A belief goes that if a girl can't take the pain of tattooing, she is un-marriageable, because she will never be able to deal with the pain of child birth. If a boy can't deal with the pain he is considered to be a bad risk as a warrior, and could become isolated from the tribe.
The earliest known mummified remains of a human that was pierced is over 5,000 years old. This worthy gentleman had his ears pierced with larger-gauge plugs in his ears, so plugs may be one of the oldest forms of body modification there is! We also know that the Egyptians loved to adorn themselves elaborately, and even restricted certain types of body piercing to the royal family.
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For me I often feel stuck when I think of how permanent a tattoo is. I see a lot of cool designs that I like at the time but when I start thinking about the having it permanently done I start to change my mind and look for something else.