Monday, May 24, 2010

My Love Affair With Tattoos - 5/24/2010

There are some groups of people that my writing has not yet offended. Don't worry, I will get around to you.

For my generation, tattoos were something that a drunken sailor on shore leave in the Philippines woke up with the morning after a weekend of binge drinking and whoring. Sometimes the tattoo would include the name of a woman that he had no recollection of knowing and the only evidence is the tattoo and painful urination. A really industrious Olongapo City bar girl could have her name adorning several sailors while the fleet was in port. Luckily the treatment for the gonorrhea she gave him would also cure the infection from the back alley tattoo. As this guy has aged, the ravages of time have rendered the woman’s name no longer legible, and the tattoo just looks like dirt on his arm. Though he had spent much of his life back home in Des Moines, unsuccessfully, trying to find another girl named Fatima to marry.

In today’s world, much to my dismay, tattoos are en vogue. Up until 2004, it was against the law in South Carolina to ink people. Now, one of the seedier areas of Myrtle Beach is lousy with tattoo and piercing parlors. I do not think that it should be illegal to tattoo, but I think a five day cooling off period, similar to that for buying a handgun, would be appropriate. While tattoos are a booming business here at the beach, tattoo removal is also very lucrative. I am conjecturing that buyer’s remorse for tattoo acquisition rivals that of owners of really ugly cars. And if you are intent on getting a tattoo, put some thought into it. Many of the tattoos I see around town look like the refrigerator art from my preschool grandchildren.

This article is not directed at men. I have no real opinion about male tattooing, though I am very happy that neither of my sons has ever succumbed to the urge to defile himself in this manner. I am addressing tattoos on women. Not the woman who has a delicate, little, butterfly or flower adorning her goody box. I am talking about real tattoos that sag and fade with age, and become unidentifiable blotches. Tattoos that detract from the natural beauty of a woman.

I walk the beach every day and part of the enjoyment, particularly now that the sun has made its appearance, is admiring the women on the beach. The truly beautiful, head-turning, spectacular women of all ages generally have one feature in common: few, if any, visible tattoos. I am guessing they don’t want to tarnish perfection. And rightly so.

Conversely, toothless, shapeless, hags that look like they either fell off the back of a Harley or the porch of a trailer house are often covered head to foot. Is it a lack of self-esteem that drives women to this extreme? For these women I encourage, “drill baby drill”. I have heard it said that many people get tattoos to be free, rebellious, and independent. That is the same rallying cry I hear from bikers, yet they all end up dressing and looking exactly alike. Nothing independent there. The day is coming soon when my lack of tattoos will be viewed as avant-garde.

Along with the tattoos, it has become fashionable to have intimate body parts pierced and adorned with jewelry. Though I do find a belly button ring on a woman weighing less than three bills kind of sexy, I think there are certain areas that need to be left au naturel. One of the least understandable to me is the tongue. Merely biting one’s tongue is such a painful experience that I can’t imagine intentionally causing trauma by drilling a hole and talking with a lisp for the rest of your life. I have heard reasons for doing so are mainly sexual. I can’t Grok that. I have never thought while receiving oral sex, “wow, this is pretty good, but you know what would make it even better is a sharp piece of steel or a gemstone rubbing against me.”

I know that many people who read this have tattoos and think they are an art form. That is the great thing about America. We are all entitled to our opinions. After all, 80% of the U.S. prison population has tattoos. I am guessing that same percentage holds true for crack whores and welfare moms. If you look at middle management and above in any of the Fortune 500 companies, you will be hard pressed to find any managers that have tattoos, hidden or otherwise. If they are so attractive and stylish, why do you suppose they airbrush them out in nearly every movie role Angelina Jolie has ever had?

18 comments:

Roger Yale said...

Your writing is sharp, witty and relevant - but did you have to include THAT picture? Oh my God, Magnum!

myrtle beached whale said...

I think it pulls the article together.

Anonymous said...

Neal Peterson said...Even as a child the two things I disliked about Popeye were that he had tattoo's on his forearms and that he found Olive Oil's legs attractive.

dearprudence said...

I agree with Roger! Both about the writing and about the picture.

Three of my five kids have tattoos, as well as my daughter-in-law.

My daughter who has one is a medical doctor. I have just come to accept the fact that tattoos mean something different to their generation than to ours. Their kids will probably want to "rebel" and not get tattoos.

Blondie said...

I have made it very clear to my children that if they EVER defile themselves with a tattoo, I will not only kick their ass, but cut them off. I will happily support them and subsidize them and gift them exorbitant amounts of money, but all of that generosity STOPS if they start emulating Welfare Moms and Incarcerated Felons.

Anonymous said...

Haha! We could have never thought about getting a tattoo. We knew we would be disowned. Plus, I hate pain. Wouldn't happen. Gross pictures and horrible imagery regarding my Dad and oral sex but as always, great writing. Love you. Carly

Laura@SouthernPirates said...

I agree.....I hate tattoos on women esp when they are in business clothes and they are noticeable....makes me wonder how in the hell they ever got a job!

linda may said...

G'Day I came for a read. My daughter has a tattoo, of a fairy with a devils horns and tail down one side. I was horrified and it was hidden from me for months before I first saw it by mistake. Now I have gotten used to it. Though for me, nah. Eldest son had a spike through his lower lip, then took it out and grew a beard..... better.

Forgetfulone said...

My oldest step-daughter has gone through all the piercings, those that are visiblge, and those that are not, and it really disgusts me! Tattos on a female also disgust me, for the most part. I think a tiny heart of butterfly in a discreet location is acceptable, but I would never do it. My generation, I guess. My ex and his current wife have tattoos all over their bodies, and I just view it as trashy.

G-Man said...

I have Tats..
My son has a Tat from My Tat artist.
Big Deal!!
I can still remember to do a Friday 55.
Thats more than I can say for some people...
Eh Rick?

Forgetfulone said...

On my "creative writer (liar) post, the one about Luis Scola is not true, though I wish it were. All the rest are true!

Jethro said...

I hate to sound like a buzzkill those that choose to ink-up, but tattoos are like mullets that aren't going away easy.

Sure every generation has to rebel. Ducktails,coon skin caps, parachute pants and afros were to die for, but could be thrown in a yard sale or cut off when the fad passes.

For the poor misguided over inked and pierced head to toe one word of advise - get accustomed to hearing "We have got your number and will call you if a job comes open."

Nadja said...

Yay for belly button rings! I have one. I don't have any tattoo's although I've contemplated getting them many times.

You are a fantastic writer Rick Wainright. Your blogs read better than any book of short stories I've picked up lately. :) A joy.

Anonymous said...

Let em get tattooed. Just watch America's Most Wanted, they always describe the tattoos of the drug dealing pedophiles. Tattoos help the cops find scumbags.

Anonymous said...

The reason why stars, like Angelina Jolie, get them airbrushed out in movies and such is because theyre too personal. Seeing all of her tattoos, we would have a hard time separating Angelina Jolie from the characters she plays. They would all seem to be too like Angelina and the story thus, less believable. Duh.

myrtle beached whale said...

Or it could be that some of the characters she plays are too respectable to be trashed up like that.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog. I am 33 and have no tattoos, it is no longer common. The norm is to have them, and there are some beautiful artistic messages in some, but for the most part they will all be regrettable at some point or another. I'm glad that soon I will be exotic because my body is pure.

myrtle beached whale said...

Stay strong. There has never been a case where a tattoo improved anyone's appearance or prospects.