Fashion Accessory

The story just isn’t enough: you want to see the photo Ashley Glawe (“glah-WE”) posted on Facebook from the emergency room. But first the story, from True’s 5 February 2017 issue:


The heavily tattooed and pierced Ashley Glawe was relaxing at her home in Portland, Ore., with her pet ball python wrapped around her shoulders when the snake “lunged” toward her ear — or, more specifically, the wide piercing in her right ear lobe. It got stuck about half-way through. “I tried to get him out myself, and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to without hurting him,” she said later. She called 911, but firefighters couldn’t figure out how to get the snake out of her ear either, and she ended up at Portland Adventist Hospital. “They put string or something in between my ear and the snake and stretched my ear out more,” she said, which allowed them to pull the snake out without tearing her ear. (RC/KATU Portland) …Her chest tattoo already says it all: “This Too Shall Pass”.

Why is the story titled “Jewelry”? Wikipedia notes the ball python (Python regius) is also known as the royal python, which “comes from the fact that rulers in Africa would wear the python as jewelry.”

And yes, her shoulder-to-shoulder tattoo, partly visible in the photo, does really say “This Too Shall Pass”:

Ashley in the E.R., snake still stuck.
Glawe at the hospital. (Photo: Facebook — click to see larger)


I like Ashley: she was cool under pressure. I guess when you have that many tatts and piercings, you can handle a little pain, and have learned to keep your wits. And she gamely submitted to interviews from journalists all over the world.

If you wonder: pythons rarely bite, and even if they do, they don’t produce any poisonous venom.

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19 Comments on “Fashion Accessory

  1. I have absolutely no sympathy for her. Perhaps it’s my age talking but people who mutilate their bodies with piercings and/or tattoos are beyond my understanding. I agree that it is their right to do so, and if by so doing they incur unusual misfortune, well…c’est la vie.

    And exacerbating their life decisions with putting a constricting reptile around their neck…well…pardon my snickering. It’s just kismet.

    Well, I disagree with you. A snake that tiny isn’t exactly betting your life on your constrictor being benign. You’ve never done anything to make yourself look better in your own eyes? Before you answer, consider that you “mutilate” your hair every six weeks or so, cutting it right off your body. Actually, you probably do that daily, when you shave. Yep, it’s a matter of degree, and you chose where you drew your line. So did this gal. -rc

  2. Aw, c’mon. Letting my hair grow — or not — or shaving — or not — is all natural and a function of style and personal hygiene and a personal decision that neither adds nor subtracts to the way the human body has naturally evolved.

    Neither of these is a change of what natural evolution has produced; it is a matter of lopping off portions of our naturally evolved body and/or purposely “adorning” it with colorizations in the form of tattooed messages that have meaning to no-one else but our own ego-centric selves.

    So your comments at best are argumentative, and silly at worst.

    And in summary, we can either leave our bodies the way they evolved (dental caries notwithstanding) or we can physically change them according to our dubious personal tastes.

    And that snake is only tiny for now; and that too will change.

    Funny, but that’s exactly what I thought of your point: “Silly.” Now, if you put your mind to it (aka think), you can come to an understanding based on that. Start with what I said the first time: where you draw the line. You get that choice, and so does she. -rc

  3. Neil in Calgary doesn’t quite Get It, does he? The hair analogy is apropos: maybe he wasn’t alive in the 60s, but I was, and remember young men sent away from potential jobs because they had well-kept — but “long” — hair, like barely touching their shoulders. They were “freaks” and treated as subhumans just like Neil has “no sympathy” for someone who was injured because why? She has a different standard of “taste” than he does. It’s surprising he didn’t call her a freak. I just hope he doesn’t have a daughter. Or, for that matter, a son. Not many kids would want to be like him, just like I didn’t want to be like my local shopkeepers, turning away kids I know were great people simply because of their “dubious taste” in hair style. Kismet is right: may he get his sooner rather than later.

  4. Royal/ball pythons actually stay relatively small and are about the mildest-tempered snakes out there. You generally have to work hard to get one to strike at you, unless you smell like a rodent at feeding time.

    And I’m sure in a different generation, Neil would have been complaining about bobby soxers or boys with greasy DA’s. Gauged piercings will shrink down if not maintained, and tattoos are extremely common these days, so she won’t look different from anyone else in the future unless she wants to.

    A Harris poll in 2012 found that 1 out of every 5 adults — 21 percent — has at least one tattoo. An earlier Pew Research Center study found that the number was closer to 40 percent among those ages 18 to 29. -rc

  5. I have no problems with the tattoos, piercings, etc. but tend to be very suspicious of this womans “accident”. Is it not a little strange that the python “lunged” into the large ear lobe piercing? Seems like a well played, though ultimately expensive, publicity stunt or, just another stupid stunt.

    I don’t see any upside to doing this as any sort of publicity stunt. -rc

  6. 1: If she was patient enough and didn’t mind the discomfort, the snake eventually would have crawled through by itself, perhaps with a little prodding. I had a California king snake for several years. So docile, I used to use him to teach kids who were afraid of snakes. All lost their fear. Kings and other constrictors have tiny teeth that would cause little damage.

    2: Re: Neil from Calgary — I wonder if his girlfriends have pierced ears and if he puts them down for it. Never heard anyone make negative remarks about that…

  7. Hey Neil,

    Showing yourself up as a redneck Albertan. I am 57 with 2 tattoos. One honouring my son and one honouring my dad. I remember my Mom telling a story about a neighbour calling to say “Paul and his long haired hooligan friends are throwing rocks at the streetlight.” She goes out on the porch and yells “Paul”. Paul answers from the basement “yes, Mom.” 1971 long hair = criminal. Alberta the Texas of Canada.

  8. I would add that as someone who just got my first tattoo in my mid-30s, I’ve found that most people are pretty open to it even if they themselves are not interested. Unlike several years ago when tattoos were mostly for sailors and the disreputable, at least in the public eye, these days they’re fairly common. All of the responses I’ve gotten have been positive, although to be fair mine’s in a place covered by winter clothing so I’ve gotten to pick who sees it.

    And when I was in elementary school one of my teachers had a pet constrictor that I would hold all the time. Sometimes it would loop around my neck because — as far as we could tell — it felt more secure there than on my tiny elementary school arm. I never had any problems with it. I would love a snake now except that I’m not around enough and an afraid my cat sitters might not also be willing to snake-sit when I’m gone.

    I’m a sort of “big brother” to a couple of kids in town, and one of my surprises was when the subject of tattoos came up one day, their grandmother said, “Want to see mine?” She pulled down her collar to show me: it was on her chest. So yeah: a lot more people have tattoos than we realize! -rc

  9. Your email link to this story calls her “a good-looking gal with a snake …in her ear.” To this Texan (insert redneck flames here) she has to be in the ‘possibly formerly good-looking’ category.

    Although it’s hard to ignore the tattoos, which seem to have captured all the attention in the comments, I can’t get past the face shrapnel. It’s just impossible for me to understand how someone can look in the mirror after such modifications and feel that they have improved their appearance. How ugly did she think she was before?

    Do women wear makeup and jewelry because they’re “ugly” without them? Or to enhance what they have, or to add interest for those looking at them? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think she’s quite good looking, with or without tatts or hardware — other kinds of color and jewelry. Others will have different reactions, and that’s not something to lament, it’s great: it’s what makes the world go ’round. -rc

  10. “The heavily tattooed and pierced”? Have you ever been to Portland? Here she doesn’t even qualify as heavily pierced. It takes more than full sleeves (which she doesn’t have) to be considered “heavily tattooed” and we’re only #5 on the list of top 10 US cities with the most tattoos.

    Some people like to hang art on their walls. Some people like to keep it with them at all times by having it inscribed on their bodies. I’m guessing the transience experienced by many young people may partially explain their penchant for body art. If you don’t have a home, you don’t have anywhere to hang art and yet art feeds the soul.

    Compared to the average American, yes: she’s heavily tattooed and pierced. Why does that fact threaten you? -rc

  11. Threaten me? From where did you get that impression? I find range of attitudes toward tattoos entertaining. I was especially amused to discover that Portland is ONLY #5 on the list since, having lived all over the country, I know the concept of body art is much more accepted here than elsewhere.

    “Compared to the average American” … I think that really depends on what age of “average American” you’re looking at. Her tattoos are easily covered with a short-sleeved shirt and she only has four piercings visible in the photo, not including the one currently occupied by the snake. Enter any coffee shop in Portland and you’ll see more art per individual on several people, many of whom will be older than she is.

    I’m old enough to remember when tattoo shops were mostly in scuzzy neighborhoods patronized by less-than-savory folks. But I encountered the first person I considered “heavily” tattooed (most of his skin below his chin was covered) when I was in my early twenties and he introduced me to the concept of tattoos as art.

    Now, at least in the Pacific Northwest, many tattoo shops are on par with high-end salons in their appearance, decor, location, and cleanliness. I might have agreed with your comment about average American (since we pride ourselves on not being average Americans), but Portland is behind Flint, Michigan and Richmond, Virginia on the Top 10 list (which also includes Kansas City, Missouri).

    I think those of us who are older like me (and Neil) need to accept that “average” and “attitudes” change over time. His “mutilations” are younger generations’ “art”.

    The impression comes from your defensiveness, and fighting with the guy who said Glawe is a “good-looking gal.” Indeed the “average American” has NO tattoos, which you can easily figure out from the data given in an earlier reply. I’ll suggest you chill a little, and see how you’re coming across here: don’t wage war with the people who are on your side. -rc

  12. Thanks for the nice story. I think it can be very hard to separate standards that we learned when we were young with standards that are truly meaningful in the face of change. I have a full sleeve tattoo, which I got in 1976 when it was a bit more unusual. Even I cringe sometimes, when I see the choices that young people are making with tattoos, piercings, scarring, and other body work.

    I suspect that many will regret choices that can’t be reversed, but I will defend forever their right to express themselves in these ways. Perhaps if our generation and the ones before were more concerned with ideas and consequences, rather than rigid rules enforced by ultimate authority, then young people wouldn’t feel that they had to push so hard against those standards.

    PS. Just back from a winter hot springs tour of Oregon, and I can confirm that many, many, people have tattoos. I was in a large outdoor hot spring with 12 people in it. The 4 year old girl in the pool didn’t have any tattoos, but I think she was the only one.

  13. Disappointing to see so much negativity from so many commenters on this post. While tattoos and piercings are not something that I have any desire to have myself, I have no issue with them on other people.

    Equally disappointing to see assumptions being made about her based solely on her appearance. I agree with you Randy, it seems as though she handled herself well in what would likely have been stressful, and highly unusual, circumstances for all involved!

  14. I’m avoiding any previous discussions (I have no piercings or tats, have no desire for any, and while I wonder what some people think they are doing, I really don’t care).

    I think Ashley simply “misgauged” the size of the snake….

  15. Wow first timer. I have been receiving True for some 17 years. and I finally had to write to agree with both your major topics. I have no Tats, but I do respect fine artwork and a persons right to carry it around with them. Secondly she is a beautiful woman with stunning eyes. Lastly thank you for brightening many a day for me.

    I don’t consider this a major topic, just one that really needs the photo to understand what the heck is going on! -rc

  16. Having enjoyed snakes from my early days, growing up in the country, I found this a visually appealing ear accessory, although perhaps not very comfortable for most occasions. I also in among the older generation and, while I do not sport any tattoos, I’ve had a pierced ear for the better part of 48 years, currently sporting a cheap zirconium pin. I’ve always admired body art, when done artfully, especially the Japanese Yakuza full-body work. Old as I am, I do not perceive myself as a arbiter of good taste in personal representations and, as long as these accoutrements cause no physical damage to my person, I’m fine with them. If I do not find them visually appealing, my neck muscles still function properly and allow me to turn away. So you might ask me, well, “what if it was your own daughter who came home with a boa through her ear lobe?” I guess my answer would be, “I hope you know how to feed and care for your new accessory.” Self-mutilation is fine, if done by a rational person, but I will not tolerate cruelty to innocent organisms!

  17. “I don’t see any upside to doing this as any sort of […] stunt. -rc”

    Umm yeah most people wouldn’t. But as you point out here, everyone is different and just because *you* can’t see an upside doesn’t mean many people wouldn’t see see a downside either, — until it goes wrong.

    Just spend 10 minutes on YouTube looking through ‘fail’ clips (you don’t even have to watch more than a minute or two of any of them) and you’ll realise a heck of a lot of ‘stunts’ are attempted with little or no planning. “It seemed like a good idea at the time” could be the epitaph of many.

    Yes, I know: I write ‘This is True’ and cover such stories a lot — and have been doing so for nearly 23 years. Not to mention doing emergency response work starting in the mid-1970s. In that time I’ve gotten pretty darned good at telling the difference between obliviocy-born misadventure, and simple mishaps. -rc

  18. I’m 54, and an almost life-long Kansan, so most of the people I know either don’t have tats, or only have them in places not publicly viewable. BUT, I have always wanted to get inked. There are 3 tats I’d love to have: the left-right forearms done to look like the brands David Carradine sported in “Kung Fu” and a DNR logo in the center of my chest.

    So, that said, I like her art, and don’t think it diminishes her. What I see a lot of in the comments here is (IMHO) the #1 failing of the US Education system: not teaching tolerance.

    For those who don’t know: “DNR” is “Do Not Resuscitate”. I’ve definitely heard of them before (including one in an early TRUE story), but I’ve never seen one in real life — on the job or not. -rc

  19. To Vernon in Pittsburg, KS: Was a Kung Fu fan myself. Those would be a couple nice tats to get. Now you’ve got me thinking about it. Of course, if one is a true purist, one would have to have them branded on. Not sure I’d have the grit for that. Then, again, I had a 2nd degree burn on my whole left palm (no permanent damage, fortunately) It only hurt for a little while. I suppose one could add ink afterwards. You can do yours first.

    Send me pictures. -rc


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