I decided on a green and pink serpent on my forearm. And apart from the occasional Death Eater allusion, no one was too surprised by my recent addition. I choose to believe it's because people assume I'm daring enough to get a tattoo, not that it was so clearly evident a temp.
My foray into the temporary got me thinking about real body art. I used to have an obsession with tattoos and would plan which one I would get the moment I turned eighteen. I never wanted a monstrously big one - always just a tiny thing that I could appreciate but not advertise to the world. In seventh grade, I wanted a star of my wrist (très Gisele). At fifteen, I wanted a small word or French phrase. By seventeen, I was settled on the idea of getting a small swallow on either my wrist or side of my forearm.
When I actually turned eighteen, I reneighed on my promise. Suddenly, getting a tattoo was something I desperately wanted to avoid. When friends would ask what I thought of tattoos, I would always dismiss them - saying that I would never be able to become First Lady if I had a tat.
But the truth of the matter is a little different. While even the baddest bad gals of retro Hollywood never got tattoos (you'd never see Lana Turner with a tramp stamp), the stigma behind tattoos has definitely changed in the last few decades. Now it's hip - even commonplace - for people to have tattoos. What made me reconsider getting inked was the very nature of tattoos themselves - they are forever. I hated the permanency of it; I'm probably the worst type of person to even consider getting a tattoo - I hate change of any sort, but I'm also extremely noncommittal. Getting inked, even with something smaller than a dime, seemed too revolutionary for me.
I recently read an interview with Olivia Kim, one of the head gals of Opening Ceremony, on Into the Gloss. In addition to her enviable job and lustworthy wardrobe, she had a slew of really cool tattoos. Little birds, hearts, bows, boats, sea ships, and cupcakes adorn her hands. I really loved her quote about tattoos: "I love the idea that it really marks where you are in your life at that time. I think people are scared of that permanence but I feel like, it's ok, you can always move on, you can cover it, you can take it off if you don't like it. I remember everything about each one." I credit Kim with my recent (i.e. last night when I couldn't fall asleep and this afternoon when my friend and I were bored and start googling 'tiny tattoos') change in feelings towards tattoos. The permanency may very well be an attractive aspect, and I just misunderstood. Tattoos are like souvenirs of yourself from a particular moment in time.
Maybe I will reconsider my personal stance on the tattoo. Though, with my parents possibly reading this, maybe I won't.
Angelina Jolie and her many tattoos
Evan Rachel Wood
Kate Moss has several tattoos: an anchor on her right arm, a 'P' on her hip, a star on her ankle, and a small heart on her hand
Lindsay Lohan has many tattoos: a star on her wrist, "Shhh..." on her index finger, 'La bella vita' on her lower back, "Breathe" done in white ink
Marianne Faithfull has a swallow tattooed on her hand
I love the wings that Nicole Richie has on her back
Sienna Miller has stars on her shoulder and a swallow on her inner wrist
Title: from "Tattoo" (The Who)