I’m on vacation. People are showing a lot of skin. Mostly, people I don’t want to be showing a lot of skin are showing a lot of skin. I’m pale. Reflective, actually, and I’m sure most people are turning their heads due to the glare coming off me. But while compelling people to put their sunglasses on, I’m noticing a lot of skin, and with that, a lot of tattoos. And I’m not liking any of them.
The first tattoo I ever saw was in memory of a loved one. I respect that one. It was nice, it was something he needed to do. It worked for me.
The second tattoo I saw turned me off every time I saw it. And I stopped seeing it pretty quickly.
I love the idea of a tattoo. The idea of marking your body, choosing something meaningful and specific and figuring out where to put it. It’s just that when it’s put into practice that things go awfully awry for me. And please keep in mind that I’m someone who gets annoyed with nail polish a few days after application.
Maybe it’s the perfectionist in me that gets annoyed that the lines aren’t as precise as I would like them. Or the cynic, alive and well, in me that thinks, “Really? You had to have that on you … for life?” And if it’s color, I’m not going to like it because the colors are always muted and faded and not in a cool, vintage faded kind of way, but faded in a ticky tacky Florida beach house sign kind of way. I just look and imagine how much cooler it could have been.
My favorite tattoo, I have actually never seen. A college friend got the character for honor tattooed on his lower back … some might say butt, but from what I heard, it was in the grey area between the lower back and butt. When he got back to school, he showed it to another friend, just back from studying in Beijing, who pointed out that he had gotten the character for “expensive” tattooed on his ass. It was (and is still, I hope) brilliant. Without having laid eyes on it, I love it. *His story, in detail, will be posted as a comment because it is arguably one of the best stories and I was in tears laughing while reading it.
And, for the record, I know exactly what I would have tattooed on me. I’ve just been deliberating over where to put it for years now.