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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion — Its okay to outgrow your college friends
Opinion — It's okay to outgrow your college friends
Megan PoeApril 12, 2024

Opinion — An outsider’s appreciation of tattoos and piercings

Harry Stine/NW
RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER — New Age Tattoo, one of the few places around town at which anyone can get a tattoo. While I have yet to get one myself, I can’t say I haven’t looked up their prices online before.

In 1991, a group of hikers found the mummified remains of a man from over 5,300 years ago, right near the Italy/Austria border. Experts believe the man was hit with an arrow and then was somehow frozen into a glacier, preserving his body for centuries. His nickname is Ötzi. Interestingly enough, Ötzi had 61 tattoos on his body, mostly in lines made with pulverized charcoal. Until the discovery of tattoos on ancient Egyptian mummies in 2018, this made him the oldest person to have tattoos.

Meanwhile in 2023, I have no tattoos, piercings or any other form of body modifications. That being said, I’m not opposed to tattoos or piercings in any way. I think they look cool. But I also think they look painful and, if you’re as cheap as me, expensive. However, I think they’re very interesting, and I love to hear about other people’s experiences getting tattoos and piercings.

To be perfectly honest, I haven’t always been open-minded about the concept. In high school, one of my best friends had stick-and-poke tattoos of rap lyrics, edgy one-liners and the Red Hot Chili Peppers logo. I thought they all looked lame. The amount of Chili Pepper tattoos I’ve seen over the years has only cemented that idea in my head as a bad tattoo concept. That, and the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show with Adam Levine’s cringe inducing “California” tattoo really triggered the part in a teenager’s brain that judges first, stops for empathy later.

But then I started taking classes at Northern during my senior year, and I remember my English teacher showing off a tattoo of a tree on her forearm. It looked cool. But what oddly got me interested in tattoos and piercings was reading the novel “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

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For those who haven’t read the book or watched the excellent 2011 movie, it follows Lisbeth Salander, an aggressive, punk-rock hacker decked out with eyebrow studs, piercings, and obviously, tattoos. It kind of got me to see the whole appeal of it. People get tattoos because they’re cool, or because they have sentimental value. But mostly because they’re cool.

The same goes with piercings too. I once talked my girlfriend’s ear off asking her about her favorite or most painful piercings, because I really do find them interesting. I’ve come to understand that tattoos and piercings are a significant form of expression in their own right. Most people I’ve asked about their tattoo or piercing have a story or personal experience that ties into why they got it, and I really admire that.

So, I think tattoos, piercings and other “body modifications” are cool. I haven’t actually written off the idea of getting one, because I only want one if I have a very deliberate reason for it. By that logic, tattoos of the Upper Peninsula, my birthday or a heart with an arrow through it might still be on the table. But for now, I will just wait for the proper inspiration.

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About the Contributor
Harry Stine, Opinion Editor
In 2021, after one year of college and a semester of studying as a Public Relations major, I realized I wanted to be a journalist and not much else. After eagerly applying to be a Copy Editor, without even knowing AP style at that point, I started doing the occasional contributing writer piece for The North Wind. My frequent topic was satire. When I heard The North Wind was going through another round of hires, and a spot was open for an Assistant Features Editor, I applied in a heartbeat. I still do the occasional satire piece, but I take great pride in exploring NMU and Marquette for my topics, and finally having my head wrapped around AP style.