The other day I saw a woman who was about 25 years old who had two black musical notes tattooed on the side of her neck. Later that day, I saw a man who was about that same age with a large tattoo that took up the entire back side of the calf of his leg. Because I didn’t want to stare too much, I did not have time to figure out the design of his very colorful tattoo. Yet, those tattoos and others like it fascinate me.
There has been a growing interest with tattoos in the United States for some time now. What I thought was going to be just a small phase passing through this time in our lives has continued on to what people might think of as a rite of passage. The interest in tattoos crosses all generations. Little children are now wondering what type of tattoo they might like to get when they get older. Should they get a star tattoo like Mommy or a tattoo that says “Mom” like Daddy? Teenagers also think about what would be the coolest-looking tattoo and where they would like to display it. Even older men and women are talking about getting tattoos. Fans of tattoos believe that a tattoo can define who the person really is.
The reality show LA Ink debuted on the TLC network in 2007. Not only is it entertaining to watch how the employees work out their differences with each other, but it is also intriguing to listen to the customers’ stories and their thought processes on how they decided on what type of tattoo they would like to wear. One young lady on LA Ink decided to have her grandfather’s military picture tattooed on her back. The lady brought in a picture of her grandfather, and the tattoo artist magically created a replica. The lady decided that she would like to have a tattoo of her grandfather since she admired him so much because he was in the armed forces during World War II and he had overcome many obstacles in his life. The granddaughter felt that her departed grandfather had helped her with the process of breaking free from chemical addiction since he was such a role model to her and she felt his support during his life and even after his death. The grandfather was leading her on the proper path to a life free from addiction.
This was a very noble gesture on the part of this particular customer, and I could see why she decided on the tattoo that she chose. I was captivated by her story and many of the other stories I listened to on LA Ink, but yet I wondered how she would feel about her decision in 20 or 30 years. It is a very huge commitment to have a tattoo, and the tattoo that a person chooses to get at the age of 25 would probably be very different from the tattoo that a person would like to have at the age of 50.
I also find it a little ironic that young people with very taut and blemish free skin are having these permanent fixtures attached to their bodies. In my opinion, a person should wait to get a tattoo after they have at least turned 50 years old. There are many benefits of getting a tattoo when you are 50 years old or older, because it is a good way to:
1. Cover up any old age spots and scars;
2. Cover up any overly wrinkled or flabby skin areas;
3. Get noticed by people at a time when you might feel as if you are blending in with your surroundings;
4. Be certain that the brilliant colors will remain for the life of the tattoo;
5. Avoid the pain that young nerve endings might experience; and
6. Raise a person’s chances of getting a job at a traveling circus.
Also, if a person has been contemplating getting a tattoo for many years, they can be pretty certain that they are making the right decision when they are at the mature age of 50 or older, because all middle-aged or older people really have their acts together. There is no way that this generation could possibly make the mistake of getting a tattoo that does not define who they are. All people at this age definitely know who they are and have completed the process of “trying to find themselves.”
I will continue to be fascinated by other people’s tattoos and by the work of tattoo artists, but the tattoos that I wear and that define me are my old age spots, scars and wrinkles. My “tattoos” are not very colorful when other people see them, but to me they are some of the stories that define my life.