Tattoos and you


I was born 10-15 years too soon to comfortably fit in with Tattoo America. When I was in high school and college three guys I knew of sported tats, and they were all outlaws. I never gave it serious consideration. All I could think of then (and now) is what happens when gravity inevitably takes control of one’s body, like when one might be about to turn, uh, 60. As a result, whatever is sagging on me does not include ink, so I got that going for me, which is nice.


A style of tattoo I would actually consider.

Tattoos began regularly appearing on otherwise respectable people not in the Navy in the early 90s. I remember meeting a woman about then who had a smiling sun on the side of one of her calves. It remains one of the few tattoos I actually liked. If I was ever to get one (not bloody likely), I would probably choose that, and maybe in the same spot.

At some point tattoos became standard equipment for professional athletes, especially in basketball, where they could be seen (and enjoyed?) by all. The first phase consisted of relatively tasteful single images on a bicep or forearm, and then guys like Dennis Rodman, Chris “Birdman” Anderson and Cherokee Parks took it to the next level by featuring multiple pieces of body art, including personal artistic expressions like neck tats. In my humble opinion, nothing says, “I am not a serious person” quite like a neck tat. But those young multimillionaires blazed their own trail, and popular culture willingly followed.


The Birdman

Fast-forward to the present and tattoos are more popular than ever. A story from the Huffington Post in 2014 estimated than 36 percent of all Americans between the ages of 18-25 had tattoos. I would guess that figure is higher now.  People of a certain age, my age and above, have resigned themselves to their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews tatting-up.

The 19-year old living at my house has been discussing tattoos for several years and made it clear they would be a part of his life. The first one recently materialized on his forearm, indicating his dismissal of my suggestion that he locate them in places where people who might judge him for his ink–people like his stodgy old man–can’t see them.


The Year of the Tiger.

His tattoo is a Chinese character matching a gold piece he wears on a necklace that represents the year of his birth, 1998, the Year of the Tiger. Hey – it could be worse. I’m still suggesting strategic hiding places for the next ones, and I’m also lobbying hard against neck tats. Please, dear God, no neck tats.




3 thoughts on “Tattoos and you

  1. I am elderly, therefore my opinion doesn’t matter in my opinion or others. I prefer a thigh and forearm free of tattoos, however my peers voted an egomaniacal tyrant in to office, so my preferences are of no consequence.
    In conclusion and upon reflection, I’d rather have tattoos on exposed surfaces of all Americanos than to have an embarrassing, bigoted clown as our President.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Never had the urge for a “tat.” While growing up in a Navy community I witnessed an incredible number of tattoos on Navy retirees. Between gains/losses in weight, years of fading, alterations due to skin diseases, and divorces (a la Billy Bob) tattoos were never glamorous for me.

    A friend of my younger brother became a Navy public affairs officer. He married a Navy doctor. She happened to be a dermatologist (“pimple-popper MD” in the Seinfeld televerse). Upon retirement from the Navy she set up shop in a military community. He claims that tattoo removal has paid for their 3 children’s education in private schools from K-bachelors. Its painful, and for her practice: expensive and nearly always a cash transaction.

    Liked by 1 person

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