I’m a tattoo virgin.
My mother briefly dated a man with a tattoo (like once…)—I think I was five. It was the first thing I noticed about him—my sister and I ran off giggling. We thought it was the strangest thing, a blurry mermaid without a top on his forearm. I wondered what it meant. I will never know if it was the tattoo, our giggling or something else, but my mother never dated him again. She said, “tattoos are for the common.” Even at age five, I knew what that meant.
I began to overcome my tattoo snobbery when my niece began talking about getting one. She’s a beautiful girl, and I worried it would stigmatize her. Limit her. I worried people would judge her. She got the tattoo, and nothing really happened. She wasn’t fired from her job, she found love, has a normal happy life and I love her just the same.
Things have changed. Times have changed. Young people see tattoos very differently that I was raised to see them. And some of them are amazing works of art I marvel at. (If you are one of the people I’ve stared at because I’m reading your tattoo or am amazed by it, please forgive me— I’m curious and love beautiful things.)
This past fall, Brooke began talking about tattoos. Most of her friends have them. She showed me several pictures, and then she said she wanted us to get mother daughter tattoos. My heart stopped beating for a minute. Ok just a beat or two, I didn’t need to be resuscitated or anything.
I try to imagine myself with a tattoo, getting one…sitting still while someone pokes me millions of times with what ever they use to make tattoos. I try to imagine having something on my body that can’t be erased, and I want to run for the hills. One of the reasons I love fashion is that I can change it all the time—every hour if I want—I don’t ever really do that though…
…and yet, I love Brooke with all my heart…and if we were to find something meaningful, something symbolic…something special and unique that signified our relationship, a message of encouragement, courage or perseverance…maybe…
What about you? Have you taken the plunge? If you were to get a tattoo, what would you choose? Would you get one because you love someone?
We had lots of fun with this question on Facebook with people both enjoying and disliking tattoos. For me, it’s probably not going to be a thing, but the jury is still out for my daughter.