Editor’s Note: This is a satire piece from The Collegian’s opinion section. Real names and the events surrounding them may be used in fictitious/semi-fictitious ways. Those who do not read the editor’s notes are subject to being offended.
Earlier this week, Colorado State University freshman LaKynn Miller, who had just joined the Alpha Sigma Sigma sorority, got a nose ring in her left nostril and a line tattoo of a mountain range on her forearm instead of developing a real personality.
Miller, who moved to Fort Collins from Long Beach, California, at the start of the semester, said it felt like a Colorado thing to do.
“Everybody here like, has a nose piercing, like, and like, a cute little, like, tattoo on their arm,” Miller said. “I, like, wanted to feel like the real, like, Coloradoan I am.”
Miller said she felt like a ‘basic Californian’ after moving to Colorado, and she wanted to make a change to fit in. She got herself the tattoo and piercing and also began religiously watching Wes Anderson movies and listening exclusively to Tyler, the Creator. She also plastered her dorm room walls with posters for old movies and artists, like Kill Bill: Volume 1, Queen and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Research from the Foundation for Understanding Cultured Kids concluded that first-year college students are getting these kinds of simple tattoos and piercings at an astoundingly higher rate than they were five to 10 years ago.”
Taylee Sage, one of Miller’s sorority sisters who encouraged her to adopt the new aesthetic, said the tattoo, piercing and new taste in movies and music will help her seem more indie than she is.
“Oh yeah, everybody’s getting these piercings and stuff recently,” Sage said. “It also really helps if you start getting really, really into Studio Ghibli films. It, like, makes you seem all indie and interesting.”
Sage also has a mountain tattoo, a nose ring and indie-pop posters on her bedroom walls. When asked if she was just following the same trends as Miller, she said there were some very key differences between her style and Miller’s.
“No, no,” Sage noted. “LaKynn (Miller) got her tattoo on her right arm and got the image off Google. I got mine on my left arm and got the image off Pinterest. It’s, like, not the same. Plus, her nose ring is silver and mine is gold.”
“She has Queen and Tyler posters on her wall,” Sage said. “I’ve got Tame Impala and ABBA posters on mine. We’re totally, totally different.”
Would you rather do some serious soul searching and introspection in order to find a deeper sense of meaning and self, or would you rather drop $60+ tip on a small tattoo of a rose?”
According to official data, these kinds of basic changes in appearance and taste are becoming increasingly common with white women aged 18-26 in sororities. Research from the Foundation for Understanding Cultured Kids concluded that first-year college students are getting these kinds of simple tattoos and piercings at an astoundingly higher rate than they were five to 10 years ago.
Trent Throckmorton, one of the lead researchers at the institute, said cultural changes are likely to blame for the change in freshman behavior.
“People are getting piercings and small tattoos in order to seem a little indie or mysterious, or whatever, instead of actually being those things, which is fair,” Throckmorton said. “Would you rather do some serious soul searching and introspection in order to find a deeper sense of meaning and self, or would you rather drop $60+ tip on a small tattoo of a rose?”
He also noted that social media plays a role in the changing trends. He said hot people on TikTok are to blame more often than not.
“I mean, everybody’s always got their noses in their phones,” Throckmorton said. “You see all these hot goth girls and cute indie soft-boys on your For You page, and you wanna emulate that. They’ve all got these piercings and tattoos, so you think, ‘Oh, I should totally do that too!'”
After chatting about how many people are caving into social trends for about 10 minutes, Throckmorton cut our interview short due to previous engagements.
“If you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go,” he said. “I’m already late for my appointments. I’m getting a mullet and a septum piercing, and then I’m going home to play Animal Crossing and listen to the new Lil Nas X album.”
Before he left our interview, though, Throckmorton urged readers to pay close attention to their friends, especially if they are going through these kinds of aesthetic changes.
“Listen, when people change their aesthetics like this, it probably means they’re going through some shit,” he said. “If you see your friend buy some pastel Air Max 97s, dye their hair light pink, start watching A24 movies and cry-singing along to Phoebe Bridgers at 2 a.m., get them some help. Believe me, they’re going through it, and they need some therapy.”
Reach Dylan Tusinski at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @unwashedtiedye.