GINNY KELLY: Tattoos: You Won't Find Me Inking My Skin
At least one Myrtle Beach stereotype is still pretty accurate. Tattoos everywhere!
My girlfriends and I were visiting the tourist hot spot recently and spent our day by the Sheraton pool. After about an hour of people-watching I looked at my friends and said, "I think we are literally the only people here without tattoos."
We saw it all -- Tribal tatts, cartoon characters, sports teams, military badges, initials (probably not even their own but the markings of an old flame). One guy even had a silver chain tattooed around his neck with a huge medallion drawn upon his chest. I guess he wanted to be "bling-blingin'" for life.
There were some young girls next to us, and I swear every last one of them sported a lower-back tattoo, or "tramp stamp," as they are commonly called (which doesn't seem fair because there is probably little correlation between the placement of someone's tattoo and his or her personal morality).
It made me realize where I stand on tattoos. I can't. Stand them, that is.
I mean, really. Tattoos? Are people still getting those? It seems like such an archaic fad that should have lost steam after the '90s punk era.
Apparently not, considering that one in every seven people in the United States is tattooed, and the number is still growing.
I just don't understand the appeal.
Only a handful of my friends have tattoos. Most of them have small stars, lightning bolts, or some other inked symbol of their carefree glory days. While I don't agree with their decision to get tattoos, at least they're located on their feet or ankles, where they can be easily covered up and draw little attention in a business or formal setting.
It's the fully visible tattoos that really get me. Will someone please explain to me the inspiration behind a huge piece of "art" permanently inked across your arm or your neck or -- especially -- your face?
I used to think that if I was ever to lose someone close to me, I could maybe see myself getting some sort of memorial tattoo, something that would have a little meaning to me.
My father passed away almost three years ago (can't get much closer than that) and surprisingly, I haven't even considered getting a tattoo in his memory. He would roll over in his grave if I did.
Not to mention that tattoos can oftentimes give people the wrong idea. It sounds terrible, but it is in our nature to judge people on the basis of appearance. When you're working with someone who has a huge image of Winnie the Pooh dipping into his honey jar staring at you from his left bicep, it's hard to take him seriously. I just want to ask how Christopher Robin's doing.
Another thing that people forget is that as your body changes, so does that not-so-sexy-anymore tattoo you couldn't wait to get the day you turned 18. A girl in my sorority had what she called a "small tattoo" of a tree frog on her lower back.
I hate to break it to her, but there is nothing small about that frog that is now attacking her entire back. The 30 pounds she packed on in college sneaked up on her in a very permanent way.
So, call me old-fashioned, or even a prude, but I will never get a tattoo. The tatted-up subculture is simply not my scene.
But not everyone feels the way I do. I've read recently that the tattoo industry is one of the few not feeling the effects of the recession. Tattoo parlors enjoying this boom can probably thank teen starlets like Ashley Tisdale and Hayden Panettiere (Disney Channel sweethearts, if you can believe it) being photographed all over the tabloids with their fresh new ink.
TV shows like "LA Ink" glamorize the art of tattooing, making it even more mainstream. Hollywood is yet again setting a great example for our impressionable youth.
Trendy or not, for me there is nothing so important that I would want it permanently displayed on my person. And at least one other person agrees.
When I was asked recently, on a first date, if I had any body ink, I replied "Heck no! It would ruin my outfit!"
It was just the answer he was looking for.
Ginny Kelly is an advertising representative with The Pilot. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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