A lot of tattoo buzz has been going on around me. Jeremiah had a large cover up done on the inside of his leg. He was covering up a small misshapen tattoo, a not so welcome reminder of his tumultuous youth.
Kara wrote about tattoos here, and asked for emails about our tattoos, the presumptuous tart.
Miss Chief is all about tattoos, which makes sense considering she works in a tattoo shop. Her boyfriend has my favorite tattoo, The Clever Goat, which incorporates not only my favorite word, but also a goat with a spectacle. Can’t get much better than that, can you?
All of this tattooing talk made me reflect on my experiences with tattooists, tattoos and tattoo regrets.
As a kid I worked very part-time in a record store about two blocks from my dad’s pharmacy. I would walk there after school and watch the store while my friend (and store co-owner) went and got lunch or ran errands. I did this in return for C.D.s, L.P.’s, local concert tickets and Manic Panic hair dye.
Above this record store was a tattoo shop. I know that most tattoo shops are reputable and that tattoo ‘parlors’ in general get a bad rep from the general public, but this shop was pretty much bad news exemplified. I knew the guys that owned the shop, they were lewd with me regardless of my very young age (and even more so the older I got, dirty perverts), they smoked constantly,had women give sexual favors in return for piercings or small tattoos (roses and Tasmanian devils). They also had a revolving door of artists in and out of the shop, mainly because most of them were good and couldn’t stand the dirty clientele and low brow shop standards.
I started hanging out and working at the record shop at around age 13 and by the time I was 16 a lot of changes had been made to the shop upstairs. The owner and lead artist had a child and changed his ways (for the most part, he still had the horrid habit of commenting on my boobs on a daily basis). He changed shop policies, imported guest artists from all over the country, ordered all new equipment and hired a decorating firm to change the whole look and feel of the shop. It went from a scary to a stylish shop in a very short time and was much much busier.
A lot of the guys from the shop would hang out downstairs with me when it wasn’t busy and we would talk about tattoo designs. They thought I had some clever (there’s that word again) ideas and I would watch in amazement while they would draw up whatever I had come up with right there in front of me. I was so jealous of talent like that!
By this time the shop had a very rockabilly, hipster feel and I was totally into the retro tattoos the owner had been tattooing. I had one of the artists draw up an adorable blue jay for me, pimped out in full Elvis regalia. A bright, cartoony blue jay with slick black hair and a James Dean jean jacket, this blue jay was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I folded him into a tiny square and tucked him into my worn hand me down wallet for safe keeping for when I would be of an age to put Mr. Blue Jay on my body.
Three months after I delivered Rose, I was finally ready to get my tattoo. I didn’t get a tattoo right after I turned 18 mainly because I didn’t have enough money, I was saving for college and wanted to help my parents out with school costs as much as possible (and we all know clothes for excellent and awesome 18 year old girls don’t come cheap).
My cousin and I went to the shop, folded Blue Jay secretly in hand. I had a feeling she would disapprove of the drawing I planned on getting, so I listened to her babble on about roses and lilies and hummingbirds. We had made an appointment with a guest artist originally from British Columbia who was touring the U.S. He had recently been in Prague, which I found sooo cool at the time, although I’m not sure why.
The next few hours are a total blur.
I was not drinking or drugging, so I can’t pawn my next actions off on any sort of substance other than my own timidity and stupidity. Somehow I let my cousin talk me into discarding my Blue Jay idea and instead I received a hummingbird (with a kind of cool phoenix like tail) perched on a heart.
The owner was disappointed, the artist was disappointed and I was near tears the entire time.
I still have the Blue Jay, buried deep in a box of old memories and things that don’t matter one bit. I think that my experience with my first tattoo sums up most of my life from age 19-25. A sad, uncomfortable and timid Me lived in this body. She’s still here, somewhere. I just know better than to let her make any decisions.
Except earlier today when I ate two cupcakes…that was all her.Bitch.