The other day, Husband and I were talking about tattoos. I’m not sure how we got onto the subject but we did. I generally think tattoos are dumb, especially on women. I feel like there a billion tattoos of swallows, red and black stars, pin up girls on sad hipsters every where that it’s annoying. Mind you, I don’t think it makes a person look trashy (OK…it depends on the tattoo. We’ve all seen “that kind of tattoo” on people. They’re usually jail tattoos) nor do I judge if they’re a good person or bad. They’re not my cup of tea. But I do love the way tattoo art looks embroidered. I’m a Gemini so I have conflicting opinions on everything.
Anyway, I remarked that I’ve always been surprised that seven years in the United States Marine Corps and he doesn’t have a tattoo so show for it. Apparently, it was something that he kept meaning to get but never did. My brother, on the other hand, spent 4 years in and has several dumb tattoos to show for it. Growing up, my favorite was one of a unicorn on a cloud with a rainbow behind it. And his name under it. It’s more Dungeons & Dragons inspired than My Little Pony. My brother is not a bronie…at least I don’t think he is. For the record, he doesn’t really remember where, why or how he got that tattoo but it was when he was in Okinawa. So I’m assuming tons of alcohol and possibly a bet won and/or lost.
I’ve never wanted a tattoo, even when I was a punk rock kid. The idea of having a needle jab me a billion times a second just didn’t strike me as a good time. But there are two exceptions to the “No tattoos for Vanessa” rule. The first one I’ve wanted since I was a young kid.
See, like most kids, I grew up watching Nickelodeon and my favorite show (and still is to this day) The Adventures of Pete & Pete, parts of which were filmed near where I grew up. The show was about two brothers who were both named Pete. Why were they both named Pete? Who cares! It was about the magic of growing up a little bit weird, surrounded by off beat characters. It was bizarre, beautiful, wonderful and a little sad. Like what did Mister Tastee look like under his vanilla cone shaped head? Where did he go after the summer ended? Why did it seem like the shop teacher was after you? And what about the pretty young lunch lady? What was her story? It had a great cast of characters and amazing cameos like Iggy Pop, Steve Bucemi and Kate Pierson of the B-52s. It was everything childhood is and was.
And the best part? Little Pete had two tattoos. One was rarely seen; on his back he had an old style clipper ship. But on his arm was Petunia.
Isn't she amazing?
She even had her own spot on the opening credits. Pete had 52 dances he could make her do. My favorite was her shimmy shimmy shake. Okay, really he was just flexing his arm but still! The show never really went into how or why he had her. He just did. I would love to be horribly derivative and get her tattooed on my arm and then tell my kids about our time together on the high seas. And they’d think I was horribly weird.
The second tattoo is also weirder but far more badass. Again, it’s from a TV show but this time a cartoon. I am a big fan of FX’s Archer, especially the episode where our hero, Sterling Archer, gets breast cancer. It’s not Archer that has a tattoo in the show (and Lord knows we’ve seen his animated naked butt enough times to be certain) but Pam Poovey, ISIS Human Resources Director. SPOILER ALERT! It turns out she used to do underground cage fighting to pay for college. She rips off her undershirt and we see her epic tattoo:
Note the hashmarks on the nape of her neck.
It’s a quote from Byron’s The Destruction of Sennacherib and it says: ” For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed; And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!”
Husband says that if I did seriously get that, I would be the most badass person he ever dated but I’d have to get ripped again. It would be the most ridiculous thing I’d ever do but it would be really epic. He points out that he would love to have a future child of ours to quote this piece of poetry in class. And when the teacher asks Little Johnny or Jane just where did they hear that, they would say “It’s tattooed on my mom’s back!” And we would be the coolest parents in the world. To our kids friends, not to our kids, natch.
He’s sort of encouraging me to do it and I keep getting wrapped up in his excitement but part of me (probably the responsible part) keeps slamming on the breaks. If I ever got a tattoo it would be the craziest thing I would ever do. I mean, what the hell would either one look like when I’m say, 80 and wrinkly?
Answer? Probably super hard core.