Race Relations
Culture Wars
Myrtle Beach Golf
Neon Ghetto
Boulevard Youth
Battle Over T-Shirts
Body Piercing
Stylish Hedonism
Oldest Profession
Public Corruption

Body Piercing

Young shills stood outside the piercing pagodas, hawking and spitting, puffing on cigarettes and daring tourists to come in and “feel the steel.” The shills had felt the steel many times. Their ears, lips, tongues and noses were perforated with rings and studs. One young Boulevard denizen had at least seventeen pieces of metal sticking out of his head. Another had a horizontal bar sticking through the flesh between his eyes, giving him a Cyclops effect. As I walked past him, he beckoned me toward the door of a piercing parlor. “Hey, dude, wanna get pierced? I can get you a deal.” He shifted his weight from foot to foot, puffing on his Camel Light. There were multiple rings through his ears and one through his lip.

“Maybe next time.” Then I asked, “Why do you get pieced?”

He grinned broadly, showing a mouth of yellow, rotting teeth. “Fashion!” he said.

The fashion had seized the younger generation. Some piercers did as many as a dozen jobs an hour, sending hundreds of kids back home to mom and dad, after a weekend in Myrtle Beach, with jewelry dangling from body parts where none had been when they left home. City Attorney Joe Wettlin grew tired of taking calls from outraged parents, threatening to sue the city.   In 1996, City Council required anyone being pierced to be eighteen years of age or have the consent of a parent or guardian.
©Copyright 2007 Frontline Press, Ltd
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