“Wait, she has a Snow White tattoo?” the woman says, chuckle-gasping.
“And it’s just the words ‘Snow White,’” explains one of three girlfriends sitting at a cafe table, prompting bemused guffaws.
“Why didn’t she get a picture of Snow White?” asks the first woman to peals of laughter.
It’s tattoo talk, today and probably everyday, somewhere, everywhere. Chatty, a little catty, dappled with chortles and bewilderment. This conversation veers from one of the women describing her two modest tattoos (arm, shoulder) to another declaring she would never befoul her unspoiled flesh with eternal ink.
“I just know my siblings regret their tattoos and so do a lot of my friends,” she says. “That’s why I don’t want one.” (She doesn’t trust her own judgement, we think, judgmentally.)
“My brother has some dumbass tattoos,” she goes on. “He has one that says ‘Taking Care of Business.’ I mean, what is that?”
We nod from afar. Yeah, what is that? (Googling frantically: It’s not only the motto of Elvis Presley, but it’s the name of his band and a very popular tattoo. Approved.)
“I really like tiny, simple tattoos, like a small heart behind the ear,” avers the third woman, who, like her cohorts, is in her late-20s, early-30s, total guesstimate.
The age range is ripe for tattoo chatter. It’s said that 47% of millennials have one or more tattoos. That’s stupefying. And, well, stupid.
Getting inked is the worst kind of impulsive act, like going to Cancun or getting married, and the buyer’s remorse is knee-buckling and tear-stained. And irrevocable.
Tattoos are fatuous and juvenile self-expressions, be it tribal calligraphy or a curvaceous mermaid; an emblem of romantic love or a big dumb damn dragon thing curling and cascading across magnificent acreages of flesh. Tramp stamps? You can only pinch the bridge of your nose and shake your head.
Confession: As a kid the one prize I wanted most from my Cracker Jack box was the tiny book of temporary tattoos that appeared as blue and green smears on my arm. (Always, I put too much spit on them.) Much higher quality temp tats came in the vinyl record of “KISS Alive II,” and I loved them. (See them HERE.) Luckily, they washed off like that.
Sometimes tats are cute or clever — a friend in the computer biz got a small tattoo of the MacBook power button on her wrist — and sometimes they are fraught with reckless sentimental import. Refer to the bloke below who emblazoned his son’s face on his face. (My favorites are face and neck tattoos. Oh, now you’ve really done it.)
The three women in the cafe are discussing what kind of tattoo another friend should get. One suggests she get something like the name of the band Abba or Buffy from the TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Another tosses out Britney Spears or Borat.
“It’s got to be fucking cheesy,” says one of them. It’s permanent skin art, body cartoons. Can it be anything but?