Why I Won’t Get a Tattoo

I don’t like butterflies or shamrocks or tigers on people (not “on people” as in a man-eating tiger, rather “on people” as in a tiger snaking down an arm). Maybe it’s symbolism these tattooees are after, but here’s what I see: The butterfly lover is an 8-year-old girl at heart, a shamrock belongs to someone with no imagination, and a tiger means you’re able to sit very still for a very long period of time.

See what I mean? Who knows what you could end up with. Photo: StumbleUpon

See what I mean? Who knows what you could end up with.
Photo: StumbleUpon

 

I don’t understand Sanskrit. Happens all the time: “Hey! Look at me! I’m so current I got a tattoo in a language I’d never heard of before I watched Inked!” Faster than you can say, “Shoulda looked it up myself,” you’re stuck with “French Toast” when you wanted “Faith Lives.” Tattoo-artist practical joke, or legitimate mistake? When it’s on your calf, does it even matter?

"I used to be indecisive but now I am not quite sure."  --Tommy Cooper

“I used to be indecisive but now I am not quite sure.” –Tommy Cooper Photo: Flickr

 

I’m indecisive. I’ve stepped foot in one tattoo parlor in my life. And I do mean a literal foot—just far enough to peruse a photo album crammed with possibilities: Pages and pages of crowns, birds, quotes, curlicues, skulls…you name it. No wonder people default to butterflies. Either I’d have wound up with a Leopard Lacewing on my shoulder, or I’d still be there deciding.

 

I don’t like pain. An emergency appendectomy is one thing. Hundreds (is it hundreds? I don’t even know) of needle jabs administered by a guy named Duke is quite another.

 

Tattoos are forever… Unless you go with your own name (and what’s the point of that, unless you need reminding?), there’s an inherent risk of times a-changin’ and your tattoo becoming obsolete. We’ve all seen celebrities sporting fancy scrollwork designed to cover the name of an ex. Nothing like a constant reminder of your mistake.

 

…unless you have money. Freeway billboards might advertise laser tattoo removal, but I’ve heard removal is more painful than the actual tattoo. Plus, I’m doubting flexible spending—let alone insurance—covers removal.

Give it 20 years, and this tattoo will practically be invisible. Photo: Flickr

Give it 20 years, and this tattoo will practically be invisible.
Photo: Flickr

 

I’m getting older and body parts are sliding into the southern hemisphere. Maybe I can’t stop the inevitable, but there’s no point in drawing attention to the fact.