Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tats And All That


Something I've always been simultaneously attracted and repulsed by is tattoos. This ancient form of body marking has waxed and waned in popularity in various times and cultures and with varying meanings.

Ancient peoples may have used tattoos as part of their religious ceremonies. I knew a girl in college who had a simple line cross tattooed in the crease of her ring finger as a memorial of a pilgrimage. Modern people seem to indulge in it as a form of expression or art. Apparently, it can be addictive; once you get one, you're twice as likely to get a second. (There's no science behind that statistic, just anecdotal evidence.)

Once reserved in popular thought for sailors and street gangs, tattoos are popping up in all kinds of places. Increasingly, women are doing it. A lot of people are secretive about it: "I have a tattoo, but in a place I'm not going to show it to you". Other people are like a walking billboard with bright colors and words writ large in the most obvious places.

They come in all sizes, shapes, and colors: cute, obscure, lewd, private, bright, dull, faded, poignant, etc. They are as varied as the people who get them.

My thing is I just can't think of anything I'd want on my body permanently. The longer I live, the more I realize that what I thought was cool or meaningful 10 years ago just doesn't have the same appeal now. What happens when you get old/fat/skinny/wrinkled/married/divorced/other?

Someone told me today they had seen a rise in tattoo removal creams. Buyer's remorse?

Me, I think I'll stay with the lick 'em and stick 'em kind.

1 comment:

Kardinal said...

I as at Sesame Place recently, which has a water park, so there was a lot of skin on display, so likewise a lot of tattoos. I am usually revolted by tattoos, but I found a remarkable number of men who had tattooed remembrances of their children on themselves. Handprints, footprints, angels' wings with their names, etc. I realized that this was perhaps the only tattoo of anything which would never pass away. No matter what happens, I will always love my children and always proud to carry their name. It's nearly unimaginable, but I could get divorced, but my love for my children I can never see changing.

I'll still never get a tattoo, and I still find them all revolting.

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