November 22, 2008

"What's the prize for guessing where the tattoo is on your body and what the tattoo is?"

Asks Old Grouchy in yesterday's "New look" thread, the one where I tweak and re-tweak the design of this blog, which makes Alan say: "This is why you should never entertain the idea of getting a tattoo." I said, "What makes you so sure I don't have a tattoo?," prompting Old Grouchy's remark.

In fact, I don't have any tattoos, but circa 1968, I often spoke of getting a rose tattoo the back of my hand. I thought it would change the course of my life, and it would have, don't you think? That was back in the days when high school girls in middle class suburbs did not get tattoos. It had to be a rose and it had to be on the back of my hand where it would be seen. None of this lower back/iliac crest bullshit. The idea was to affect people's minds and to make a permanent decision to have that be the thing that would make the impression.

But what are your suggestions? It's 40 years later. What tattoo would you suggest for me? Don't say none. I'm smart enough to know that's the right answer. Assume I must get a tattoo. If this comments thread works out the way I'm hoping, I'll do a poll later. And maybe even a new "egg salad" challenge.


TMink said...


Sorry, I am feeling rebelious today.


Darcy said...

Well, if you want something visible, I would suggest your earlobe. A friend of mine had a small one done there, a ladybug, and I thought it was really beautiful and unique.

I'm guessing, but the back of the hand strikes me as a painful place to put a tattoo. Maybe that would be part of the statement, though!

save_the_rustbelt said...

A butterfly, perhaps on a hip, so that it will only be on display when you wish it to, only to the deserving.

The delicate beauty of the butterflyis appropriate.

(and please nothing suitable for a biker or a Teamster)

Ron said...

"Cruel Neutrality" of course. I'll leave the placement to you.

Meade said...

show us
*belly button here*
your tattoo"

Ann Althouse said...

Let me be clear: I don't want a tattoo! I want a discussion about a tattoo. Please don't offer decorous choices!

Ann Althouse said...

"A butterfly, perhaps on a hip...."

Are you trying to annoy me?

bwebster said...

A few years ago, I spoke to a doctor who said that if he were re-doing his medical education now, he would specialize in piercing repair and tattoo removal.

That said, I really like Darcy's suggestion of a ladybug on the earlobe. ..bruce..

Pogo said...

A barcode; you'll need one soon enough.

campy said...

The Obama Logo. Right in the center of your forehead.

Anonymous said...

First of all, which is the back of someone's hand? I've never been clear.

Second, you should get CRUEL NEUTRALITY, all caps, stenciled across your back in that prison tattoo font. In the background is a crazed, rabid squirrel with an aviator hat and huge buck teeth. It's frothing at the mouth, with the froth drooling over the letters.

You should also get a cute little squirrel right at your bikini line, just to be ironic.

rdkraus said...

Given past infatuations here, a titty tat on your breast (where else would a titty tat go?) would be most appropriate. A rose would be perfect.

And think how it would drive some of your detractors batsh** as you displayed it whilst sipping a fine Cabernet.

Meade said...

I'm confused. First you invite, "What tattoo would you suggest for me?" Then you admonish, "Let me be clear: I don't want a tattoo! I want a discussion about a tattoo. Please don't offer decorous choices!"

Okay, here's my discussion: People prone to tattoos are commonly coo coos.

Anonymous said...

Another suggestion.

It's a flickr photo. Not safe for all workplaces.

dbp said...

A necklace, since you often wear things which show your clavicles.

It should be a legal phrase in Latin, but drawn in a calligraphic style that makes it look like the links of a decorative chain.

A dark color, almost black.

Maybe "Inhumanus Quietus".

Trooper York said...

You should get "Cruel Neutrality" in Chinese calligraphy.

Of course you should have them written out beforehand so you won't be like Marcus Canby who wanted "Strength and Power" in Chinese Script but ended up with the recipe for General Tao's chicken.

Ron said...

Maybe "Leave your comment" -- strategically placed!

EDH said...

No lower back "tramp stamp" for Ann...

circa 1968, I often spoke of getting a rose tattoo the back of my hand.

Who are you, Greg Allman?

And I think Ann's right about how the placement, more than image, would have affected her socially and professionally.

I've developed a theory about tattoos and tattoo placement: Anyone accused of crime that has a tattoo on their neck is guilty, if not the crime charged, something.

Paddy O. said...

Maori face tattoo.

It would change the course of your life. It would affect people's minds about you, a law professor.

-Peder said...

Across the knuckles, C-R-U-L and N-T-L-Y. And then on your forearm, a turkey being slaughtered.

rdkraus said...

Hey your friend just got a tattoo.

Baron Zemo said...

My dear lady it is so obvious.

Right above your d├ęcolletage:


SteveR said...

I agree with EDH about the "tramp stamp".

For Ann, I could see a flower om the ankle, a frequent subject of pictures in a place we know she prefers be kept hidden.

Seneca the Younger said...

Obviously, it should be a tattoo of an egg salad recipe.

Freeman Hunt said...

Barbed wire around your biceps. People would be forced to entirely re-evaluate your personality if confronted with this tattoo.

If we're talking about an actual tattoo that you actually might get, a peach-colored dot on the bottom of your foot.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Obviously, you need a huge tattoo that starts at your mid thigh and goes all the way down to below your knee...of a man in shorts.

Chip Ahoy said...

I always thought a snake crawling out of my arse crack would be good, but now that's been done.

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, 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.

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 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.

William said...

I would suggest "Property of Hell's Angels" on the left buttock. If anyone ever asks, tell them that that chapter of your life is over and you don't ever want to talk about it.

David said...

On the tongue--tongue tatoos are rare and quite stirring.

Synova said...

After Chip's comment there's no more!

I have to admit, though I'll never get a tattoo, that I like the larger ones. The dragon on that lady's back is beautiful. I don't like the joke ones (usually). I know why people don't like the "tramp stamp" but I think that outside that association, they look pretty darn good. I don't like the usual small marks because they generally don't... um... interact with the body as a canvas.

AJ Lynch said...

How about on the left arm:

"Whirlygig Operator of The Year 1968".

John Burgess said...

A Vortex is what is required.

Around the mouth, though that'd be both painful and painfully obvious.

Around the navel, to make navel gazing a cosmic event.

Lower down, if you intend to send a strong message to a significant other.

I see it in red, blue, green, and purple, with flashes of yellow.

Christy said...

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.

Eowyn said...

Various studs and hoops all up and down your nose, ears, and supra-orbital ridges.

BlogDog said...

Of course you can always get a tat done in "invisible" ink that only shows under a black light. They're neat and only a little creepy.
No, make that: They're creepy and only a little neat.

I have a small dagger on my left wrist which is easily covered when I wear a watch. I like having my ink private.

Cedarford said...

A discussion about a tattoo at your age would necessitate more thought, and given your artistic background and numerous, numerous images in art and nature you like - a great dilemma on which ONE thing you were forced to make a choice on above all others. Which ONE thing would YOU select to have on you.

Quite a different situation than some 19-year old with a head full of crap wanting a "Big, BIg" Harley-Davidson tramp stamp.

Since you are in love with the "concept" but don't want a tattoo, let me suggest an honorable path, or a chickenshit one, if you prefer...

Find your final design amidst the myriad of candidates. Draw it. Select where on you you would want it. Then head to the nearest tattoo parlor. Then say you want to have the tattoo done sans ink. You have committed to a body art design, will have the cost and pain and shed a little blood for it. (Don't worry about how the tattoo artist will see it. Their stock in trade is nutty people with nutty ideas.)

After, you can watch your inkless tattoo fade back to normal from bruised and inflamed skin.

AA - Let me be clear: I don't want a tattoo! I want a discussion about a tattoo. Please don't offer decorous choices!

Now you have entered the rich realm of hypothetical body modification.
Next up, you could offer up discussions of - (though you don't want them!) hypothetical piercings, plastic surgery, decorative tooth inlays, body hair shaving/braiding, henna body decoration...

Lawgiver said...

I think a large third eye right in the middle of your forehead would be great. Of course you would lose some of your sexual power over men because they wouldn't be staring at your breasts as much. But what you lost in sexual breast power would be replaced in pyscho bitch power because men would be thinking, "What the hell kind of woman tats a third eye right in the middle of her forehead? She must be a psycho bitch who doesn't give a shit about anything. I must watch her very closely, there's no telling what she may do"

Roger Sweeny said...

A butterfly near the top of a breast so whenever you wear anything the least bit low-cut, people will think, "bad idea."

You have to get this tatoo as a punishment, right?

blake said...

KRUL BICH on the knuckles. (I'm sorry, but "NTLY" or whatever just doesn't work.)

OK, all the good ones are taken but Christy got me thinking with her Fibonacci sequence.

A tattoo doesn't really fit your persona. It's too static. Blogging is about going where you whim takes you; tattoos are about--well, I think they're about the idea that nothing will ever change to make you regret getting that tattoo.

Or maybe, as you've said, they're about death.

So, a tattoo being inappropriate, you need some sort of ink that's dynamic. Like a zoom on a Mandelbrot set.

Or something, "Illustrated Man"-style that comes to life.

A static tattoo just doesn't fit.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Lower Back:

Tutela Valui

OldGrouchy said...

Professor, perhaps a Rose or a Hammer and Sickle (In honor of the UW Faculty's political propensities!) or wherever you wish. It might be appropriate to have one of an ancient Maori symbol to honor the originators of tattoos.

Please consider having only the one tattoo as more would be pretentious; perhaps even in poor taste!


Kevin Walsh said...

Where's Sir Archy when you need him?

jaed said...

Are you trying to annoy me?

New tag line?

walter neff said...

Why do you need a tattoo?

Isn't the indelible imprint of Simon’s lips on your ass good enough?

Dody Jane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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...

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."


paul a'barge said...

me: a complete back piece from the bottom of my neck to my knees and two chest panels and full sleeves on each arm.

Get what you want.