There’s an interesting post over on the New Yorker‘s photography department blog, Photo Booth, about the history of tattoos on American women. The blog post notes that more women than men got tattooed in 2012, for the first time ever, and relates how the earliest tattoos on Caucasian women in the United States resulted from the women being raised among native people, who tattooed themselves to indicate status.
The story of how I became a tattooed lady is much less dramatic and begins, as most modern day tattoo stories do, with alcohol. With the help of
two three four mudslides (they taste like ice cream!) and urged on by two drunks friends, I got a tattoo on my lower back to commemorate my 21st birthday. It’s a small tribal design (one friend got a palm tree, colored green and yellow, on her ankle, which she immediately regretted, the other a rose on her hip, which she did not) that you might be able to see today if you are standing directly behind me when I am wearing low rise jeans and performing a particularly vigorous round of calisthenics.
I thought the tattoo would make me seem hip and a bit edgy, maybe even dangerous. Plus, I was drunk (did I mention that I was drunk?) and I did not fully comprehend the status a lower back tattoo would confer upon me, which would so eloquently be expressed a few years later by Vince Vaughn’s character, Jeremy Grey, in the movie Wedding Crashers.
Tattoo on the lower back? Might as well be a bullseye.
While I can’t say my tramp stamp is the great regret in life, I kinda do wish I could go back in time and meet my 21-year-old self outside
The Tetanus & Hepatitis C Emporium Pinky’s Ink on South Street.
2013 Me: Hey, maybe you should think a little bit more about this before you go in there.
21 Year Old Me: Woohoo! I turned 21 today! Buy me a drink!
2013 Me: Maybe decisions like this shouldn’t be made unless you are, oh, I don’t know, sober?
21 Year Old Me: This is the best decision I ever made in my life, along with majoring in English lit!
2013 Me: I’m just saying, you’re going to have this tattoo for the rest of your life, and a couple of years from now, you’re going to bend over and one of the junior partners is going to see that tattoo, and you’re not going to get that job offer!
21 Year Old Me: Who do you think you are, my mother? What’s with all the doom and gloom? You look like you could use a drink. What do you say, after I get this tattoo, we’ll go have a drink!
2013 Me: (growing desperate) Listen to me, you’re going to get married and get older, and live in the suburbs, and suddenly that tattoo isn’t going to be hip or cool, it’s just going to remind you of this stupid night.
21 Year Old Me: (to my two drunk friends) Wouldn’t it be great if they served booze at tattoo parlors? That’s what we should do after college, open a tattoo place that serves liquor!
My Two Drunk Friends: Yes! That idea is slammin’!
Here’s a recipe for a slammin’ mudslide.
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