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Tell All: Will a nose ring make me cool?
Hole puncher

Dear Tell All: My friend and I made a pact to get nose rings, but now I'm having second thoughts. Part of what's bothering me is I'm not really sure why I want one. I guess I want to make a statement, or maybe show people that I'm edgier than they think. I work in a school and I worry that people might think wearing a nose ring is unprofessional. But if I can't wear it to work, then what's the point? What do you think I should do?


Dear Bessie: With mainstream stars like Scarlett Johansson and Kelly Clarkson getting their noses pierced, and half the hockey-moms in America sporting a body piercing or tattoo, it's becoming harder and harder to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Unless you do something really radical, like thrust a hula-hoop through your neck or embed an iPhone in your forehead, no one's going to give you a second glance.

If you really want to be edgy, maybe you should get a lip plate, like the ones in those faded National Geographics from your childhood - you know, where women pierce their lips and then insert increasingly larger wooden discs in the holes until their lips stretch out like acid-trip ping-pong paddles. When is the last time you've seen someone polish off a Plazaburger while flapping one of those? What surprises me is that a lot of the tribes that wear lip plates don't actually eat their food off plates. So while most of the people are walking around wearing a halfway decent table setting on their faces, no one has had that eureka moment and exclaimed, "Hey, we could eat our mush off these things!" You'd think a light bulb would have gone off in someone's head, but now that I think of it, they don't use light bulbs either. So there you go.

Whether you should willingly punch a hole in your body is obviously a very personal decision, and one that I can't make for you. But I think you need to get to the bottom of why you're even considering it. Making a fashion statement is one thing, but if you're trying to impress your co-workers, you may be disappointed. Coolness isn't something external that you can buy and wear as an accessory. It's internal; it comes from the way you think, the way you act and how you live your life. Focus on making your life unique and interesting, and you'll be having so much fun that you won't need a ring to prove anything.

Do you have a question about life or love in Madison? Write Tell All, 101 King St., Madison, WI, 53703. Or email

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