mal’s Weblog

{September 9, 2012}   piercing (and the general) culture in Pakistan

picture credit: copyright LA TimesSo they ask me, in shock, whether i even know what piercing in the west stands for. Well, do you know what black nail paint with dark eye makeup stands for in the west? Get a life man. Why don’t you ask what piercing means when you get your nose pierced? You got the top of your ear pierced thus looking life a wannabe elf, i got my lip pierced. Same difference. Suck it.

I remember when I was 9 one of my chachis wondered aloud if it was time to marry me off. I remember asking her in my head, “Aap ki tou abhi abhi shadi hui hai, aap tou 9 saal ki nahin hain….? Aur waise bhi, aap ko kiun fikar hai, meray maan baap mar gayay hain kia?” [You just got married and you’re not 9….? And why do you care in the first place, are my parents dead?]. This culminated in a discussion of the nose piercing.

I remember often asking my dadi (paternal grandmother) why only one side of her nose was pierced, what it meant, how did she get it done, when and why, did it hurt, does it hurt now, doesn’t the jewelry piece fall in your nose causing you to stop breathing and die? And so on and so forth. I never got any satisfactory answer, answers ranging from:

1. khoobsoorat lagta hai / aurat ki khoobsoorti ko barhata hai [it looks beautiful / it increases a woman’s beauty] – well sorry to say, I used to think to myself, this actually looks hideous, especially on fat dark aunties, on whose personalities, it only adds to their loud, sweating, ugly fat selves.

2. har larki karati hai [every girl gets it done] – I used to say “main nahin karoon gi, mujhe nahin pasand” [I wont do it, I dont like it], only to be told abhi tou bachi ho, baad main ajayay ga pasand, [you’re just a kid now, you’ll grow to like it] – well sorry to say, the only times I ever grew to like it were when I saw it on a girl who was otherwise average looking on the outside but had a beautiful smile and sense of style and heart, and the time I realized that I do not need to get a piercing done in order to wear a nose-ring, because I can get one of those stick on nose rings. This cheered me a up a bit because at times I wanted to experiment with a nose ring too, but was scared of a permanent dot on one side of my nose, something that would fuck my mind for all life given my obsessive compulsion about having things in balance (order and schedule being 2 of the other dimensions of my OCD). No wonder I lived the two punctures in my ears down. Also, I do not wear ear rings often, not because I dont like to, but because it gets uncomfortable to me, and I have often attended wedding with naked ears, to the horror of family members. Fuck off bitches, my ears hurt, I will not wear a stupid gold ring in my ear if I do not want to.

3. shadi ho gi tou kia karo gi / shadi ho gi tab tou karana paray ga na. [what’ll you do when you get married / You’ll have to get it done when you get married, won’t you.] – I remember retorting in front of my chachoos and dad, that i’ll get one of those stickers (the kind that help children learn fruits vegetables and animal names and pictures) for the duration of the ceremony, and I remember them part laughing part looking at me as if trying to understand what I said, or as if I was kidding.

Well here I am, 25, and still not able to like the idea of a permanent hole on one side of my nose (or on both sides for that matter, for those of you with that kinda sorry sense of humor). Also, here I am with a piercing nonetheless – smack in the middle of my lower lip indeed. But so what, get over it man. It’s like you liking the color magenta+green while I’d rather stick to yellow.

I do not understand your shock and disapproval of something I do because I like it (such as get a labret piercing) just because it is not the norm, and your disapproval of my choice not to do something (such as getting the nose pierced, or wearing heels or makeup for that mater) that is the norm just because it is the norm.

Have you ever witnessed me telling you “hawww” when you, I don’t know, get your hair dyed gutter blonde just because everyone is doing it, or getting your hair ‘rebonded’ whether it makes you only look fatter? Yes I may have voiced my opnion that people should only follow ‘fashion’ or trends if it compliments them, but have I judged your morals or the goodness of your being based on your choices? Perhaps, then, it boils down only to the fact that you have different ways of seeking attention (ooo I wanna paint my nails black, ooo I wanna get my hair rebonded too, ooo I wanna wear those long baggy frock-shirts with bags of trousers too, (and for men: ooo I want that hair cut too, ooo I want long hair and a pony tail too, ooo I wanna wear baggy jeans too, ooo I want a ferrari too)). For your information, baggy jeans and black makeup means similar horrid things as per the western standards. So if you can put up with that shit, you can surely put up with this shit. Or choose to look away.

I am not your doll from the childhood that you dressed and undressed and shoved under the light bulb on your study desk so her dress would shine for the next 15 minutes once you turn the lights off.

To me, my comfort level, and what I like on myself, matter more than what you want to decide for me. As it should to you (but that’s your choice – just keep your choices to yourself). Also, the way I dress, (or, for that matter, the food I eat, the way I sleep, and the way I fart), has nothing to do with what kind of a person I am on the inside. So keep your “hawwwww”s and “haww hayay”s and “baap re”s to yourself.


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