I've wanted a tattoo for a while. I think they're hot. Sleeves are especially hot. Sometimes when I see a hot guy with tattoos, I wonder if I'd still think he was hot if he didn't have any. I have the same issue with guys who have worked out bodies. Are they hot other than the abs? What would they look like if we got married and they gave up on the gym to focus on me? Oh yeah, and are they nice people?
Along the way, someone gave me some good advice: choose a tattoo that has significance to me and don't ask too many people's opinions of it. I took the first part but, unfortunately, not the second. There are a lot of good decorative tattoos. There's the bicep band, the forearm one, the tramp stamp, the shoulder blade symbol and on and on. A lot of it looks great. I like the idea of further customizing our bodies, and I think the confidence it takes to make a visible, physical and permanent change to the body is really sexy. It takes guts and courage and that's hot.
I, however, can obsess over the smallest trivial detail. Recently, it became obvious that I needed new underwear. This is not something you ever want to get to the point of describing as obvious. I've spent literally two months polling friends on what brand of underwear they use. I've read articles and reviews. I've walked into various stores, stared at the underwear displays and walked back out empty-handed. Seriously, for two months I've suffered from the paralysis of indecision over an article of clothing that mainly only I see. In the end, I bought the same American Apparel briefs that I have for years.
So a tattoo felt like some new revelation. I was going to make a permanent decision and stick by it. I know tattoo removal is an option, but the cost and time seemed like a significant enough obstacle to be insurmountable. I wasn't going to listen to too many opinions either. This was going to be my thing.
The challenge was finding the inspiration. One afternoon, I was at home lying in bed playing Xbox. I looked over to my Billy Bookcase and saw the framed sketch I kept on it. Years ago, my grandmother on my mother's side had met a Navajo Indian named Carl Gorman. He was a code talker in WWII and was visiting the Admiral Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg, Texas near where my grandmother lived. He sketched a horse in mid turn on a white piece of paper, signed it and gave it to her. She had it framed and gave it to me. I think I've had it for close to 15 years. I can remember looking up from whatever it was that I was doing during some of the darkest periods of my life and seeing that horse. It's just some simply drawn lines and strokes, but it's that simplicity and motion that make it so beautiful to me. Carl Gorman's life also adds something. The Navajos worked for the Marines and provided an unbreakable form of communication. The Japanese were able to crack every other code. He had such an amazing life from being in WWII to being an artist to being a teacher. It's a lot of comfort to someone whose life has been a bit scattered. Then, of course, there's the fact that my grandmother gave me the sketch. I don't think the significance and love in that needs much explanation. I immediately knew this would be the tattoo for me.
I sometimes wonder what the lack of the consequences of pregnancy has on gay men. I know a few guys who would have had countless abortions by now. I'm no virgin Mary either. I was fretting over a candle purchase last weekend and saw a straight couple walk by with a baby. Being faced with a pregnancy that I'm responsible for dwarfs any of the choices I've been confronted with in life. It's not even close. That must change people in a profound way.
Then on the flip side, what does a life without that consequence do to someone? I get very uncomfortable with how susceptible I am to consumerism and materialism. Both are domains of the bloated self, but plenty of parents are equally so.
So my horse tattoo is a jab at making a life long decision. It's also beautiful I think. It's given me hope that someday I will value my time too much to spend two months thinking about underwear.