Tattoo or Not Tattoo

Do you have a tattoo?

I dated a guy (I almost said “man”, but had to retract) 20-something years ago who had a large eagle tattoo on one bicep. I never thought anything of it, but it showed prominently in a photograph of the two of us, and people would comment negatively on it all the time. Which was a little annoying. He definitely had his faults, but being tattooed didn’t factor into them in any way that I could see.

Then about 10 years ago I dated another guy who had a tattoo of the character Sebastian from “The Little Mermaid” on his ankle. It was never really clear to me why this particular character – something about Sebastian being a nickname of his, but it always seemed to me that the nickname came after the tattoo. Whatever. It was cute, and well done, but was frankly something I’d expect to see on a woman. When we were together I toyed with getting one of my own. But since a tattoo is permanent, I could never quite decide on something that I’d still want to be looking at from my chair in the nursing home. And I did want to be able to see it too. I don’t see the point of a tattoo on your own body that you can’t see, such as something on the back of your shoulder or the small of your back, which seem to be popular body locations for women’s tattoos.

A dear friend turned 40 last month, and she announced about a month prior that she was going to get a tattoo for her birthday. Of course, this got my wheels turning again. She still hasn’t done it. But it’s only been back-burnered, not elminated.

So if I were to get a tattoo, what would I get? I’ve thought of the Chinese zodiac animals to represent my daughters’ birth years, which would be a dragon and a monkey. Or I could choose a character from each of their Chinese names. But two tattoos seems to be one too many, and of course I can’t choose to represent just one child. But let’s assume I’ve chosen a meaningful image to have permanently etched into my skin — which patch of skin is best? As I said, I want to be able to see it. But I don’t want “everyone” to see it, at least not all the time. Which means it needs to be on the front/side of my body, on a part that is normally covered by clothing. Ankle, chest, hip? Anywhere else?

Do you have a tattoo? How did you decide what to get, and where is it? Any regrets?

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