Shocking Trends of the New Year: Tony, Matt

 

"The day of the branding, we were bored," Tony, 18, says. "My friend started messing around with some thin metal wire. I was the first one to step up." Tony's home video shows him screaming while being branded. Two friends

hold him down. "They ripped the brand off my skin. They gave it one good tug, and I was just like, ugh! My house smelled terrible. It smelled like burning flesh and hair." Tony shows his branding scar. "This is what's left over, the aftermath from that. We were entirely sober when we branded ourselves. It was like guys getting together, doing guy stuff. There are a lot of teenagers that are doing this. I do not regret branding," he says.

Tony's friend, Matt, 18, also sat for the mutilation. He was branded on his chest. "I felt a tremendous amount of pain at first. The piece of metal was so hot that it just immediately burned out all the nerves. The worst thing about branding in my case was it didn't come out right," he says, showing his scar, which does not resemble the heart shape. "The cool thing about branding is I did it. You know, you accomplished something."

Dr. Phil shakes his head and throws up his hands. "You went second," he says to Matt.

"Yeah. I was the one branding him," he says.

"And then you said, ‘Sure, put me in coach. I'll go next'?"

"Yeah," Matt says.

"You said, ‘I felt like we really accomplished something.' What was it?"

"You sit around, and you try to see who can do the next best thing … and when we're all done, we're like, ‘Yeah, we did it,'" Matt says.

"You've got a bunch of guys sitting around, saying, ‘We're bored,'" Dr. Phil says. "So you were bored? Read a book! I mean, watch a movie! What is cool about scarring your body?"

"This isn't cool," Tony admits. "And I would never do this again, ever, just to make that clear. It wasn't like walking on sunshine. It didn't feel good, as some of you saw on the video."

"You wouldn't do this again?"

"Never," Tony says.

"Would you?" Dr Phil asks Matt.

"Not at home," he says, explaining that it can be done professionally in some tattoo shops.

Dr. Phil turns to Dr. Stork. "What's the downside?"

"The downside, medically, is local infection, big skin abscess," Dr. Stork says. "Nowadays, everyone has heard about the big Super Bug, which is a huge risk with this sort of thing. An unsanitary environment, doing this on your own, is not smart."

"As stupid as it is, it was actually well thought out," Tony says. "We actually shaved the spot, we put rubbing alcohol on it, put rubbing alcohol on the brand, heated it up … "

"Did you reuse the same " " Dr. Stork starts.

"No, we reshaped it every time," Tony says. "I promise."

"Because if this gets infected, this could get serious, right?" Dr. Phil asks Dr. Stork. "And it could get infected after the branding as well because you've got an open wound, you've got a burn."

"Imagine your scar as it is, with an abscess underneath it, and then having to go get the abscess drained surgically. These things can get ugly," Dr. Stork explains.

"This was done to impress whom?" Dr. Phil asks the teens. "Is this something that girls respond to?"

"No," Tony says. "We went to a bonfire later that night, and it didn't really impress many people. We kind of got the reaction of ‘What were you thinking?' And I guess the best answer for that would be, ‘We weren't.'"

"‘Nuff said," Dr. Phil says.