Monday, March 31, 2008

Beware: Potentially Offensive Opinion

Several years ago I developed a theory when women over 30 started getting tattoos--you know, dolphin tattoos on their ankles, butterflies or flowers on their shoulders, the occasional Japanese symbol for unity and strength inked onto their lower back. These were women who'd never been tattooed before, so they weren't updating the gallery of art on their bodies (those committed to body art are exempt from my theory). I believe they viewed the act of getting a tattoo as a sort of rebellion, a cool, dangerous thing that younger, hipper people do to declare their symbolism or free nature or unrestrained spirit to the world. (This amuses me, too. I'm 37 and can't think of a single word or image that "symbolizes my life." WTF?)

To me, these tattoos smacked of something entirely different. The tramp stamp after age 30 on an otherwise ink-free body screams desperation. It's the new mid-life crisis. It's the way women try to prove they're still relevant.

I imagine going to the beach when I'm 60, looking at the crowds with faded, stretched out, saggy tramp stamps--sorry looking dolphins and butterflies on ankles all around me, shoulder tattoos of roses and lilies in desperate need of fresh ink. Face it, people, old tattoos on old skin is NOT sexy. It leaves the filmy, greasy residue of past mistakes and regret. (I'll add here how easy and cheap it is to erase other past mistakes--like mullets or brassy highlights or even navel piercings.)

Ladies, (yes, this is directed at ladies, because I don't know of many men getting their first tattoo after they hit 30--they get tattoos from ages 18-25 and then have them removed after 30) you want to prove you're relevant? The tattoo doesn't do it.

Think about it. Even Angelina Jolie looks a little silly these days with all the ink up and down her arms and shoulders. Have you noticed how often she's covering those tats up with make up in recent pictures?

Leave a comment--what's your take on this trend? Am I off my rocker or have I hit a nerve?

13 comments:

  1. coffee came out of my nose at "tramp stamp". hehehehe.

    i think my tramp stamp should be the japanese symbol for "wtf??"

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  2. I'm now thinking of having "WTF" tattooed on me just for you.

    Just kidding.

    I *HATE* tattoos. Hate them. Sure, it might be cute on the undergrad during Spring Break '08, but think about it on the same woman 50 years down the road. Not so cute. Imagine the comments. "Hey Granny. Tell us about the time you were on 'Girls Gone Wild' and ended up with that tattoo." Mmm, I don't think so.

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  3. I got two tattoos in my very early twenties. Young and dumb is all I can say. I also had my navel pierced, in my early twenties. I have since removed my navel ring, though I've had lots of people tell me my tummy is flat enough for it. My tattoos are still here, since over ten years of washing doesn't seem to make them disappear. I'm considering removal, even though they are both unseen unless I wear a bikini. Just because you CAN, doesn't mean you SHOULD, know what I mean? And I agree with you, lately I see too many women who just shouldn't. Do not pierce or tattoo after 30. It will not change your life. You'll regret it much faster than I did.

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  4. I always tell my daughter, "Please - don't do anything permanent. Dye your hair purple, shave your head, whatever - but don't do a tattoo."

    Permanent, people - think about it!

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  5. I agree with you. SNL did a skit on the way tattoos look on older people--it was hilarious because it was true.

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  6. Clap, clap, CLAP, CLAP....I agree with you absolutely and completely....although my dear friend suggested maybe we should both get tramp stamps just so that our own daughters would be completely repulsed and NOT want to get any THEMSELVES. Who would want something a disgusting old mother would get? How uncool. Maybe??? Do you think it would work?? Sigh.

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  7. I love the idea of a tattoo, but not the reality of it. Too permanent.

    From time, to time, though, I do DRAW (with eyeliner) on my body. Or let Mr. Hot do it. A quick spray with hairspray sets it until you wash it off.

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  8. Melissa - I found the SNL skit and posted it for you,

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  9. Not a fan of the tramp stamp, but when discreetly placed (as in no one but your husband can see it), a tattoo can be a little jolt of fun. I'm a to each her own kind of girl.

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  10. I don't really care one way or another. I just know that there is really nothing I want on my skin for the rest of my life. I'd get so sick of it!

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  11. I knew a woman once who had a rose with a stem on the top of her breast, just under the neckline. Of course, everyone told her that when she's older it will turn into a long-stemmed rose.

    I won't get a tattoo, but if I did, I would want the ink almost the same color as my skin. So only I would know it was there. It wouldn't be for anyone else to see. But I can't imagine what I would put on my body? It would take me 50 years to decide.

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  12. You are not off your rocker at all.

    I REALLY hate tattoos - there is nothing cute or attractive about them.

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  13. Yuck. I'm with you all the way. Summer at our suburban pool gives my a bad case of eyeballs-rolling back-into-my-head at the sight of all the 30-something mommies with ink exposed by super-tramp bathing suits smaller than my regular drawers. Ewwwww. Now I can think "TRAMP STAMP!"--- in an entirely nonjudgmental way, of course. Hee Hee.

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Spill it, reader.