The Mutual Tattooed Penis Admiration Society
September 4, 2008 9:33 AM   Subscribe

The Mutual Tattooed Penis Admiration Society: Really fascinating archival footage from the 1980s of Sailor Sid, Jack Yount, and others. This is old-school tattooing and piercing, anchored in gay and S&M subcultures, just before it went mainstream. NSFW, and there are far more NSFW things a click away on these links.

You will notice that tattooing on the cusp of the HIV/AIDS epidemic was sometimes done to a different standard of hygiene than is the case 25 years later. The affection and trust between the men in the videos really shines through, though.

Sailor Sid's papers are now a part of the Leather Archives and Museum in Chicago; Jack Yount's collection became part of the Shawn Porter Collection which sadly appears to be offline after a crash. An essay by Jim Ward about Sailor Sid can be read here.

The links were posted on BME's ModBlog; they are credited to Shawn Porter at the wonderfully-named Scar Wars; see also his articles, some deeply NSFW, on BME.
posted by Forktine (44 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I quite wasn't sure just what "obscene" is,
until Sailor Sid showed photos of his penis.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:44 AM on September 4, 2008


No. No. And No.
posted by tkchrist at 9:45 AM on September 4, 2008


"..before it went mainstream."

sure thing
posted by Zambrano at 9:51 AM on September 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


Do you ever get that feeling, after seeing something disturbing, where you can't make a tight fist or really flex your muscles? I'm going to be feeling this for weeks, cause I clicked every one of those links. Amazing, but totally, totally, not my thing.
posted by Science! at 9:53 AM on September 4, 2008


Yeah, about that whole "..before it went mainstream." thing...
posted by tommasz at 9:58 AM on September 4, 2008


Wait, so tattooed penises are mainstream now? When did that happen?

Also, why were all the old school tattoo artists called 'Sailor' something? Was that a gay thing as well? Were these tattooists the traditional providers of Navy Cake to the seafaring man?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:08 AM on September 4, 2008


Yeah, about that whole "..before it went mainstream." thing...

From the Pew Center:

About half of Gen Nexters say they have either gotten a tattoo, dyed their hair an untraditional color, or had a body piercing in a place other than their ear lobe. The most popular are tattoos, which decorate the bodies of more than a third of these young adults.

When you have more than a third of people getting tattoos, I'd say it's pretty mainstream. Fifteen years ago, there wasn't a piercing shop on every corner downtown, either.

Clearly, Sailor Sid and friends weren't heading towards the mainstream, and they were happy that way. But they were early adopters of tattoos and piercings, things that are no longer the exclusive province of marginalized subcultures. (A lot of the other things you'll find on BME remain pretty far from the mainstream, and my guess is that it will stay that way.)

(For those who still have a copy kicking around, there's a great photo of Sailor Sid on page 179 of that old ReSearch Modern Primitives book.)
posted by Forktine at 10:14 AM on September 4, 2008


I don't get the scarification thing. When they're brand new, they look pretty good, like tattoos done in red ink. But when they've healed, they just look...goopy.
posted by duvatney at 10:17 AM on September 4, 2008


Wait, so tattooed penises are mainstream now? When did that happen?

When you weren't looking
posted by mannequito at 10:20 AM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I keep forgetting to put a note on my computer that warns me I can't unsee things.
posted by comatose at 10:24 AM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Nice tattooed penis there!"
"Thanks, yours isn't too shabby either."
posted by stinkycheese at 10:30 AM on September 4, 2008 [4 favorites]


The answer is still "no." Now go away and take your messed up junk with you.
posted by 1adam12 at 10:53 AM on September 4, 2008


Old, but worth remembering
posted by mandal at 11:05 AM on September 4, 2008


White Guy: "Oh is your girl named Wendy too?"

Jamaican: "No Mon, mine says, 'Welcome To Jamaica Have a Nice Day'".
posted by isopraxis at 11:05 AM on September 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


huh... relatively interesting and yet another portion of gay culture pre HIV/AIDS that I didn't know about. Until, that is, I read the Jack Yount article on that body mod wiki and said to myself "Dear me, what, may I ask, is 'urethra rerouting'?" To which my only following thought was "WHY?!?!?"
posted by Sam.Burdick at 11:22 AM on September 4, 2008


If that is mainstream I am happy to be on the edge of our culture. Ouch.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:27 AM on September 4, 2008


The most popular are tattoos, which decorate the bodies of more than a third of these young adults.

Who, 30 years hence, will gaze upon their middle-aged, be-inked flesh in the mirror and mutter the immortal words..."What the fuck was I thinking?"
posted by Thorzdad at 11:39 AM on September 4, 2008


You know, if there's one thing I hear about a tattooed penis, it's that you no longer have one main stream.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:40 AM on September 4, 2008


Whoops. Pierced penis.

Submarined my own goddamn joke.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:41 AM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


It became mainstream with Oliver Reed.
posted by Squid Voltaire at 11:44 AM on September 4, 2008


Wasn't Karl Rove's father part of this early scene?
posted by Rumple at 11:47 AM on September 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


This is so timely. I was thinking of cutting off my scrotum and stitching it to my chin so I can look like Peter Griffin from Family Guy. I love body modification!
posted by mrducts at 11:52 AM on September 4, 2008


Fascinating post BTW!
posted by mrducts at 11:53 AM on September 4, 2008


And let me guess the next installment.

Scar Wars II: The Epidermis Strikes Back.
posted by three blind mice at 11:57 AM on September 4, 2008


Yeah, regrettable like a 1:1 scale ruler tattooed on some young chick's lower back.
posted by anthill at 11:59 AM on September 4, 2008


Wasn't Karl Rove's father part of this early scene?

Haha! The picture at the top looks kinda like Dick Cheney!
posted by mrducts at 12:06 PM on September 4, 2008


This is the kind of thread you check for funny comments and then very carefully back out of without clicking any links.

I heard that 'Wendy' joke about 30 years ago as 'Swan' and 'Saskatchewan'.
posted by pracowity at 12:18 PM on September 4, 2008


Whoa nelly Rumple, that link of yours about Karl Rove's dad, Louis Claude Rove Jr., blew my mind.

Just another eye bulge, jaw drop experience on the blue. (But saying bulge anything and jaw drop in this thread feels kinda weird.)

What could it have been like for Karl Rove to have a gay, heavy-into-body-piercing adoptive father? And a mother who committed suicide. Something terrible must have traumatized him something awful for him to become the malignant, reactionary puppet master he devolved into being.

Rove has expressed great love and admiration for his adoptive father and for "how selfless" his love had been.

If Karl Rove's Wikipedia entry is altered to include this information, where is the best place/how should it be included do you think?
posted by nickyskye at 12:28 PM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I see why some sailors are so inarticulate, yarrr.
D’y’think Popeye and Bluto...uh... er...oh.
*beep beep beep*
(carefully backs out of thread)
posted by Smedleyman at 1:08 PM on September 4, 2008


Scar Wars III : Return Of The Jet Eye
posted by mannequito at 1:10 PM on September 4, 2008


heh, nickyskye, yeah, jaw-dropping it is. I've never done wikipedia, but I suspect it would be most appropriate to put it on Karl Rove's father's page, if there is one, arguably he is notable because of family connection as well as cultural importance in an emerging subculture?

Mind you, googling "karl rove's father" brings this topic up as the top kajillion hits, for the curious.
posted by Rumple at 1:24 PM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


OK, I see there is discussion on Rove's wikipedia page already (scroll down).
posted by Rumple at 1:25 PM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have no doubt that the actual piercing session is painful enough, but I would think that having that much metal in one's penis would even make getting aroused something to avoid. At least for the first few weeks/months/years.

But that video in the first link is mesmerizing. It's like reminiscing through someone else's eyes, and the music makes it that much more surreal.
posted by sambosambo at 1:44 PM on September 4, 2008


I hadn't gotten around to watching this yet, so I'm glad it was posted here. ModBlog is one of my favorite sites, one that gets checked several times a day for new updates. Lots of crazy stuff on there, stuff that might not necessarily be my cup of tea, but I find it fascinating nonetheless.
posted by friendlyjuan at 2:14 PM on September 4, 2008



Hmmmm. I guess I am not quite as liberal as I thought I was. I try to approach things with an open mind. But just can't fathom self destructive behavior. Oh well. To each his own.
posted by notreally at 2:56 PM on September 4, 2008


"I keep forgetting to put a note on my computer that warns me I can't unsee things."

Oh, I'm going to borrow that phrase.
posted by bz at 3:02 PM on September 4, 2008


"Gen Nexters"

Ugh. Fuck that phrase right in the eye socket with my tattooed penis.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 3:55 PM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Great post, thanks! That film is amazing. I haven't kept up reading Shawn Porter's stuff -- thanks for reminding me.
posted by desuetude at 4:38 PM on September 4, 2008


Great video. Thanks.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 7:07 PM on September 4, 2008


I have no doubt that the actual piercing session is painful enough, but I would think that having that much metal in one's penis would even make getting aroused something to avoid. At least for the first few weeks/months/years.

I wouldn't know, but from what I've read, it doesn't take all that long to heal. Keep in mind, the penis is filled with vascular tissue, which helps with healing.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 9:35 PM on September 4, 2008


overheard in fifth grade:

" He just got a tattoo and he's in the bathroom when he catches a glance of the guy at the urinal next to him.
"Oh, you too, huh? My girls name is Ann, your's is... Wendy?"
"No, not Wendy; Welcome to Jamaica, have a nice day."
posted by From Bklyn at 12:01 AM on September 5, 2008


Man, I don't usually wuss out on mefi links, but in this case I think I can live without seeing the penile hijinx.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:37 AM on September 5, 2008


I wouldn't know, but from what I've read, it doesn't take all that long to heal.

This is true. I don't have a penis, let alone a pierced penis, but I know a fair number of guys who do. Getting aroused post-piercing (and initial healing period) is something anticipated, not avoided.
posted by desuetude at 6:11 AM on September 5, 2008


Getting aroused post-piercing (and initial healing period) is something anticipated, not avoided.

This is true. If your pierce hurts when you are 'en flagrante', it was done rather completely wrong. But the people who perform these procedures generally train for ricockulous amounts of time on more standard pierces before even being allowed to start on genital mods, because most people are pretty particular on who's allowed to drive a steel needle through their most precious.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:23 AM on September 5, 2008


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