I like to believe that every tattoo has a thrilling story attached to it. If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a tattoo that requires needles (shudder) should merit an amazing tale. Right?
On a recent weekend I was at the pool, and since I had forgotten my glasses and couldn’t read my book, I entertained myself by imagining the back story associated with all the tattoos I was seeing.
I started out analyzing the smaller tattoos. These were all on women and primarily on their feet or neck. That alone made me wince because both areas are very sensitive and bony. Why, there I pondered?
The story I came up with was every woman with a mini tattoo was probably humoring a friend or mate with a “Yes, of course, I would love a big ol’ tattoo” and then when it came time, instead of chickening out they downsized — considerably.
The mini tattoos, it seemed, were either flowers, arrows or hearts. The winner in that selection were the women with the arrows. That artwork only required three lines of ink, tops. To me, needle phobic, that translates to a lot less one-on-one time with tattoo gun.
I was then mesmerized by the “sleeve” tattoo. It takes a lot of dedication to have what amounts to your entire arm inked. It also speaks to a certain steadfastness because that large tattoo is a statement for life.
To test my theory, I engaged a woman with a sleeve in conversation. After a couple of minutes of chit-chat I asked her about the tattoo. She said the sleeve “gave her power.” I totally understood where she was coming from because I got the feeling if I asked any more questions about her tattoo, she was going to kick my butt.
I then moved on to the largish tattoos on women’s lower backs. A few of them were quite grand with multiple colors, and the rest were images of angel wings in black ink. Most of the women with these seemed to be greeting middle age.
This made me conclude that these lower-back tats were almost like an expiration date. One look and you could easily guesstimate just how old the woman wearing it was.
A mom sitting next to me had a tattoo that was a true piece of art. It was a very large butterfly that almost looked like stained glass with all the colors that were used.
As I watched her get in and out of the pool I imagined that a tattoo that glorious has to have one heck of a story. I conjectured that the woman must have been an art student, maybe studying abroad, who fell in love, had a passionate affair that ended suddenly in tragedy. The tattoo design was her own work of art symbolizing endurance and hope that was forever bonded with her skin.
I was about to leave the pool but I felt compelled to find out more about this tattoo. I politely confessed to the woman what I had conjured up about her butterfly.
She laughed until she got the hiccups, then in between gulping for air told me the tattoo had started out long ago, as a “totally disgusting” boyfriend’s name in hearts. To cover that up, years later, she had no choice but to turn the hearts into a huge butterfly.
That true-life tale disappointed me so much I suggested she go with my upgraded version of events.
The woman, still hiccuping, said she would consider it. Here’s hoping she does.