Sunday 18 November 2012

On Tattoos.

I approach this subject cautiously.....
I know some of my readers, indeed, some of my own friends are tattooed. I've known tattooists...
And it would be hard for me to deny that there are some very good tattooists out there.

That's not the point. My point is, tattooed friends, what are you hiding from? Why don't you think that you are more beautiful without the clip-art?. I've never seen a tattooed person who would not look as good or better without the ink. We look at the ink. It can be well done, cool, it can be, as in the pic above, a sensual swirl drawing your eyes toward... oh. yeah. An image of a tentacly octopus with a somewhat archaic looking cameo head. And your point is?

Well. Maybe you don't want me to see you. Maybe you want people's minds to halt at the clip art, never seek to delve behind the facade. And this becomes you. The woman with the octopus chest. Not you, just a shorthand image. And the octopus, I'll grudgingly admit, is well done. Might not look so good in ten or twenty years, but that octopus is with you forever now. And the octopus is the good bit. There's a heap of delftware imagery below it, generic flowery stuff on your arms. On the back. Oh please, not angel wings? dragon scales? So individual! Pardon me while I yawn.

Here we are in the era where the tats are almost mandatory. No longer confined to sailors, soldiers, and the prison population. Graffiti on beauty, like magic-marker on the Venus de Milo. A snake on your arm? some random flowery scribbles on the other side?
Oh, Hey, What about Ganeesh, the elephant-headed god on the small of your back, it will be just so cool!
Oh, girl, look at you, a goddess who was ugly before. But Ganeesh on your back! Wow, I'll bet you feel trunkily empowered! Now, from these pics, I can't tell what the front has... Maybe speeding steam locomotives heading toward each other ascross your bosoms? And when you smoosh your boobies!...  see where I'm going with this? It's really good isn't it? You'll thank me for giving you that idea one day. Big smokestacks. Cow-catchers, sparks in the smoke and under the skidding wheels. Lots of perspective. The train and track could taper and continue around your back, joining up, like a bra-strap. Oh my, I'm on a roll now...

Some years ago, my fictional alter ego, Professor Soubriquet, of Soublabs, decided to tackle the 'Lack of Tattoo' angst he saw in so many of those troubled  souls who come to lie on his couch, and pour their hearts out into an enamel bowl of great beauty,  kept alongside for that purpose..
It seems, the professor thought, that many out there feel the need for a tattoo. Maybe a pegasus just above  the meeting of their butt-cheeks, which would show every time they crouch to pick something off the bottom shelf in Wal-Mart.
Or a Betty Boop on their ankle. Or a giant squid wrestling a Nantucket-whaler across the heaving ocean of their bosoms.

Soubriquet, while not a great artist is all too ready with his pack of magic markers to draw upon heaving bosoms, really, ladies, stand in line.
Gentlemen? Oh. Sorry. No. I'm not going to draw 'Puff the Magic Dragon' all inside your boxer shorts. Begone. Phew. There are people who do that, but I'm sorry, I just can't feel the same frisson over the male form.

And then the thought came to me, that what I really needed was to invent a modern version of those transfer tattoos that came in bubble-gum wrappers when I was a kid. Those that never survived the first bath, or the scrub of my mother's industrial-grade abrasive spit-moistened handkerchief.
Yes, what I needed was colour inkjet transfer tattoo-paper, and laser scanning lady-curve mapping software, oh yes...

But then, a few days later, wandering through the office-supplies section of a big warehouse retailer, I saw it. Inkjet Tattoo paper. The product I'd just invented, that was going to make me millions, damn. It already existed. Some idiot invented it. What kind of stupid ****head would invent such a stupid stupid idea!?

I was crushed.

 I have a friend who has blistered arms. Why? Laser treatment. To remove some tattoos he now regrets. He will have new tats done when the scarring heals, because, he says, they can't remove it altogether. Scales and flame, he says. Or maybe Maori tribal. Just to cover up the mess. It seemed a good idea at the time, he says.

  Yeah. Manly.
 Why not start 'em young?

 Or get a Henna artist?

Or just look extremely stupid?