About a month ago, I thought it would be a great idea to buy Andrew some plugs for his earlobes.
I digress... So you have three options when you want to purchase plugs:
1. Go to a tattoo piercing place
2. Go online
3. Go to a hippy open air bazaar
I went to UC Santa Cruz and owned a pair of linen pants with an Om Symbol printed at the bottom. I was wearing these pants when I tripped on a Nalgene water bottle while playing hacky sack in a field. I'm not lying and I'm not a hippy anymore... so option number 3 was out.
I bought Andrew some plugs that I found online previously, but sadly after a month of use the "authentic abalone shell" fell out... revealing a sad dark hole of plastic and glue. Even after some legitimate suggestions from friends, I decided that my best bet was to actually hold and examine the plug before purchase. Which left me with the dreaded ...option number 1.
Question: What is loud, extremely judgmental, incredibly image conscious, can make you feel like shit for not fitting in, and not to mention loves little dogs?
Teenage Girls and Tattoo Artists.
Yes, I'm casting a broad stroke... but if you don't look a certain way and happen to walk into the wrong tattoo shop... good luck, buddy. I'm not an ugly lady, but I sure as hell am goofy. I tend to think my nose stud is edgy, but it's so small most people don't know that I have it. I know how I look... I got that parent approved fresh scrubbed look. Which equals a big ole eye roll when I lumber in looking for stuff for my boooyfriend. Knowing all this, I wanted to lessen the blow of judgement by going to tattoo shops that were say... down to earth.
Against the snooty San Francisco belief, Oaklanders tend to be the most low key people in the Bay Area (I would know... I am one) so I figured all the Oakland people who professionally stick ink and needles into bodies would be mellow as well. Guess what...
They were! Sean at Old Crow and the two dudes playing pool at Ink Well were the nicest guys I've ever met in the tattoo game! But no one had plugs to sell. The name that kept coming up was Industrial.
Industrial Tattoo is in Berkeley. Which is like mecca for the college kid in need of some quickie edge. Hell, even I got my nose stud in Berkeley. Thousands of drunk college kids wanting eyebrow rings and fairy tattoos probably get old... which makes the already grumpy tattoo artist more impatience and judge-y. Yet, I had to go, because they have an large collection of plugs and I didn't want to cross the bridge. I dragged my friend Tamar, and marched into the packed shop. A very tall man with huge lobe holes that were weighed down by giant metal rings that grazed his shoulders greeted us sternly. I was trying to take everything in, as he marched through the show room. It was all very intense and confusing. Finally, Tamar asked why weren't all the plug sizes together instead of (what seemed like) randomly placed in fancy glass cases.
This set our guide off...
He began ranting and raving about Taste. When met with out blank stares he alluded that maybe we didn't have it. He thought for a minute, then said he came up with an analogy that we ladies might understand: you wouldn't put Prada next to something from Target. This shitty speech was exactly what I was hoping to avoid. Thanks dude, just because I don't have a spiral tattooed on my forehead and a feather adorned rat tail dreadlock doesn't mean I shop at Prada. At this point, I started to zone out. As he continued to belittle Tamar's comment, I noticed how much his ears looked like vaginas. The heavy weights caused them to sway from side to side with every frothy word that spat from his red bearded mouth. After letting him loose steam, I decided to pick a pair and go. It must be exhausting to be a douche to everyone you meet.
Once I left the store, I realized that this time I didn't feel like a looser... even with the harsh schooling about classy earlobe jewelry. The swinging vaginas flashed through my head again, and it dawned on me that I was probably just as judgmental as he was, but I choose to keep it in my head (and on this blog). Maybe we all have some teenage girl (otherwise known as insecurities) lurking in each of our personalities. I'm cool with who I am... and the more comfortable I get the smaller that teen becomes.