Painted Ladies

So one day about 15 or 16 years ago or so, Court and Bill and I were having lunch at Jen’s house. It was Mother’s Day. Court was a sophomore at Colorado State.  We were talking about silly things we do as kids.

“So Son,” I said to Court, “do you have any tattoos anywhere on your body?”

I fully expected – in fact, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind – that he would say, “Of course not Mom. What do you think I am, some sort of thug?”

Instead, much to my surprise, he got a panicked look on his face, the look he gets when he doesn’t know whether to tell the truth or lie. Court’s never been a great liar. He tends to blink a lot, thereby giving himself away.

This time, however, he was forced to tell the truth. He admitted he had gotten a tattoo somewhere around the first or second week of his freshman year. I had never dreamed he had a tattoo.

I say he was forced to tell the truth because, in fact, Bill knew about the tattoo. The summer between his freshman and sophomore year, Court was out mowing our lawn with his shirt off while I was at work. Bill noticed the tattoo and asked Court about it when he came inside.

“When did you get the tattoo?” Bill asked him.

“What tattoo?” Court asked. Blink, blink, blink.

“Court, I saw you out back with your shirt off and I saw the tattoo,” Bill said. “When did you get it?”

Court finally acknowledged the tattoo, and asked Bill not to say anything to me. Bill never said a word, keeping his word to his stepson. I will tell you, however, he was having a world of fun as this conversation progressed.

Court tattooCourt showed me the tattoo, which was on his bicep, and the funniest thing about the whole tattoo business is that the tattoo he chose was praying hands. Ha. My son, the non-church goer, with permanent praying hands on his bicep.

I talked about it with him later, and expressed my concern that it would present a bad image in the future. But Court gave me food for thought. He noted that while tattoos were rare amongst my age group, they were commonplace among his generation and therefore it would never be held against him. What he said made sense. It is true, in fact, that I can only think of a handful of adults of his generation or younger with no tattoos whatsoever.

I was thinking about this the other day when I saw two young teenaged girls (maybe early 20s) walking together in the grocery store parking lot. Both were tattooed, and one girl’s entire arm was tattooed. They looked like totally innocent, suburban girls, not the heavily tattooed kind. Then I remembered that my lovely niece Jessie – a perfectly normal young woman studying to be an environmental engineer – has several tattoos. So, again, she is proving Court’s point that tattoos are part of life in the 21st century…..

… indicated by the tattoos on the back legs of a woman I recently saw stocking_ribbon_tattoo_by_squirlybarbie-d3h02eyat Starbucks. Yoiks. This photo, by the way, is not of the actual legs, but something I found on the internet as I was too taken aback at the sight of the woman’s legs to remember to take a photo. The tattoo, however, is identical.

Despite Court’s acclamation that tattoos are here to stay, I can’t help but think that someday this young woman will wish she didn’t have laces up the back of her legs. Perhaps when she is 85 and the laces are sagging and appear to be untied.

But what do I know? I, for one, haven’t a single tattoo on my body.

3 thoughts on “Painted Ladies

  1. I always tell people that don’t know Bj that he is not mainstream. Therefore I think it’s interesting that he does not have a tattoo. I guess though, that fact, actually proves Court’s point.

  2. After a month of work, my job finally knows I have tattoos. I try to keep them covered in the workplace because even though they are gaining more and more acceptance, you never know who may think less of you for having them. But it was very, very hot the other day and I could either take off my cardigan or suffer from heat stroke. My boss goes, “Look at you, rockin’ the half sleeve!” And then she asked me to show her the entire thing. We had a long discussion of tattoos and tattoo acceptance, and how surprised she was that I have any, since I am mostly serious and very professional at work. It was a great talk, though, because I no longer feel shy having them out.

    • I’m glad you took off the cardigan for many reasons, not the least of which is I would be sad if you suffered heat stroke. I’m not surprised your boss was supportive. And not surprised, for some reason. I would think the world of science would be less judgmental than, say, the world of finance or law.

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