To tattoo or not to tattoo? That is the question of the day.

Good morning fellow breathers,

How are you? I've decided to pick a topic for this morning.


I have been thinking about getting one now for a few months pretty seriously. I have had two opportunities to go to the shop and get her done. Both times I chickened out. So another opportunity is approaching. My beautifully tattooed younger sister, JanAlex, is coming to visit me in a few weeks. She is a fearless tattooer. I feel it may be the perfect time to bite the bullet and put some permanent ink in my body. Let's talk about it.

First of all, I almost always manage to talk myself out of things I'm afraid of. That being, said, I'm afraid of getting a tattoo. Not so much because I know it will hurt. I fear the permanency. I am not good with 'forever.' It is a concept I generally run from. Commitment, as you know from reading this blog is NOT my middle name. So the idea of committing to an image or phrase or word permanently written into my skin is pretty freaky. How will I feel about this tattoo when I'm freaking 80 years old and it's all wrinkly and faded?

I have no idea how I will feel, because I'm not 80. I'm in my late twenties and going through tons of changes and seeking adventure and finding out who I am and it just seems like the perfect time for some 'fresh ink.' Wouldn't you say? I finally have something wonderful that I would like to celebrate with something like a tattoo. I have values that I am discovering I've had for all of my life. That is something I can count on and definitely something I would not be afraid to commit to forever...on my forearm.

I have found tattoos to be extremely sexy for a long time. For YEARS I have been that ridiculous person with the temporary tattoo on her arm pretending it's real and telling an elaborate story about the 'meaning'. (My friend Rager has been a joyful culprit in these tattoo lovin times.)
Here we are in classy Old Orchard Beach sportin some 'fresh ink'.

I even ordered vintage fakes from this Hollywood prop website online once. They looked amazing. And I'm a loser.

Meanwhile I drool over hot, sexy, strong, tattoo covered arms. There is nothing hotter. And let me tell you there are millions of those arms in LA. Everywhere I go, I see cool tattoos. So maybe my sudden desire for ink is merely the power of attraction. I'm seeing what I like and I want.

I am also intrigued by the history of tattoos. For thousands of years humans have been decorating their body with spiritual art. I cannot think of a culture that does not have some sort of beautiful tattoo culture. Except maybe the Jews.

Here are a few downsides. My grandmother thinks tattoos are trampy. My Dad thinks they are against biblical law. My brother thinks they are 'dumb' and an LA cliche. My friend Matt B. laughed out loud when I told him I would get one. And if I ever decided to be an actor again, or a blushing bride I'm going to have to deal with the stigma of a tattoo.

I think I can deal with those downsides. Wear a sweater to my grandparents house. Have a theological debate with my dad. Take two seconds to remind my brother that I'm cooler than him. Remind Matt that I am livin the dream and he is livin the nightmare. And when and if I act and walk down the aisle - I use some sort of tattoo cover up if I need to. It exists.

So there. Those problems are solved.

So the question is not should I get a tattoo. The question is why not?

The lingering doubts are these. I like my body. I like my skin. The idea of changing it is weird to me. I've looked down at my same physical shell my entire life. It's a strange concept to forever change God's creation. I guess we are doing that anyway all the time just by living and breathing and manipulating the universe. But this seems so deliberate and permanent. Then again. We are not our bodies. We are so much more than that. It is more like enjoying some art all the time everyday on your skin...I guess.

My other doubt is that sometimes I do think tattoos look trampy. I'm sure you've all heard of the 'tramp stamp.' People call it the target. A tattoo on a girls lower back is like a 'Welcome sign.' "Hello, I'm wild and like doing wild things and I'm going to sleep with you and do lots of drugs." It's like sometimes tattoos say that outloud. Sometimes not. I heard this quote the other day on some TV show. This guy goes, "Dude, I'm in the low-self esteem market. I don't even talk to girls who aren't from divorced families." Like - everyone from a broken home is somehow an easier target. Probably a truism. Well, I'm already screwed there. I just don't know if a tattoo somehow says something about me that I do not want to express to the world....
Then again I'm not thinking of getting a tramp stamp. And what I choose will definitely have some sort of spiritual message or meaning to me. It will not be an arrow on my lower back pointing to my backside. Of this I am certain.

I think way too much about shit like this. My friend Rager was like, "You take everything so seriously." And she's right. I can't just effing go to a tatt shop without thinking about it and say " Ink it up dude! Betty boop on my boob! 4-ev-ah." I can't do that. I have to process and weigh it out and somehow come to some sort of spiritual peace with the whole thing. Then I can go be 'wild'. Spontaneity and forever do not coexist for me. You will never see me in Vegas at the alter. (I just knocked on wood.)

So this is the ongoing tattoo debate. If you would like to weigh in on the topic. Please do. If you have any tatt suggestions. I would love to hear them. If you have a beautiful tattoo that you love and never regret, please share it.

My sis is coming on March 6. We shall see what happens in the ongoing saga of "Fran is 'thinking' about getting a tattoo" part 3.

This is one of my favorite modern folky indie songs that says the word tattoo many times:
"Magnetized" - Laura Veirs


  1. I've got six and I love them all. Some of them have personal meaning, and some I picked off the wall of the parlor I was in at the time.

    The fact that you find them interesting indicates that you will probably adjust to having one pretty easily. After I got each one, I couldn't imagine not having them, it becomes part of you.

    What I'd recommend for your first one (if you like the first, you'll get more, it's a fact), is to get it somewhere that it wouldn't show when you are wearing normal clothes. That way, if you decide it's really not for you, it's easily hidden out of sight. The only one that shows on me is a wristband that most people think is a normal bracelet at first glance.

    Second, if you have any doubts about the artist or parlor, walk out. Trust your instincts about people, and don't ever get a tattoo in a dirty shop. A good shop will be happy to show you how the equipment is sterilized, and all the consumables will be single use only, especially the inks.

    No matter what you do though, someone will have an opinion on the matter, positive or negative. You have to do what is right for you. You are the one that will be living with it.

  2. It sounds like you really want one, Lovey. I say go with your heart. xoxo

  3. Great post. Whatever you decide, you've left a fine trail of words here. A guy in a meeting I go to had the serenity prayer tattooed on his chest. Ouch. The what-will-it-look-like-years-from-now test seems to be a fair one. When I look back 30 years from now and imagine an image or phrase I would have expected to hold my heart this long, the chances seem high that I would have picked something that would seem not so much embarrassing now, as simply out of date. But maybe that would simply be a pleasant reminder of decades gone by, kept alive on my skin. Happy deciding...


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