I hope I don't offend anyone, but I hate it when people get piercings/tattoos because it's trendy or looks cool. I find that to be on par with women who get breast implants to only please their husbands/conform to society's standards/whatever. The local news did this segment on this young woman who got her ear cartilage pierced because it was trendy, and it got infected, and now she needs plastic surgery because the ear ended up becoming severely deformed. I was very upset when I saw this and muttered some pretty choice words at the TV.
I have several piercings, and I investigated fully what the dangers would be. I researched them online and read many horror *and* happily satisfied stories. I read reviews about the various piercing parlors in my area, and chose the one with the best reputation. I thought through it long and hard, and because of circumstances waited several months to get pierced (ear barbell and eyebrow). When someone doesn't completely think through their choice to get pierced/tattooed (including how they'll look when their 80 yrs. old or if they'll be able to find a job) I can only wonder how they badly they make decisions in other parts of their life.
I think people have to decide wisely about anything they do to their bodies, be it piercings, smoking, drinking alcohol, doing drugs, eating, exercising, having sex, etc. I don't care if you're a pierced, vegan pothead who's only had one sexual partner and works out 3 times a week, or if you're a swinging party guy/gal who loves red meat but doesn't drink or smoke; whatever, as long as you know the consequences and have weighed the pros and cons. Do whatever you want, but be informed about your choices!
Also, aesthetics is partly, but not only the reason for my body mods, and, as I've stated before, it cheeses me off when people do it for only that one reason. I may be overly-sensitive, but I actually took an Anthropology class on body modification, and there are many more reasons for it than simply attention, including but not limited to: expression of renewed strength (for abused women or those that felt inferior because of their former station in life), a symbol of adulthood/a passage into a new part of life, a critique of the body's role in society and how society values it according to how well it fits the norm, a spiritual/religion sign of ultimate devotion, proof of physical strength, etc.
My main reasons for getting pierced, while guided by their aesthetic worth, were primarily because I wanted to retake control of my body. I had severe medical problems for a while, and it was that uncertainty, the fact that my body could betray me, that I think spurred my walking into the piercing shop. I had been contemplating piercings before, but I finally had the courage, the strength, to do so after I recovered. For me, it's an expression of my dominion over my body, a symbol of my physical strength, and my connection to a different part of society (that is becoming more and more accepted), and I guess that's what the tiger guy, the tattooed ladies, whoever, are all doing.
Of course, I live in Austin, aka the liberal enclave of Texas, so I can say that there are so many students who walk around looking like me that it's not weird anymore, and that most of them can get jobs either way. I was admiring the Wendy's cashier's nose piercing the other day, and my body mod Anthro professor (a nice woman in her early 40s) sported an eyebrow piercing the entire semester.
Okay, I've blathered on long enough, sorry about the long-windedness!