Branding & Aesthetics, A Profile: Aesthete

I guess I should say that my real name is Dustin, though I am known to many of you reading this as 'aesthete' from the BME bulletin service. I was born 20 years ago in London, Ontario, Canada.

No, I don't have that many piercings: I am a picky bastard who is very thoughtful about having things done. Before I get pierced or modded, everything must be right....I consider myself kind of like an academic at this point. I have read nearly everything on BME in order to educate myself about things that I do want done, and even those things that are impossible to do on me. I want to teach people things about this subject, and make them realize that it is a truly valid expression of being.

I wish that I had some really interesting tale to tell you about regarding the years before I started doing these "mods." However, I must admit that my childhood wasn't all that exciting. But it wasn't boring either. On my eighth birthday I started riding a motorcycle, for example. In public school, nothing really happened to me. I played games and chased girls just like all the other boys.

My life between 11 and 17 was a dichotomy between sports and art. I played National-level competitive baseball while getting the highest grades in English and Art classes. After 12th grade, I quit all sports (except having fun skateboarding) and focused on art. I was accepted into a special arts school, where I stayed for 2 years.

And that's where things changed. Having just had my ears freshly pierced, I noticed this guy in my class with these really fat, stretched lobes ( I laugh now - they were 6 ga!) and I was intrigued, to say the least. I couldn't recall seeing anyone with this before, and I knew right then that I needed to have these. I finally got the guts to ask him how he did this, and he answered only vaguely, but it helped. That night I went home and shoved anything round that I could find in my lobes, including some very scary nails, and even lego...

Luckily, my girlfriend figured out that if you stripped the insulation off of electrical wire, you could heat the insulation up and create a taper. And that's how I stretched up to 6 gauge in a few weeks. I promptly bought that guy's captives off of him.

My first 'real' piercing came in the spring of that year. My girlfriend, having gone through her own first 'real' piercings that winter, suggested that I get my tongue pierced. I remember being very skeptical, but wanting to overcome that fear very much. So she showed me this website, Body Modification Ezine, and I read just about every single story having to do with tongue piercings. I decided to do it, and had it done by a fabulous, amazing piercer by the name of Jacquie Gallant at Addictive in London.

A year went by before I started to get these really strong urges to do something more, but I didn't know what. I needed something to tide me over, so I decided on a scrumper, something discreet and nuisance-free (I was still living at home at the time, and these were fairly important). I didn't know anyone else with a scrumper at the time, so for some reason it excited me that much more. Jacquie actually thanked me for wanting to have it done, since she got so few requests.

Julie warned me that the scrumper would only slow my appetite temporarily, and she was right. Not knowing what else to do, I stretched my tongue to a 10 ga. I don't even recall if I knew if this was possible. Well, I probably did, but that wasn't going to deter me anyway.

I also started to stretch my lobes further. This time I was able to make the jump from a loose 6 ga to 7/16" in about 2 and a half weeks.

The next big thing in my life came in the form of moving to Toronto. I had been moved in for only 4 days when I decided to take up the services of the best piercer on the planet, Tom Brazda. It turns out that his studio is located only a few blocks away. Anyway, I knew that he was very competent at genital piercings, so I had my frenum pierced with an old tongue barbell. In retrospect, I could tell that he would have liked to pierce it at a much larger size. However, this was my first, and I thought it was appropriate. A couple of days later I returned to have it re-done, as I thought that placement was a bit off. Meanwhile, I had stretched the tongue to 8 ga.

A couple of months pass and the urge hits again. For some strange reason, this time in the form of a branding. I had this done by Blair at Tat-a-rama on New Year's Eve day.

The next piercing urge was the very next week. I made an appointment for the next week to have a medusa installed. After all, it had only been a week since my branding, and I needed time to heal a bit first. So I had that done, and a 6 ga barbell installed in my tongue, which tore it and I had to heal all over again, somewhat.

I have since stretched the frenum to 6 gauge, and the earlobes to 5/8", quite a bit bigger than before.

Its hard for me say exactly what I want done in the future, because this changes all the time. As far as piercings go, here's my short list, many of which may be temporary: large gauge nipples, large gauge deep apadravya, pair of spinal piercings, large dermalled inner conches, and large labret. Lately I've also been thinking about having implants done, but I'm not sure where or what shape. I think these are probably a long way off, but are a possibility.


In semi-sleep the other night, I had what some people may call a 'vision.' I saw myself very clearly. My whole body had been branded in a linear style. I looked like a person made up of a bunch of smaller parts. The brandings were the "welding" marks of how I was put together, and I had tattooed shadows to make it seem more real and believable. Who knows? I don't know whether to take this seriously or not. Only time will tell....

The same can be said about my feelings about why I have these things done in the first place...aesthetic reasons primarily, but I cannot ignore the fact that there is something deeply personal and intense about discovering sensation. I know that I'm on an evolutionary path physically, mentally and spiritually, and that's all I really need to say about this. I could go on forever and never fully explain, as most people can understand.



Without getting too deep about "Why a brand?," here's my explanation: I like how they look. I like how they raise. They affect me mentally and spiritually. There's even a sexual aspect, which I can't really figure out myself. The reason, however, was primarily visual. I wanted to accentuate the way my collarbones stick out. I like that they are organic and look like they are done carefully, and not like the blob that some people and cows have. I also enjoyed taking care of it, and learning a little about anatomy. The reasons will never stop growing, and has definitely been an essential part of my life, something that I hope to expand on in the future.

Procedure and thoughts

Black and white photos taken by Emily Goodden

(first picture - cleaning and drawing):

Since I didn't bring a stencil with me, I let Blair free-hand the design on my chest. He took his sweet time, taking an hour and a half to draw two four-inch lines. He wouldn't even begin unless everything was perfect, which it turned out to be, and I was glad, since this was about to be permanent. I was anxious and nervous as hell. Being with my shirt off, beads of sweat were running down my arms and sides, making me embarrassed and sweat even more.

(second picture - heating the bit):

Blair finally brought out all his tools, and the bit that would be the implement of destruction. I was amazed that the bit was only about 1/4" long, maybe less. That's why he's known as one of the best in the world. He heated the bit up with the torch until it was glowing bright, orange/red. I gave a deep breath and squeezed my belt buckle as tight as I could...

(third picture - strike!)

This picture is about halfway through one side. Remarkably, and to my surprise, the first couple of strikes were literally painless. However, contrary to most people, the pain got very, very, very intense as he went on. And when a brand is about 40 strikes, that's quite a bit of pain. I didn't know whether to cry like a little girl from the pain or have the craziest orgasm that I'd ever had. It really was something to experience.

(fourth picture - done)

That's me sighing a breath of relief, having definitely had enough work done for my first branding. It looked like someone had drawn on my chest with a dry brown marker.

(fifth and sixth pictures - healing)

Yes, that's me healing. Having to scrub the brand is great at first (after almost puking having to pick off the scabs), but after two weeks of shower-toothbrush-scrubbing, it gets kind of annoying and you don't want to ever see a shower again. And I love to shower.

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