Sunday, July 17, 2011

On Tattoos

It seems like everybody has a tattoo today, and the view of them as "tacky" or "low class" that people like my mother have has lessened. Sort of.

There's still a "tattoo taboo", though. The best example I can think of is when I was fooling around with a guy, we were at the point where his shirt was coming off, and he interrupted the festivities to say, "Just so you know, I have a full-sleeve".

I've thought a lot about that moment, actually, mostly because I was pretty shocked to hear that. He was not, after all, what I'd consider a full-sleeve kind of guy. And then, of course, the very idea that I'd divide people into "possible full-sleeves" or not bothers me quite a bit.

I have two tattoos.

I got the first one when I was eighteen, a small dolphin on my upper leg that can only be seen if I'm wearing a bathing suit (or ... you know, naked). I love that little dolphin, and I've never regretted that tattoo.

I grew up on the ocean, am happiest when in the water, and it was the first present I gave myself after Addie was born. It is meaningful, private, and not something I've ever been sorry about.

Second tattoo? Stupid drunken college-era error. And it's visible. Very visible. Sigh ...

The stupid sun tattoo, as I call it, is located on my lower right leg, just above the ankle bone. If I wear a skirt, dress, shorts, culottes, anything but full-length pants, there it is.

I hate that thing.

The thing is, I have no argument with tattoos that mean something. What I don't like are bandwagon tattoos (the so-called "tramp stamp" is a perfect example of that), where a lot of people have a similar-looking tattoo in a similar location.

My stupid sun tattoo is vintage bandwagon, and that bothers me. That it's the one that people see and comment on makes it even more frustrating.

I also appreciate the artistic value of tattoos. It's a skill I myself could never possess, and I think the different approaches and techniques are just amazing when done correctly.

So, yeah, I think tattoos should be meaningful and attractive and preferably not on a person's face. Otherwise, I have kind of a "live and let live" attitude about them.

There is one other thing.

Addie has requested as an early birthday gift/payment for bringing her sister to camp each morning that I take her to get a tattoo of the Deathly Hallows symbol. She wants it on her hipbone, where it would not be seen, and she wants me to get one, too.

Because she's under eighteen, I would have to take her, and I'm actually (I can't believe I'm saying this) considering it. The thing is, it would be meaningful (as she tearfully pointed out at 2:30 in the morning after leaving the final movie, "My childhood is over"), it would be private, and it would be attractive.

What are your thoughts on tattoos?