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Tattoo You?

September 21st, 2011 by Magdalena Tabor

For me, tattoos had always conjured up images of bikers, sailors and inmates. The occasional female would have been some spaced out hippie chick back in the day. But in recent years it has gained such popularity, transcending the norm and embraced by all age groups and class types. It seems as if everyone and his grandmother has been tattooed. What is it about human beings that we feel inclined to mar ourselves with indelible ink? I can’t help but think of the kid in class writing all over his arm out of sheer boredom whenever I see an over exuberance of self inflicted graffiti. Why are we scribbling on ourselves?
The art (and I call it art because some of it is actually very beautiful) of tattoo is by no means new. Ancient people in many different parts of the world used it for various reasons; to denote a level of importance within a class, as a means of advertising availability for marriage, or even if one is qualified to perform certain functions within a tribe. In the novel Moby Dick by Herman Melville, one of the main characters, Ishmael, encounters a heavily tattooed aborigine named Queequeg. In the movie version, Ishmael’s reaction to Queequeg’s bizarre appearance is one of terror, much as if stumbling upon a biker in a darkened alley. Likewise, Robert DeNiro’s depiction of the ex-inmate Max Cady in the movie Cape Fear elicits the same response – “There’s not a whole lot to do in prison but desecrate your flesh”, he drawls . But these are stereotypes.
These days, the tattoo is a form of self expression that holds no distinction between class types. Yet in our quest to individualize ourselves, we become just like everyone else – part of the fad. Some may argue that the tattoo is uniquely their own, as well it may be. A young woman I know had an image of her baby’s handprint tattooed on her back along with his name. A friend of mine has a shooting star tattooed on the cartilage of her ear – it actually looks pretty cool. And an older woman standing on line in front of me somewhere had a pretty bracelet of a flowering vine tattooed around her wrist. These art forms are thoughtful and tasteful. But then there’s the one that goes just a tad overboard. I was at a Stevie Nick’s concert a couple of years ago – 5th row center Orchestra. A young girl in front row center was apparently proclaiming to be Stevie’s number one fan – she was wearing a halter top for the obvious reason to show off her tattoo; a life sized portrait of Stevie encompassing the whole of her back. I knew she just couldn’t wait to show it to her idol. As Stevie shook hands with the entire front row audience at the end of the show, as was her custom, the girl turned her back to Stevie. Her reaction was not one of being flattered but of stunned disbelief. She simply shook hands and quickly moved on to the next person. What would possess someone to idolize another to such an extreme?
I’m glad I never got that butterfly I thought I wanted. I could never decide where it should go and the more I thought about it, the less I thought about going through with it. I began to think of how it would blur over time. Someone I once saw looked like she had a smudge on her leg. As I got closer, I saw. “Oh! It’s a tattoo”.

So……………………whadayathink? Tattoo or not to? What’s your opinion?

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7 Responses to “Tattoo You?”

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  4. tadalafil jelly Says:

    Hey I don’t care if tatoos r commonplace, I am covered with tatoos and I love everyone of them. I do it for myself, not for anybody else.

    Hey great photo of Max Cady. Cape fear is my favorite movie of all time.

  5. iso Says:

    You know nothing about tatoos. Every tat I have has meaning. But u r right about the copycata.

    oh love the robrt deniro picture.

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