Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Tattoo You, Not Me


I wish I could remember where, but somewhere online I recently read an article or a blog saying that it would be funny if people found out that their clever little tattoos of Japanese or Chinese characters said something completely opposite from what they were told. Well, I don't know if this gossip item inspired the blogger or this is just great timing, but I just read a gossip item that said that Britney Spears inadvertantly got a tattoo of a Japanese symbol that she thought said "mysterious", but instead says "strange". I find this incredibly amusing.



Why do (mostly young) people have to permanently mark their bodies with temporary thoughts? Couldn't you just get a t-shirt or something? Or stick a post-it of your most recent attempt at pop culture coolness onto your shirt? How about we make shirts with see-through plastic pockets, and you slip in your thought of the day? Hey, I actually like that idea. A pocketbook maybe, with a clear pocket, and you put picture in there that you like...Oh, like I have TIME to make one of those. I'm still working on projects I started YEARS ago...



Back to the topic. I often wonder why people chose the tattoo subjects they do. I have tattooed friends, and some of them thought long and hard about the subject matter and placement of their tattoos, which I heartily encourage whenever my opinion is asked. Unfortunately, my opinion on such things is usually asked during the covered-in-gauze freshly inked, "Look at what I did!" phase, and I am loathe to give my real thoughts to someone who just paid to be maimed. I hesitantly will admit here that I come from the generation where when I was teenage, the only women getting tattoos were biker babes, prisoners, the sluttiest sluts, and hardcore junkies. It just wasn't something that even a mildly risque' girl would consider, much less every single belly-bearing under 30 year old. Now it seems that being without tattoos is the exception rather than the rule, even for women older than 30, and some 40-somethings. I'm so not cool.



Among my tattooed friends, one had a butterfly tattoo put on her shoulder, because she has always loved them, and because it reminded her of a turning point in her life. Another friend coincidentally had a butterfly on her back as well, to symbolize her freedom from breast cancer. These are pretty and meaningful to both women.


When the second one contemplated her tattoo, I flirted with the idea of getting one myself, and wondered what image I would be interested in having on my body permanently. I don't think it's wise to tattoo on the names of significant others - you are only asking for Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee kinda trouble there. Kids' names are out, since I don't have any - the closest I have to kids is my cats, well, that would just be majorly weird and creepy. I am a cat lady, but within reason. Some people get sports team logos, but I am not a big sports fan. Band name or logo? Not unless you are a super groupie and plan on putting it somewhere your beloved band members will discover backstage. Pictures. Hmmm. Cats? No, too cutesy. Butterflies? Birds? Insects? Pretty, but meaningless. Japanese or Chinese characters? Exotic looking, but you will have Asian people who know what it REALLY says guffawing at you all over the place. Those tribal bands got a lot of play a few years ago, mostly because men wanted to show how bad-ass they were,that they could stand getting that tender underarm portion done. (OW! OW! OW!) But as one of my Irish friends who had that done warned me, he was teased mercilessly by the guys at work for getting his. "Hey, what TRIBE are YOU from?"



Okay, maybe we'll get back to the what, and think about where for a bit. Would it be something I would want seen all the time? Oh, think about how lovely that big ole "Billy Bob" mess looked on Angelina Jolie's arm. Fetching with an evening gown. Not that I wear evening gowns on a regular basis, mind you, but still. How about something that peeks out of clothes? Uh, no. One of the undesireable effects my one butterflied friend has is that with some necklines, all you see is the antennae sticking out, and the effect is rather strange. All of a sudden I flashed on that young actress with the huge cross splashed across her lower abdomen, a pelvic canvas. UGH. Worse than that ugly picture is how stupid it looks when only half of it sticks out of her low-rise jeans. What the HELL was she thinking??


I thought briefly about covering up a scar with one, but then was told that the results over scar tissue are iffy, and all I would need is to be stuck with a bumpy wrinkly picture. Oh, gee thanks, that's SO much better than the scar. Well, maybe if it was an abstract design...but why the hell do I need abstract art on my body? How about a permanent toe ring? No, yucky when wearing sexy shoes with toe cleavage. On my butt? No - If I'm going to endure the pain, I want something I can see. And we won't even discuss the possibility of the Shrinky-Dink effect of tattoos on body areas that may change size with age.


Okay, this flirtation has gone about as far as that computer guy got with me years ago, when he told me that he'd "love to get [his] hands on my Apples". (Of course the only answer to that is, "Oh, that IT humor really turns me on in a big way. You sexy geek hunk of hardware, let's do it right now! On the copier machine!"). The tattoo thing is just not going to happen any time soon. Don't call me, big hairy tattoo guy, I'll call you.



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