Tuesday, September 1, 2009

To Tattoo or Not To Tattoo?

For me this was a question with an easy answer – heck no. I have a major fear of needles and a low pain tolerance. It has never once sounded like a good idea to me to get a tattoo. I think they can be pretty, and I understand why some people would want one, but my fears have prevented me from ever seriously considering it.

I do, however, have several friends who have them. I have gone with a couple of them to get their ink done. Which has prompted me to ponder what I would get and where I would get it if I were ever to resolve my issues. Here I stumble upon more roadblocks. First, what? Tattoos are forever. (At least without incurring a lot of cost and even more pain to have them lasered off.) What symbol could I get that I would still want as part of my saggy 80-year-old body? My loves in life have changed a lot over the years. What if I’d gotten a Superman symbol when I was obsessed with Jon Bon Jovi? Or a pointe shoe for dance? Or my first boyfriend’s name (who I just knew I was going to marry)? Or even the more permanent figures in my life, my husband’s or our daughters’ initials? So the image itself isn’t even something I can decide on, at least at this point in my life.

As for where, yikes, that’s an even scarier question. Even when I was younger and skinny, I knew to avoid my midsection since I wanted to have children. I’m pretty modest, so I wouldn’t want it near any of my privates, either. And they say it hurts the most close to the bone, so my back didn’t seem like a good option. Plus you couldn’t see it. And what’s the point of getting one you can’t see? Ok, so the torso is out. Head? No way to hide it when I want to be discreet. Back of the neck? Same problems as the back. Hands and feet? Too bony and too hard to conceal when need be. What about arms? Again with needing a discreet option, I would need it to be able to be covered by a shirt – not just long sleeves, either, because in the summer, that would be really obvious, not to mention hot. So upper arms/shoulders. A reasonable possibility! Although it seems a little too manly to have one on my bicep. What about the legs? Back to the same issue of needing to be able to be covered, the thighs would have to be the choice. Let me just say that if I had chosen to get a tattoo on either my upper arm or my thigh, it would now be stretched out. I would never have anticipated the weight fluctuations I experienced in the last decade when I was younger and in the mindset of considering a tattoo. In retrospect, it’s a good thing I have those fears to keep me from making what could have been a huge mistake.

So why is this even a topic of discussion for me when I clearly have decided opinions about it? Because the other day, my boss’s daughter got a tattoo, and it reminded me that someday, I’ll have to have this discussion with our daughters. My boss’s daughter is a senior in high school, and because she’s technically old enough to get the tattoo without his permission, there’s not really anything he could have done to stop her. However, they have a good relationship and had dialogued about it for several months before she got it. On one hand, I think, that’s so cool! On the other, I think, no WAY would I allow one of our daughters to get a tattoo! Of course, the key is that she talked to him about it. She could have just run off and done it secretly. I’d like to think that when our girls are big enough to contemplate these kinds of things, we will have taught them to make good decisions and provided a safe haven of open communication so they know they can (and should) come to us about these kinds of things. That’s not to say I wouldn’t advise against it. But at the very least, I could recommend the thigh/upper arm locale!

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