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  • Writer's pictureCaren



i love tattoos. it's kind of a stupid fascination. tattoos can be inexcusably expensive and trendy and in bad taste, but i like looking at them, and looking at people who have them, and talking to people about them. there are a million reasons nowadays why people get them: to stand out, fit in, make a statement, memorialize an event, prove something... not too different from the reasons why people to do other things, like get crazy hairstyles, or buy certain cars, dress a certain way. except, of course, for the fact that tattooing is permanent.

tattoos are still pretty hot right now. but i predict that in ten to fifteen years, their hipness is going to melt away, like hipness melted away from frosted tips, and bellbottoms, and gigantic shoulder pads. they won't disappear, but they will cease to be "in." people must know this. but they get them anyway.

in high school, a girl in my trigonometry class had a tattoo on her lower back that peeked out whenever she sat down. i remember thinking that it was kind of cool. a few years later, people started to call that kind of tattoo a tramp stamp. and that poor girl will bear it forever.

right at the beginning of college, i met a girl with a star tattoo on her wrist. very cute. now everybody and their bartenders have stars. rihanna. lindsey lohan. avril lavigne. giselle. that rapper guy. that girl who works in the bakery at pathmark. pretty soon, somebody is going to come up with a witty insulting title for these star tattoos, and instantly they will become a badge of shame for millions.

but i still love them. i love seeing people who have lots of them, sprinkled here and there like multicolored jimmies. i love half-sleeves and full-sleeves, and those awful flames that are supposed to emulate what it looks like when a body part is on fire. i love that sometimes tattoos say a lot more about a person than the person may realize or intend. tinkerbell? anarchy symbol? budweiser crown? barbed wire? ying-yang made of pandas? chinese characters on a black guy? hebrew symbols on a chinese girl? a skull, wearing a wreath of roses, playing a saxophone while dancing on a two-headed snake, with flames coming out of its eyes? cllllllassic!

i love how contradictory they are, especially in their most vapid and fashionista manifestations.

i love how they are everywhere in this anesthesia-happy age.

and how, even at their most discreet, they can't help but be declarative.

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