Tuesday, July 22, 2008

In which I out myself as an old man

Richard Cohen on tattoos:

[t]he tattoos of today are not minor affairs or miniatures placed on the body where only an intimate or an internist would see them. Today's are gargantuan, inevitably tacky, gauche and ugly. They bear little relationship to the skin that they're on. They don't represent an indelible experience or membership in some sort of group but an assertion that today's whim will be tomorrow's joy. After all, a tattoo cannot be easily removed. It takes a laser -- and some cash.

From an aesthetic perspective, I think tattoos are ugly - like scars or giant birthmarks. That's a personal judgment about which reasonable people will differ. What really confuses me is people who have tattoos they can't cover up. If the ink spills down to your wrist or splashes across your neck, there isn't much chance you can look like a person worthy of a jumbo mortgage or a security clearance. That's all well and good if you want to be a barista or a musician, but wouldn't a sensible person at the very least reserve the right to go into a more lucrative line of work? I suppose it's one way to prevent yourself from selling out.

Perhaps a time will come where having the title of a Black Flag song scrawled across your right hand doesn't make people wonder if your heart is really in investment banking. That day hasn't arrived.

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