11 Mar 11

Friday’s Fashion Dating Do or Don’t? – Pierced Nipples and Belly Buttons

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By Danielle Turchiano

I may be about to date myself here but when I was in junior high, pierced belly buttons were all the rage. This was the mid to late 1990s, and the few friends of mine who had actually done the deed and gotten their midriff shot through with a little dangly heart or star or butterfly charm pretty much thought they invented the idea. They considered themselves trendsetters, fashion-forward, soon-to-be-icons in our little slice of the city. But they were only thirteen or fourteen and far from any of those things.

In fact, naval piercing was around for years before my friends got the twinkle in their eyes. And it had even become popular a few short years earlier, in 1993, when a pre-Clueless Alicia Silverstone showed off her own body jewelry in the Aerosmith music video for “Cryin.” But maybe that was it: maybe my friends just wanted to do whatever Cher Horowitz did, even if it was too little, too late.

And here’s the thing: while naval piercings became a pretty tame and trendy for young girls to exert some control over their budding sexuality, they really never took off wider than that. It is the inexperienced mind that tells us such a thing would attract a potential boyfriend, and while some guys (and girls) do like the look of such piercings when they see them at the beach, they’re really not enough to catch someone’s full attention. In fact, since naval piercings are hidden under clothing, they are the complete opposite of a fashion statement because they are kept secret.

By the time the end of high school rolled around, most girls who were looking for a way to prove their daring confidence with their body had removed the charms from their bellies, sick of all of the little protrusions they had stretched into the tee-shirts and sweaters worn over them. It has been more than a decade since I was in junior high, but when I look around today, the only people I see with naval piercings are still those same tween and teen girls: new generations who just haven’t yet gotten the memo.

Similarly, about three years ago nipple piercing seemed to take over the mainstream, becoming a more and more common way for fashion designers to prove to the youth that they were alternative and edgy. Models were being sent down the runway during fashion week in mesh or otherwise sheer tops, displaying pierced nipples underneath. But runway clothes are not every day wear, and in truth nipple piercings have even less of a place in fashion than naval ones nowadays, since, you know, the invention and enforcement of “No shoes, no shirt, no service.”

Besides, nipple piercings never seemed to be much about a style or a “look”. Instead such piercings are much more about escalation of early sexual expression. After all, their presence causes stimulation, which is a whole other ballgame and blog topic entirely.

Lately the really avant garde, or the really rebellious, depending on which way you look at it, choose instead to make statements directly on their faces, where they can’t hide and you can’t avoid seeing them. But considering we don’t have many occasions to go around showing off a bare midriff (and even less to go around showing off a bare chest), naval and nipple piercings, while well-intentioned, don’t offer the satisfaction of self-expression that one can achieve with so many other, outer, fashions.

  • What do you think?

About Jennifer Kelton

Jennifer KeltonI did not wake up one morning and say “hey I think I’d like a man use my sweater like a towel, write a candid dating book, become a dating expert, the CEO and founder of a social dating site and have three blogs.”

All of this has happened in a slow burn and here I am. The good, the bad, the mistakes, way too many tears shed to count, lots of wine and oh my goodness a huge learning curve that leaves me much of the time saying, “I’m sorry but this is all new to me.”

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