For the month of May, I am going to be doing most of my writing about tattoos. I was invited to the Saratoa Tattoo Expo, Friday through Sunday as a VIP. Jeff at Spaulding & Rogers Mfg. and Spaulding’s Tattoo World (the sponsors) hooked me up great to allow me to see what “this side” of the color and design phenom was all about. Plus I thought this would be an odd but necessary connection between the skin care, fashion and art lines. So why did I decide to do this? Many reasons. For one, I love getting new ink! A lot of people who have tats say the pain is almost addicting. Since the weather is getting warmer, tats come out in full force too. More skin is exposed, so people are happy and proud to show off their works of art. As a child, I thought tattoos were these things that guys got when they had a girlfriend, loved their mom, or joined the service. But now tattoos are a pure, raw, unique expression of a person’s interest, desire, accomplishment, or the love of someone here or gone. Everyone has different reasons. Every tat has a different story. Each tattoo I have (and I have a few!) represents a different milestone in my life. Women are now showing off their colors, in both a statement sense as well as a fashion sense. Women’s tats are almost always beautiful. And I think this month, I will show how the world of tattooing has gone beyond just the needle & black ink.
As I talk to women of all ages who have or are getting a tattoo, their stories are never the same. Theresa, a young 20-something girl doesn’t just wear ink, she draws it. The pieces on her arms are bright, gorgeous and original, and you can almost read her personal story with each one. When I asked her why she thought just as many women were getting ink then men, she smiled. “I think it’s a power thing.” She felt that females have the ability to do, say, express whatever they want and tattoos are a great way to do that. I completely understand. Then there was Nora. What a peach! Nora didn’t get her first tattoo till she was 40. She didn’t think women should have tattoos. “Tats were for drunken men,” she told me with a grin. But on her 40th birthday she treated herself to her first tattoo. The only thing is… her son, only a 10 year-old boy at the time, insisted he go with her. An art prodigy since the age of 2, he wanted to make sure his mom’s ink was perfect. And, according to them both, it was. Her son decided that day that he was going to be a tattoo artist. That was it. Nothing else mattered. And she couldn’t be prouder. Years later, she is still getting tats on a regular basis. And her son is getting awards for his talent. She thinks it’s a great way to open up the doors of conversation that the internet, cell phones and texting have taken away. “People notice tattoos. They ask about them. They tell a story. They tell YOUR story. They start a conversation that may never have taken place.” I asked her if she was comfortable telling everything about herself when someone asked about her tats. “Absolutely. I have nothing to hide and everything to share.” She made me laugh when she said, “One day, when I’m in a nursing home, someone is going ask me ‘So tell me about yourself’ and I will start with this tattoo and show them my entire life.” I thought that was awesome.
I asked one girl who really didn’t seem like she wanted to talk too much about any thing, and especially not her tattoos. I thought I had struck some nerve when I asked if women got tattoos because it was “in” and fashionable. Suddenly, the quiet girl had a voice. “NO!,” she sternly said. “It represents who you are.” I said that fashion, in a sense, was the same–showing it off in certain way to show the kind of person you are. “NO! Fashion shows who you want to be. Tattoos ARE who you are. There’s no turning back.” Definitely a different perspective. You can’t take tattoos off like a pair of pair of GUESS jeans or a pair of Manolo Blanik shoes. It’s not just on you, it is you. And that’s way deeper than just carrying a Michael Kors bag. Way, way deeper!
So get ready for a month of tattoo talk. And PLEASE chime in. I’d love to hear your tat stories and pictures if you have any. Keep posting people. This is going to get fun!