So no tattoo for me. My skin will only be covered with SPF 45 and cotton.
My regard for tattoos on others has evolved. I grew up in a conservative, reserved family during the 1970s. Tattoos were for radicals. Prisoners. People who still saw Jane Fonda movies. Extras in “Easy Rider”. If anyone let a tattoo show, I was trained to look away. No telling how many times I saved myself from being stabbed to death.
I imagine that long-tatted folks are horrified by how commonplace getting inked has become. In the rural, artsy/blue collar area where I live, a tattoo is no longer the requisite accessory for driving a motorcycle; rather, it is the perfect companion to driving a pickup truck. And everyone drives a pickup. (This is yet another reason why I am the default answer to the local version of One of These Things Is Not like the Others. I am the misfit with my plain ol’ silver Honda Civic. There are perks however. I can easily spot my vehicle in any parking lot. No need for a hot pink paint job.)
It has taken time, but I am finally in a state of mind where I no longer see someone with a tattoo and think he is planning to overthrow the government or lace my latté with LSD. (Is LSD a liquid? I don’t feel a need to Google. It might be scary.) I work with people with tattoos. My cousin has a tat. (An ankle butterfly. Yes, we are related.) I appreciate the fact that a tattoo can make a statement, even add to one’s identity. The tattoo is no longer taboo.
But as with everything, I think some people take inking too far. Indeed, excessive inking can make an attractive person look utterly unappealing. I may be in the minority, but I feel that way about David Beckham. This man is almost universally lusted over. He is one fine man. Or he was. A few tats? Fine. But he kept going. Why distract from perfection? I still find his face attractive, but that’s it. In the coming year, he may cover his cheeks and forehead with tatted leopard spots and then all will be lost.
|A more current rendition of Adam Levine.|
|Adam during his minimalist phase.|
Same for Adam Levine. He’s not Sexiest-Man-Alive worthy, but he certainly caught my eye when I first saw the video for “This Love”. Beautiful. Now he, like Beckham, is the living, breathing version of a hoarder’s house. Tattoo clutter.
No matter how much you love dragons, NO MORE TCHOTCHKES!
All this came to mind again Friday night as I went to the gym to squeeze in a mediocre end-of-week workout. As gyms in January are clogged with well-intentioned resolution makers, this promised to be a rare moment when I wouldn’t have to wait for any weights or machines. Despite my fatigue, I changed into my gear and went. The alternatives, 8 p.m. bedtime or ever-syndicated “Hogan’s Heroes”, were not compelling. Sometimes depressing can be a motivator.
As I walked into the gym, a guy wearing a school-bus-colored thong tank worked his triceps. His back was fully inked as were his arms. He turned to reveal a work in progress as pectoral tats reached toward his neck. I looked away, not based on a fear of being knifed—indeed, you can’t hide weaponry in a thong tank. I turned because that’s what you do when you see a train wreck.
Moments later, I peeked. (Another train wreck behavior.) I saw his face and it registered that this was a guy I lusted over only a year ago. Best looking man at the gym. Back then, he’d had a tattoo on each of upper arms that he flashed when he wore regular tank tops. I actually liked the designs he’d chosen, but I appreciated how his perfect biceps weren’t covered. I’d tried repeatedly to make eye contact with the guy but never succeeded. And now here was this “new, improved” version of the man. All sex appeal gone. At least to this beholder, he was utterly ruined.
What do you think? Do you prefer old David or new David, old Adam or new Adam? How about Ricky Martin? I know many guys like tattoos, but is there a point when it becomes excessive? What is the turning point? How does someone with a fondness for ink know when to say when?