About twelve years ago, I was sitting in my mother's living room watching television with my mom and my sister. I scratched my arm, revealing a glimpse of one of my tattoos to my sister. Now nobody in my family except for my brother knew about the encre, since getting inked would invariably piss my old school Venezuelan mother off.
Needless to say that my sister Zilt, Queen of Subtlety, outed me to my mom with a shrilling, "Oh my GAAAAAAAWD!!!! Is that a tattoo????!"
My mother immediately shot a stare in my direction with a look of horror and disappointment.
I had to hem and haw à la Ralph Cramden and began to appease my mom, who was lamenting in Spanish that I did not love her.
"¡Tù no me quieres!"
I had to reveal the tattoos to her, one by one while she asked me why I would do such a thing (followed by a derisive "pendejo.")
The real reason, of course, was to get chicks. When you're an average to dorky looking twenty-something, you pull out all the stops in your endless quest for tail (not that it worked...).
"I'm sorry ma, I do love you. I just thought they'd look cool, that's all."
Though my mom still wasn't happy about it, she soon forgot about them altogether. I had the foresight to get them done above the "unemployment line" (above the short sleeve of a t-shirt), so it's not like they were always in her face.
Now I'm not mentioning this to portray myself as a trendsetter or anything... Nor am I claiming to have put the 'ooh' in cool, but judging by the f*cking Rorschach tests that abound on the haunches, limbs and ankles of our youngsters, I'd say that the ink-fest has run its course.
No longer the mark of a convict, biker, stripper or general ne'er-do-well, tattoos dot the fleshy landscape like barnacles on a cruise ship. Hell, even one of my kid's teachers has a non-descript sh*tty ink job all over her neck. (Something tells me she'll be donning a turtle-neck type gown at her daughter's wedding some day)
Scholars and dolts alike decide to decorate themselves with a myriad of designs. I was DJ'ing at a bar a few years back when some dipsh*t enters the booth, showing off his fresh one.
"Uh, can you play some Black Flag in my honor?" he says as he demonstrates the logo of the punk rock band on his bicep.
"I didn't bring any, bro."
I lied. But I knew if I reached for Damaged or Slip it In I'd be tempted to jam it in his ass sideways. That's one rule for the guys: You don't tattoo a rock band anywhere on your body unless you were in it. There is no guarantee that a Hoobastank, Blink One-Eighty-Crap or Queens of the Stone Age tat will bring back sweet memories.
There's really no way to regulate them. It'd be tough to put together a Tattoo Commission or Review Board:
"Ms. Van Doren, we're happy to approve your request for a caduceus on your shoulder. We realize you're very excited to get into medical school. Congratulations."
"John, I'm getting pretty f*cking sick of these requests for 'tribal' sh*t on the small of the back. I'm denying this one."
Perhaps if this was in existence, I'd have been spared the sight of a water-buffalo pulling up her shirt to reveal, in addition to about 42 lbs of flab hanging over her belt, a crappy tribal job about nine inches above the crack of her ass. This, while she's puffing on a dangling cigarette, dropping her daughter off for kindergarten.
Those ubiquitous and tacky tribal jibbers creep up along with thong shot on our more svelte young ladies, but on occasion you get treated to a tattooed breast. Yeah, that's appealing.
Ladies, it just might be the old-fashioned in me, but the nipple is decoration enough for that titty. Pink, brown... small or the size of a stop sign, we don't care - just tweeze the hairs out. It's good enough. You don't need that jailhouse rose on it.
Maybe I just have to get with the times and be a little more open minded. I suppose I'll also have to stop cringing at those horrid looking facial piercings. You know the ones... where the marginally unattractive decide to make matters worse with a nice stud connecting their upper lip to their nostril.
I must be getting old... or not?
Have we actually changed our collective attitudes on tattoos?