I am very conflicted about the tattoo.
Because I'm a fashion and corporate rebel, many are surprised there's not some ink lurking under my R13 Jeans. But the fact is I don't have a tattoo, or multiple piercings (only one hole in each ear, empty, stretched out from those huge hoops of the '80s) or anything permanent, involving needles.
Oddly enough, Jslow is also sans tattoos. I asked her why. "I knew my tastes would change and I couldn't figure out the one thing I'd want to live with forever."
When I was younger, and friends started getting them, I'd hear the naysayers bray, "you'll regret that when you are older" nonsense. And now, it's the older people that are getting them in droves. And true confession here, I'm pondering FINALLY getting one, but don't want to be a middle-aged cliche. So I asked my dear, tatted friends Kelly (Kell) and Sharon (Shaz) why they got theirs, and how they make them feel. Here are their stories:
Kell: Got my first tattoo at 47. Got it on my trip to Greece. Always fascinated with tattoos so thought 'what the fuck' I'm gonna do it. Needless to say we were drunk at the time and all I got was a small blue star on my lower back. It is true what they say once you get one it is kind of addicting. About a year later I added more colorful stars. Then I pondered the Giants tattoo (pictured right) for about a year. I knew that I wanted to do it, but took me a year to decide what I wanted and where I was going to put it. This tattoo really meant something to me and I just wanted to put it where I would see it everyday, but not necessarily everyone else.
I love my tattoos and am happy everyday when I look at them. I designed them and they make me feel just a bit more unique.
Shaz: For my lotus tattoo, at left, the colors were chosen from an Asian art book and the lotus symbolizes my dedication to the spiritual practice of Yoga. It was done by an amazing artist named Cecilia at a Studio in the Haight, around 2002 and the design was her creation.
I love this tattoo and always will. It represents who I am. It flows down my pale white calf in a bright and expressive way. It's a true expression of me. What would Oprah say... my authentic self!!!
The "Blonde Veronica", at the top of this post, was designed by Markie (Shaz's husband) and executed on my 30th birthday. Tiffany and Ashley came with me when I had it done and we laughed the whole time while I sweated and bled under great pain. The location was strategically placed in an unseen area. At the time I was blonde and this tattoo represented a pretty amazing time in my life living and working in San Francisco. It's very playful and cheeky with a retro spin! I've let this tattoo fade as the lotus is more true to who I am now.
What I love about both of their tattoo tales is that even the circumstances surrounding how and why they got their tattoos is part of the story and is so true to who they are and the spirit in which they live. They are both two of the most "unique" and "authentic" ladies I know, and their choice in tattoos reflects that.
A big part of me wants to take the plunge. But like Jslow, my tastes do change and I want to make sure I'll love it forever. But I also love that Shaz's Blonde Veronica faded like an old pair of jeans, comfortable on her own skin.
When my husband read this post, he was horrified and texted me this: "You're thinking of getting a tattoo? That is appalling."
I got home and asked why. He said that he loved the fact that I didn't bend to trends and was "a rebel in reverse" by NOT getting tattoos or piercings when I was young, or now older. He does have a point as my way of feeling unique is not to follow the norm. But what is the norm anyway and really, who cares?
And still. I love seeing a flamboyantly flowery tattoo poking out of the pin-striped sleeve of a 50-plus VP, or a tiger running down the thigh of the grandma doing downward dog one mat over.
Should I give father time, and my own issues with "middle-age cliches" the finger and get one? I'm taking requests.
For more of our musings on style and giving father time the finger, please visit us at Blank Stare, Blink.