Monday, October 1, 2007

Tattoo have and to hold

Once again I've joined the ranks of the newly tattooed. It's funny, considering that all I've seen lately is how the popularity of tattoo removal is exploding. It's been about 6 years since my last tat, so if it's only a phase of mine, it's lasting a long time. I got my first one when I was 18 and I still don't regret it. Actually, it's become such a part of me that I hardly see it in the mirror anymore.

My dad actually forbade me to get a tattoo for many years, saying that he'd disown me if I did. Strangely enough, I was ok with that. My dad was cool enough to sign for me to pierce my ears, and he let me quit all the sports I was playing so that I could spend more time playing guitar (which is all I really cared about at the time). Besides, I didn't even really want or like them for a long time. As 18 crept closer though, and the idea of going to college was becoming a reality, the idea of a tattoo became more appealing. Finally I decided I wanted one and drew up my design. Then, because I was a respectful son, I sat my dad down to talk to him about it. Once again my dad surprised me with his support. It wasn't until several months later that I surprised him with the actual tattoo (the morning I was leaving for college, I guess I still believed he might murder me). We'll see what he thinks of my latest one considering it's my most daring to date, and nearly impossible to hide.

Since that day I've been back to the tattoo parlor 3 times for a total of 4 tattoos (6 depending on your definition of a single tattoo). I doubt the latest will be my last. I held off getting tattoos for a long time because I couldn't justify paying for a tattoo when I was having trouble paying rent and buying food. Any extra income went for amps and guitars.

I get tattoos because they stand as a marker in time. If I would have gotten one because everyone else was doing it, I would have regretted it a long time ago. The girl who got the butterfly on her lower back, or the guy who got the tribal arm band (that doesn't meet in the back) because everyone else was doing it, are the people who are getting them removed. Now that they're 30 and a little more saggy or no longer playing football, that tattoo means nothing. They realize as they look back at their high school pictures with the baggy jeans and flannel shirts that their "love" for the tattoo has faded, just like their love for the grunge look.

But then there's the 70 year old man who's got a wrinkly blue anchor on his forearm. He wears it as proudly as the day he got it, even though you can only make out the shape and none of the detail. He'd never think about having it removed because there's a story behind it that he'd love to tell you. "Got this in Okinawa back in 53' with my Navy buddies. I still get together with Topper and Scrugs about twice a year. Scrugs has grandkids. I never thought ol' Scrugs would find any woman that would keep him for more than a week. Stupid as a brick that Scrugs, but his grandkids are brilliant."

This is the kind of tattoo wearer I want to be and that's why I only get tattoos for memorable moments in my life; most recently my wedding (I'd be happy to tell you the story). For a vow that is supposed to last for life, what better memorabilia (at least in my opinion) than ink that will last for life. I guess the point can be made that less than 50% of marriages last these days, so why risk a tattoo. I'm convinced though, that the people getting divorced are the same people that are getting tattoos removed. If you can't commit to a small patch of colored skin that you decided at one point would last forever, how can you ever expect to commit to a living, breathing human who can hurt and fail you?

Unfortunately, divorces these days are easier than tattoo removal, but as for me and my household, we will have neither.

Do I think that everyone thinking about getting married should go out and get a tattoo? Not at all. But I think you can see the parallel.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

Love the blog.....and congrats on getting married! I wish you all the best. Hopefully I'll see you soon.