No Regrets: A Lesson In Tattoos

Mistakes? I’ve made a few. Do overs? I wish they were endless. Unfortunately, that is not the way the world works, and the old adage that you should just  follow your heart is pretty true, because no matter what happens, you can generally always pick up the pieces later. We should learn from our experiences, not regret them. Except when it comes to tattoos. With tattoos, you should listen to your heart, and then wait a year and see if you still feel the same way. Otherwise you might find yourself in a world of Tweedy Bird-induced sadness.

When I started brainstorming my first tattoo (I always knew I would get some – funny how that works), I thought I wanted something symbolic of my youth. I wanted something that combined the old me with the new me, and was a permanent (remember, permanent) reminder of who I am and who I was becoming (I was 20, so you know, I knew everything there was to know about life). I was thinking something music related would be nice, like a lyric from a song I loved as a kid.

So it was that my first ever tattoo idea was “Forever Young” (the Rod Stewart version, because it matters) in cursive on the inside of my wrist.

When I told my more inked-up growly friend, he grimaced at me (always grimacing, that one). “Are you sure?” he asked, all furrow-browed. “Yes, it will be like an homage to my mom (she is a huge Rod Stewart fan…) and a reminder to always have fun and appreciate life.”

“Think about it for a year,” he said, “and then decide.”

As you can imagine, I never got that Rod Stewart tattoo. But that waiting period did not deter me from brainstorming up other equally ridiculous and ill-advised body art.

For a while I thought I wanted something cat-themed, because I love my cat so much. Maybe I would look hot with little chest paw prints . Or how about a cat leaping through the grass, or a silhouette of one sitting, looking longingly into nothingness? Gosh, cats are so wise! No, no, and super no. You know who gets cat tattoos? Cat ladies. Which, I will admit, I will probably be someday, but not now. The cat tattoo, like the rest of my predetermined old age weirdness, must wait. By the way, who wants to be roommates in 50 years?

Some of my favorite tattoos on other people are food related. I love when people get giant cheeseburger tattoos, or a slice of pizza on a surfboard. While I don’t think I will ever get one (though, who knows), I do think a wedge of cheese wearing sunglasses would look cool. Right? Guys? I love cheese.

Other tattoos I love (on other people):

  • Tattoos of their own names. So tough guys, really.
  • Tattoos of tragic events. You know, like a sinking Titanic.
  • Tattoos of baby faces. Not Babyface – that would be pretty cool -but the face of a baby. Here is some wisdom: Your baby is hopefully only going to get prettier. Why not wait until she looks less like James Carville and more like Sally Draper and then get the ink. By all means, get the needle out now and do me too.
  • Tattoos of ghouls. Ghosts, vampires, spiders, you name it. All the things I want to see when you take your clothes off.
  • Tattoos of a lipstick kiss on a dude’s neck. I mean, really, is there anything hotter? (Answer: Yes. Anything is hotter.)

The cool thing about tattoos is that they do represent a certain period in your life, and they are physical snapshot of whatever it was you were going through at that time. They are about self-expression, and at the very least when I see a bad tattoo on someone, I respect that person’s boldness.  It’s hard to actually regret tats, because you can’t really regret who you were when you made that choice. Of the tattoos I do have (a paper airplane, a quote from a letter my grandmother wrote me, a flower, and an ampersand), I regret none. But I gave them all pretty good consideration beforehand. The only one I worry about even slightly is the ampersand (in the picture above), because it is a buddy tattoo with my current boyfriend. The thing is though, our relationship has been my longest, so even if we breakup or something (Zeus forbid) terrible happens, perhaps I will always look on the tattoo fondly. It will exist as a sort of reminder of what I was capable then, love-wise, and how hopeful I was about our future. Hopefully.

Otherwise I will just get it changed to look like a shark jumping over a sea of  tigers eating hot dogs. Obviously.

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