This is one of my "Ain't yo dog , Ain't yo Chicken series. In other words, It ain't none of my business, but her goes.
In the past 10 years, or so, the tattoo seems to have replaced clothing. Clothing that you can't put on, or take off. My take on tattoos is nobody needs one. A tattoo knows when you been sleeping, it knows when you're awake, it knows when you been good or bad, that death's head, or a snake...they are not decorative, amusing, pretty, or necessary to my senses. I have friends, relatives, acquaintances politicians, policemen, teachers and others with tattoos. The bottom line is why do people have tattoos. What brought on the revival of tattoos and piercings? I have my own theories that include peer pressure, social stresses, insecurity, fashion statements, the need to be noticed. The one that really gets me is they are expensive.
I know a lot of war veterans from the WWII and Korea that have tattoos. I've asked a couple of them why they got their tattoo. I got answers from, "everybody else got one". "We got drunk one night in Singapore", I wanted to remember my girlfriend's name", "it just was a good idea at the time".
Most of these vintage tattoos are of the pin up naked girl, the arrow in the heart with a banner stating present girl friends name "Trixie". Service insignias, girls name, Betty Boop, Lucky Dice, 4 Aces, and the obligatory Skull and Crossbones were common themes in the 40's and early 50's. Then came the great Tattoo Drought of the 60's and 70's, and most of the 80's for the common man. What broke the drought, and allowed people from all walks of life to indulge in the tattoo mania? I do not know.
At this stage in life, these service era men are in there 70's and 80's. The tattoos are anything but vibrant reminders of youth, girlfriends, or anything else. In fact, you can hardly tell what they are...except big blobs of color that should not be there. I have never seen a lady from that era with a tattoo...there must have been at least one or two of those service nurses, or support personnel, that ventured out at night for a tattoo. In my mind, that would be when most tattoos found their mark; late at night, in an altered state.
At this stage in life, these men are in there 70's and 80's. The tattoos are anything but vibrant reminders of youth, girlfriends, or anything else. In fact, you can hardly tell what they are...except big blobs of color that should not be there. I have never seen a lady from that era with a tattoo...there must have been at least one or two of those service nurses, or support personnel that ventured out at night for a tattoo. In my mind, that would be when most tattoos found their mark; late, at night in an altered state.
Back to my original premise. Why does every person under the age of 40 feel it necessary to carry around a tattoo? Comments are welcome, as I fail to have the mental capacity to deal with this phenomena.
I hear giggly girls saying they have a butterfly tattoo, but you can't see it. Are they keeping it a secret from themselves? If you go through the pain and agony of getting a tattoo, why would you want to hide it? My guess would be that they don't want Mama and 'nem to see it, or they want to surprise the undertaker when they die.
The guys with both arms and neck completely covered with some jungle vines in 30 colors is an expression of something I am incapable of wanting to express, I guess. MY take is if you want to see the jungle, buy a plane ticket, it's cheaper, and less painful. If you change your mind about the jungle, buy a round trip ticket. You won't have to listen to little children ask, "Mommy, what's wrong with that man's arms and neck?" "It's a tattoo, honey, his mother, grandmother, and old maid aunt have turned over in their graves".
I remember a friend of my Daddy's got out of the Air Force, got his Master's, and was going to teach somewhere. He had a couple of tattoos...not inappropriate, as I remember, but decided to have them removed. He was in the hospital for some 6 weeks...with blood poisoning, brought on by the attempted surgical removal...left some pretty hefty scars. I know medical technology has come a long was since the 60's, but that cautionary tale would be enough to discourage my ever getting a tattoo.
OK, I've had my rant for the day. The bottom line is: They gonna' be some ugly old people in about 30 years when all that skin start sagging and them colors start fading. The grandchildren gonna' start looking at you like you're a freak...unless they have more tattoos than you do. Your tattoos might be a deterrent for your grandchildren. I hope so.
May the Tattoo Drought make a reappearance soon!
I leave you with an old Kingston Trio song chorus, from the Great Folk Music Scare of the 60's.
We came to town to see that old tattooed lady
She was a sight to see, tattooed from head to knee
My Uncle Mort was there, he came to gape and stare,
"I've never," he declared "seen such a freak so fare."
And over her left kidney, was a bird's eye view of Sydney,
but what we liked best was upon her chest, a home in Waikiki.