Ink and the culture of cool

Times-Herald Staff
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Excuse me as express an outdated opinion.


A decade ago, I was a teenager who wanted to look cool. That’s pretty normal. I still want to look cool but in 10 years my image of “cool” has evolved with cultural trends. I have traded baggy pants for pants that fit and I no longer bleach my hair.

Beyond that, my fashion sense has been fairly centred. I stick to short hair and when it became popular, I began combing my hair back like I am a 50s bank clerk. I get the majority of my cloths from my parents shed and from thrift shops. Part of the reason for this is because I am cheap and the second reason is I’ve always felt I should have grown up as a teenager of the 70s.

Over a decade ago, when I was a teenager a trend swept through my generation and it hasn’t really let go of its hold. Tattoos and piercing became “cool” and so did hardcore music. For a couple years in my late teens, I watched bands jump around on stage and scream at the top of their lungs. I joined the crowds, moshing and jumping around like there was no tomorrow.

This brand of music was only popular for a couple years, before a majority of music fans transitioned to folk music and ambient (calmer) music. Along with the hardcore culture, young people began covering almost every inch of their arms with tattoos and stretching their ears to the point where they could fit a fork through the hole. The tattoos and the piercing were trends like the music, the black clothing and the mascara.

Today, the ears are still stretched— because they are permanently mutilated — and the arms are still covered in dragons and unicorns.

My question is, was it worth it?

People often argue that it was a self-expression. Although I think there are great reasons to get a tattoo — such as getting a tattoo to honour your first born or your best friend who passed away in a car accident — self-expression isn’t a good reason to cover your entire body in ink or stretch your ears beyond repair.

If you are looking for self-expression, go join a painting class, or take creative writing.

We live in a free society. You can treat your body however you like. That is your right. However, what’s your reasoning for covering your body in tattoos? If it is because you want to look tough or cool, maybe you should grow a beard or go buy a hipster bike.

Nathan Frank can be reached at 306-691-1263.

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