But What Does It All MEAN?

The thing about being tattooed on a large-enough-to-be-visible scale is that, unless you’re a douchebag who uses tattoos to get attention by keeping them exposed at all times, you usually forget you have them.  I’m always surprising myself when I step out of the shower or see myself in photos.  Oh right, I have a winged Muppet skull on my side.  Look at that, there’s some cards and a cleaver on my calf.  Hey, I did get a half sleeve once!  Imagine that.

The other thing about being extensively tattooed is that people always want to talk to you about it.  I sort of understand the curiosity level of people who don’t have any tattoos or don’t know many people who do, either.  But also, I don’t know if I’ve ever been interested enough in another person’s appearance to ask them what prompted them to make decisions about it.

“What does this one mean?” they ask and they point.  “What about this one?”

For the love of mike, people, it doesn’t mean anything.  Or if it does, what means something to me isn’t going to mean the same thing to you.  There’s nothing wrong with getting some tattoos because they look cool, just like there’s nothing wrong with me not wanting to discuss at length everything I’ve had done.

Hang on.  That last part reminded me of an episode of the Jenny Jones Show from when I was in grade school.  While Jerry Springer had midget strippers and Maury Povich hadn’t yet transitioned to exclusively paternity tests, Jenny Jones used to have people on who were pierced, tattooed, and otherwise looked like total freaks.  This was before looking like a total freak was widespread enough that an extremely mild version of a goth girl now stars on my grandma’s favorite show, NCIS.  Anyway.

On this one episode, Jenny Jones was talking to some chubby-faced guy who wore eyeliner, a dog collar, and glued his hair into a 7-inch long mohawk every day.  This guy – who had appeared to be on a television talk show about his appearance – claimed to hate that people saw his clothes, makeup, and hair before they saw him.  How dare they judge him for how he looked, he claimed, how dare they even notice?

Then some badass audience member stood up and asked him how long he spent on his hair every day, and after that, his makeup.  Her point was that a person who spends upwards of 2 hours a day on the way they look doesn’t hate attention at all.  They want attention so badly that they’ll dress up like satanic babies every day of the week.

I mention this because it’s easy to draw a comparison between the Jenny Jones guy and my tattoos.  If I don’t want anyone to notice, why would I get them in the first place?  Well, of course I want people to notice.  I spent money and time on this art.  No duh I expect people to see it.  It’s also nice to have it complimented.  I mean, I like it no matter what you think.  I paid good money to an excellent artist to make sure I’d like it.  But when someone else – someone who knows what they’re talking about, anyway – recognizes this, I feel a lot like the guy who buys a Hummer because his penis is too small and eventually gets into an accident but survives because the ridiculously unnecessary roll bar might have saved his life.  Validated.

But when someone who doesn’t know what the fuck they’re saying wants to point at every single one, sometimes having no idea of boundaries to the point where they touch my skin, and ask for an explanation?  Shut up my god shut up.  It is none of your business.  Just assume I liked the idea, okay, and let it go.  Please don’t tell me what I should have done (especially if your knowledge of art is limited to that art museum field trip you took in 11th grade), please don’t ask for my opinion of what you want (it’s probably stupid and you’ll probably never go through with it), and please don’t ask me how much mine cost (especially when you said you’d once priced tattoos but everywhere was too expensive; have fun getting hepatitis in Mexico!).

To save us all some time, here are my answers in advance:

Q: What do your tattoos mean?
A: None of your business.

Q: How much did your tattoos cost?
A: More than your infant daughter’s ear piercing, less than your average titty job.

Q: Who’s your artist?
A: No one you could afford or have the patience to be on their waiting list.

Q: Would you ever get something tattooed on your knuckles?
A: Only if I wanted to permanently waive the right to complain about not having any money.

Q: Did they hurt?
A: Yes.

Q: How much did they hurt?
A: You’re a pussy.

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About erineph

I'm Erin. I have tattoos and more than one cat. I am an office drone, a music writer, and an erstwhile bartender. I am a cook in the bedroom and a whore in the kitchen. Things I enjoy include but are not limited to zombies, burritos, Cthulhu, Kurt Vonnegut, Keith Richards, accordions, perfumery, and wearing fat pants in the privacy of my own home.
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