Shithouse rat

I'm a bipolar writer in the Naked City. I'm not playing with a full deck. I don't have all my dots on the dice. My cheese is sliding off my cracker. I don't have both oars in the water. I'm a bubble off plum. In other words, I'm crazier than a shithouse rat. These are my stories. Comments--short or long, nasty or nice--always welcome!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

What's with the tattoos?!?

Originally uploaded by Elvira Black.
Though tattoos are now ubiquitous, many people still look askance at them. My boyfriend BG is a long time tattoo afficianado, and over the years has acquired many of them on his arms. Mind you, he doesn't strut down the street in a muscle top flashing them to the general public, but when he wears a short sleeve shirt, some of them are visible. And based on this-- especially combined with his triple hooped earrings in both ears--some assume that he is a certain "caliber" of guy--certainly not a bourgie kind of fellow, at any rate--and perhaps a sinister, dangerous sort to boot.

When I met BG, he did have some tattoos, but they were not of the highest caliber. Being a Halloween Scorpio, most of his tattoos celebrate this in some way--pumpkins, witches stirring steaming cauldrons, skulls, black cats, and so on. That fateful Halloween night when he walked into my regular bar and swept me off my feet, he was able to prove to me that it was indeed his special day by displaying a skull tattoo inscribed with his birthday, 10/31/50. But since the lame tattoo artist didn't know how to do clear numerals, the 5 looked like a 3, so I coyly asked him if he was born in 1950 or 1930. Very cute, I know.

Over the 7 years I've known him, I've treated BG to many new tattoos. Since I knew of one cool tattoo parlor in my neck of the woods on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, I insisted he go there and get his work done by the young "kids"--20 and 30 somethings--who knew how to do it up right, and were up on the latest technologies.

BG doesn't do the tattoos to intimidate others--he just loves them. And when you're into them, it's kind of an addiction. As soon as you get out of the chair, you forget the pain you went through and want more.

But once in awhile they do come in handy to deliver a "message." For instance, one time he was on the check cashing/bill paying line in the Bronx, paying his cable and phone bills. There was a long line, and he'd been waiting there for about 20 minutes, when some guy came out of nowhere and gave him a cock and bull story about how he'd been on line in front of him, but had gone to put money in the meter. BG rolled up his sleeves for emphasis, revealing an assortment of skulls and other horrific images, and informed the interloper that he wasn't about to let him get ahead of him. The guy instantly turned around and left, his check uncashed.

Anyway, shortly after I met BG, my friend (let's call her Babs) from work was anxious to meet this sweet guy who kept giving me flowers and presents all the time. Babs was a ditzy broad--likeable enough, but her supervisor couldn't stand her because she was so scatterbrained. She also was kinda a slut--and I say this with affection--because she told me about instance after instance where she chased after guys she had just met and wouldn't rest until she slept with them. That's not so unique, I suppose, but the thing is that she was not interested in a one-night stand, but rather became instantly infaturated with each guy and dove in head first.

At the time I met BG, Babs and I were both on the prowl--though I remained chaste in my pursuits for Mr. Right (of course). I'd even met a nice Scorpio online shortly before meeting BG, and kind of pawned her off on Babs, who immediately fell head over heels. Unfortunately, the guy turned out to be a soon-to-be-divorced, stone cold alkie, broke and sleeping in a church, and impotent to boot. Another recent Babs escapade involved the night she went to a bar, started chatting with the bartender, hung around all night until closing and then just wouldn't give up until he took her home--though he was far from hard up and it was not really his idea. Unfortunately, the guy didn't wear a condom and she neglected to tell him she had genital warts (ugh) until much later, so he was not a happy camper, to say the least.

So anyway, Babs was hell-bent on meeting BG. He picked me up at work, and we headed to a local bar. I told Babs it was our treat, since she was also the carefree, live for the moment sort who sometimes had to borrow money from me to prevent the electric company from cutting her off or the landlord from throwing her out.

So we met up, went to the bar, and settled in at a booth in the back. Things were strained from the start--the vibes were all wrong. But the moment that really sticks in my mind was when she abruptly turned to BG and demanded: "What's with the tattoos?"

It was an awkward moment. Babs was a Manhattan-born babe, who thought of herself as sophisticated and liberated, but like me, she was also a nice sheltered Jewish girl who hung with guys who were mostly college educated and tattooless. BG was certainly a wee bit different from the sort of guy I was used to, but I liked it. Needless to say, I was shocked at the way she blatantly judged and sterotyped my beloved BG.

I told BG to lift up his sleeve and show her the yellow rose emblazoned with my name. She said, "Oh, THAT one's good." (What she would have given to have a guy put "BABS" on his bicep for her....I'm sure!)

Anyway, she wound up drinking plenty of Stolis on us. She wanted us to wait and have her condom free boyfriend meet up with us, and doubless do a double glom of free rounds--but we demurred though she begged us to stick around. That was the last time BG and I got together with Babs.

How could someone who worked in Greenwich Village and lived in the East 20s not have noticed that all the kids in New York City were getting full sleeve, or even full body tattoos? Sheesh.

In any case, I love to humor and pamper BG, though I would never get a tattoo myself. One of the guys in the cool tatooo place I took him to was a twenty-something sort who was the spitting image of Brad Pitt. Of course, girls would come in and moon around him, but he was a young, free spirit. So one day after a tattooed girl had come in and invited him up to her parent's country house for the weekend, BG said to him, wow, that's cool--you must meet a lot of women in this line of work.

Tattoo guy and his colleage both laughed and said--"We don't trust women who get tattoos. They're all crazy."

Well, I'm a crazy bitch, but at least I'm not a crazy tattooed bitch. I leave the excitement to BG.


At 1:24 PM, Blogger Henry said...


I thought I told you to stay out of my head!


I actually have a lot to say on this subject, but first I need to take some pics of my own skin art....

As Ahnold would say, "I'll be back!"

At 2:16 PM, Blogger Judith said...

Only crazy bitches get tattoes? If some one told me that in the Fall of 1993, I'd have been in treatment for crazy 12 years now!

I have a magenta and teal gecko crawling up my upper right arm, because my dad calls me "Newt". I got this tat with a bunch of Navy buddies, they got girlfriends names and wives names (probably broken up and divorced by now), Navy art (probably kicked out by now), etc...I figured my dad will always be my dad.

Anyway, I've been wanting to get 3 smaller geckos crawling up my other arm, for each of my kids.

At 2:45 PM, Blogger !ce said...

I want to hear more about this Brad Pitt look-alike.

At 3:31 PM, Blogger Walker said...

There is a definite stigma with tattoos. Most people associate them with bikers and drugs. 40 years ago it was sailors who had them , but none the less . tattoos ment trouble.
Sinse then many celebs have gotten tats and has soften the view towards them and kid tiday and older people have gone out to get tattoos to imulate their idols.
Thats all fucked if you ask me.
You want a tattoo, go get one for your own reasons, and there are many reasons to get one or two and their arwe just as many reasons not to get one but do it for your own reasons.
Looking at me you would never know if I have any tattoos. I can walk down the street in a tank top and shorts and would see clean skin everywhere but the truth of the matter is 25% of my body is covered.
Most of my back has eagles battling in flight.
The work was done on me is by one of the best tattoo artists in the world.
He does appearances through out Europe and the States.
I waited until I waas 30 to get my first tattoo, I wanted all my anger gone from me and I wanted to make my choices on my beliefs rather than my emotions.
I spend 4 sessions in a chair at about 8 hours a session to get what I have and I am happy with it. I wanted it for me and not to show off with. I don't need my tats to scare people I can do that with a look. LOL
I do have problems at the beach though if I want to go swimming, it usually attracts kids and their mothers, usually grabbing their kids and running off or the occational mom who would want nothing more than to fuck a bad boy, as many have called me. (I dissagree but fuck it why argue)
My phylosophy on tattoos, if you want one get it but remember its there for good so make sure its what you want.
2. you dont like my tats cool, now fuck off and don't stare at them.

Have a nice weekend

At 6:51 PM, Blogger !ce said...

I find tattoos and piercings on a guy hot.

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Brink Craven said...

Hey ya'll--

I have One lone tattoo. Like Walker I didnt ink myself until I was 30. Unfortunately, it made no difference. Although I was definitely "mature". I was still an impulsive, emotionally driven mess.
At the same time that I walked into one of Austins new trendy tat parlors, I was working at the Humane Society/ city animal shelter. It was like working in a concentration camp--complete with gas chambers and all. The main difference being, that we didnt despise our "prisoners", we loved them and did what we did out of nessesity, not hate.
Anyway, I digress... That job really f*cked with my head, and over the course of time as an employee there, I rapidly declined mentally and emotionally. But being the survivor that I am, I tried various means of expressing and sublimating the pain and expereince of it through various means, most of which werent all that healthy. The tat I got was prolly one of the more healthy ways I found to express and excise that (mostly repressed) pain.

I walked into the parlour like a woman on a mission from God, and studied the flash art. A few things caught my eye, one of which was this Mayan style tat of an ancient dog (mayans worshipped dogs--in particular the chi. which is a native breed to Mexico). Then I left, because I didnt want to be TOO impulsive, afterall. Of course, I couldnt get that damn dog out of my mind, and showed up the next day and got it done.
I should have known there would be trouble when the tatoo guy said, "oh your getting the tat of the donkey" I said,"its not a donkey, its a dog" and he said, "no its not, its a donkey" and I said, "no, its not. donkeys dont have sharp teeth and toes." Finally, he aquiesed and admitted, yes youre right, it must be a dog then.
Needless to say, I went ahead and got it, but the whole argument left a bad taste in my mouth. Also, while I was in the chair a group of pig tailed sorority sisters from U of T, were getting little green shamrocks tattooed on thier butts (it was St Patty's day) This discusted me even further.
Now I have had this tat for over 12 years and it only recently occured to me WHY I chose an image of a dog to have permentantly applied to my skin. It never even occured to me at the time. I never put 2 and 2 togther.
My advice-- never get a tat when you are in emotional upheaval about anything--even if its not quite apparent to you at the time. Check yur head.
Also, if the the tat artist cant even tell what your tat is supposed to be, then dont make the mistake of thinking he is just a dummy, and everyone else will recognize it for what it truly is.
Everytime someone sees it and says"why did you get a tattoo of a donkey on your arm?" I cringe. But what the hey, I guess donkeys are people too. I have found a way to appreciate them more than I ever would have thought I could or ever would. (did I really have a choice?)

however, there have also been many people who see it and know right off whats its supposed to represent. In fact, one Mexican woman I ran into at my daughters school assembly, saw it and said, "oh thats a blah blah (the name of the mayan dog symbol) I asked her to repeat the name so I could write it down, but I have long since lost it. Too bad. Now I have totally lost interest.

Sorry this comment is so long, E. but my expereince surrounding my tattoo has so many layers of meaning and signifigance to me.

Now write about peircings and I could go on even longer-haha.

At 12:47 AM, Blogger rob said...

My favorite tats are not permanent. The best are tan-toos, of course those die-hard tatooies will disagree.

At 1:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yes, like you, I have no tattoos.
(However, our other halves do).
Both S and B have them. My half, S, only has one small one. But, B has many to "fit in" with her own generation. I know many of her friends have them too.

I just didn't want to deal with the pain, (I hear it can be very intense). I'm one with a very low tolerence to pain-I'm a chicken to it. Who needs it, not me.

B also has piercings in many parts of her body. The tongue, the nose, and... I don't want to know where else. WTMI!

I guess everyone must find their own path to nirvana to give
them that "peace of mind" we all are looking for. Mine happens not to include a sharp needle stuck in my arm-ouch!


At 9:23 PM, Blogger elvira black said...

Now get back over here and tell us all about it! Who knew?

That's funny about the tattoos of regret. I bought BG a big tattoo book awhile back. A really cool one that had really old tattoos, Japanese tats, modern tats, you name it. Fascinating stuff. Anyway, I recall one or two people who did have several names of old flames crossed out, replaced with the latest "acquisition." Your geckos sound cool!

You are a naughty boy! What kind of talk is that from an avowed asexual? LOL.

Did you say EIGHT hours a session! Holy shit. Talk about intense. Yes, tattoos used to be only for very bad boys. I saw a special about prison tattoos--not for the faint hearted. Lets see now--25 percent of your body--does that include areas other than your back that are usually covered up in public? Hmmm...

LMAO! Yes, once you get a tat, there's no turning back. Although they do now have a laser procedure to remove tats that is supposed to be ten times more painful than the tattoo was. Yikes...I think I'll pass on the whole "adventure." I'd love to hear some piercing stories--this post kind of covers all body art.

I'm with you. Maybe I'll do some of those temp tattoos for BG's birthday on Halloween. He already has more earrings than I do; gotta compete somehow. Sheesh.

That particular path to "nirvana" is one I won't be taking. Although I do hear that the pain does release endorphins, but that's not enough to make me a convert. My big wild adventure was when I got a second set of piercings in my ears. Wow, did I feel like a boho babe then!

At 6:33 PM, Blogger Henry said...

Sorry, my comment got ate last night. Maybe I can put it on later.


Post a Comment

<< Home