I want a tattoo. The feeling just snuck up on me. It started in Vegas when I dabbled in some henna (really bad, non-traditional henna). I got a huge fairy on my left shoulder and a small heart on the inside or my right wrist. My girlfriend discouraged me from getting the small “tribal” bird on the back of my neck, and I’ve been daydreaming about it since. Let’s be clear—my parents would probably disown me, in Hebrew, and send me the info for a great removal place if I did get one. I’m not saying I will—but my interest has been piqued. The fantasies have made me more aware of the body art that other people dabble in and I found that in the Mission, tattoos are often a manifestation of chic.
While watching Project Runway recently I noticed that Heidi Klum has a tattoo inside her right arm. You’d never see that in a Victoria’s Secret catalog. Model Jessica White also has a large tattoo on the back of her neck that is often covered up for photo shoots and runway shows. I remember when R&B singer Monica debut her second album, sporting an armband in her videos. It turned out that she was just covering up a tank truck tattoo, which has been replaced with an even larger tattoo of Jesus. And even today, rapper/producer/nerd, Pharrell has gone to the extremity of having some of his body art removed (he has full body coverage too—ouch!). But walk around the Mission District for just an hour and you will see bracelets, birds, naked women and even self portraits, inked into the skin.
The origins of tattoos have been debated for some time now. Some scientists say that “tats” date back to 3300 B.C., some say 5000 years. Indigenous people of Japan and New Zealand traditionally wore facial tattoos. My ex-boyfriend is crazy about tattoos (as he says I’m into piercings). Ask him who Tom Ford is and he’ll shrug. I know he still owns Tommy Hilfiger pants that he had since high school. He reads Dress Code and it sometimes goes over his head. But engage him in a conversation about tattoos and he’s game. For him, and people like him, tattoos are fun, and a creative expression of self and self interest.
The way I think a great pair of shoes are an extension of my sense of style—and I do love to show off my style—tattoos are exactly that for tattoo lovers. So when I was curious about my bird I went to the one place I go to get anything on my body manipulated—Body Manipulations on 16th Street. One of the tattoo artists, Thaoe, talked to me about the procedure and explained that it’s a big decision. He was so friendly and after getting my Monroe piercing with Eldo Chen, I trust the folks at Body Manipulations.
They say tattoos are addictive, once you get one you keep getting more, which might explain the cluster of random tattoos that the same ex has on his arms and chest. I don’t know if that would happen to me. But ever since I’ve been dreaming about the bird, I have been thinking about how cool that heart on the inside of my wrist looked too.