Monday, June 24, 2002

On Saturday, Jeff and I were noticing and commenting on the fact that you couldn't look at a group of people without seeing tattoos. In fact, it would be hard to have found someone without one. Part of this was due to the demographic of the group at the alternative music festival, and part of this was due to the fact that we were seeing much more skin than you ever see in Seattle.

I'm no stranger to body art, so I'm certainly not condemning anyone. In fact, I find it extremely interesting to see the different designs that people care to permanently paint on their bodies. What I find amusing is the image of nursing homes, 50 years from now, all across the United States, filled with tattooed senior citizens.

I’m usually the last to jump on any bandwagon (case in point, I started this blog right when people are calling the medium over), but I did lose my “body art virginity” while it was still something that only bikers and sailors did (I was a sailor leaving on my first deployment). It was 1995, and the common perception was that “only trashy girls” get tattoos; many guys I knew claimed they wouldn’t date a girl with a tattoo. Strange to remember this now, but that’s the way it was. So I thought about it very carefully: the permanence of the outcome, the symbolism of the design, and the way that the skin would change as I aged.

It is, in a very small way, like a marriage. It’s something you’ll be living with forever, sometimes loving it, sometimes annoyed by it, usually not really thinking about much; it’s just there, part of you. Carrying the analogy too far, it’s also possible to permanently separate, even divorce, but with a lot of pain and expense and some scarring.

Mine’s been around for 6 ½ years; it’s faded a bit, but the design’s the same. I still get the occasional surprised comment when someone sees it for the first time, but compared to what’s out there, it’s pretty tame. Maybe I’ll get the 7 year itch, and start wanting something new, but I went into this for the long haul, and right now, I’m still happy.


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