Monday, August 1, 2011

Tattooed Ewe

  You can start me up, but there's a new craze sweeping 'cool culture' these days, no it's not Mood Rings, Cabage Patch Dolls, Pet Rocks, Pop Rocks, The Beatles, The Rutles,  The Rolling Stones, The Flintstones, Moonwalking or the Hula-Hoop, but instead a more permanent manifestation, also known as Tattoos.

Tattoos hold a deep meaning for many who have chosen this method of communication. When challenged, many have very defensive attitudes about their 'tats' , where as many others probably don't give a 'flying fuck' what anybody else thinks about their tattoos.

Yes, we all know Tattoos have been in our culture for a long time, traditionally as fraternal tribal badges worn by prisoners, bikers and sailors, but 'tats' have really gained momentum within the past ten years or so, especially among artsy youths who love to emulate 'white-trash culture'  perhaps in their wish to define their independence from the generations which preceded them. 
Someone wishing to have their bodies tattooed these days does not face the stigma, ridicule and judgement they would have faced had they tried to 'assert their individuality' during previous generations. With this social impediment removed, the young kids of today are now taking that 'courageous step forward' and getting themselves 'all inked up'.

I was recently involved in a 'discussion' over a few beers with some crotchety old men (aka: my friends) addressing this new 'tattoo reality', where we basically lambasted the 'youth of today' and women in particular, for succumbing to the social pressures of this permanent fad. 
I didn't have much to add, only because I never really had given it much thought. My assumptions were simply that tattoos had become the new 'badge of youthful conformity'…whatever!?!   It's normal for young people to want to be accepted by their peers, and I suppose the new way to earn some 'street cred' is to adhere to these new paradigms of normality.

I often weighed the benefits of getting tattoos against it's detriments. The benefits of tattooing oneself seems obvious: it's a chance to receive multiple superficial lays from easily bedazzled members of the opposite sex. The downside to getting tattooed would be an exemption from the privilege of being able to 'time travel', given how ones markings would certainly be distressing to 'residents of the past' , and would probably set off a long sequence of unfortunate personal consequences.
After balancing my options, the choice then seemed obvious, with the 'yeahs' outweighing the 'nays' many times over... oh, with the exception of course of one SMALL oversight…which is the potential for one of these 'multiple lays' to impede ones personal freedoms by virtue of the partner in question having you over the 'barrel of fatherhood', and let me tell you, it's these kinds of thoughts that makes concepts like 'time travel' seem plausible.

My other concern was one of 'collective morality'. Was I helping to encourage a precedent which could then lead future generations to 'top' the absurdities of this one by the inevitable modifying of their bodies to Frankensteinian proportions, in the form of 'voluntary amputations', the sewing of their own mouths shut, or the possible bone grafting of 'devil horns' to their foreheads?
Due to our unprecedented access to credit and the sheer amount of disposable income these days, this algorithm of madness could go on until the end of time, or the close of the 'cheap oil era', whichever comes first.

 I once toyed with the idea of getting a tattoo, but I had trouble thinking of an image I would want adorning my body…FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!!!!  an image that would be as relevant to myself in adulthood as it would be during my 'irreverent youth'.
I had made the mistake of telling some 'friends' that I liked the idea of 'tattooing the logo of my favourite BBQ chicken restaurant onto my forearm', one where a golden basted chicken roasts slowly over a smokey fire under a stylized chalet canopy.

The design that wouldn't be
 Then one day, my 'friends' decided to 'take me for a ride', which involved the consumption of more than a few beers, in hopes that I could be 'persuaded' to have this dreaded tattoo engraved at last. One of the guys, and this was in the mid-nineties, was already 'littered in tats' and knew an artist who had the' fowl design' all sketched out and ready to go. They then proceeded to drive me around town, and 'joked' about me getting this tattoo... but they 'joked' a little bit more than I was comfortable with. Sitting in the back seat of that mat grey '83 Oldsmobile, with punk music blaring, I had at that point realized that nothing short of a MacGyver like escape would prevent my 'friends' from following through on their nefarious plan. I managed to appease them long enough to find an opportunity to wiggle out of their determined grasp, in this case, with the mutual consumption of even GREATER quantities of beer!!!
Yes, I may have 'chickened out' of getting 'a tattoo of a chicken', but I did manage to maintain my epidermal sovereignty. Many other an 'artsy brat' would not be so lucky, and have henceforth learned to love their colourized corporeal canvas, which must now certainly be a statement of 'who they are'…and why not, if the 'chicks' dig it, I suppose!?

Personally I find tattoos suit women better than men, call me 'old fashioned', but I think the act of decorating ones body is more innately female than male. Women use make-up, paint their nails, wear jewelry, dress in revealing clothing, pierce their ears and many other places of concern. So tattoos, for me, seems to be a natural progression of this basic nature to decorate and celebrate the feminine. For me, manhood is a more 'Spartan kind-o-thing', with minimal emphasis on decoration, like pretty tattoos. Perhaps this makes me un-liberated, oh well, I'll just have to chalk it up and file it away with all of my other backward thinking ways. 

Since the 'Me generation' of the 1970's, who of us really can claim exemption from the modern day psychosis that is narcissism? As a guy, I'm perhaps a little harder on my own brethren than on the females of our species. When I see a guy with sleeve and neck tattoos, my inner programming tells me " there's a sheep who is ruled by cool"…or something like that.  However, I know that voice is just the grouchy ol'man within me talking, yet when I see a beautiful woman demonstratively displaying racy tattoos I think "You go girl…a Tattooed Ewe!"

Dirty CT  August 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment