I don’t get it. Or, should I say, I haven’t gotten one.
I’m speaking about tattoos.
Years ago, tattoos signaled you were in a biker gang, served jail time or survived a weekend similar to the 2009 movie, The Hangover.
Today, you can’t visit the beach without little Johnny asking where some lady’s flowering vine tattoo is supposed to be growing from. I keep waiting for this trend to become passé. For flowering vines to grow only in gardens.
But, I’ve seen no signs of a waning ink addiction. And I do believe it can become an addiction.
Like tanning spas or plastic surgery, it seems those who do it can easily overdo it. I thought once 40-year-old suburban housewives started getting tattoos, it might lose some of its “hip” factor. What gives?
For greater insight into this body billboard phenomena, I visited Rose of No Man’s Land tattoo and piercing Studio in Woodbury.
“Tattooing is an art form nearly as old as cave painting. It’s become culturally engrained and transcends passing fads,” co-owner and tattoo artist Josh Edwards told me.
Trend is reflected in tattoo styles. Josh says he tattoos lots of lettering these days. People want positive affirmations printed on their bodies. Others get tattoos to memorialize a family member. For Josh, he compares getting tattoos to collecting art.
“Some people collect art for their homes,” he said. “I collect art on my body.”
I ask if it’s polite to inquire about someone’s body art? He says asking is OK. But please don’t touch.
I’m stunned to learn people routinely touch other people’s tattoos. But then, it does seem public, like tattoos invite attention. But Josh says his tattoos are for his personal enjoyment. Fair enough.
“It’s sometimes different for women,” Josh said. “Tattoos are like fashion, like an outfit or hairstyle.”
OK, but fashion changes. Tattoos are permanent. I tell my kids, you liked Barney when you were 4. But aren’t you glad we didn’t tattoo Barney on your arm?
Josh has a similar opinion.
“I get bummed out if a young person seems to be making a bad decision, like getting a tattoo of their girlfriend or boyfriend’s name,” he said. “I want to feel good about doing tattoos. If a customer has a great story and seems to be making a good decision, I feel good about doing it for them.”
Is there anything you won’t do?
“I won’t do any face tattoos,” Josh said. “That’s a game changer. And I’d rather a person be heavily tattooed already before considering a hand or neck tattoo.”
I admit having told my sons nothing good can come of a neck tattoo. Josh smiles and says he agrees, which is funny, since he has a prominent tattoo on his neck. He adds, “I also won’t tattoo anything racist. It’s getting kind of late in the day for that kind of thing.” Agreed!
Josh is nice. But I’m still not a big tattoo fan. For adults who are, Josh recommends choosing a studio that is clean, friendly and has an extensive portfolio. References are also a good idea.
My thought is: enough already. But if you must, please keep it tasteful. For those of us having to explain things to the kids.