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Tattoos and Body Piercing

Nowadays if you walk down the street in any big city, you'll see persons with a tattoo, or a ring in their ear or nose Ч or even in their eyebrow. Decorating your body with exotic designs seems to be more and more popular.

A tattoo is any indelible mark under the skin, which is made deliberately. The most common method is to prick the skin with a sharp instrument, like a needle. But it used to be done and can still be done with a bone or a shell. Originally tattooing was part of religious ceremonies in some cultures, but it goes back at least to the ancient Egyptians. The Japanese have been tattooing for centuries. And the American Indians used tattooing as a way of identifying themselves with certain tribes. For warriors in Africa it was a way of showing how brave you were. If you wanted to frighten your enemy, you'd have to get yourself tattooed first. Today in some societies if young girls arc not decorated with beautiful tattooing, they won't be allowed to get married. Maoris in New Zealand still tattoo their faces.

The fashion for tattoos and body piercing became more popular in recent years with teens.

In the modern world body piercing began in the 1970s in California. It became popular with punk rock in the 1980s as teenagers chose to express their rejection of conservative behaviour by piercing their noses, ears or eyebrows. It was a way of saying: "I am not like you: I am myself." It's a way to express person's individuality. But body piercing is not only a teenage trend, it goes deeper. Even middle-aged people are keen on body piercing. Some middle-aged persons used to be rebels when they were young. And body piercing reminds them that they were once young and revolutionary.

So a tattoo is certainly fashionable. A little red rose on your shoulder can seem like a good idea at the time. But be careful. There is a very real danger of getting a serious disease if you go to an unqualified tattoo artist.

Vocabulary

piercing Ч пирсинг
eyebrow Ч бровь
exotic design Ч экзотический знак
indelible mark Ч несмываемый знак
deliberately Ч сознательно
to prick Ч прокалывать
skin Ч кожа
sharp Ч острый
needle Ч игла
bone Ч кость
shell Ч ракушка
religious ceremony Ч религиозна€ церемони€
to go back Ч относитьс€
to identify Ч определ€ть, идентифицировать
tribe Ч плем€
warrior Ч воин
to frighten Ч пугать
rejection Ч отказ, непри€тие
conservative Ч консервативный
teenage trend Ч подросткова€ тенденци€ в моде
middle-aged people Ч люди среднего возраста
to be keen on Ч увлекатьс€
rebel Ч бунтовщик
to remind Ч напоминать
disease Ч заболевание
unqualified Ч неквалифицированный

Questions

1. What do you think about tattoos and body piercing?
2. Do you think body piercing is a good idea to express a teen's individuality?
Why?
3. Why are grown-ups sometimes keen on body piercing?
4. To what times does tattooing go back?
5. What was tattooing originally in some cultures?

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