Under The Needle

It used to be that if you wanted to look like a real bad ass, there was only one thing to do: get a tattoo. Then the nineties rolled around and suddenly everyone was sportin’ ink. Heck, even my sister got a butterfly buzzed onto her ankle, and she’s a frickin’ CPA!

So, if CPAs and Tax Attorneys are going under the needle, what’s a genuine bad ass supposed to do? Pierce your eyeballs? Maybe. Better yet, why not do something that really makes a statement? Get a face tattoo.

That’s right. Only a real man could take so many pricks in the face…Okay, maybe that wasn’t the best choice of words. All I’m sayin’ is, a tattoo on your mug says ‘bite me’ to society. Because as soon as that gun starts grinding away, you’ve pretty much narrowed down your career choices: Prize Fighter, Mass Murderer, Used-Car Dealer or Tower Records Employee. Come to think of it, Tower Records might even have a problem with that one.

Okay, so you’ve decided to go for it and get the face tattoo. Good for you. Now the question comes up: What do you want permanently etched on your face? Something tribal? Eh. Too cliche. A snake? It’s been done. No, you want something different. Something that will get people talking. In other words, something cute.

Think about it. Anyone can get a black widow spider or “666” carved into his face. But you walk into a bar with a Care Bear on your forehead and the rumors would really start flying: “Stay away from that guy with the Care Bear tattoo. I heard he ripped a guy’s arm off and then ate it for lunch, bones and all.” Yeah, with a Care Bear tattoo on your face, nobody would even think about fucking with you. Except for maybe the guy with a bouquet of daisies embroidered into his scalp. Now that would really be scary.

Comments 13

  1. B² wrote:

    I would totally get one of those teardrop tattoos under my eye. Even though I look about as much like a gangsta as Andy Dick, there’d be, like, a margin of doubt. “Hmm, he looks like a dweeb, but that could be a shiv in his Dockers hip pocket.”

    Posted 06 Jan 2004 at 1:37 pm
  2. Smivey wrote:

    Exactly, B. A teardrop tattoo is ten times more scary when it’s on a guy who looks like you could break him in half.

    Posted 06 Jan 2004 at 3:08 pm
  3. Vague wrote:

    I always joke about getting a tatoo of a zipper on my forhead.

    How about amputation. Now that is alternative!

    Posted 06 Jan 2004 at 7:15 pm
  4. MangoMonkeyBoy wrote:

    I always liked Steven Wright’s idea of a full-body tatoo of yourself, only taller.

    Posted 06 Jan 2004 at 8:39 pm
  5. Purple wrote:

    You should read “Invisible Monsters” by Chuck Palahniuk (if you haven’t already). He makes a very interesting statement about tattoos and culture. Basically, he said if you want to be the badass of the 90’s – today, you’re going to have to think of something a little more extreme than tattooing.

    I’ve been heavily tattooed since the 90’s (1st sleeve in ’93). I still like them, mostly I suppose because I went all the way. Now I’m older, and though I don’t regret the desicion, people who stare still piss me off. Even worse, the condemning “why?”, like I would ask them “why is your hair in a beehive?” – “why do you dress so slutty?” So here’s my answer… I heavily tattooed myself to remove myself from the small-minded section of the populace I thought I resented. That didn’t happen (I was young). What I accomplished was becoming a stereotypical freakshow at nearly every public place. Not just by people who aren’t tattooed! Tattooed people approach me, but instead of the usual “why”, I get – “where’d u get that?” and “check this one out” – like I give a royal shit.

    I keep getting tattooed because I like the heavily tattooed look – but I wear long sleeves more often!

    When I retire, I may get “space for rent” tattooed on the side of my head – or an amputation sounds good :)

    Posted 06 Jan 2004 at 8:52 pm
  6. Smivey wrote:

    Purple, I’m a big fan of Paula Nick. So, yes, I’ve read Invisible Monsters. I just don’t remember reading that part. And here I thought I might’ve had an original thought for once. Bleh.

    Posted 06 Jan 2004 at 10:48 pm
  7. Sandra wrote:

    I think there has been a shift to seeing tattoos as art rather than defacement, and that’s where the “bad ass” quality kind of went by the wayside.

    Still, I find it easy to tell the difference between old school and modern. More often than not, the “modern” style is a fashion statement — whereas the old school is an expression of self, the modern style sees it as an expression on self.

    To torture the metaphor further, one is a billboard (with a message), the other is a canvas (portraying art).

    In other words, who is the tattoo for? On some level, it’s always for the person who gets the tat, of course, but I think the art crowd gets tattoos specifically to show other people – they see themselves as a type of living art. Hence, butterfly on ankle. Whereas the person who gets covered in tattoos is mostly doing it for himself/herself, and could care less what others think or even if they ever see them.

    If you look at the type of full-body tattooing that is popular for gangs in Japan, for example, you understand that it isn’t about displaying art, it’s about displaying the spirit of the person wearing the tattoo. Whether you or anyone else sees it is immaterial – it is there.

    I have been fascinated by tattoos for years because my father has a large tat of a parrot on his arm that was there to cover up something else. For years, I wanted to know what it was – former lover? “MOM”?

    I want one myself, but I still haven’t gotten around to it. I know what I want, but one thing or another has kept me from it. Someday soon – hopefully within the next couple of years!

    Posted 06 Jan 2004 at 11:36 pm
  8. Smivey wrote:

    Uh… Yeah, what she said.

    Posted 07 Jan 2004 at 1:11 am
  9. dvl wrote:

    “displaying the spirit”… very nicely said Sandra. :)

    Posted 07 Jan 2004 at 1:25 am
  10. Glovia wrote:

    I do have a tattoo. And I’m not one bit badass. You should be required to be at least as old to get ink permanently injected into your body as you should be to buy a stinkin’ beer. Good Lord!

    Posted 08 Jan 2004 at 1:27 pm
  11. Smivey wrote:

    All right, I gotta admit seeing a woman (other than my sister) with a tat kind of turns me on. Especially those girls with the ink on their lower backs. Wow. I mean, it’s not just the look. It’s the thought of the agony they must’ve endured to achieve such an intricate design. They gotta be pretty wild to do something like that, don’t they? You bet their sweet ass, they do.

    Posted 08 Jan 2004 at 2:56 pm
  12. Sandra wrote:

    I’ve never thought of the tattoo being attractive for those reasons, but that’s interesting. When I was married, my husband didn’t want me to get one, so that was a big reason I didn’t for so many years.

    Now that I’m single, I’m definitely considering it again. I think I’m kind of the “girl next door” type, and the type of person who is attracted to me just doesn’t expect a tattoo. But, in the end, I think that anyone I would want to be with would be as cool with a tribal crow tattoo between my shoulders as he would be with me being covered in freckles. Or, I’d like to think so.

    Posted 09 Jan 2004 at 3:42 am
  13. Yelpguy Frank wrote:

    Hah, I missed this one. Nice, Smivey.

    Posted 21 Feb 2007 at 4:10 pm

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