Monday, July 03, 2006

Ink is out, over, done, kaput

My tattoo is no longer cool.

When I got mine in 1990 - western traditional, a heart with wings and a banner with my husband's name on it - no other women had such a tattoo, let alone had it on her right arm. Sure some women had tats but they were mostly hidden, mostly small. Mine was neither. I got many comments and compliments and sometimes derision. I loved it.

A previous shock I once experienced and I will describe it. It's relevant because it was the same heart stopping, reality popping shock that changes you. It happened coincidentally, both times, at a supermarket. You wouldn't think a supermarket could be a place of instantaneous self-realization, but there you go.

It was a Lucky supermarket in southern California the first time it happened to me.

I was walking down the cereal aisle trying to choose between Captain Crunch and Life cereal. Deep in thought as I often am at the market and this particular day, I heard a good ol' tune by Deep Purple being piped in. I was at once jolted from my island of thought. The song was "Smoke on the Water." A good ol' tune, eh. I stopped in my tracks, I listened, I pinched myself to see if it was a dream, and I almost died. They were playing 'Smoke on the Water' in Muzak. Muzak! I was officially old that day. Guess I was about 30 years old. The topper was, later that same week I was watching Van Halen on MTV, rockin' out, and our then 12 year old eldest son asked me if those people were still alive.

What's this got to do with tattoos? A few months ago I was in the Safeway supermarket in southern California buying dinner and a regular girl, neither particularly young nor old, wearing regular clothes, (meaning not a whit of fashion whatsoever), plain hair, glasses, overweight, and ringing up my groceries, had a brand new, shiny tat on her arm. My heart fell. Top it off with we're now in Montana, not exactly the fashion capital of the U.S.A. and there are tattoos everywhere on everyone. That's when the shock hit me the second time.

Tattoos are no longer cool.

Ink has gone mainstream. I only just now noticed it.

I guess you can argue the notion of what defines cool, but I submit that once everyone is doing it, its lost its coolness. Mainstream is by definition mainstream. Tattoos have entered the mainstream not only for men, but for women. I find my fascination with them is dulled when I view the same ol' similar design placed on the same ol' exact body part on every girl I see. It's tired. It's old. It's done. And it's not that I'm against everyone doing it. Hey if everyone wants to, fine, but don't think it's making a statement anymore, other than "Everyone's doin' it and so am I."

I still love tattoos. And unlike Cher who had her's removed, I'll never have mine lasered off. Even when the best comment I get on mine these days is from a guy who hollers across the parking lot "Hey, I can still read it."

Ah well. Life goes on.

(Filed in Dynamic Christianity to check spiritual growth and development on this issue.)


Kim in MI said...

so am i (finally) cool because I don't have one?


Liliana said...