Another year, another tattoo festival, another chance for news anchors to smugly open a story with “not just for bikers and sailors” just to give me the shits.
The subject of tattoos will still divide a room even today; only a few people remain who feel physically threatened just from the shear presence of a tattooed stranger. But as the moral pendulum swings around it gives us all an opportunity to do something stupid we can regret later in life.
I like tattoos, but I have always believed that because tattoos are so permanent, that they should represent something that means a lot to the bearer. For instance, I have a tattoo of my family crest on the left hand side of my chest. It is not because I am massively into heraldry or I value my family’s history, it is because I value my family.
My family is important to me and this way I get to keep them close wherever I go. It reminds me whenever I look into a mirror of the support they give for any goal I wish to undertake.
And it reminds me to call home every now and again.
Sooky it is, but it is a perfect example of the unwavering and unconditional dedication that you demonstrate by signing with a permanent ink in a drawn up contract on your skin. I’m sure the roses you have tramp stamped across your back strikes as a metaphor for life that there are pricks along the way but by persevering you will find beauty in the end. That star sign on your foot I’m sure is to remind you that sometimes life is not always in your control – no matter how you plan. That Maori tribal symbol around your arm is your unspoken commitment in the perseverance of ancient culture in the face of an ever increasing homogeneous society.
A close friend of mine has a tattoo of a slug getting “mounted” by a wasp on his shoulder. You can claim that it symbolises that no matter who you are or how you travel, there is someone bigger and meaner who will fuck you given the chance. I personally think that it is more likely that he chose it as a symbol for his undying support of alcoholism when we were teenagers and he thought it was hilarious.
So even then, in an obscure kind of way, it represents his spontaneity and fun loving demeanour in the cyclone of craziness that follows him wherever he goes. Do I respect him? Yes. Does the tattoo represent a time when I was finding my place in the world? Yes. Would I get the same tattoo? Shit no.