You’re worried about spoiling your skin with a ZIT? Really?


Last time I went to the mall, I ran across these pictures.

This time, what caught my eye was this instance of extreme irony.

Take a look at this guy, and look at what he’s advertising.

So let’s see — “every single day,” he uses this expensive product so that he doesn’t get acne. You know, zits — those things that are here today, gone tomorrow, and that in any case, you usually (but not always) outgrow around the time you become an adult and have other things to worry about.

And yet, he has deliberately and permanently defaced most of the visible skin on his body. I mean, if he had zits on his arms, who could even tell?

My daughter, who was with me in the mall, saw my sense of irony on this as being just another clueless old guy thing. She also told me who this model is. He’s someone famous, apparently. (And get this: He’s married to a Victoria’s Secret model, an unexpected tie to that previous post about posters in the mall. So I guess Proactive Plus really works.)

Look, even if I didn’t find all tattoos uniformly unappealing, I still wouldn’t get one. You know why? Mainly because they’re permanent. Because every day of my life, there’s something else I want to say. What I choose to say on Tuesday is not as pertinent, to me, as what I want to say on Wednesday. If I were to walk around with a sign hanging around my neck, I would keep changing, refreshing, refining and/or elaborating upon the message. With a computer screen, you start every day with a fresh canvas for self-expression. Or you can take yesterday’s and improve upon it. You only have one body. Cover it with tattoos, and you’re out of medium. Worse, you’ve got a bunch of stuff on you that you now regard as stupid, embarrassing, not quite the thing — something you’d like to at least edit, but you can’t.

You want to say something? Start a blog. Your medium is unlimited, and you can correct yourself, or even go back and delete stuff you’ve thought better of.

It is of course fitting that only (mostly) young people go in for this sort of thing. They haven’t learned that as they mature (assuming that they do), their notions of Ultimate Statements that they wish to make will evolve. (Personal disclosure: Most of my kids have tattoos. But they are all discreet, tasteful ones.)

There are only two scenarios in which I can remotely imagine having a tattoo — if I were a marine, or a sailor, and I was really drunk and bored one night (not a far-fetched prospect for that demographic) when I stumbled upon a tattoo parlor. If I were a marine, I’d get the letters “U.S.M.C.” on one deltoid, like the title character’s “S.P.Q.R” in “Gladiator” (and remember, the day came in which Maximus no longer wanted to make that statement). And if I were a sailor, a simple anchor. Because if you’re a marine or a sailor, that’s always a part of who you are.

Since neither of those scenarios is ever likely to occur at this point in my life, it’s a pretty safe bet that I’ll never get a tattoo…

19 thoughts on “You’re worried about spoiling your skin with a ZIT? Really?

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Actually, if they could come up with a way to make a tattoo work as an HTML link — click on it, and it takes you somewhere, and you can change the “somewhere” at will — I might think about it.

    You know, like to my blog homepage…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      And no, simply getting a tattoo of my blog URL wouldn’t be as good. In my current job, I work with both interactive and print media. Giving someone a print product with a URL printed on it just isn’t the same as an actual interactive link…

  2. Mrs. Levine (Adam's Mom)

    If Adam wants to date African shiksas and cover his arms in tattoos, I guess we have to let him, since he’s a grown-up, but he’s breaking his poor mother’s heart, and would it hurt him to call once in a while? At least his punim is blemish-free. Esther, next door has grandchildren, and they call every week before Shabbos. Saul and Esther’s son, Jacob is a doctor, and a real mensch! He’s got a successful dermatology practice in West Hollywood and still finds time to call his mother. Whatever happened to that nice girl Rachel that you used to date?

  3. Kathryn Fenner

    I am no fan of tattoos, and after a recent six month stint of trying to recover my natural hair color, I am avoiding anything that cannot be undone immediately, but there is a huge difference between a tattoo one has chosen and a medical condition that literally defaces one. And, obviously, you did not suffer much from acne, if your pimples were here today and gone tomorrow. Mine lasted days, and then there were dark spots where they’d been, and I had acne *and* wrinkles, at one point. Proactiv apparently works, although one can duplicate the regimen at the drugstore for far less, and without having to sign up for a monthly delivery. Reports are that people have found it extremely difficult to unsubscribe from Proactiv.
    and get offa my lawn…

    1. Doug Ross

      If you watch the Proactiv commercials, you’ll see that Adam Levine had some SERIOUS acne issues in his teen days based on the photos shown.

      I’m growing less and less bothered by tattoos over time. There should be some sense of the impact they might have on ones career options, at least for the next decade or so. I recently ordered some food from the drive-up at Sonic. When I got to the window to pay, the young woman who took my money had tattoos covering most of her arms and throat area. My first thought was “Get used to working at Sonic”.
      A tattoo on the face or those ear-gauge-hole-expanders would really seem to limit ones career opportunities outside of playing in band or fixing motorcycles.

      How long do you think it will be before a CEO of a Fortune 500 company has a tattoo that is generally visible?

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        After I looked him up, I started getting Proactive commercials in front of YouTube videos. And in one, he spoke of having “adult acne,” which it would have to be, since he’s 35.

        So at least he has a need for the product. But I can’t square his concern for his appearance with the tats…

      1. Mark Stewart

        Military tattoos are probably a bit different. But I think my basic premise still holds.

        Group pressure is hardly ever a real positive, even in the military.

      2. Bart

        That movie still scares the heck out of my wife. She refuses to watch it. One of Robert Mitchum’s best. He could be scary as heck the way he was in “Cape Fear” with Gregory Peck.

        As for tatoos, a close friend and his wife divorced. While divorced, she had a tatoo on her chest right above her breasts. It was double wings, silver and black and the wingspread is at least 8 inches, she is about 5′-5″ tall. They got back together, remarried and have been happy for several years. She told me that when she got the tatoo, it was a spur of the moment thing. Afterwards, she regretted it. Now she tells me the wingspan is drooping and with the wrinkles starting, it looks like her chest is molting. Sagging boobs and wrinkles are definitely not good for tatoos like hers. Too funny.

          1. Mark Stewart

            I think you just illustrated my point. How long until she decides that maybe her chicken wings weren’t so clever after all?

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    And another thing…

    In the above post, I initially wrote “discrete” when I meant “discreet,” and only caught it a couple of hours later.

    It’s fixed now. But what if that had been a tattoo?

  5. Brad Warthen Post author

    Whenever I go to give blood (which I’m doing again this week) part of the ritual is that they want a look at my arms — you know, for needle tracks.

    They’d go blind looking for needle marks on someone with tattoos like those…


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