Anyone who has spend time in a fitness studio, lay on a beach, or watched televised sport will have noticed the pandemic-like spread of inked human skin. I do not understand the appeal.
I have heard comments about people “expressing their personality” or wanting to stand out, be unique, or be different from most. I fear that the explanation tends to be more like a rash decision, pressure of companions, a drunken mistake, or lapse in reason.
All excuses sound like garbage uttered during the period that denim took over fashion. First, young people wanted to be “different” from their elders, and then people attempted to be “cool”. The difference with jeans is that they can be easily removed.
Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, is alleged to have said “No ink is bad ink.” He was referring to bad press. I know bad ink when I see it...
I have written before about my inability to understand what drives a person to acquire a tattoo, besides those belonging to a primitive tribe or the Navy (with the latter being more about acceptance than discerning a reason beyond drunkenness).
The subject comes up because I am on vacation at a beach, where naked flesh--too much naked flesh--is on daily display. Even if one attempts to avoid the sight of well-fed examples of the species, bodies otherwise covered with clothing parade up and down the beach or lie in various positions. One cannot help but notice what people have done to their once virgin flesh. Many women seem to have succumbed to the need to let someone (most likely male) insert ink into their flesh, usually above their vestigial tail. This “work of art” becomes visible only when naked or at the beach, so why do it? And, what does the symbol mean or say about the owner/beater? What should this communicate to the world about the person (even if I know what it communicates to me)?
Each woman must feel cool or adventuresome or bold...or did at the time. Then again, boldness would require putting the bloody thing where people can see it all the time...which would not make the tattoo better or understandable, only bold. Of course, I am not impressed by boldness...or any tattoo, especially on women (which is not misogynous).
The amount of tattooed skin--both White and Black--on display at Miami Beach surprised me. It seems to be rule, rather than the exception among people between twenty and forty. Many were massive displays of whatever the person was hoping to communicate about themselves, not the tiny graphic displays of youthful rebellion favored by German girls.
I could not help but wonder if regret had seeped into the mind of one or two victims of peer or fashion pressure...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.