Saturday, July 7, 2007

Tattoos

I went out to lunch at Ruth's Diner today with a group of friends. Our waitress had the beginnings of a full sleeve tattoo on her right arm.

It looked like it was going to be lovely. It was mostly black outlines of trees with fruits, flowers, birds and bees, quite artfully done. Only the bees were finished. They were two fat, glowing, orange and yellow honey bees. The colors weren't the muddy black, blue and red of most tattoos; the lines were clear and sharp and the colors vibrant. If the rest of the work is of the same quality as the portion already done, she will have a beautiful arm when it's complete.

But she will never be able to change her mind.

Many years ago, when I was young and foolish (not that I'm any wiser now, just older) and tattoos were still for drunken service men, one of my friends and her roommate got tattooed. My friend got the nicest tattoo I have ever seen. It was a lily in shades of peach and salmon with a twining, vining stem and leaves in cool sea green on her ankle. No dark colors at all and it was only about three inches high and an inch and a half wide. Over the years, it has faded to a delicate, nostalgic whisper on her ankle.

Her roommate, on the other hand, was feeling more flamboyant and had a rampant tiger in brilliant orange and black tattooed across the upper slope of her very generous right breast. It was truly dramatic and she loved shocking people by dropping the shoulder of her shirt and showing it off.

What she never thought of was age, weight gain and gravity.

The tiger is still rampant with curling tail and tongue, bared fangs and claws, but his black stripes have become rather fuzzy and purplish, his orange has faded. He has also become very, very pot bellied.

I look at all the tattooed kids these days and imagine thirty years added to their body art. I suspect their only comfort will be that they are not alone.

4 comments:

Kate said...

A friend of mine had the blue Smurf tatooed on her ankle. I hate tatoos, too, but I do love Smurfs! :)))

judi said...

AMEN!!
Discovered you through Word Imperfect...chuckle...chuckle!
Your blog is very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Tatoos are a form of expression. You saying you hate tatoos and how ugly they are going to look when the person ages is quite hypocritical. You may look back on some of the things you say/express on this blog and regret it. Although you might think you can erase it, there are those who have already read it, much similar to people who have seen someones tatoo. You of all people criticizing those with tatoos (a form of expression) is comical.

Wunx~ said...

Hey Anonymous, I don't hate all tattoos. I think, like any piece of decoration/artwork, there are some that are attractive and some that are gross. If you read the post, you should have seen I said the waitress' full sleeve tattoo looked like it was going to be lovely and my friend's ankle tattoo was described in complementary terms.

My problem with tattoos is that once you have them it is very difficult to change your mind. A person's taste and sense of style tends to change through the course of their life. The bubble gum pink princess dress a little girl swoons for at six is not something she would even consider wearing at 16, and the outfit she'd wear at 16 is certainly not what she would wear to a business meeting when she's 36.

While a tattoo is a form of expression, it doesn't allow for growth and change -- it limits you.