Piercings puncture preconceptions

Russell Anglin

By day, my name is Russell Anglin. I stand 5 feet, 11 inches tall (6 feet if you believe my driver’s license), I’m not really sure how much I weigh and I have hazel eyes. I pride myself with a professional demeanor and try to be as friendly and helpful towards folks as I can.

But by night, I undergo a marked transformation. All of my previous attributes basically remain true, but I go about my business with a ring, paper clip, or maybe even guitar string or twisty tie inserted through my lip.

You may have seen me sporting my facial ornamentation around town and thought, “Hey? Who’s that cool guy with the lip ring?” Well you don’t have to wonder anymore. It’s me, and I am pleased to meet you.

While most people I encounter truly could care less, every now and then I am asked what gave me the idea to go and get that done. What can I say? I was in college. It was spring break. It didn’t even hurt and, besides, facial piercings make people more popular and less socially inhibited. Didn’t you know that?

I think I’ll probably end up wearing it for the rest of my life, too. For one thing, I don’t think the hole is ever going to close. I have left it out for weeks at a time and reinserted it with no problems. My dear sister Rhianna says her nose piercing was hard to replace after just a few hours of having it out. Way to pick the wrong piercing, sis.

For another thing, I can take a soda can and hang it from my lip by the tab, which really comes in handy when I want my mom to wonder why she thought having and raising a child was such a great idea in the first place.

It’s also a nearly surefire way to identify which age bracket I belong to. The baby boomers got tattoos, but I’ve never met or seen one with a face piercing. Hippies didn’t even get face piercings. I’ve never seen one with a facial piercing on any video documentation of 1960s hippies so far. You’d think that would have appealed more to them. Maybe I’m missing something, here.

It was as if it caught on with the Aztecs and then suburban kids in 1987. How did that happen, anyway?

I think at one point such piercings were viewed as a kind of countercultural statement, a way for somebody to feel distinguished as an individual, but my generation consists of so many holy-faced folks that the practice has become fairly innocuous, kind of like deciding whether or not to put on a watch.

Times change, I suppose. But whatever superficial means you use to complete your “look,” I hope you’re able to smile all the wider every morning when you face the mirror.