Oh My (Gosh), I Woke Up With a Snake Tattoo!!

First up, I should confess that the title of this blog is not only censored, it’s completely inaccurate. As I neither drink, nor do drugs, nor suffer from multiple personality disorder (as far as we know), I am unlikely to ever wake up in the predicament of the young woman in the Amanda Marshall song. Any tattoos I get will be got with my full knowledge and understanding. Like, for example, this anklet that I got today.

OK, further confession time: I am not that tough, or cool, or confident in my ability to make lifelong aesthetic decisions to actually get a tattoo. What I got was a henna tattoo. All the pretty, none of the pain or permanence.

I’ve been working all year among people who are heavily tattooed (these would be my students, not my co-workers) and become somewhat intrigued with, and educated about, the whole concept of body art. The intrigue part made me think it was an interesting idea; the education part involved me learning how painful it could be, which killed any desire I might ever have had to get a tattoo (not that there was ever much desire there).

In the spirit of summer and women prettying up their feet for sandals-and-capris exposure, though, I decided to try a little low-risk body mod, and so far I’m quite impressed with the results. The above pic is just a few minutes after the henna was applied; I still have to wait several hours to wipe off the dried paste and then allow a few days for the design beneath to take on its full colour. Unfortunately it only lasts a couple of weeks. I wish you could get semi-permanent tattoos — something that would last more than a few weeks but less than a lifetime. I’d like to have an anklet for the whole summer, but I have no confidence that any design I’d choose today would still make me happy when I’m 60. (I shudder to think what I’d have on me if I’d gotten a tattoo when I was 20 — probably some rainbow with the word “LOVE” in big hippie balloon letters, similar to that pictured here. Fortunately, when I was 20, tattoos were just for sailors and bad boys).

I observed two things that intrigued me at the tattoo parlour. A man about my age came in with his teenage daughter. I thought he was accompanying her to get a tattoo, but in fact he was the one getting the tattoo and she was helping him choose the design. I thought that was kind of sweet.

Also, leafing through a tattoo magazine (which I have to say is a lot more interesting than leafing through a hairstyle magazine at the beauty parlour) I came across an article about Burning Man that included pictures of tattoos seen at Burning Man. I’ve been interested in Burning Man for years because my cousin Jeff goes there every year, and the article was very well-written. What made me laugh was a picture of a person with a full-back tattoo. Against an attractive, colourful background and border design, the tattoo was of a key paragraph from the CS Lewis novel Till We Have Faces. Since the author of the article had just been saying how the array of events at Burning Man would horrify America’s right-wing Christians (which I’m sure is generally true, judging from the examples he gave) I thought it was interesting that someone there was sporting this passage from a very Christian novel on his back. Nice to know we don’t all fit in neat little boxes.

I don’t delude myself that with my discreet girly henna tattoo I’m in any way ready for Burning Man, but I sure do like looking at my ankles today!


One Reply to “Oh My (Gosh), I Woke Up With a Snake Tattoo!!”

  1. Oh, I’m SOOO jealous! I’ve always wanted a henna tatto (I’ll admit I’m a bit too commitment-phobic for a real one).

    My son and his friends all got them at the after-graduation party, and I was jealous of them too. I’ve never known where to get one, or I would have. A tattoo parlor, huh?

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