There aren’t enough holes in my face

You don’t have to make the long, lonely drive to Ybor City if you want to spice up your look with a piercing or a tattoo.

In fact, if you’re in Ybor and you feel compelled to pierce your nipples or get a tribal armband, just remember: it’s 2 a.m., you’re drunk, and these decisions should be made in the stark, sober light of day.

Platinum Tattoos is ideally situated for that purpose. Located near the corner of Bruce B. Downs and Bearss, it’s a mere 5 minutes from campus, so students are free to affix pieces of metal to their flesh between classes if they so desire.

The atmosphere is both subversive and antiseptic, as if your dentist’s office started playing heavy metal and punk rock. If you want a tattoo but you aren’t sure what to get, they have thousands of samples along the walls, and folders full of artwork are available on request.

I wanted something extreme but nothing permanent, so I decided to get an industrial piercing through my right ear and a loop in the left side of my lip. Kristin Cardwell does all the piercing, so I looked over their extensive jewelry selection while I waited for her to show up. When she got there she apologized for being late – she had been out racing her motorcycle.

The feeling that I was in a dentist’s office got stronger as I sat down in a comfy, adjustable chair and anticipated great pain while a woman in latex gloves prepared a table full of pointy metal instruments. She talked me through the procedure and took her time discussing my options with me to make sure I got exactly what I wanted, where I wanted.

Then came the moment of truth. She told me to take a deep breath, and as I let it out she pushed the needle through my cartilage. It hurt like hell but it wasn’t bad enough to justify acting like a wimp.?

It’s important to remember that tattoos and piercings are supposed to be painful – it makes the whole experience more meaningful. Also, since I instantly fall in love with any girl who has tattoos and rides a motorcycle, I wanted to act tough in front of Kristin. So I clenched my jaw, thought of a happy place and promised myself a shot of whiskey when all this was over.

I felt another sharp stab as she took out the needle and replaced it with my new 14-gauge friend. “That’s just your jewelry saying hello,” she laughed. At the time, I did not share in her levity. Compared to the industrial, the lip ring was a piece of cake and the whole thing was over in about ten minutes. Since then my face has been sore but also very sexy. Kristin spent a few minutes giving me detailed instructions on caring for my new appendages and sent me on my way.

The process is definitely addictive.? Once I decide what to get I’ll be heading back for a tat. Jason Avery, Jordan Hibbs and Randy Miller are the resident tattoo artists. Each has his own specialty, ranging from lettering to cartoons to permanent makeup, and they have over a decade of experience between them.

Jason said they’ll pierce anything within reason. He said they wouldn’t do anything that would be unsafe or uncomfortable for the customer, but I get the feeling that his definition of “within reason” has wider parameters than mine, so let your imagination run wild.? I asked him to tell me the craziest thing anyone’s ever requested. He smiled and said it wouldn’t be fit to print.

A few pointers for taking care of your piercing:

• Rotate the piercing 2-3 times a day.

• Wash it with warm water and Dial soap 2-3 times a day.

• If you’ve pierced a part of your mouth: no alcohol, smoking or performing oral sex (it’s still okay to get it).

• Unless you’re washing it, don’t touch it! Your hands are filthy.

• Avoid harsh cleansers like rubbing alcohol.

You can check out Platinum Tattoos online at Myspace.com/platinumtattoo, or by calling (813) 910-1315.

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