About 20 years ago, when my daughters were young, I remember giving them a very stern lecture, warning them not to get caught up in the passing fad of tattoos. I told them if they wanted to do something rebellious and weird, they could dye their hair green or pierce their noses. And if they wanted to do something completely off the wall and countercultural, they could study hard and get good grades in school.
My thinking was that dyed hair and piercings were temporary. If people later changed their minds, they could let their hair grow out to its natural color or remove the nasal jewelry and the holes would close up. But tattoos are permanent. If people later decided the image of a serpent on their neck was not so awesome after all, there would be no recourse. That reptile would be stuck there forever, and going to job interviews wearing a turtleneck sweater, especially in August, would be a real inconvenience.
Also, at the time, I was convinced that tattoos were a passing fad, and our society soon would realize that spending a lot of money and going through a lot of pain, just to have some mediocre art work imprinted forever, was not a very wise thing to do. I figured tattoo popularity soon would revert back to the narrow group of folks who dabbled in tattooery when I was a kid: bikers and sailors.
As you may have noticed, I could not have been more wrong. Tattoos are now so commonplace, I suspect that anyone under age 40 who does not have a least four very prominent tattoos is considered a weirdo among his or her peer group.
(Also, just so you know, about three decades ago, I thought that newfangled thing called the Internet was most likely a passing fad. So, make sure you don’t take my advice about, well, about anything.)
Now that it’s the height of summer, you can’t walk down the street without seeing zillions of tattoos. Some are very impressive artistically, while most are not. Some are located modestly on the person’s body, while most are not. Definitely not!
(Again, just so you know, I hail from the fuddy-duddy region of the Baby Boom generation. These observations about tattoos are only my personal opinions, which I already warned should be ignored.)
My fuddy-duddyness aside, before a person decides to get a tattoo, I recommend doing a Google Image search for the following phrase: “Tattoo mistakes.” You will see some really stunning photos of bad tattoos, including ones with these statements forever marked on people’s bodies: “Too cool for scool,” “Nolege is power,” and “No Regerts.”
Here are additional phrases for Google Image searches: “Face tattoos,” “Too many tattoos,” and “I regret my tattoo.”
After spending time viewing all those cringe-inducing photos, if you still are excited about getting a tattoo, well, OK then, it’s up to you.
If tattoos were as popular back in the 1970s as they are today, I’m sure I would’ve gotten a few. But the trendy themes back then surely would be embarrassing nowadays. For example, some things I thought were cool back in the 70s, which might have been the images I picked for my tattoos, are Star Wars movies and Elton John.
Oh wait. They are more popular than ever right now. So, my tattoo of Chewbacca dancing on Elton’s piano still would be hip today, but not so much for my tattoo of Donny Osmond high-fiving Jimmy Carter.
In conclusion, I no longer care if my daughters choose to “ink up.” In fact, I’m going to look into getting a big 1970s tattoo on my chest: Richard Nixon singing a duet with Fonzie.