Permanently Yours

Permanently Yours

H.E. and I had dinner at John’s Philly Grille tonight, and upon leaving we passed HB Tattoo as we always do. That particular tattoo parlor is never what I expect from tattoo parlors. It has very wide windows that allow you to look in as you pass, and the establishment seems fairly big, open, tasteful, and very clean. The interior looks almost like a doctor’s or dentist’s office from outside. Huntington Beach soccer moms probably would get tattoos there with their clean cut teenage kids.

I told H.E., “If ever I wanted a tattoo, I’d get it there.”

But unless it’s henna, I never would get a tattoo.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, it’s not the fear of the needle or of the pain, and it’s not whatever stigmas abound surrounding those with tattoos. I really couldn’t care less about any of that, and I’ve actually considered it a time or two, playing with the idea of getting a small one, something like a tiny heart or diamond—not the black one you see on playing cards, but a real diamond to represent my birthstone and my name, April GEM.

But I balk at the idea of having one, purely because of a tattoo’s permanence. Just that. The thought of forever gives me hives.

It’s ironic because one of the oldest stereotypes of an inked person is that they’re commitment phobic, bad boys who can’t keep to one woman, one job, one place of residence—nomadic biker types completely free of responsibility. Yet they’re fine with choosing a single piece of artwork, fine with allowing some other person to mark them forever with it, fine with seeing the result of all that for the rest of their lives, unchanging except in the fading of colors through time.

Me, I can’t take that kind of commitment.

My tastes are always changing. I might like one style of art one year, another style in another year. I might prefer one color scheme over another and find myself completely flipped over the next day. I look at my artwork and at other people’s artwork, and I think to myself, “Ooh. This would be better if this element were here and that stroke was less prominent.” Even if I thought the artwork was absolutely perfect, I’d rethink the whole thing a bit later and consider how it might be improved. It’s why I have to force myself to finish a project and move on; if I allow myself to get obsessive about it, I’d work on the piece forever and never get anything else done. Which is not that hard to do when you’re working with digital artwork.

But tattoos aren’t digital.

With tattoos your body is the canvas, so you bring the artwork with you wherever you go. If it’s where you can see it, you see it everyday—the same bit of artwork, again and again. That’s likely why many who have gotten one tattoo go back to get a second and a third, for something new and different. But in my eyes, having more than one tattoo doesn’t alleviate the sameness; it just doubles and triples the monotony once the novelty of the latest one has worn off.

Oh, but that would drive me crazy. Crazy.

What I write here is probably sacrilege to the inked, and there are many who are. It’s very trendy now. Even yuppies and young mothers have them. They choose an image or a symbol that’s meaningful for them, and they have it inked into their skin forever. I am all for people having as many tattoos as they like, and I don’t like them any less for it; I think it’s kind of cool. But for me to be inked, even with something meaningful to me?


I try to imagine all that was ever meaningful to me in all my years. I was a Pac-Man fanatic in the fourth grade; I might have gotten a little Pac-Man tattoo back then if I had thought of it … because I loved the game so much that my mom bought me a real gold Pac-Man pendant, and I was always wearing my “Pac-Man Fanatic” t-shirt. I can imagine me trying to scrape a little minus-one-slice pie shape off my skin right now.

In high school, I was really into the team spirit, and I loved the navy blue tiger paw print logo we had on a lot of our cheer uniforms. I might have had it inked onto my ankle, to match the placement of the same image on our socks. Yeah, and I can imagine me shaking my head at it now, wondering what the hell I was thinking.

Even the tiny heart or diamond I’d been considering? I waffle on that and sometimes think how silly a notion it is. The heart is so cliché and generic, and whoever heard of a diamond tattoo?

Diamonds and tattoos are forever, but I like the first kind of forever better; at least you can take it off if you had to get completely naked. Tattoos, on the other hand, are like outfits sewn onto your body for the rest of your life. Sure, it might be your most favorite outfit in the world, but damn, don’t you want to wear anything else?

I do, and that’s why I’ll never get a tattoo.

Share this post:

6 thoughts on “Permanently Yours

  1. I’m the same. I like the sexiness of a discreet, well-placed tattoo, but I’m too fickle to commit to one image for the rest of my life. Plus, having three kids has altered the landscape of my body, so I’m not sure a tattoo–discreetly well-placed–would have survived unscathed.

  2. The one on the back of my right shoulder is usually coverable, but then I went and got one just above ankle in February. Surprsingly, that one is my favorite because I can see it all the time.

    Oh, and it’s less like a needle poking you and more like the point of a razor blade scraping the same wound over and over. 🙂

  3. Kat … on the belly, you mean? Probably not the place to do it, lol.

    Nikki, ouch! I also hear that for black and gray tattoos, the pain is even worse because they have to go over the same place more than once to make sure the ink comes out dark.

  4. I’m with you… I abhor the thought of getting tattooed. The permanence is too unsettling. Hmm, actually, I am the same way where it concerns piercings other than the earlobes.

Comments are closed.

Comments are closed.