Thursday, June 22, 2006

A quote is just a tattoo on the tongue. - William F. DeVault

I am considering getting a tattoo. I have always wanted one. I find them mysterious, and sexy, and I like their (now not so much) hint of rebelliousness and outlier-ness.

After watching Daniel Day-Lewis in “The Last of the Mohicans” one too many times, I very nearly had double bracelets tattooed on each wrist.

Instead I used a permanent marker to draw them on, just to see how I liked them. I LOVED them, but my boyfriend at the time...hated ‘em. So I delayed the tattooing. For which I am probably pretty glad now. Although I still think they look cool on Daniel. Yes, I call him Daniel. We’re like THIS.

I promised myself when I completed my first triathlon that I would get a tattoo of a shark on my hip. I have always loved sharks – I love the way they look, and I love learning about them. I would not care to meet one in the water, but gosh, they’re just so sleek and powerful and beautiful.

If I have a totem, I would like it to be a shark.

The Shark Totem

Sharks are viewed stereotypically as dangerous. Singly, and when they are not hungry, sharks tend to be quite peaceful.
[Check. But when I am hungry, watch the hell out! Bringon the buffalo bites!]

They can be trained to do simple tasks such as distinguishing certain objects from others in the water...In large groups however, they can become unpredictable and may frenzy.In order to remain calm and centered shark medicine people require time to themselves. If they do not have time alone they can become irritable, anxious and aggressive in their behavior.
[Yep. Yep.]

Sharks have incredibly sensitive noses that can smell one drop of blood in 50 million times as much water.
[H says this is true of me. But then he’s spent ten years fighting with me. I don’t mean all ten years, I mean that over the course of ten years…oh, never mind.]

They can feel the pressure waves made by a struggling fish and are sensitive to electromagnetic currents...The shark has no swim bladder and must swim perpetually to keep from sinking to the bottom. Water has always been associated with emotional transformation...
[I like to swim. Uh...]

In the course of our learning we can attract events and people that are disharmonious. Working with shark medicine gives you the power and confidence to drive off negative elements or eliminate them completely.
[Yes! Complete elimination! Sweet!]

Ok, but apparently I? Am a bat. (Which, looking at it, WOULD make a cool tattoo. If I were really a bat. Or, um, felt some sort of affinity with bats. Which I don't. Other than being proverbially blind as one.)

What is your totem animal?

Your totem animal is the Bat! You are definitely a night person. For you the day begins at sundown. You have a energetic attitude and are always on the lookout for some new thrill. Like the Bat, you are listener, you never judge someone until they open their mouth.

So, all right, then, I like bats. And Bats mean Bacardi, and I like Bacardi. Oh, ok, that works. Gimme a bat tattoo! (And no, I am NOT bats, I am A bat!)

Of course SOME people think
“I’m a wolf? You run to the wolf! That don’t make you no lamb!”

Or, oh yeah, A BEAR! AN EAGLE! A DEER!

Anyway, I was ten weeks pregnant with Segundo and decided that now was not the time to get a tattoo, and especially not on my hip. Looking at the state of my hips today, I see I made an excellent choice.

So over the past few years I have convinced myself that the threat of hepatitis was not worth risking for a tattoo.

And EVERYONE has a tattoo these days. I am always surprised when someone DOESN’T have a tattoo. For the record, I believe my mother-in-law and my husband may be the only two people I know without tattoos...ok, only being a teensy bit hyperbolic...but tattoos are ubiquitous these days. Do I really want to look like everyone else? Isn’t it kind of a badge of honor to not have one at this point? I can hear my mother saying, “If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?” Probably not, Ma, but my fear of heights is a therapy session for another day.

The barista at the neighborhood coffee shop has several tattoos and they look GOOD on her. And now I want one. Again.

Where do I put it?

My ankle? I hear tattooing on the bone HURTS. Also, I often wear capris or skirts, and want to be able to hide it easily if need be.

For the same reason, the forearm is out, plus that smacks of the US Marine Corps, who I am sure are an admirable group of people, but I have no wish to resemble a Marine.

The inside of my wrist is a possibility. Discreet yet visible.

The front or side of the hip is a BAD choice for anyone who has been pregnant. And I don’t even have stretch marks.

My shoulder blade is also a possibility.
As is my lower back.

I had a friend in grad school who had a giant tattoo on the top of his head. Now, one, ouchy ouchy ouchy ouch. Two, what’s the point? He grew his hair back in and while it’s kinda cool that he has a hidden tattoo on the top of his head, who ever gets to see it? And he had such lovely hair...

I saw someone recently with a bar piercing through the back of their neck. Grossed me out. But that might be a good spot for a tattoo…for someone else. That thick slab of muscle back there kind squicks me out. Can’t imagine any needle getting close.

Would it embarrass my kids? I KNOW it would gross my husband out. But then, what doesn’t?

Maybe I need a 666 on my forehead...ok, enough of my grade-school education remains that even thinking that weirds me out. Forget I said it. Please. No 666s here.

What about this?

Or this, apparently a very popular choice...I like it.

Maybe instead of a Virgin tattoo?
I could get one of, maybe, a grilled cheese sandwich that LOOKED like the BVM.

I don’t want some Chinese symbol for peace or love – especially since I am convinced that most of them actually mean “fat” or “stupid.” I don’t speak Chinese – what the hell would I know? I don’t want some Celtic symbol. The only ethnic symbol that pertains to me as a straightforward Eastern Euopean peasant is a potato, and that doesn’t make for a particularly aesthetic tattoo.

Maybe this birthmark/target thingey would work for me:

Ok, I found it. Here’s what I want:

Whaddya think?


Good Lord, who knew she had a modicum of sense?

Tattoos are like stories - they're symbolic of the important moments in your life. Sitting down, talking about where you got each tattoo and what it symbolizes, is really beautiful. - Pamela Anderson


[A] genuine tattoo.... tells a story. I like stories and tattoos, no matter how well done, and if they don't tell a story that involves you emotionally, then they're just there for decoration, then they're not a valid tattoo. There has to be some emotional appeal or they're not, to my way of thinking, a real tattoo. It tells people what you are and what you believe in, so there's no mistakes. ~Leo, tattooist, 1993, quoted in Margo DeMello, Bodies of Inscription, 2000


Badger said...

My very first tattoo, which I will get when I turn 40, which is in September, if I don't chicken out first, will be the Ramones presidential seal, either on my left shoulderblade or the center of my upper back.

I am going to email you about the totem animal thing, yo.

blackbird said...

Geez Badge - that's a helluva huge tattoo...

meanwhile, Oldest, who has several tattoos (I KNOW! HOW CAN I POSSIBLY BE THE MOTHER OF SOMEONE WITH TATTOOS?)has carefully chosen each one. Which is not to say they were good choices, in my eyes - and I think he would agree. and he was very into the getting of them and the after care and what they mean to him.


telfair said...

I have a yin-yang symbol on my lower back and I think that's a good place for a tattoo...nobody needs to see it unless I want to show it to them.
I chose the yin-yang symbol after one of my minor nervous breakdowns, as a reminder to work on BALANCE in my life so I didn't have another.

I didn't find it painful, either. It gave me an endorphin rush akin to a running endorphin rush.

Loved this post. Partly because it has a prominent pic of DDL (*le sigh*) and also because of the totem animal thing. Reminds me of the movie "Thumbsucker" where Keanu Reeves is trying to help the thumbsucker find his spirit animal.

I think my totem animal is the echnidna although I don't know why.

jenny said...

Funny, I have a shark tatoo. A girly shark tatoo though. It's the little neon Greg Norman (the golfer) logo. And no, I don't like golf, only the shark.

Inside right ankle. Much easier to hide. And because there's no black outlining and lots of coloring in...basically pain free.

But. When I go swimming in the lake I must wear a bandaid over it because the sunfish bite it. And only it. And it's a bit freaky.

That being said, while I do love it, especially in the summer, I now wonder how long it will take me to start regreting it (I've had it for eight years).

Sorry for the comment monopolizing...

jenny said...

and sorry for spelling tattoo wrong. gah!

Joke said...

My views on tattoos are well publicized.


Badger said...

Joke, if by "views" you mean whimpitude, then yeah.

Bbird: It doesn't HAVE to be big. But it could be. It'll be mostly outlining though, so probably not.

Okay, I will stop using comments as my own personal chat room now. Blame the vodka!

Cari said...

I don't have a tatoo, but I've always wanted a running shoe with a 26.2 on my ankle. But I'm too much of a wimp for that. I'd have to be really drunk to bear the pain.

My brother has the word RESISTANCE tatooed across his forearm. How dumb is that! And he has several others...include on his hands.

My husband said that one of his patients had an erect penis tatooed on her thigh. Now how in the world do you explain that to your children!!!

jess said...

My roommate has a small tattoo on the inside of her ankle. She didn't seem to think getting it was too terribly painful. I am, and shall forever be, pure and untarnished by tattoos. It took me until I was 23 to get around to piercing my ears, so I guess never say never. Maybe when I'm 90 or so.

I know of someone who has "not of this world" tattooed across his chest. I've seen pictures. (It's a spiritual reference, not an alien one...)

VF: abbahoa. Wow.

Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

I have an idea for the hip tattoo - a big clock, then as nature takes its course you can just say it's a Dali painting...

Feel free to steal it because no inky needle is ever piercing my skin. Probably.

My float said...


Now there's a thought. How about a tattoo of Daniel?

I too wanted a tattoo on my hip and am ever grateful that I didn't. I think my hip is now my thigh.

Carolyn said...

I'm with you on being surprised when someone doesn't have a tatoo.

We saw lots of them on our last vacation. I joked with my husband and told him I was getting a dragonfly. He was afraid of them when he was a kid and called them "long-headed bone bugs."

He asked if I was trying to scare him away.

And I'm with you on "bring on the buffalo wings." YUM.

julia said...

That tribal thing with the interlocking circles? Totally looks like the bio-hazard sign and getting that tattoo'd (tattooed?) on the small of your back might not be such a great idea.

I want to get a tattoo of a Jizo, which is a Japanese bodhisattva that is the protector of children, specifically of lost children. I'm still trying to figure out where to put it, though. There's not much left of me that hasn't been adversely affected by pregnancy.

Sarah Louise said...

All this tattoo talk makes me think of when in college, a kid drew grass and flowers on my feet with markers. For a few days it looked like I was walking in grass. I wouldn't want it permanently, but it was tres cool.

Oh, and in the 90s when I worked at Fox Books, the only tattoo book was in Social Sciences--Australia. Drove us all nuts when folks came in looking for such books. Where is it again? And how do you spell tattoo? (I'd always forget it had three t's.)

I'm not adverse, but I'd have to think about it more. My sister has at least two.

Mrs. Pom said...

The Princess pierced her tongue at 18, sitting through lunch with us and trying to talk and eat so we wouldn't notice. Sadly, we did not. Then she turned 19 and got a tattoo on her lower back of a celtic knot. That we did notice. She rethought the whole tongue thing when the dentist told her she could chip the enamel on her very expensive teeth. Unfortunately, if she rethinks the tattoo, it's gonna hurt a lot.

My rule of thumb is not to do anything permanent to my body that will look really stupid all stretched out at 70.

BabelBabe said...

I think it's Ayun Halliday (funny how she keeps cropping up) in No Touch Monkey who talks about her yin-yang tattoo that is filled in somehow, so it's an out-of-balance tattoo of the symbol of balance.

And I KNOW it's the biohazard sign, that is exactly what makes it so cool! : )

I will never get a tattoo of another person, although I did consider my kids' initials until i realized that might be kinda creepy later.

BabelBabe said...

I know! I can get a word verif tattooed on me! How cool would that be? Let's see, the word verif is: jhrlacti

Perfect, er....

Lazy cow said...

I thought about getting a tattoo for about 10 minutes, even planned what it would be: the Lazy Cow family crest. Golf club and cricket bat crossed in the middle (representing my husband), a leaf (representing my daughter's name - no, her name isn't leaf) at the top, and a dog bone (for the dog) at the bottom. This was before I had the Boy. I made the mistake of telling my girlfriends and they (tattooless, all of them) mocked me terribly. Thank God I didn't go through with it.
My vote is the cockroach one, but it's gonna hurt.

William F. DeVault said...

Loved the post. I, myself, have a tattoo. My ex-wife wanted us to have matching tattoos to show our solidarity for life. Note I said "ex-wife". I keep thinking of having it modified, like Johnny Depp and his "Winona Forever" tattoo that he had changed to "Wino Forever" when he and Ms. Ryder split.

I appreciate the quote you chose for your title of this post. Very ironic, no? I was in rare form that day.

A pleasure to meet you. I will have to go back and read through all of your postings, now...

tattoos designs said...

tongue is not good location for having tattoos designs