Piercings, Tattoos, And The Gag Factor
About a month ago I had more than a solid reason to speak with a manager at the Willy Street Co-op. I had been in the Williamson Street store to buy some chocolate milk and once I got to the check out counters noticed one of the female workers sticking two fingers up her nostrils to rub (and whatever) the ring in her nose.
As if that was not enough to witness I saw an un-knowing customer walk up and place their groceries so this worker could touch them for the cashing out process. And cue the gag scene. It was simply something I would never dream of seeing in a grocery store.
But what I found equally disturbing was speaking with a night-time manger who seemed not overly concerned with the matter. When I spoke of my views about hygiene and common sense she questioned if I had any piercings and expressed that “they can itch and become irritated”.
I rarely shop for anything at the co-op since they are severely over-priced and now with Festival Foods just a few blocks away I can walk there for a far wider and more stable supply of foods. Our main store for food remains Hy-Vee. Their customer service is amazing and the cleanliness of the store is most appealing. For most people that latter point is very important.
My posting about this matter today comes as result of an article this past week in The New York Times about the window display of mannequins at Braneys that has dismayed many who walk past it.
Among the more polarizing sights in Manhattan this spring were the Madison Avenue windows of Barneys New York, an unlikely showcase for a series of mannequins. They were ringers for the real-life models who stalked the Hood by Air men’s runway in January, right down to their elaborate tattoos and the uncanny grillwork distorting their grins.
During a recent week, passers-by stood welded to the spot, challenged to make what they could of the scene, a curious hybrid of street theater and fashion porn. “Obviously, this was done by an artist,” Paul Roberts, a visitor from Edinburgh, said appreciatively. “It goes beyond window dressing, doesn’t it?”
But Claudia Brien, a young Upper East Side matron, pronounced those vitrines “beyond disgusting.”
“I pass them most days, but I go out of my way to keep my children away,” Ms. Brien said.
I am not equating the images at Barneys to the person with the fingers up her nose at the co-op except in the respect that I find both of them a part of the fabric of society that I am glad I need not rub shoulders with. I do not understand the desire to make oneself unable to simply blow your nose without also needing to clean a nose ring. That creates a whole new definition of the word gross. Yeah, sign me up to be a part of that sub-culture! And touch my food, too!
All this may make me sound snobbish to some, an old fuddy-duddy to others. So be it.
But when I see an otherwise very attractive young man or woman tattooed and pierced in ways that strain any comprehension it does make me question why in the world would one make such a choice? How does one mix the inking of the body and the nose rings with a climb up the professional ladder?
I come from the time when a pair of glass frames might bring out the lighter hue of a woman’s eyes or a shirt and tie combo would add to the overall impression a man wished to convey. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Cary Grant were perhaps the epitome of good looks and fine taste. It is most perplexing how the need for marring the body is now so much a rage.
Maybe big hats will come back one day in an attempt to hide the self-inflicted damage. But just how large can a fedora be?