November 23, 2008

Tattoos, tattoos, tattoos.

Yesterday, I started a discussion about tattoos. Chip Ahoy said, for himself, he'd always wanted "a snake crawling out of my arse crack," that is a tattoo of same, not an actual snake. For me?
Something tattooed on a spot on the body that moves like an elbow or a knee so that a frog appears to croak or a woman's breasts bulge, or eyes widen.

A tattoo that appears to be a rip in the skin revealing underneath to be steam-punk mechanism of gears and levers rather than muscles...
Like a sly reference to the "In His Image" episode of "The Twilight Zone"? (Video.)
...or perhaps a sack of worms.

A tattoo to look like an alien being born by tearing its way out.

A realistic eyeball on the back of your neck. [When I was a youngster I asked my mum how she knew what I was up to and she answered, "Because I have eyes in the back of my head." Being a literalist, I took her on her word, and for years tried to examine her head more closely to confirm it. She was always such the bullshitter.]

Conversely, a realistic eyeball on your forehead that blinks when you furrow your brow.

Weighing scales that rise and fall depending on your arm movement would be too trite. Reject those.

Something in Latin that makes a person asking appear foolish for having asked isn't worth the joke. Reject that too.

Also reject some long passage or inspiring message that must be closely examined in order to be read. They're pretentious and the reader is ultimately let down for having troubled.

A dung beetle placed on your gluteus maximus appearing to be rolling a piece of dung away from your anus.

A radiation hazard symbol tattooed on your penis. Oh wait.

An archer fish depicted spitting placed near your urethra.

A Boxer dog tattooed on each breast so that when they sag they magically become Shar-peis.

For myself, I've always been partial to Egyptian designs, at least that's what I doodled all through college, and that's the art I sell, so the only tattoo acceptable for myself is a design of my own in the Egyptian style. It would be large, colorful, and dramatic. Probably a winged solar disc with something within the disc, possibly a uraeus.

There's an idea for you, a uraeus on your forehead.
Back to the snake!
Or a snake wrapped around your arm.

Or a gold bracelet with lapis lazuli. But then that begs the question, why not a real bracelet? I always thought if you were inclined to tattoo barbed wire around your arm, then real barbed wire would be much more dramatic.

A crown of thorns across your forehead.

Bugs crawling from out between your breasts.

An "R" and a "L" tattooed on the back of each hand appropriately. Or the word "Down" tattooed on top of each foot and possibly "Up" tattooed on your forehead.

"I'm with Stupid --->" tattooed immediately beneath your clavicle.

A diver hands clasped together aiming downward tattooed on you one side of your belly appearing to be preparing to dive into your pants.

An alligator snapping out of your crotch.

An elf, a fairy, a gnome, a leprechaun, or otherwise, some tiny being tattooed making it's way out of your pubic hair.

Ropes tattooed around your arms and legs so when you crossed your arms or legs it would appear as if you were suggesting bondage.

Robot parts tattooed on working segments of your body.

Open eyes tattooed on your eyelids.

A mustache tattooed with glow-in-dark ink, just for fun.

Jagged backhoe bucket teeth tattooed around your mouth.

Mucus tattooed draining from your nose.

Ants tattooed crawling in a line across your shoulder or torso carrying off some treasure like a leaf segment or other bug parts.

Bees laden with pollen tattooed to appear crawling out of your ears as if they [were] flowers.

A raptor on one knee and a bunny, chipmunk, fox, lamb or some other prey animal on the other knee, so that when your legs are crossed one appears to engulf the other.
Wow! Chip was a blog thread unto himself. Such overwhelming thread domination could have silenced everyone else. But we still had Christy:
A stylized slightly tilted fibonacci spiral that starts directly above the center of your left eyebrow, arches up and drops to end in a tight swirl beside your left eye. In blue, a strong blue. With wings coming off the outside edge of the curve that reach up and out to your hairline. A little black can be used to give definition to the wings.
Then, Dody Jane said:
I am going to answer seriously... I was in a writing seminar once called "Writing Family Stories". There was a man in the class of East Indian heritage - he was first generation American. 

He told a lovely story about being taken to India as a child. It was a pilgrimage of sorts. His mother had the back of his neck tatooed with a round black dot. She was not going on the trip. He was going with his father. She told him she had the tattoo placed at the nape of his neck so that God would be able to easily identify him when he looked down from heaven and protect him from harm while on his journey. The way he told the story was so incredibly moving. 

I think this is an ideal tattoo. I told my daughter it is the only tattoo I would sanction. Otherwise, I told her I am leaving everything to charity. She remains untattooed...
See, I hear that story, and I imagine God thinking: There's that kid with the dot again, whose mother thinks he's so special, like I'll be all screw the other kids, this one has a dot.

Freeman Hunt said:
I told my husband about this thread, and he had a recent tattoo anecdote I have to share:

Last week my husband was down in our basement with his friends for their weekly movie get together. One of the men took off a fleece pullover and inadvertently pulled up the t-shirt underneath, revealing what appeared to be a large flower on one pectoral muscle with his nipple forming the center.

"Wait a minute--what was that?! Is that a flower around your nipple? Lift up your shirt again."

"No. That's the only time you'll ever see it."

"Why do you have a giant flower around your nipple?"

"It's not a flower. I'm going to get it fixed. It was going to be something else, but it hurt too much, so they couldn't finish it."

"Well, right now it looks like a flower."

"I know."

Ha, indeed.


J said...

"Also reject some long passage or inspiring message that must be closely examined in order to be read. They're pretentious and the reader is ultimately let down for having troubled"

Unless, on one of those lower-back STD warning label tattoos women (inexplicably) get, the passage is an actual STD warning label.

Wince said...

I almost forgot!

Ahem, two of the foremost authorities on tattoo aesthetics.

Jake said...

I knew a Navy chief who had the words "Eat Me" tattooed upside down on the inside of his lower lip. He shared his artwork with others (often junior officers) when the moment was right.

Bill White said...

"ALTH" on your right fingers, "OUSE" on your left.

UWS guy said...

I love the idea of the steam-punk mechanics under the skin. That is until the machines rise up against us and anyone with that tattoo is labeled a sympathizer (synthasizer?). ah you Sarah Connor?

UWS guy said...

only slightly less well thought out tat than the trendy/ironic star of David young german youths got in the early 20's.

BJM said...

Women of child bearing age might want to think carefully about placement. Pregnancy can distort a belly or torso tattoo.

UWS guy said...

mothers who scare their daughters away from getting tats on their tits with phrases like, " think about what it will look like when you're sixty!". Or," that butterfly looks cute now, but in 20 years you'll have a terrordacktyl on your hiney!"

These young women should remind their mothers that tattoo or no, your tits will look hideous when you're sixty.

Wince said...

From the lurid yet fascinating 2004 LA Weekly profile of a young, artisitic but hard living rock "roadie" and writer I knew from Boston. He became "legendary" for bridging the gap between rock music, porn video and tattoo art:

For more than a decade and a half, with lab-rat consistency, [he] carpet-bombed his cortex with enough pills to stock a hypochondriac’s medicine cabinet... In prison, he cut his hair short and kept it its natural brown, but in the past it has been blue, magenta and various other neon hues. His pale skin blazes with color too: He’s got a naked female werewolf tattooed on his right arm; his ex-wife [porn star Tiffany Million] as a vampire spread-eagled across his chest; a giant vagina with hammer-like pistons coming out of it on his left forearm. His deep-set green eyes change from messianic to catatonic, depending on the chemical weather inside his brain...the word LIBERTINE emblazoned across his stomach to remind himself of his former existence: the pinballing from groupie to stripper to hooker, the chronic prowl for pills and dope, his perpetual disdain for convention.

As I remember, he had more tattos, including a spider web on his neck. He's not as imposing as you might think, however:

Despite his advancing years, [at 35] he continues to project a slouchy, fidgety, teenage charm.

Too bad LA Weekly took down the photo.

Ron said...

If you could get someone to Photoshop a tat on Althouse (u pick what and where) people would be doin' the big hairy freak!

Jennifer said...

Ha, UWS guy. That was my response to my mom. If the only thing that looks bad on my ancient naked body is my tattoo, I'll be doing alright.

I do regret that I had a total lack of foresight and put my tattoo on my lower back. it doesn't matter that mine predates the tramp stamp craze. It still qualifies.

Ann Althouse said...

"your tits will look hideous when you're sixty"

Not so!

John Burgess said...

UWS guy obviously hasn't seen many 60-year-old tits. Maybe when he passes puberty he'll understand.

1775OGG said...

In which case, place a Rose Tattoo on the tender underside of each, so they might surprise one who is precious in your life, as long as there aren't too many such precious persons still alive.

A photo of each tattoo might be in order.

UWS guy said...

only one way to prove it...

UWS guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Hoh said...

This is the first time I can recall Althouse mentioning Steampunk.

You may be interested to know that there is a LEGO Steampunk community. Mind you, I am not part of them, but I know enough to point you to some links.

They got some geek love from Gizmodo and Wired.

Robert Cook said...

"Also reject some long passage or inspiring message that must be closely examined in order to be read. They're pretentious and the reader is ultimately let down for having troubled"

I'm sure that such passages are more for the wearer's edification than any observer's, so if such is one's preference...go for it. (I like the appearance of tattoos that are made up of words, simply as graphic images.)

As one who has drawn from life models for years, I can assure you that women's bodies often still look lovely when they are older. In fact, for most women or men, the face is usually more weathered by age than the body, at least as judged by the preponderance of models I've seen nude.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a tattoo guy at all, but I am tempted to get one on my chest that reads "Do NOT resuscitate."

1775OGG said...

In today's society, wouldn't you need that "chest" statement witnessed, probably two, and notarized! wonder how much more that'd cost?

Drew W said...

Does anybody besides me remember watching Groucho Marx singing the old Arlen & Harburg novelty number "Lydia The Tattooed Lady" on the Dick Cavett Show? It was delightful.

It would have lost some of its comic punch these days, I suppose.

(As I used to say in a stand-up bit about people with lots of tattoos: "Did you people ever stop to think that there's a whole category of circus freak that can no longer get work?")

Anonymous said...

I don't think I can fit into the little clamp thingy that notary's use to mark documents. Maybe my ear could be used for that?

Strayhorn said...

Years ago I was standing next to a young Marine at the Stone Bay firing range when he took off his shirt to wipe his face in the heat. On his shoulder blade was a tattoo that resembled ripped skin that revealed a circuit board.

In 2006 I was having drinks in Baghdad with a heavily-tattooed Maori from New Zealand. After complimenting his designs I mentioned the circuit board tattoo as the only one I would get.

He nodded and said he had seen that one and in fact that there was a series, of sort, of those. The ripped skin revealed gears, circuit boards, cable runs, etc etc.

So, looks like you can take your pick if tattoo day ever arrives.