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…