September 25, 2008

"The tattoo community sees them as posers. It’s like going out in the 1960s to buy a Beatles wig."

Said Bob Baxter, the editor of the tattoo journal Skin & Ink, of people who get hand or neck tattoos before they've inked up the rest of their bodies.

Why I love this quote:

1. Everything's a "community" these days. There's no escape. The tattoo community. The rugged individualist community. The loner community.

2. Who knew you had to earn your neck tattoo? I'd have thought getting a neck tattoo as opposed to, say, one of those peeping-over-the-pantyline tattoos was a real demonstration of commitment. Ten (or more) years ago I stood in line at the University Bookstore behind a pretty young woman who had a tattoo on her neck of an old-fashioned, claw-footed bathtub -- complete with the extended pipe and shower-head. "Poseur" is not the word that crossed my mind.

3. The simile. It's so inapt! The whole point of a wig is that you don't have to have the hair. It's the equivalent of a fake tattoo. But in another respect, a wig is out there. What man dares to wear a wig? Look at all the men who, balding, shave their heads. They miss their hair, but they still won't wear a wig. In the 60s, guys who wanted the Beatle look but needed a professional style some of the time would comb the front part down as well as they could and not go so long that they couldn't comb it up and over.

4. When I think of an actual wig, I think of Andy Warhol -- look at him here. He was doing something men still won't do. I know there are men who dress up like women and use lady's wigs for that, and there are plenty of women who rely on wigs, but where is the men in men's wigs community, eh?

48 comments:

Rich B said...

Nothing says lower class like a tattoo. But it does make a man a man.

rdkraus said...

Uh, Rich, you're about 20 years behind the times ... at least.

Yikes, try to keep up.

bill said...

But it does make a man a man.

That would be a Y chromosome, usually indicated by the presence of a penis.

bearbee said...

The loner community

Ha!

Hoosier Daddy said...

I'd have thought getting a neck tattoo as opposed to, say, one of those peeping-over-the-pantyline tattoos was a real demonstration of commitment.

You're right. I have several myself but I also have a day job that frowns on the open display of skin ink too which is why mine are on my upper arms rather than on my neck. A neck tattoo is fine for a Starbucks barrista or working at Borders but they tend to work against you if you're in a professional career.

Sorta off topic but for you guys out there, asshat tattoos or as Ann refers to as 'one of those peeping-over-the-pantyline tattoos ' are for women. I'll repeat, asshat tattoos are for women. When a man gets one to complement his upper asscrack he looks like a complete fucking tool. May as well wear a thong and grow a ponytail to complete the toolness. Oh that goes for ankle tattoos for men as well. Oh and don't get a stupid barbed wire tattoo on your arm. Nothing screams 'I have no concept of creativity whatsoever' more than one of those.

As you were

erniecu73 said...

If I were going to define myself as belonging to a community or other, I would have to carry one of those long card holding wallets. They give you membership cards, you know. Thank g-d they don't ask for dues, or I'll be ruined.

It is funny how intolerant these people are. Seriously. Aren't they supposed to be "open-minded", intelligent and more advanced?

I need more coffee, but good morning to all.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Nothing says lower class like a tattoo.

Opinions vary. To me it's still a car parked in the front lawn and your sofa on the porch.

bleeper said...

I lost the lower part of my pants, and while at times I miss them, I still don't replace them. I walk around proudly in public, in shorts.

Men in shorts - say it loud!

ricpic said...

Tatoos are horrible. Why does anyone have to "keep up" with barbarism?

erniecu73 said...

bleeper said...
I lost the lower part of my pants, and while at times I miss them, I still don't replace them. I walk around proudly in public, in shorts.

Men in shorts - say it loud!

7:57 AM


Professor Althouse will slap you virtually.

AllenS said...

Commenter community. Hey! That's us!

erniecu73 said...

ricpic said...
Tatoos are horrible. Why does anyone have to "keep up" with barbarism?

8:00 AM


Because we don't like trial lawyers...perhaps...?

MadisonMan said...

You mean that's not Andy Warhol's real hair?

When my kids ask if they can get tattoos -- they haven't yet -- I'll ask them if they'll be wearing the same jewelry, or clothing style, for the rest of their life. Wearing the same tattoo forever seems like the same thing to me.

I think a good investement would be in a tattoo removal parlor.

goesh said...

-nothing says freak like a bunch of tattoos - maybe I think that way because the carnival rides I rode as a kid were never long enough for the money we paid and nasty looking guys with 'tats' were always at the controls. They always seemed to have a film of grease on them and body odor too. I wonder about the home conditions of 'tat' people - are their homes smelly and dirty or am I just an old fashioned bigot? I’m not talking about the discreet, tiny black rose on the buttock of a tart or a small “Mom” on the chest of a truck driver here. I guess if TV anchors that look like Sarah Palin can get hate mail and threats, I can advocate putting half the 'tat' population against the wall and allowing our National Guard units some machine gun practice. Maybe I should quit commenting on blogs, I don't know, but this I know, 'tats' on aging skin makes one look like a damn leper. Ewww!

Hoosier Daddy said...

I wonder about the home conditions of 'tat' people - are their homes smelly and dirty or am I just an old fashioned bigot?

Sound like a bigot to me.

erniecu73 said...

For the record, I do believe tattoos can be quite erogenous on some people. Let me emphasize that: some people

It all depends on the artwork, the placement and the person. I am well over the whole idea of tattoos being a sign of low life, trashiness, etc. Times, my fellow commenters, have changed.

Pogo said...

1. I am a member (and current president) of the Misanthropic Community. I dislike most of our members. We never meet, or even converse, so that's just a guess on my part. No dues. No newsletters.
Rule 1: Leave each other the hell alone.
Rule 2: Didn't you read Rule 1?

2. Paul Johnson described these fads as a recurrent theme in US history, that of middle class people demonstrating 'downward mobility', first in fashion, then in fact.

Rich B said...

rdkraus-

Who says that I have to welcome any trend, no matter how loathsome I find it?

erniecu73 said...

Pgo, you sound like me, an EOH

Pundit Joe said...

My tastes have changed far too many times for me to ever consider a permanent tattoo.

rdkraus said...

Rich

You don't have to welcome it, but the trend is here and younger people don't view it as low class.

I live just outside NY in northern NJ, a relatively "rich" area. A high percentage of young people have tatoos. As they get older many/most will have tatoos. The stigma is pretty much gone, except for some of us old farts.

Me, I thought they were cooler when they were rarer.

ricpic said...

A pox on misanthropes and everyone else!

Concerned Citizen said...

Thank this 1989 book for the carnivalization and Queeg-Queegery.

Last week in Asheville, the most far-out city east of the Mississippi, everyone had tats and piercings. Clothes? Black, organic, corseted, or all three. The men? Bald or dreadlocked. Beards? Braided. Women? Hugging each other. The restaurants? Meatless. Cuisine? Peruvian. Water faucets? Trickle-style. Light bulbs? Dim. Obama t-shirts? Mandatory. Shops? Upscale kilts, bad art, fetish chocolate, gourmet pet snacks. Children? Nowhere to be seen. The police drove ovoid electric carts. They were bald. Weirdest of all, everyone smoked cigarettes.

Low point was the diner cook with multiple facial piercings, including hoops in his nose and lips. Gak!

On the plus side, baggy-pants seem over.

You can't go home again, America.

Rich B said...

Rdkraus-

I too live in Northern NJ and the lower the economic status of the town, the higher the proportion of tattoos. An iron law like the law of gravity? No, but a clear correlation.

Palladian said...

I only like tattoos on Marines.

"Look at all the men who, balding, shave their heads. They miss their hair, but they still won't wear a wig."

No, dear. Contrary to what that woman wrote in that wretched cod-Freudian "analysis", not all men who shave their heads miss their hair. My hair rapidly fell out when I was 19. I keep what's left very short, though I don't like to be shaven completely bald. I don't miss my hair. Hair was an annoyance to me. Losing my hair made my life more efficient.

The wig idea is interesting, but the point of Warhol's wig was that it was undeniably a wig. It celebrated its wig-ness. This makes it sort of analogous to balding men shaving their heads. They emphasize what would often be considered a fault.

The problem with wigs arise when (naturally) people assume that the wig is supposed to be undetectable. Warhol avoided this by having bad, misshapen silver wigs. Warhol was lucky (as I am) to work in a field that allowed such creative choices in personal coiffure. Not everybody is so lucky.

The other problem with wigs is that they're uncomfortable. I wore one, off and on, for a while (my philosophy of ironic wig use included wearing it intermittently) but found that hats were more comfortable. Wigs are hotter (temperature-wise) than hats and are uniquely annoying in their itchiness. Very good wigs made of human hair are better, but they're very expensive and somewhat creepy. So I alternate between ridiculous hats and semi-baldness.

I have an Afghani hat made of beautiful soft long grey wool that looks like a 17th century periwig.

Palladian said...

"Up; and put on my coloured silk suit very fine, and my new periwigg, bought a good while since, but durst not wear, because the plague was in Westminster when I bought it; and it is a wonder what will be the fashion after the plague is done, as to periwiggs, for nobody will dare to buy any haire, for fear of the infection, that it had been cut off of the heads of people dead of the plague."

Diary of Samuel Pepys, 3 September 1665

ricpic said...

...ridiculous hats...

Two hats that look good on just about everybody, or more accurately, every head: the railroad engineer's cap in summer; the beret in winter.

erniecu73 said...

Palladian, I buzzed/shaved my head for almost two years, between late 1997 and mid 1999, and didn't miss it. It made my life indeed more efficient, and a lot cheaper. I bought a $30 set of clippers, and did it myself. I only grew my hair back when I took a pciture of myself and realized my head had the same shape as the alien's depicted on my shirt.

Pogo said...

Re: Poseurs.

In music and fashion, exclusivity is desired. The club that admits all is devalued.

Tattoos have been devalued. First-adopters decry it, but cannot very well shed their skin. Bikers and wannabes buy the same clothes. Resentment seethes, but the blandification of all fads expands inexorably.

I stand out because I dress conservatively. When I visit an independent moviehouse or bookstore or the increasingly rare CD store, it is I now who stands apart from the conformers, all wearing their "unique' uniform. Whodathunk?

Oligonicella said...

Nothing says lower class like a tattoo.

Opinions vary. To me it's still a car parked in the front lawn and your sofa on the porch.

To me it's someone looking down their noses at other people.

May as well wear a thong and grow a ponytail to complete the toolness.


Gods, hoosier, you reminded me of a great older comedian who talked about passing out drunk at a casino poolside and being arrested in the morning for wearing a thong. "I had no idea those things had a front and back."

By the way. Love the sun medallian.

Hoosier Daddy said...

By the way. Love the sun medallian.

Thanks. Just so happens to be one of my tattoos. :-)

PatCA said...

Yes, everbody is a community. And then communities ask for government funds for their programs and decide whom to support for office...it's becoming a nightmare.

John Z. said...

I won't hire anyone with visible tattoos. Which is not really a hardship because you don't see too many engineers, economists or accountants with tattoos.


The janitorial service we contract with seems to have no such policy. Members of the "tattoo community" should apply there.

Pogo said...

Remember:
The 237th Annual Misanthropic Community festival begins tonight.

No events are planned.
Stay home.
Leave me alone.
Get off of my lawn.

LordSomber said...

Permanent bellbottoms.

Mitch H. said...

Everybody here at work has tattoos anymore.

God, I hate it. Tattoos are repulsive. They take away the person and leave a body. They focus your attention on the physicality of the meat talking, and distract from any ideas the individual might be trying to communicate.

And no, I don't find them physically attractive, either. Tattoos fade almost immediately, and even when fresh, it's still third-class graffiti.

In short, as far as I'm considered, getting a tattoo is like deliberately cultivating liver-spots. It looks to me like wear and tear, the deliberate damaging of your appearance.

I can sort of see why very young and insecure children want to do it - they want to be adult, they aspire to those visual aspects of adulthood which come with hard use, to the short-cuts of aging. They don't *want* to be shiny and new. They're too close to it to see how beautiful they are right now.

Instead, the tattoo becomes an ugly reminder to the world of how much of a fool you once were when you were too young to know better.

Fen said...

I wish hats for men would come back into style. But which style looks better, 1920's or 30's?

People who get tatoos really need to think about how the skin will age. Necks are not forgiving. A flower today will look like fungal rot in 30 years.

I would have a tatoo but I don't like how the ink fades. Looks cheap.

Pogo said...

Fen's right.

I enjoy seeing the blue stains that used to be ... um, something (but what exactly? An anchor, the map of Gibraltor, your mom, a fist? What?? ), some 25 years before, now looking like some sort of skin disorder. ("...you should really get that looked at...")

And when weight is gained and lost and regained, the picture does funny things. Well, not funny to you.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Wow, who would have thought it was tattoos repulsiveness that had the liberal and conservatives in agreement.

I guess that makes me the true libertarian.

:-)

Fatmouse said...

No matter how much they try to bat around terms like "self-expression," "art" and "community," one simple fact remains:

A tattoo is just a mullet you can never cut.

MadisonMan said...

A mullet you can never cut. Permanent bellbottoms.

Classic!

Cedarford said...

There are tasteful tattoos and then there are the "low class" tattoos.

Tasteful? Mover and shaker George Schultz getting a small Princeton tiger tattoo on his ass in 1940. Palin getting a tattoo of the symbol of Alaska on her ankle. A classy ex-girlfriend who nursed her Mom through two years of terminal cancer putting her Mom's name over her shoulder inside a small angel right after the funeral...

Declasse`? Ass antlers, tramp stamps. Black jocks and black frat members getting team or frat brands burned into their shoulders.
Real lower class? People that get tattoos that are nothing but dumb advertising for commercial product brands....Fender! Harley! Raiders! Apple!

Pogo said...

I am agnostic on the tattoos of others. I don't care if people turn purple like Violet Beauregard.

But the philosophy of the illustrated man is alien to me. I get women's motives even less. Choose a permanent design at age 22?

All I can see is the 52 year old matron saying It's how much to take it off? Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

Joe said...

My oldest wanted a tattoo. I said no. At 18, she went and got one. She's now 20. A few months she called and asked--as though in passing--if I knew any place that removed tattoos. I laughed. (And told her a place I'd seen advertised.)

Seven Machos said...

Loner Community

This is a really fabulous name for a band.

bleeper said...

Here in NC you must check a person's tooth to tattoo ratio. I see many people inked up in extreme and very colorful ways. Sunday it was a woman on a Harley with her arms completely covered in tattoos. I imagine getting that done was painful. She was nice enough, but my eyes kept wandering when I talked to her.

I struck up a conversation with a potential customer the other day regarding his tats. They were all NW Indian designs, and not too bad. I thought that maybe I should get a Raven tattoo - that would be in keeping with my personality. But I am cheap, and truly don't want a bit of ink on my arm that I have to explain. Ritual scarification on my face, however - that would be way cool.

In any case, I was able to sell something to this guy's girlfriend, so that transaction, started over a tat, turned out well.

Now all hum a few bars of Groucho singing "Lydia the Tattooed Lady"... Wonder if she had a pull out target. A Santa Cruz license plate.

I used to call on a customer where one guy wore a toupee. It was instantly obvious that it was a wig, and it was all you could do to not stare at what looked like roadkill residing on his head. As much as I detest phonies like Biden getting hair plugs, it is slightly less bad than a cheap wig. Who was that convict/representitive from Ohio who had that wig he wore on top of his head? Not a good look at all.

Hats suck. Engineer hats are gay. I bought a beret in Paris, but will not wear it here - nothing says pretentious left wing snob like a beret.

My son gave me a snap brim hat. I wore it one cold day. It was pretty dorky.

I bought a cowboy hat out west, but east of the Mississippi it says "Midnight Cowboy". Homey don't play that.

I found a ball cap in the garbage once - I washed it and now I wear it when I am out in the sun.

I have a Campagnolo bicycle hat that is nice, but once again, if one is not on a bicycle, it is out of place.

Around here toques are called tobaggans and are worn by criminals. That will never do.

Anything with a brim looks like a film noir prop.

Damn you JFK!!!

Oligonicella said...

"They focus your attention on the physicality of the meat talking, and distract from any ideas the individual might be trying to communicate."

And you blame them for your inability to focus why?

I have a tat on the inside of my right forearm. It has special meaning to me and should be of no concern to others.

Do you also lose your focus when your conversation is with someone with a wandering eye, and do you hold them culpable for that?

bleeper said...

Yeah, I kept looking at her tats instead of her tits when I was talking to her - that's not good.