Consider. A human wakes up in a strange medical bay, with an alien doctor standing over them. Turns out their shuttle crashed, and the alien ship only just managed to teleport the, on board in time.

By some miracle, the doctor explains, they escaped with only minor injuries. Some burns, a few scratches and “several small wounds. We’re not sure what caused them.”


“Small holes in your ear lobes. Possibly they were old wounds and unrelated to the accident, but either way, our doctors were able to heal them for you. There’s not even any scarring.”

The human pauses. Thinks for a minute. “Wait… you unpierced my ears?!”

“I… Suppose we did?  Is that a problem?”

“Er, not exactly.  It can be redone. though it’s not gonna be fun.  But my people do that to ourselves on purpose.  It’s self-ornamental…  I don’t know the word.  We decorate ourselves with small stones and bits of shaped metal or plastic.”

“Oh!!  I’m sorry, that’s a fairly rare behavior among sapients.  Why, if I may ask?”

“uh.  It…  Looks cool?  I guess?”

“…My experience with humans is limited, but I gather that’s the reason for many of your behaviors.”

*from the next bay over comes the anguished scream of your co-pilot*