Written on the Body

Brian Murphy's Piercing Analysis

"I think the scene peaked around '92 or '93, but it's pretty obvious it's a permanent feature of the retail landscape. Not every piercing is going to be accepted by the mainstream the way navels and tongues are. After Naomi Campbell got hers, everyone was coming in asking for navels. My mother was the first navel I ever did, in '92. She wanted to know what it was all about. I got my own navel pierced when she died because I wanted to commemorate her and wear her ring.

"Nipple piercings are still thought of as very sexual. But only about 10 percent of our business is genitals. You can't really generalize anymore about who's getting pierced. It used to be mostly gay men gettting dick piercings. Now it's about 60 percent gay and 40 percent straight. Most get a Prince Albert, with a ring through the urethra. But we do about 10 to 15 apadravya a year."

Brian Murphy: His flesh seems less adorned than illuminated, less ornamented than inscribed with an explanatory text.
photo: Sylvia Plachy
Brian Murphy: His flesh seems less adorned than illuminated, less ornamented than inscribed with an explanatory text.

"Lately, we've been getting guys in their fifties having their nipples done. I guess it's a midlife-crisis thing. Or they're finally letting themselves explore their sexuality. The oldest person I've ever pierced was in his eighties. He asked for a series of scrotum piercings. He'd always wanted them and when his wife died he finally decided he could have them. Is that too old? Not really. Piercing is a pleasure-based activity. I don't know anyone who's too old to do something pleasurable."

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