Dear Straight Talk: Like many girls our age, my sister and I wanted our nipples and navel pierced. We’re under 18 and knew our prudish mom wouldn’t consent, so we did it on the black market. Our mom normally knocks before entering our room, so we thought we could hide the evidence. However, she walked in without warning and came unglued. She’s grounded us for a month and forbidden us to wear body jewelry. She says she’s going to make us remove our tops randomly to make sure we are obeying. We think this is a gross invasion of privacy but she disagrees. We would like the panel’s opinion.
— LeeAnne, Sacramento.
Elise, 19, Fair Oaks: I completely agree with your mother. Because you blatantly disobeyed her, random checking is not an invasion of privacy.
Brie, 19, Santa Barbara: If you’re under 18 and living with your parents, the discipline is up to them. I pierced my own nose in high school and my mom calmed down eventually. But had it been my navel and nipples, she would have flipped! These just wouldn’t be accepted. Navel piercings are so common my reaction is neutral, but my snap judgment about nipple piercings is “slutty.”
Molly, 19, Oakland: Several friends got black market piercings and tattoos and many regret it and had unsavory experiences. Also, people change. I figured if I really wanted something, I would still want it when I turned 18. Most of my friends have piercings and tattoos (myself included), but we waited until 18 and sought licensed professionals who care about sanitary needles and the healing process.
Katelyn, 16, Huntington Beach: You went behind your mom’s back, and broke the law — making it wrong morally and legally. Plus you could easily get infections in your breasts. Correction: “many girls our age” do NOT want nipple and navel piercings. We think they are weird. Also, many guys respect modesty and your piercings have the opposite effect.
Gregg, 19, Sacramento: Your mom has every right to check you randomly. Nipple and navel piercings seem slutty to me. The girl I’m seeing has a navel piercing, but I got to know her before I saw it, so I’m less judgmental.
Justin, 21, Redding: Male reaction to these piercings depends. Navel piercings do little for me, but a well-done nipple piercing can be hot.
Nicole, 21, Grass Valley: Navel piercings are everywhere and “no biggie.” Nipple piercings are either considered hot or slutty. To each his own.
Jessie, 19, Eugene, Ore.: My navel is pierced and one of my guy friends has a pierced nipple (which are on the rise among men). There are stigmas — mostly aimed at stereotyping girls as “easy.” The stereotypes are false. Many friends — partiers and non-partiers — have navel and other uncommon body piercings.
Akasha, 17, Sacramento: Nipple piercings are trashy. Pierced navels can be cute, but the piercing interrupts several chi energy lines.
Liz, 19, Sacramento: Naval piercings are common, but what’s the point? Except when naked or swimming, it’s a unattractive lump under your clothes. Nipple piercings are purely sexual. Are you trying to impress someone? Showing off? Is there a deeper issue to address? Of course your mom is mad. Non-sterile needles can cause HIV and other infections. She is worried for you. Regarding random checks, how else is she supposed to know? It’s her house, her rules.
Dear LeeAnne: I didn’t think the panel would be sympathetic — and they are the polar opposite of prudes. What I am hearing is this: Wait until age 18, avoid illegal shops, respect home rules, random checking is warranted for cause, and the real-world truth (as opposed to “Cosmopolitan” truth) is that nipple piercings repel more than attract. — Lauren
For more discussion, to ask a question, or inquire about being a youth panelist, visit www.straighttalkTNT.com or write 963 Fair Oaks, CA 95628.