What My Grandmother Can Tell You

I used to work for a corporation. A gigantic, obscenely rich, well-known multinational conglomerate, actually, and at said conglomerate, the employees wore jeans. Every day. The idea was that no one was ever really in any make-or-break-the-business meetings with anyone, mostly because there was hardly anyone who could make or break the business. Except maybe the government, I guess, but there was maybe a handful of people in the entire company who would ever attend those meetings, and then, I assume, they would wear suits. For everyone else and at every other time, jeans were the norm.

As they should be. I mean, unless you’re dealing in terms of international diplomacy, there’s really no point to dress to the nines at work. Shit, most people can telecommute and work in their fat pants all day (I wish I could telecommute and work in my fat pants all day). In a world such as this, I don’t think it’s a failure of character to dress a fraction more casually from the waist down.

Unfortunately, my current company does not agree. On all weekdays except Friday, I tug on a pair of slacks (or tights and a skirt) and go to work, but the joke’s on them because my jeans are actually tailored better than my work slacks since I was a little fatter when I bought those and they don’t even have belt loops to hold them up. So basically, I’m shuffling around in the equivalent of pajama pants all day and I am totally up to the dress code. Heh. Idiots.

My current employer is not as strict about tattoos, though, which is not as controversial of a workplace policy as my father likes to believe. They’re not a big deal anymore, everyone has them, and the way I look at it, at least mine are in good shape. They’re certainly better than some of the garbage I see walking around the facilities, which might be why I am often asked where I got them, who did them, and (ugh) what did they cost.

My answers are Trader Bob’s in St. Louis, the kickass Al Thompson, and none of your goddamn business. And this is usually good for people, except sometimes a real dummy shows up (ahem, like the one who works downstairs and grimaces when she smiles because she is an awful human) and asks an even more stupid question.

“How do you think you’ll look with those things when you’re seventy?”

Every time I hear this question, I think “christ, are people still asking that one?” Because it’s insane. See, they’re not really asking how my tattoos will hold up in fifty years. They know that everyone looks the same when they’re seventy – saggy, weird, shitty – and tattoos don’t really have anything to do with it. What they’re really asking is “aren’t you going to regret spending all of that money, time, and pain when our bodies are temporary and no one’s going to want to fuck you one day?”

That’s the real question. At least, that’s the intention behind the question by almost everyone who asks it. I say “almost everyone” because my grandmother once asked me that, but she was allowed because:

a) She is my grandmother and she knows me well enough not to hector me about mortality,
b) She pretty much talks shit on everything, so it’s not personal, and
c) She was genuinely curious.

So I answered her honestly: “Like a badass, obviously.”

And – possibly because my grandmother is cooler than your grandmother – this was an acceptable answer. From her, it was an acceptable question. From other people who aren’t my family or friends, it is not. You want to know how I’ll look when I’m seventy? Like pretty much everyone else, because guess what, everyone will be tattooed by the time I’m seventy. People now aren’t even beginning their collections with the spots hidden by clothing. Tattooed faces, knuckles, and scalps aren’t terribly uncommon anymore. We’re all going to be decaying and scribbly when we’re old and at least there will be evidence that we lived a little.

So don’t ask that anymore. You know the answer. You’re not blind, you’ve seen the world, you know you’re getting to be outnumbered. Don’t take your miseries out on me, golem lady who works under my stairs. You can sit there and scowl under fluorescent lights. I’m going to keep looking like a badass.


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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