Sunday, November 14, 2004

"Why don't you have any tattoos?" People ask me that sometimes – meaning, people who've seen enough of my body to be certain that in fact, I don't.

While it's true that lots of kinky people in Seattle do have tats, it's actually not a legal obligation. And I'm not the only pervert I know with no ink. Why, I live with another: Max. But I think I can count the other un-tattooed kinksters I know on one hand, so yes, we are in the minority here.

Why not? Well, I've just never had a burning desire for one, and I think if you're going to have the damn thing for the rest of your life, you better be real sure you want it. (Yes, I know, now there are laser treatments to remove them, but I'm told that's a long and rather expensive process, and that it doesn't always yield perfect results, either. I'd prefer that any time and money I spend - and any discomfort I endure - in my dermatologist's office be spent gilding the lily that I am, rather than dealing with self-inflicted wounds.)

I might have been more impulsive when I was younger, but even then it was clear to me that the clients of my chosen profession disliked tattoos. The vast majority of my clients were (and still are) middle/upper middle class white guys living in the suburbs, leading relatively traditional lives, and their ideas about beauty are fairly, well - mainstream. (I'm not saying you can't make it as a sex worker if you have tattoos. But I think it's a handicap.)
Sure, I could have gotten by with a dainty little anklet or something, but if I were going to get a tattoo, that is not what I'd get. I'd probably get a big-ass Celtic blackwork piece. Go big or go home, a friend of mine likes to say - I took the latter option.

I don't have any permanent piercings, either, except my ears. Again, I've just never felt a big desire for any.

The only body modification I've ever done is of what I would call a semi-permanent type - cuttings. When BDSM people say cutting, what they mean is: someone takes a sharp implement, like a surgical scalpel, and makes light cuts in someone elses skin, usually no deeper than a cat scratch, and usually in a design or shape of some kind.

A lot of people squick when I mention this, and that always perplexes me a bit, especially when the squickees have tats themselves. On the scale of such things, a cutting blade doesn't seem any more intrusive into the body that a tattoo needle. Cuttings are usually completed much more quickly, and I definitely don't think it's any more painful – it's always seemed to me like it would be less so.

For the adventurous among you, I do have some photos from a shoot I did of a friend getting a cutting. (And the finished product here.) Don't go if you faint at the sight of blood.

What you essentially wind up with is a drawing in/on your skin. When it's fresh, it looks a lot like a red tattoo. Most people choose shapes and designs that have meaning to them, although lots of people also just like the endorphin buzz they get from the process. I've done cuttings on people as part of a BDSM scene, although I got mine as just a body-mod experience. Either way, cutting is a careful, measured activity, and you must observe all the reasonable safety precautions – sterile tools and a clean area, etc.

As the cut heals, it goes away, but sometimes it leaves a very faint scar in the shape of the original cut. If you like the scar effect, you can re-do the cutting over again until it becomes more raised and noticeable. I haven't done that myself, but I've admired it on other people.
So you can just call me the Mies van De Roe of the body modification set. No tatts, no permanent piercings, just those very faint lines that are visible in certain angles of light.

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