I was quite surprised to see my buddy Tucci on the front page of the local newspaper yesterday. The article was a little tame but I thought I’d post a copy here anyway.
Perceptions Pierced – Body Art Carries Less Stigma According To Local Expert
Body art has become so popular in the past few years that it is hard to go anywhere or watch anything on TV and in the movies, without seeing someone with a piercing or tattoo.
Nostril, ear and belly button piercings are by far the most popular, observed John “Tucci” Santucci, of Sunbury, the piercing expert at Totem Tattoo in Shamokin Dam.
“I think people would be surprised by the wide range of customers here in Shamokin Dam,” he observed. “We’ve had a 15-year-old and a 35-year-old mother, both here to have their nostrils pierced. I’ve even had a 70-year-old come in and get her nostril done.”
When young people come in, they generally want their nostrils pierced or their belly buttons. “That’s how they start,” he said.
Tucci added that at Totem Tattoo, they don’t pierce anyone under the age of 18 without parental consent. The shop also has branches in WIlliamsport and Bloomsburg.
Tucci has been piercing in Shamokin Dam for two years. Before that, he apprenticed under “Miss Ruth”, Totem Tattoo’s owner, learning the intricacies of the art and human anatomy; what body parts to pierce and what not to pierce.
“I first came here as a customer, getting pierced about once a month,” he recalled. “Then one day, I took a chance and wondered if I could learn how to pierce others.”
Piercing seems much more acceptable these days than in the past.
“I don’t think their is a stigma attached anymore to people who pierce.” Tucci said. “Personally, I don’t really look at how other poeple view me. I just enjoy getting pierced. I have big holes in my ears, and people stare and comment on that. But they don’t treat me like a freak. They are curious about how long it took to get my earlobes as big and stretched as they are.” It took months.
Laughing, Tucci said, “Some people think you can just take a hole punch to your ear.”
Which brings up the whole issue of safety.
“If needles, tubes, and other work materials are propperly sterelized or new, tattooing is almost 100 percent safe for the customer and the artist,” he said. HIV, AIDS, and Hepetitis C are some of the disease types associated with unclean piercing procedures.
Why do people pierce? “It’s a quick way to change your body,” Tucci said.
Most are done in one sitting, “but depending on what is pierced like an ear lobe, it could be a long process,” Tucci said. “You can pierce your belly button in one day, but it takes months to heal up.”
“Piercing is safe,” Tucci reiterated. “But I want people to realize that they have to do some research on where they are getting pierced. While there are people who do it in a safe environment, there are places you can go where the equipment might not be sterilized. Where equipment might be laying out on a table. Some people work out of their house.”
“You wouldn’t go into someones kitchen to get dental work done,” he said. “So why should you do that when getting a piercing done? You want to know clean instruments are being used.”
And never be afraid to ask questions. Knowlegeable practitioners should be able to anser them for you.
Reprinted from The Daily Item, Sunday January 25th 2009. Article written by Rick Dandes