Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tattoo Musings

Though he is by no means square, my husband has never really been into any counter culture movement. Not like me, in other words. I had goth leanings in high school, blasting Bauhaus and This Mortal Coil, much to my sister's chagrin. In early college I was all hippied out with long hair half way down my back that often filled with a mega rat's nest (at best, people might have assumed it was some half-assed rastfarian look but in reality, I was just too lazy to brush my extremely thick hair. What can I say? It was the 90s. The baggy bag lady look was in. ;) ) Now I would say I do my own thing: a touch of vintage, classic lines with a kick, black with a dash of color, handmade jewelry and accessories. I do admire the rockabilly scene, or anyone else who dresses all out 40s or 50s. Getting up every morning to set your hair, wear vintage heels and gurtels; now that is a true commitment to style.

I'm not really sure what I think about
tattoos. My husband, of course, doesn't like them. Except on a certain kind of woman. "On certain kind of women it can look hot," he's told me. When I asked him which kind he pointed out short women with broad shoulders. I have a small tattoo myself that I got as a birthday present when I turned 20. It's a small black Chinese character (I know, I know. At least it isn't a rose or a Celtic armband!)on my upper back which means "peace" in ancient Chinese, though I've heard from Chinese speaking friends that it looks quite a bit like the modern character for vegetable. At the time I was in my hippie, meat-is-murder phase, so I decided I would joke about it and tell people I had gotten it to promote vegetarianism.

I ran across these vintage tattoo photographs a few weeks ago on the internet and found them fascinating. At the time, unless maybe you were a sailor, having a tattoo was something truly subversive. The word "counter culture" had not yet been coined. These people were probably labeled freaks, fallen women, carnies, outsiders. Now that is a hardcore commitment; I admire it.


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