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.
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.