Sunday, January 28, 2007
Foot-binding, apparently, has ceased altogether. The Kayan women of Myanmar still stretch their necks with brass coils and in the West young folk pierce themselves for an endorphin rush. Michelle, a friend of mine, explains that one can consider one's body as a blank canvas, or as an unadorned sculpture, that is ripe for decoration.
I don't understand, and I likely never will. I appreciate that there's a degree of hypocrisy in my position. I shave, after all. I wear wooden bracelets and a wedding ring. I'm circumcised, though that wasn't my idea. I have this dark, rather nasty suspicion that body modification, particulary the extreme, socially deviant type, is an expression of an inward deficiency, or a distractionary tactic. The idea being that you think of an individual not as the sum of their shortcomings but instead as the guy with the rawlbolt through his septum. Interestingly this is a view I've always held and perhaps, like any view long held it's subject to erosion. Almost everyone's pierced or tattooed nowadays, after all. Soon I'll be the outsider. The only man in London under forty without some visible scarification. People will point and stare. "Look at him, the self-satisfied fool!" they'll say. "He's nothing more than a lump of crude, unshaped soapstone!" But I'll know, whether they have modified themselves in order to fit in, or in order to stand out, that they cannot judge me, because I have remained pure of heart, and just as the God I don't believe in intended. I will refuse to judge them, out loud at least. But I'll know. I'll know.