: right before he pierced Ali's nose, he dropped the needle. I saw that son-of-a-bitch fall to the floor in slow motion and my heart stopped. He couldn't use a dirty needle—he'd have to go back over to the tip jar area to get a new one. Remember the tip jar? That giant glass tip jar I had just put my pathetic little note in? The one you can see into? And the only thing in it was a folded note that wasn't there 30 seconds ago...?
My eyes were as wide as saucers. My breath caught in my throat. "OH SHIT. OH SHIT. MAYBE HE WON'T SEE IT," I thought to myself, "SHOULD I RUN? DO I RUN? I CAN'T LEAVE ALI. OH SHIT. OH GOD. OH SHIT. MAYBE HE WON'T SEE IT?!?!?!?"
American Dan stopped looking through the needle drawer and glanced up at his tip jar with a raised eyebrow. "What's that?" he asked.
"UHHHHHH. UHHHHHHHH....IT'S. NOTHING. I. THAT'S FOR. YOU? NO IT'S NOT. YES IT IS. HI." I not-so-suavely responded.
He reached into the jar, took out my note and started reading it. I thought I was going to explode from embarrassment.
He started to laugh. "Did you leave this for me?" he asked me.
"I MEAN. I GUESS. YEAH. TECHNICALLY, YES, THAT IS YOURS NOW. UNLESS YOU DON'T WANT IT. WHICH WOULD ALSO BE FINE. OR WHATEVER."
"Does this say, 'Here's a tip: call me'?"
"...................It's a clever play on words. OK. BETTER PEIRCE ALI NOW, HUH??!!"
Oh yes, and Ali. My dear, dear friend. What was she doing at this point? Laughing. Just shamelessly laughing at me and my misfortune and watching me squirm. I can't really blame her though because I would have done the exact same thing. But you better believe the second American Dan was done piercing her, I dropped that girl's hand like third period French and flew out of the room and back into the oxygen bar (Jesus...) like a bat out of hell.
To answer the obvious question, no, American Dan never called me. Not like I'd know what to do even if he had. I had just turned 18 and still felt the need to get my mom's permission before rebelling—I think a sexual rendezvous on the beach with someone with flames tattooed on their dick was kind of ambitious. But it did spark a burning love for tattoo artists/body piercers that is still very much alive today.
A few weeks ago, I decided to go to Jinx Proof with Alex to get my nose re-pierced. I originally got it pierced there when I was a Junior in college and I liked having it. It was small and understated. Jazzy and elegant. But then I moved to New York where I had so many emotions and felt the need to express those emotions by driving a huge gold barbell through my right eyebrow as a statement. When I moved back to DC, I took both piercings out as an act of "IT'S A BRAND NEW CHAPTER OF MY LIFE! NEW DAY! NEW YOU! STARING AT THE BLANK PAGE BEFORE YOU, LOOKING OUT THE DIRTY WINDOW..." etc etc, but I always kind of missed my little nose piercing. And now with not having a job or an office dress code anymore, I figured fuck it! Why not get that puppy back, right?
The second I saw the body piercer at Jinx Proof, I fell in love. He was dreamy and covered in classic American tattoos and-a-tee-hee-hee-hee we talked about the weather and he touched my face and I came in my pants and blah blah blah. I tried to be as sexy as I could, which was incredibly difficult with his finger up my nose and my left eye tearing up uncontrollably in pain. I over-tipped him, ran home to Internet stalk him and I found out via Myspace that he's married to an obviously smokin' hot woman. I then cried, ate an entire cheesecake, danced to Whitney's I'm Every Woman and moved on with my life. It was pretty par for the course for the experience that is me going to get something pierced or tattooed.
But then I starting having some problems. You see, because I got my nose re-pierced in the same exact same location as before, the hole has stretched out a bit and my little gold stud keeps slipping through and I almost lose it every time I wash my face or blow my nose or use a shower with adequate water pressure or apply positive pressure to my cheek in the very least. It's starting to get annoying.
I realize the answer is to simply go back to the shop and ask for a different nose ring, but given how dreamy I find this man and how in love I am, I just can't physically bring myself to walk up to him and say, "Excuse me sir, my hole is stretched out and I think I need a thicker stud to fill it."
I just...can't. It's mortifying to think about. I keep trying to think of a different way to phrase it, but when I think about him and then the word "hole" or the phrase "slipping through" at all, I start giggling uncontrollably like a school girl. Unfortunately both are kind of key in explaining the situation. Sigh.
God damnit. God damn my complete and utter inability to NOT fall in love with tattoo artists/body piercers and god damn how absurdly hard I fall, AND MOST OF ALL—god damn my giant, stretched out, been around the block a few too many times, gaping hole. In my nose.