Fresh skin

Marlene Brueggmann

Freedom can spread underneath the skin.

Literally.

Many college students seem to use the freedom of being away from home to get tattoos and piercings.

Somerset freshman Ashley Phelps said she and a friend want to get their tongues pierced sometime this month.

“I’ve been thinking about it forever,” Phelps said. “I’m just afraid that I don’t have the nerves for it.”

Phelps said her father does not like the idea of his daughter getting a piercing.

“But he knows he cannot tell me ‘no,'” she said.

The parent factor also plays an important role for Louisville freshman James Deskins when it comes to body art.

Deskins said he wants to get a tattoo, but isn’t planning on getting one any time soon.

“My dad said if I ever get any form of ink or holes on my body before I’m off his medical plan, he would cut me off financially from the family,” Deskins said. “I’ll get one when I’m 24 and make my own money.”

William Luckert, a freshman from Jeffersonville, Ind., had his tragus – the cartilage at the entrance to the ear – pierced two weeks ago, but had to take it out because it got infected.

Undeterred, Luckert went to Artistic Encounters on the 31-W Bypass in Bowling Green yesterday to have his penis pierced.

Luckert said that he and a friend had a bet.

“If she would get her nipples pierced, I would pierce my penis,” he said. “And she did it.”

Luckert said he also wants a tattoo, but is not planning on getting one until next year. He said his parents weren’t thrilled about his first piercing.

“I don’t want to test them on a tattoo,” he said, “because that’s something I cannot just take out.”

When it comes to piercing his penis, Luckert is not worried about his parents finding out.

“I can hide that,” he said.

Jonathan Fowler of Topper’s Fine Line Tattoos, also on the bypass in Bowling Green, said that they are busy for the first few weeks of the semester, when a lot of students come in during Greek Rush to get tattoos of their letters.

Colby Jones, part-owner of Artistic Encounters, said that his shop sees a lot of business from students.

“Tattoos are not as much discriminated against as they used to,” Jones said. “That’s why a lot of kids get them. People are accepting it more.”

Jones said that for some people, getting tattoos and piercings is definitely a rebellion against parents and rules.

But for Jacob Kozlow, a junior from White House, Tenn., getting a tattoo had nothing to do with rebellion.

“My mom told me to get it,” Kozlow said.

His sister got a tattoo for her birthday. His mom was getting one at the same time, so she asked him to come along, he said.

Kirksey freshman Taryn Landon also didn’t have problems with her mom when she wanted a tattoo. She said her mother has a tattoo and allowed Landon to get one.

But for Landon, piercings are a different story.

Landon said that she had her tongue pierced the weekend after her high school graduation, and her mother made her take it out the next day.

Landon had her tongue pierced a second time the first week of the semester, but took it out two weeks later in prospect of going home and seeing her mother.

The hole in her tongue has just healed, but Landon is already planning her next adventure in body art. She plans to get a tattoo of the Dave Matthews Band symbol.

“I’ll have that soon,” Landon said.

Reach Marlene Brueggemann at [email protected]