Tuesday 8 May 2012


I was listening to the radio the other day and they were discussing tattoos, specifically the rise of the ‘Middle Class tattoo,’ as they deemed it. You know out there somewhere there were Hells Angels crying out in pain at this newly coined terminology. You’ve seen the middle class tattoo at every gym, school or coffee shop I assure you; the flower anklet, the kid’s name (usually a trendy, obnoxious one like Brooklyn or Nashville) tattooed across one’s forearm, the deeply profound Chinese writing that says ‘peace’ or ‘warrior’, when it truth, it probably says something nonsensical, or even better, ‘I'm such a sucker.’

Tattoos are a funny thing – a once very taboo, almost defining act that connoted a whole host of things about you to the outside world, many derogatory let’s be honest, has now become a nauseating fashion trend that defies age, class, and criminal record. In fact, the majority of people out there have a tattoo, even a small one they got on that weekend in Vegas that they're hiding from people at work. Granted it’s a pretty little butterfly or their husband’s name across their heart (vomit) as opposed to prison ink or the symbol for the devil; but even still, they took the plunge and got inked and that says something.

So what exactly does it say? We’re irretrievably stupid? Impulsive? We’re now willing to mark up our bodies where before it seemed unimaginable? [I mean seriously, these days we pump botchulism into our faces, what's a little tattoo?!] I figure a lot of it could simply come down to boredom. Boredom and fear on the part of the average citizen for looking like they shop at the Gap, so damn it, they're going to show the world how rebellious they are. Or often nowadays, it's done for even dumber reasons, like love..."I swear he was the one, that's the only reason I tattooed 'BRUCE FOREVER,' across my forehead!"

I have two tattoos – to the dismay of my mother  who to this day still asks me when I’m removing them. I got the first one when I was 17 and it was definitely an impulsive act of rebellion. You see mom, I’m so evolved, I can admit this now. I was out with my sister (I think we even paid for it on my mom’s credit card – ooops) and we decided it was simply the thing to do. At the time I was a surly teen determined to show the world what I was all about and thought a scorpion on my shoulder would do just that. Of course fifteen minutes after we did it, my sister and I both freaked out, realizing that tattoo ink is a far cry from drawing on one’s arm with felt tip pen (she also chose wrong, very wrong, and had to change it a few years later).

But alas I got used to having it, and even came to like the warning it sent out to those who deduced I was a Scorpio - although my mother still insists it looks like a lobster. My other tattoo is totally cheesy and I blame wholeheartedly on my ‘women’s studies’ period at college when I was reading Jeanette Winterson with reckless abandon. The funny thing is, when it comes to tattoos, you either love them or detest them – or because of where you place your own, you become amazingly indifferent to it cause you forget it’s even there. But it’s a definite divider, that’s for certain.

I asked my husband the other day– a definite NON tattoo person – why he never got one. He just looked at me, like, ‘do I even need to answer that?’ He’s of the ilk that to mark up one’s body on purpose is just plain ludicrous. Then of course he asks me the stock question that most tattooed people are asked at one point in their lives – ‘It looks okay now, but when you’re 60 what is it going to look like?’ I just politely remind him that when I’m sixty I’m going to be more concerned about the fact that my boobs are going to be in my shoes and hence, a little withered scorpion on my shoulder is not going to be my top concern. In fact, maybe that mere memory of me as a seventeen year old deciding to throw caution (or intelligence) to the wind and getting inked will always make me feel young at heart. Who knows. But I'll worry about it when I'm sixty. 

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