At first I was going to write about when tattoos used to mean something and people were afraid of them and you rarely saw people with them. You know, basic "it was all better back in the day" type shit. But, I grew up in the 90's and I saw the explosion of tattooing in the United States. I’m pretty sure the tramp stamp was invented in 1992 in Panama Beach. As you can imagine, growing up I had a pretty strong aversion to tattoos. And not because bikers, Yakuza members and that one guy at 7-Eleven had them. No, I fronted on that shit because I saw one too many Tasmanian Devil tattoos and terrifying "portraits" that I was traumatized into thinking a tattoo was the result of a lifetime of poor decision making. But, spoiler alert, it isn’t. A tattoo isn’t like a bumper sticker. (If you have a bumper sticker I’m pretty sure you’re just advertising the fact that you and I will never hangout ever.) Tattoos are more nuanced. They are a true window into someone’s taste. I mean, if they chose to get something permanently etched into their skin, you would imagine they’d give it some real thought. Of course. What are my tattoos of? Nothing much, just a Latin motto. I know, classy, right? Oh, and a rabbit in a three piece suit. With a top hat. And a cane. I’m just going to let that marinate for a second.
The first tattoo I got was mostly line work. I was 18-years-old. Did I meet the artist first and consult, think about it, check referrals and past work? Fuck no. I was in Montana, the hotbed of quality tattoos. But thankfully it came out fine, didn’t really hurt that much and I only caught one type of Hepatitis. (Just kidding about that last part.) I'm not really sure why I got it. There are so many questions that come to mind when I think back to that time in my life. The most pressing? WHY WAS I SPENDING MY TIME OFF FROM COLLEGE IN MONTANA? I got the motto “for the greater honor and glory” in Latin, which, I guess, could be worse, although, let's be honest, it’s mad corny and naive. But I was 18 and I was mad corny and naive. And, before I forget, lame. Is it a motto I live by? Have you been reading my writing? Clearly sugar mommas, drunken odes to pizza rolls, spending health insurance money on boots and cursing as much as possible is how you live your life with the utmost honor and glory. My parents reacted in the way I knew they would have reacted, “Really? Montana? You can get a tattoo anywhere in the world and our son chose rural Montana.” I’m just glad they didn’t use the parental nuclear option—“I’m not angry. I’m just disappointed.” THAT SHIT IS PURE DEVASTATION. You know you fucked up when your parents have moved beyond anger and approached an existential crisis concerning your conception. Thankfully I dodged that shit like The Matrix.
What she doesn't know is that I was never actually going to get that played out mom tattoo in the first place.
Fast forward a few years, emboldened by the previous tattoo's lack of pain and fairly moderate parental reaction, I got the aforementioned well-dressed rabbit. The rabbit is a character from a children's book my mom used to read to me all the time. After I got it I told her that it was either the rabbit or "Mom" in a heart with an arrow through it. She said she liked the rabbit better, but she wished it were smaller. What she doesn't know is that I was never actually going to get that played out mom tattoo in the first place. PSYCH! GOTCHA MOM!
Once people learn of my affinity for tattoos they inevitable end up asking if I like girls with tattoos. And I do not. I like girls with cool tattoos. I’m not tryna date someone with a tattoo that’s the physical manifestation of this song. Girls with cool tattoos though? WOOOORRRRDDDDD. Remember the first girl with a rib cage tattoo you saw? It probably took you, like, three and a half minutes to register that shit. And how come ribcage tattoos always say things like “Veritas” or “Redemption” or are the infinity symbol? Anyways, one time I met a girl with the Joy Division wave tattooed on her forearm. My reaction was more or less, "QUICK GIRL, BEFORE I GO TO NEW YORK OR LONDON AND MEET SEVEN OTHER GIRLS WITH THE SAME FUCKING TATTOO, LET’S GET MARRIED IN A FIT OF BLISSFUL IGNORANCE. WE’LL HAVE AWESOME LITTLE SNOBBY DICKHEAD KIDS. THEIR FAVORITE BANDS WILL BE THE CLASH AND BLACK FLAG. THE YOUNGEST ONE WILL LIKE THE STONE ROSES TOO BECAUSE THE YOUNGEST ARE ALWAYS LIKE THAT. YOU’LL WEAR LOTS OF RICK OWENS AND BE EMOTIONALLY DISTANT. THE SEX WILL BE AMAZING. I LOVE YOU, GIRL. I LOVE THAT YOU'RE KIND OF ANDROGYNOUS, BUT STILL SHOW ENOUGH OF YOUR CHEST TO MAKE ME FEEL FUNNY IN MY HEART AND IN MY PANTS.
If you have both tattoos and a dog you're approaching a dangerous level of sexual unstoppability.
On the other hand, all girls love dudes with tattoos, and dudes with French Bulldogs. So, get one or the other. You’ll regret it for a few months and it’ll still be there despite your frosty attitude, but every once in while a pretty girl may pet them. Over time you’ll learn to love them. If you have both tattoos AND a dog you're approaching a dangerous level of sexual unstoppability. Say, for example, you have a stupid fucking nautical themed tattoo and a Jack Russell Terrier whose shit you conveniently always forget to pick up—I’m pretty sure girls will gift wrap their vaginas for you. I'm still in the hypothesis stage with all this, but I'm pretty confident.
All you kids wearing cordovan crowns out there, know this: dudes with cool tattoos are so next level they don’t even fucking count levels anymore. Those British Teddy Boys? Guys with legit teardrop tattoos? THEY LOOK SO FUCKING COOL, MAN. WITHOUT ANY IRONY OR ANYTHING. IT’S LIKE THEY ARE EQUAL PARTS SCARY AND SUPER COOL. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT I LOOK LIKE WITH MY TATTOOS? A WEIRD PEDOPHILE. SERIOUSLY. A CHILDREN’S BOOK CHARACTER? I NEED TO MURDER SOMEONE SO I CAN HAVE AWESOME PRISON STYLE TATTOOS.
Then the Sartorialist will take a photo of my wrist tatts peeking out of the surgeon cuffs of my Boglioli and all that time I wasted in Montana will be totally worth it.
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