Sunday, September 21, 2008

Huntin' fer a Piercin'

I spent some quality time today with my daughter, young Galadriel Tanqueray Onassis, trying to find someplace to get her belly button pierced.

She had wanted to do this about a year ago when she was 13 and I refused. She seemed so much younger last year and a belly button piercing is one of those borderline sexy things. I wasn't having any of it.

But this year, her and her new best friend wanted to get their bottom lips pierced.

No. Fucking. Way.

She is a very beautiful young lady and I don't think that she can improve on that beauty by punching holes in her face and filling them with metal. Sorry.

(BTW, her friend decided to go ahead and do her own lip with a fucking knitting needle. Told GTO it didn't hurt "that bad". But she had to take it out because she made the hole too low. No word on whether she intends to make another attempt at self mutilation.)

But because I'm just the coolest, smartest dad on the planet, I offered her a compromise.

I'd let her get her belly button pierced (because it is completely out of sight under normal circumstances), under the condition that there would be no more piercings of anything other than ears or any talk about tattoos until she turned eighteen. After that, she has a whole lifetime to make bad decisions.

She agreed.

So today I tried to get hold of Purgatory Tattoos. I had checked with them before. $20.00. I don't recall if we specifically discussed GTO's age, other than the fact that I would need to sign an authorization form if she was under 18. But they weren't answering their phone today.

Next I called Mercy Seat Tattoos in KC. They seem to have a pretty good reputation. But they don't do piercings. Bummer.

Next I called Freaks on Noland Road. They do piercings, but they didn't have a piercer on staff today. They mentioned a couple of Freaks locations downtown and then asked how old the person was. I told him she was 14. He said he didn't know anyone in the state of Missouri who would give a piercing like that to anyone under 15.

Ah. I see.

Nevertheless, GTO and I set out today in search of a piercing.

We drove by Purgatory and they were, in fact, closed.

GTO suggested that we just go to Claires at the Mall. We did, but they only do ears. Same thing at the Piercing Pagoda.

So it was back in the jeep for a drive through Independence. Heading north on Noland I saw the sign for Kingpin Tattoos and it was open. I swung around, pulled into a parking spot, turned and said to GTO "It appears to be in the basement of a barbershop. Down there." pointing to the steps and the barred windows.

Citing possible AIDS on needles, potential dead bodies in barrels and Sweeney Todd, she decided she didn't want to go in.

DISCLAIMER: Kingpin may be the best tattoo parlor in the area and have a sterling reputation for cleanliness and professionalism. I have no information to the contrary and certainly don't want to impugn their integrity. But walking up on it cold like that, it's not very inviting to first timers.

GTO later asked why can't tattoo parlors be all bright and shiny and happy? Why do they have to be so dark and threatening? I had no answer for her.

I remembered that there is a place at 24 Hwy and 435. I drive by it everyday. Butch's. We get there and it's open, so we give it one more shot.

A young man with gauged ear lobes, skater clothes and numerous tattoos politely asked if he could assist us. "Belly button piercing?" I say. "Excellent" says he. He walks behind the counter and immediately asks her age. "14". He professionally explains that Missouri state law prohibits piercing establishments from administering those types of piercings for anyone under the age of 15.

He further explains that when she does turn 15, we will need to come back with her birth certificate, a photo ID for each of us and that I will need to sign a form authorizing the procedure.

We thanked the young gentleman, wished him a good day, and left.

I come away from our search with two conclusions.

1. Most, if not all, tattoo parlors seem to be professionally run establishments that adhere to the law.

2. In retrospect, I'm very glad that we did not find someplace willing to "don't ask, don't tell" and give her the piercing. Because if they would have been willing to overlook the law that the subject must be at least 15 years old, what other laws or regulations would they have been willing to overlook? The laws about sterile needles, used once and properly disposed of? The laws about wearing sterile gloves, used once and properly disposed of?

When she turns 15, I will take her out again and fulfill my end of the compromise.

At the top of the list of places to have the procedure done, will be the places who refused to do it today. Well done.


Anonymous said...

I hope you've already made the doctors appointment for the birth control because you are clearly giving her permission to grow up way too soon. Seriously dude, her friend pierces her face with a knitting needle and you cave? WTF so when her friend starts doing it with guys you compromise and tell her to do BJs instead? I've read your blog for a long time. Your love and admiration for your daughter are commendable. However, she is your daughter and not your buddy. Grow a pair and act like her Dad. It's not a competition with her Mom. Get over it.

Xavier Onassis said...

anon - I appreciate your readership. But you really have no idea WTF you are talking about.

I made my compromise with my daughter before her friend defaced herself. Not because of it. I didn't "cave" to anything.

Don't presume that by reading my blog, you have some sort of insight into my real life and my relationship with my daughter.

There is a possibility that not evrything you read on this blog is 100% accurate and true. There may be some theatricality involved.

Clue # 1: SaveYour OwnAsses may not be my real name.

Clue # 2: My relationship with my daughter would probably not be as solid as it is if I had actually named her Galadriel Tanqueray Onassis. Kids don't like being named after booze.

Lastly, you seem to be under the mistaken impression that parents have any real control over how fast their kids grow up.

Growing up is what kids do when we aren't around. All a parent can hope to do is shape and guide the way they grow up, not the pace.

That's what I have been doing for almost 15 years.

I have a straight A student who takes personal responsibility for her actions.

I have a loving, caring daughter who wants to become a psychologist.

She has never been in trouble.

She has never disappointed me.

She has never given me cause to question her judgement.

She takes pride in herself and has good self esteem.

In closing, just let me say that I would make an appointment for her to get birth control a whole lot faster than I would point a finger at her and yell "DON'T HAVE SEX OR I'LL DISOWN YOU!"

Her half-brother and family are Mormons. They preach abstinence only. Their unmarried, 16 year old daughter just gave birth to her first child making my 14 year old daughter a Great Aunt.

This has nothing to do with a competiton with her mom.

This has everything to do with raising my daughter to be the smartest, best informed, most well adjusted, but still expressive and creative person she can be.

How are your kids doing?

I'm sure we'd all like to know.

Heather said...

First off, I want to know when GTO's best friend's bottom lip turns black and falls off due to an infection. A knitting needle...are you freakin' kidding me???

At any rate, I've used Freaks on 39th for all my piercings. As a nurse, I'm pretty anal when it comes to sterile technique and the like. I found them to be professional, courteous, informative, and most of all, clean. I've referred all of my medical friends to them for piercings.

Now, I'm referring you.

Also, it's owned and operated by Frog Pajamas' fiance. Keep business within the blogging community, I always say.

Xavier Onassis said...

heather - a direct referall from you (a friend and nurse) and an implied referall from Frog Pajama's (who I miss and wish would attend an event) is good enough for me.

I know where I will take GTO when she turns 15.

Spyder said...

Freaks on 39th is where I had my tat reinked. Did a great job too!

Old Fart said...

never had a piercing done in this area (mine were all done in my house in Massachusetts, but done by paid trained professionals). but... even though they would be a drive, I would recommend Skin Illustrations in OP (ask for Jan). They do piercings, and its probably the most brightly lit tat shop I've seen. Even though I have never been pierced there, most of the other members of my family have had sharps stuck through them there. I don't know if there is an age requirement in KS either. Of course, if it was my daughter, I'd just try to really explain why you should say no.
For anyone looking for great custom tat work... Skin Illustrations is the best. Ask for Thew or Brent.

travel said...

She's your kid and what you allow her to do or not is your business.

I guess it's my take that tatoos/body piercings are meant to stimulate others to take a look at them, whether on the ankle, lip or belly button, etc. Sorta like a sign that says "Look at Me".

Most who will look are harmless. Others are not.

As the old boy scout motto says, "Be Prepared."

AMANDA said...

It's good to hear these places are holding up their end of the deal and not letting kids slide in under the law. A part of me hopes GTO changes her mind, but you and I both know there is a very fine, very gray line sometimes between maintaining responsible parenting and allowing them to spread their expressive wings a little. And we walk the line as parents. You can tell she's a good kid- she actually asked you and didn't just do it on her own. Maybe by the time she's fifteen and her friend's lip falls off, she will change her mind. Who knows.

suzannekarmin said...

Try Son of a Gun at 23rd and Noland. I had a piercing done there. Cheap, clean, professional. Ask for Jennifer.

Nuke said...

Actually it always cracks me up when I drive by Freaks on Noland that its aquamarine with yellow trim on the outside. If Frog PJs boytoy is the fellow I think he is, I met him at the Noland location years ago. He is very serious, almost as much as the guy I know who used to work at Extremus.

I hope GTOs friends lip doesn't fall off. And I am glad you and she did your homework and didn't go with the first person to say "OK, screw the rules"

poodlesplace said...

Remind me sometime when I have a minute I have to e-mail you the story of my friend, pierced nipples and having to have her dad remove them...

Traceytreasure said...

Wow! You're a pretty cool Dad! I have a friend that has a piercing there and just so you know, it's going to hurt for about 2 weeks after she has it done. She'll have to wear very low cut jeans so that they don't touch it.

I know what you mean about tattoo places. I got my first tattoo in July and the first two places I went were just gross. Luckily the third place was nice and clean and I'm very happy with my tattoo but I'm 42 years old......

Wikipedia almost scared me out of getting one. Maybe you could have her Wikipedia piercings and scare her out of wanting one.....just a thought.... Good luck!

Eartha Delights said...

KS law does not have an age restriction beyond the standard 18as long as the consent letter is notarized and the guardian is present. I too recommend Skin Illustrations in OP - I got my nipple pierced there. They're very clean, very skilled, and really nice.
Normally I would tell you to go to A-1 on a Saturday and ask for Renee, because she is easily the best in town (and also an awesome artist and human being), but they're in MO.

Traceytreasure said...

I have thought about this a lot since I read the post. I think it's great that you came to a compromise with her. If you tell her NOT to do anything, she probably WILL despite your wishes! I also have a teenaged daughter who wants a tattoo, she always has... (as long as I can remember).
I peirced my second holes in my ears with a needle when I was your daughter's age. I was lucky that they didn't get infected and the only problem with them is that they are crooked.

Good luck and best wishes for your GTO. She's lucky to have you!!

Anonymous said...

I would share the story of the Blue Springs kid who had the same bright idea as GTO's friend:,3566,354696,00.html He nearly died of sepsis after contracting the MRSA virus and faces years of poor health. What goes thru kids' minds???

Joe said...

Funny this comes up for you at the same time my 13 year old wants her belly button pierced. And her cartilege in her ear. And her nose. I told her the belly button and ear I'm good with as long as she holds up her end of the bargain. Good grades, decent behavior and not being brought home by the police. The nose pierce is just nasty and I told her so. I think we came to an understanding.
Hell, I told her as long as she does well in school and life she can do most anything she wants and I wouldn't have two shits about most of it.

frog pajamas said...

man i am so far behind reading your stuff. for obvious reasons, i recommend freak's on 39th where my husband pierces. i don't recall the age/paperwork requirements but you can give him (Jeremy) a call at 816-561-0038. he pierces freehand using sterile technique which means every single thing that touches the client is sterlized and he uses no clamps which can cause undue trauma to the piercing site. he has the best sterilizing equipment in the city, and the largest selection of jewelry. and...was voted best piercer by the pitch weekly. need i say more?

when's the next meetup? i need to see you all!!!