Saturday, August 23, 2014

Rebecca on Tattoos & Piercings

I like my nose; it is cute like a button.  So I did what Beyoncé told me to and put a ring on it. I felt the same way about my tongue, the entire length of both earlobes, both nipples, and that little nub that stands guard over my ear canal. Tragus?

Most of those piercings went away in favor of things like nursing babies and successfully pronouncing words that contain lingual phonemes*. However, I still think, in general, that piercings and tattoos are pretty neat, suckas.

Why do it? Both tattoos and piercings, by my logic, fall into the category of expressive self-decoration. Throughout history, cultures around the world have altered their bodies for decorative purposes. I would argue that if you have ever straightened your hair, applied lipstick, or even donned an article of clothing for its form rather than its function, then you should probably shut your silly noise hole about tattoos and piercings.

That shit ain’t washin’ off.  The majority of people’s objections to tattoos center on their permanent nature. What could possibly be so important, they wail, that you must INJECT IT INTO YOUR SKIN FOR ALL TIME? I say that is what makes tattoos that much more interesting. Unless your local tattoo artist did a very bad job of explaining things, you are pretty aware that that shit ain’t washin’ off.  This lends a great deal of gravity to the content that you choose.

Tattoos are art. This is what makes me love them.  One must transform an important idea, a facet of one’s personality, or an event that merits commemoration, into a visual symbol. The body as a canvas is a nuanced concept. It is a living surface. The tattoo interacts with the contours of the body, the lines of clothing. Gestures, posture, even muscle tone become part of it.

Although… Having said all of that, I will secretly roll my eyes if you do the following:

1.       Get super drunk at Parents’ Weekend at your daughter’s college and get the footprint of the university mascot tattooed on your butt cheek. Really wild, mom.

2.       Get anything off the wall at the tattoo shop. Ever. Ever. For any reason. Ever. Think for yourself, you lemming.

3.       Get any symbol representing a sports team or band unless you are a member of, own, coach, or manage said organization. I don’t care how big of a fan you are. It’s not okay.

Accept the Consequences. You can do whatever you want. You are free like that. But you live in mixed company. If you decide that your bliss is to pierce everything that protrudes and get “We come in peace” tattooed in runes on your neck, I say go for it. When the diner owner won’t hire you, it isn’t because she is an a-hole. It’s because she is not an idiot. I like tattoos and piercings; you like tattoos and piercings, but there are a lot of Americans who don’t.  And it is money out of the cash register if a customer is put off of his tuna melt because his server looks like that guy from Hellraiser.

*Look it up.

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