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Jinny has been very ill and is currently undergoing rehabilitation in a Bangor facility so she will not be writing her article for awhile. She is making excellent progress and hopes to be able to return to writing her column in the near future... Adele.

As anyone who has read my rantings with any regularity knows, I have an ever growing list of things I just don't get. I am the kind of person who 1ikes things to make sense and there is a great deal about the human condition that makes no sense to me whatsoever. The list of things I don't get is a work in progress and I add to it on an ongoing basis, the impetus for additions being my observations and experiences. I something makes me shake my head like Eddy Murphy walking down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills Cop, it goes on my list.
The most recent event of this kind was a conversation I had recently with a nice young man who had more holes punched in his face than a dart board in a British pub.
The young man in question was a charming kid and I think that we had a fairly intelligent conversation, although I can't be sure because I was a little distracted by the task of taking inventory of the various paraphernalia plugged into holes in his face. he had the obligatory ear piercings, but there was nothing ordinary about them. Each earlobe had a giant hole in it in which were inserted things that looked for all the world like pipe fittings or the kind of thing you put on the end of your kitchen sink faucet. The resultant gaping holes were roughly the size of a nickel and you could look through them and see what was going on behind him. I'm pretty certain that they were big enough for Robin Hood to shoot an arrow through them at 100 paces. I couldn't help thinking that Annie Oakley could have used this kid in her sharpshooting act. I wanted to ask him if the wind made a whistling sound through his ear holes or if he was worried that he might end up looking like Dumbo someday since his lobes were already headed south.
He also had a fake diamond (or maybe a real one for all I know) stuck in his left nostril and some thing that looked like a Christmas light fuse on a chain stuck through his eyebrow. There were two little silver hoops dangling from his lower lip that bobbed up and down as he spoke. The overall effect was like staring at a wall of unidentifiable hardware hanging on a wall. I found that I wanted to ask the same question I have occasionally asked myself in hardware stores, 'What the Heck is that thing and what is it for, anyway?' It's just my opinion, of course, but I can't help feeling that this nice young man suffered from classic over-accessorizing, a common fashion faux pas.
He was a pleasant looking young man with lovely eyes; not GQ quality or anything, but who of us is? Looking around at the numerous other young men hanging out, I couldn't help but notice that none of the particularly good-looking guys had any piercings at all. They were all puncture-free. Suddenly, instead of feeling amused and bemused, I felt kind of sad instead. I wanted to tell the nice young man to go home, take the hardware out of his face and the drain pipes out of his ears and let all the holes heal up. Perhaps one day he will. I hope so. I liked him.
So now you know, I don't get facial piercings. Not that I have a problem with those who seem to like poking holes in their faces, I just don't get the point. I can see myself ripping them out with a comb or toothbrush or something that would cause terrible pain. I can't help feeling that they would be rather impractical in a fight; all someone would have to do is grab a hold of one of those lip rings and you'd go down like a lead ball in a bathtub. I don't think I could ever make facial piercings work for me; I just don't know how I would make them work with basic black and pearls.
The fact is that art, even facial art, has to have a context that works. When I was a young kid my mother worked at Stanford University and there was a graduate student from Africa who was a tribal prince. He had traditional tribal facial scars that his tribe gave boys as a part of a manhood passage ritual. He was a really big guy and he wore the most beautiful, flowing African robes. I recall that I found him fascinating and I was not the least horrified by his scars because they just seemed right on him. If I had seen the same scars on an Irish student with red hair, freckles, and wearing a cardigan sweater, I probably would have had an entirely different reaction.
I think of it this way, if a tan blond in Los Angeles is walking down the street in January wearing a sundress she is going to look pretty good and perfectly natural. If a pasty-white frozen blond in Nova Scotia is walking down the street in January wearing a sundress she is going to look like a sadly under dressed unattractively blue fruitcake. Its all about the context.
Exotic tribal facial scars or multiple facial piercings are going to look far better on someone who is exotic himself, in looks or dress or both than they are on a pale, sandy haired, blue-eyed skinny kid from Michigan. What is interesting or beautiful in one context can just be absurd and ridiculous in any other.
One could make the argument that the artist Salvadore Dali and other surrealists built entire careers on creating art based on things being wildly out of context. That's true enough. But while I have no problem with paintings of headless statues and melting pocket watches, I don't think that I would like to see either of them stuck on a nice young man's face.
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