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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Are Tattoos cool or trashy?

The other day I was reading an online parenting forum, one consisting mostly of west coast women in the 35 and under age category. As a rule, these women consider themselves to be the hippest, coolest, funkiest and snarkiest moms on the web. They call each other "ho" and "bitch" like that's just the funniest thing since sliced bread. Sigh. Pretty immature for the most part, and I don't think any of them are the sharpest knifes in the drawer, but it's fun reading. Anyhow, they had this thread going about tattoos, and I got to thinking about the subject. Me, I'm way to old to think of tattoos as anything other than really trashy looking. It's probably a generational thing, but I'd just as soon cut off my left arm as have a tattoo on my back. I don't get the whole body art thing. I've seen plenty of it during my last sojourn as a Californian, and none of it has made me change my mind. I don't think it's cool, nor do I think it's rebellious. If it were rebellious, how come every frigging woman under 35 has a butterfly on the shoulder or a little rose on their ankle? It's not only commonplace, it is boring to me.

I feel the same way about body piercing. I don't find it sexually attractive at all, in fact I think it's very offputting and kind of nauseating. I know people differ on this, and for a while everyone and their brother was getting their navels pierced, but the idea of sex with some guy with a Prince Alpert is completely disgusting to me. The germs.... blech! One of the things I keep thinking about when I consider tattoos and piercings is how it's going to look 30 years from now. All those college boys with gauges in their ears. I mean really, what the heck is that going to look like when they're 50 and their ears and all hairy and flappy. It happens, folks. Or the woman who has one of those full back tattoos and gains about 50 lbs over the next 30 years. What's that going to look like? I saw a photo recently of a woman with a double mastectomy who had a huge tattoo covering the scar. The thing was, the way a mastectomy looks, the tattoo was more disfiguring than just the scar. It wasn't pretty.

I think about these young women on that forum bragging about the numbers of tattoos they have, and I have to think of all the women I know in my real life that are in their late 40's to mid-fifties and have been left by a stream of dirty-dog men looking for younger women. It is going to happen to some of these women too, and they're going to be in their late 40's up to the mid-fifties looking for new men with their middle aged bodies decorated with old saggy tattoos. Is that going to be attractive to someone? Do men like this?

We've all seen old men, sailors most likely, that have horrid old saggy tattoos they got whilst in the service. Honestly, is that good looking to anyone? It just isn't to me. Not one bit. Maybe it's being Jewish, where tattooing is not only a terrible reminder of a very dark time in our history, but is also highly discouraged because disfiguring your body is a reason not to be buried in consecrated ground. Me, I want to be buried amongst my people, the people I love. And a tattoo would circumvent that. It is so not worth it to me.

My kids have similar views on tattooing, mostly because when we see someone highly decorated we tend to be horrified. I don't have much fear of either of my guys getting body decorations. They have no interest and they know my feelings on the topic. What about you? How would you feel if your kids started decorating their bodies? Would you be upset? Do you see tattooing as art? Is it attractive to you? Do you find it sexy? Ugly? Beautiful? Rebellious or commonplace? And do you have body decorations you want to share?
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12 Comments:

Anonymous primetime said...

Totally agree! I think that people that get tattoos or piercings are just expressing themselves, kinda like how kids today dye their hair bright pink (when you know that's not their REAL color)! http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/942/221/1600/gem_graham_july4.jpg


I hate when people lurk, too. It's auch a nasty habit.
http://outtamymindwithworry.blogspot.com/2006/01/lurky-loos-dont-forget-its-national-de.html

10/1/06 2:06 AM  
Blogger Celena said...

Hi! I wrote about this post in my blog. Come take a look!

10/1/06 3:02 AM  
Blogger California Highway Guy - Daniel said...

Totally agree.

10/1/06 7:58 AM  
Blogger Dr. Cissa Fireheart said...

I personally have 6 tattoos on my body. Each signifies something at a point in my life, or represents my personality in some way. I have no problem with my children getting tattoos when thy turn 18. As long as they are doing it for personal expression, not a butterfly or a rose or something, because it's cute and trendy. Unless they are really into butterflys' and roses. And I plan on being there with them when they get their first tat. It will probably even be a present from me. That's the only thing that annoys me...little pop tarts who do it cause it's the in thing to do.

Most of my tat's are small, and I am sure any artist could do. My largest one is on my left shoulderblade. It's the most artful one. It is in honor of my deceased daughter, and even though I don't see it, except in mirrors, I find it beautiful and the most artistic, because of the deep personal represntation it has.

I think people who have them all over truly understand and appreciate the art and just want to display it. More power to them. Me? I'll stick with my small tat's that have their personal meanings. I think my family's influence and opionon matters too much to me, else I would proabably be covered as well.

10/1/06 9:52 AM  
Blogger neener said...

I hate 'em, hate 'em, hate 'em. Particularly galling is that at my son's Jewish summer camp, the Israeli staff are always sporting the most tatoos and piercings. They set such a trashy example.

Disgusting as any over-tatooed body part looks to me, I think I hate the sneaky hidden tatoos most of all. They're anything but sexy. When I see a young woman with a butterfly on the perfect small of her back, I want to barf! Margalit knows that my one personal area of vanity is the loss of that lovely indent below the ankle bone. Anything tatooed in that spot drives me insane.

10/1/06 11:32 AM  
Anonymous thejanestdoe said...

You do realize that you can be tattooed and still be buried in Jewish cemetary, right? I mean, that's pretty much a myth at this point.

http://torah.org/learning/issues/tattoo.html Just an an FYI... but I *really* think you would have known this by now. Have you not ministered to any young people with tattoos during the course of your career? Has your community not lost anyone with a tattoo?

When my fully-sleeved friend died in 1988, we went to his funeral in a Conservative Synagogue and burial in a, you betcha, Jewish Cemetary. So, even though *I* couldn't care less where my dead body goes (and I would reallly prefer to lie in state like Lenin or Eva Peron) it *can* go into your consecrated ground without anyone saying a damn word.

10/1/06 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Just-a-thought said...

Thejanestdoe is right. Although tattoos are forbidden by halacha (like cheeseburgers), there is no halachic basis for excluding Jews with Tattews from burial in Jewish cemetaries. This is true not just in the Conservative community that TJD mentions, but right up to the most Orthodox of rabbis (see cite below from Ohr Somayach website, including detailed talmudic references).

http://www.torah.org/learning/issues/tattoo.html

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/daily_life/TheBody/Adorning_the_Body/Tattoo.htm

http://ohr.edu/yhiy/article.php/1474

10/1/06 3:01 PM  
Blogger jennifer starfall said...

i have two; one near the top of my right shoulderblade, and one near the bottom of my spine. they are both very... what's the word? they connect me to my family. they connect me to me, if that makes sense. i designed them, i agonised over whether to do it at all, and when i did i felt like they finished me.

but when i see people with tattoos that are so obviously meaningless, i don't like them, either. i think it looks trashy. you'd have to be looking for mine to find them, they're simple and free of color, and their locations and shapes will hopefully keep them free of damage as i age.

my mom is jewish, and has always been opposed to tattooing. my second one is for her (it would take me an hour to explain that - it's my very personal version of the typical "mother" tattoo), and she cried when i showed it to her. not because she was disappointed, but because she loves it so much and agrees that it completes my skin.

i hope that if my (someday) children want tattoos that they will carefully consider them as i did. as for exotic piercing, i think it sucks, is gross, and can be very dangerous.

10/1/06 3:50 PM  
Blogger kontan said...

i'm opposed to pain. so no for me.

10/1/06 10:11 PM  
Blogger misskrob said...

I believe that most things are fine in moderation. I wouldn't let my kids (12 and 14) get a tatoo until they were 18 because it is so permanent. I would let them get a pierced ear now if they wanted to, but my oldest goes to a school where that is not alowed anyway.

I am seriously considering getting a descretely placed tatoo myself and I have a total of 5 ear piercings. I guess I'm kind of in the middle on this one; not totally opposed but I don't like the really obvious, really over the top stuff either.

12/1/06 8:17 PM  
Blogger Plumkrazzee said...

I have an itty bitty silver stud in my nose, a tiny tatoo on my toe, and a larger one on the back of my calf. I'm ultra-conservative in most areas of my life, this is perhaps my one outlet. It's personal preference, of course, you're either the tattoo type....or not.

14/1/06 7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI, I thought I would drop by and see what all the fuss was about.
I am a ho and maybe a bitch from the immature online forum, of which you write. I cannot say anyone thinks they are the hippest grooviest people online, but they (you included) have been overwhelmingly supportive in my bout with BC. I believe many of the hos are very sharp knives indeed.
As far as tattoos. I have two. A small brand on my arm and a black heart on my wrist.
I am thinking of getting an art nouveau looking tattoo over my port incision. It is hideous and needs some help. It will be something to help me remember this time od cancer and how I have changed and become better because of it.
I like tattoos and I hate tattoos.
I dont like the idea of young people getting them and I dont like big peircings either.
I love beatiful ones that have meaning.
take care.
dryhotho aka chemosabi, aka desertmom

17/1/06 10:59 AM  

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