Day 228: Girl Ink

My wife wants to get a new tattoo. Fortunately, it’s of musical notes from a song she finds meaningful. Unfortunately, she wants to get it on her upper arm like she has a mullett and works at a custom chopper shop. I could understand if she was a militant lesbian trying to prove a point about gender roles, but she’s a beautiful heterosexual mother of two who just wants a little permanent musical tribute on her skin. She only has one other tattoo on her ankle, so there’s plenty of real estate.  The upper arm is a place for dudes to have bucking broncos, flaming skulls and tribal shit they don’t understand. No one would get a face tattoo of a flower. The face is for mean messages to your mom and numbers of the beast, just like the neck is for barbed wire and GED cheat sheets. The content needs to match the location. That being said, even if my wife wanted a tattoo of Ozzy biting the head off a bat, or a wolf howling at a crescent moon, I would still encourage her to get it somewhere feminine.

Here’s the big problem with it. There’s a motion you have to make when showing someone a new tattoo. If it’s on the back of your neck, you can gently move your hair aside to show it off. If it’s on the inside of your wrist, you can demurely turn your arm over. When it’s on your upper arm, you have to lift up your sleeve like you’re getting a vaccination or you’re a a vapid gym rat showing off his tricep muscle. That’s why face tattoos suck; there’s no reveal; hey, if you’d like to converse with me,  you’ll also be speaking to the tarantula I had etched on my forehead by a prison inmate during a difficult time with methamphetamine addiction.

I know some dudes dig a chick with a lot of tattoos. And I agree, a sleeve of tattoos is useful on a woman with a serious skin condition to cover up. I, however, enjoy the natural color and feel of a woman’s skin. I don’t want to look her up and down and be reading a story of her life’s mistakes. I understand there are some people out there who really enjoy the art of tattoos, and I totally respect that. Do whatever you want to your body if it makes you feel interesting, beautiful or confident. However, if you’re my wife, please try to keep it to feminine looking things in feminine places. In return, I’ll reconsider getting that kitten inked on my lower back.

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Melody C. says:

I definitely have a tattoo of the last line of the Beatles song "In My Life" on my right upper arm. BUT, I have other things with it. I have a jitterbug because I'm a swing dancer, a vine of cherry blossoms across my shoulder, and a gardenia in memory of my grandmother. Honest, it totally looks girly. No stress. :P

Katester says:

Years ago I was friends with a sexy, blonde, girly waitress. She came into work one day with a freaking goathead tattooed on her upper arm. The head of a goat. I think there was some symbolism, but I didn't understand it. She's from Slovakia, so maybe it was a cultural thing I didn't get. I'm sure it will be lovely on her wedding day.

Donna says:

Having just been exposed to your blog, which I love because it gives me things to laugh about or makes my brain wake up long enough to write back…Now I feel a bit guilty if I am writing "with you" or maybe I should keep it to "nice job" great laugh! But you seem to handle it all okay and probably never read my comments anyway since I am writing them way after the fact! Soooo….I will comment anyway! It just made me smile the whole time as you "get this woman" of yours and as much as you'd like to "tweak" a few things, you let her be…Good for you..Now that damn tattoo thing! My daughter has the Black Flag band tattoo on her upper arm which frankly makes me think of Nazi band but she just rolls her eyes when I say that. And she's a grown woman so has the right to do what she wants. Plus I found out on a trip to Hawaii a few years back all these surfer dudes keep coming on to her when they saw the Black Flag tattoo. What? It was cool? How could that be? Like you said, It was on the UPPER ARM! She just sighed since she was in her late 20's and just looks 16 that if she had known it was going to be such a boy magnet she would have done it early in life! Okay, I had accepted it, I mean I'm a liberal mom right (who only has heart attacks she suffers in silence) but then a few years later on another visit I see this "turn table" tattoo on the forearm of the other arm. Geez what is it with the arms? Couldn't she have done it on her butt or something? She's her father's daughter, a music nut…She's always been thin and I wonder what happens as she gets older and gains weight (you can't find those genes)? Will they stretch out and get all warped looking? I don't get it…But it is her arms…still…does that mean my grandson will grow up thinking they are so cool he will have body art? Lordy, sometimes it's good to be really old when they have kids…

Annoyed says:

Keeping it to 'nice job' would have been a better choice.

Monkeygirl says:

Holy moly. Talk about a "difficult time with methamphetamine addiction".. I think Donna had a redbull. Or something.. :)

Katie D. says:

Sometimes I think about writing a blog. It would be a bit like this one, funny, insightful, intelligent, but then I read the comments you get. Comments from people who take your lighthearted blog too seriously, from people who completely miss the point, and from people who are just obnoxious. I don't know how you deal with a bunch of strangers telling you what to do and sharing their opinions on things that are completely not their business. Kudos to you for being able to put up with them and keep your blog fun.

Jason Good says:

It's upsetting, but ultimately worth it because the good well-thought-out positive insights are enough to make your day

Anonymous says:

I know it's supposed to be comedic, but this reinforces negative gender identities. I am not a militant lesbian, and generally don't like tattoos on anyone. But I do find the implication that that women should consider where a man would like to see a tattoo on her body discouraging, whether you are a mother of two children or a lesbian.

Todd Thompson says:

I agree with the first author. Tiz America do what U wish, that's what we r all about I guess. But I hope my 2nd wife is not inked head to to, I'm only 43, but I kinda like the feel and look of cute nice clear skin. Covering Ur body with life mistakes, ugh, I can see it in a way, BUT I know 3 people who got elbow to shoulder full color designs of a dead baby that the grandmother rolled over on and smothered. They are scary. What if U get blessed with a new cute baby, should it hug its family only to stare into the face of a dead one? We have cemetarys, buy a BIG stone, a bench, a fountain, add em on, rememberence pic at home, a nice cross neclace of rememberance, but some angles of the tattoo are basically scary. A new little 3 year old is just not going to remember or see that with the same eyes as us adults, could really scare little ones, remember they are scared of things in the closet or under the bead. Peace

The Grammarian says:

Dude, why do you treat our mother tongue like a two-bit whore? You are 43, for god's sake, not some modern moody adolescent raised to think text-speak is a suitable form of written communication. Act your freakin' age; to do otherwise is unbecoming…

Michele says:

Will you marry me?

Katester says:

Bravo!

E says:

I have two roses on my left arm that have mean something special to me. It doesn't look manly or weird in any way. I have never had anyone ever comment about it looking or being any of the sort. And my friends and family would tell me. It is quite easy to cover up with normal sleeved shirts. It is hard when you want to wear a sleeveless dress or just get dressy and it will show. But it is a part of me and I am not ashamed. That is just something she would want to think about before having it done. It is kinda like the ankle situation. If you wanna wear a skirt, you have to wear a bandaid or something to cover it if work doesn't let you wear tatoos. With any tatoo, you have to really think about your situation later on. Kids weddings when they happen, etc… Do you really want that to show? I think it is a very good choice of a tatoo, not vulgure or something that will not look good or be out of style or anything. Good luck. :)

beckyp says:

Very funny post I almost spit out my soda when I read the part of the wolf howling at the moon. My sister has that tat and it is on her upper arm. I have 10 tattoos but none of them are on my upper arm. I feel they way you do with that being a mans spot. I have one on my ankle, 3 on my wrists, one on the back of my neck, two on my side and the rest on my back.

libco says:

I have a coyote howling at the moon. On my upper arm. LOL.

Squeak says:

I agree that upper arm tattoos on women are awful. However, a kitten tramp stamp on a man? Brilliant.

miss_conception says:

Wow – I could have written this about my husband. However, when I show off my self-drawn tribal band, it's like sliding your dress up your leg to show a garter – elegant and seductive. But somehow, when my husband wanted one, there was something vulgar (and dare I say matchy-matchy?) about it. You're entitled to feel the way you feel about your spouse's tattoo choices, however it's a cop out to blame it on your own sense of "femininity" and I hope that you're smart enough to not let her read this. After all, we all need something that's our own and if we can't feel like our body is our own…we start to question a lot of things. And yes, I keep my mouth SHUT about my husband's new tattoo…which didn't turn out half as bad as I feared it would.

Dani says:

Ok, go for the black light tattoo – when you're in normal light, such as with family wearing that sleeveless gown, no problem – no tattoo.

When you're in a dimly lit bar with black lights highlighting everything from acrylic fingernails to the white fragments of undergarments peeking out of a woman's clothing (not nearly as attractive when it's a man's undergarments peeking out) a musical note tattoo on a woman's arm would at least be something different and interesting to look at!

Jason Good says:

Just a little comedy, Bird. No ownership here. Cheers

Bird says:

She's your wife, not your property. Encourage her to follow her dreams and pursue her self-expression. Encourage her to be herself.

Meg says:

He can certainly give his opinion to his wife. He is not forcing her to do anything. He is simply stating his view on the subject. Arm tattoos are not for everyone.

Kitten tattoo…plz post pics ASAP. :)

Mrs. Fun says:

I have one tattoo, want more. Yet I agree that too many is not cool and they do have to be tastefully done and put in places you can hide them if needed.

You shouldn't hold your wife back though, whats a few musical notes? And please refrain from the kitten tattoo, bad idea all around ;)

Eric Larson says:

I happen to think that a tattoo on a pretty girl is like slapping a bumper sticker on a Rolls Royce. Encourage her to explore the art of henna tattoos, or at least wait until the technology exists to get "semi-permanent digital tattoos." It's probably not that far down the road.