Why I Don't Have Any Tattoos (But Why I Like Them)

Commitment issues. It's as simple as that. I can't come up with any particular image, word or symbol that I want permanently on my body. I know myself. I'd change my mind sooner or later and getting tattoos removed is painful and not all that effective.

The closest I ever came was when I was in college in Olympia, Washington. I used to hang out on Pacific Avenue in Tacoma and I had befriended a tattoo artist named Painless Brenda. One night I was drunk. I walked in to Brenda's shop, sat down and told her that I wanted a mushroom cloud on my right bicep, with the words, "Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke" written below it. In my inebriated state it struck me as an existential badass tattoo.

Brenda looked at me, shook her head no, then threw me out of her parlor. She told me that she didn't permit "cursing in her presence" and to come back when I was sober.

I did go back when I was sober. I brought her a bottle of the wine she liked and thanked her for having tossed me out.

I like tattoos. A good tattoo can be beautiful, and sexy. There are plenty of others that are just plain interesting, fascinating even. There are bad ones though. Sooner or later some of the chain tattoo removal parlors are going to start making lots of money. There wasn't, however, any traffic at their booths Friday and yesterday at the Tattoo and Body Modification Expo at the L.A. County Fairgrounds.

Every chance I get, I go to tattoo expos. What's great about them is that everyone who's there, shows up to see and be seen. They take the word "expo" seriously. It's a photographer's paradise. A whole crowd of people who love it when you take their picture; who are comfortable with their bodies; who are, often literally, colorful.

Here's a few photos from Friday and Saturday at the Tattoo Expo. (If you want to see a lot more, I've put them on a Flickr page. (I suggest using the slide show function.)

But, for those of you who don't want to go to the Flickr Page here's a preview:

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Comment by Michael C. Jacobs on August 7, 2007 at 6:17am
Hey Eric,

I'm with you on the committment thing. I've never had an image I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

I've seen some tattoos lately which are done in some sort of glow under black light ink. Invisible in normal light. I kind of like the idea of that.
Comment by Eric Stone on July 24, 2007 at 12:30pm
I'm afraid that I'm no longer a St. Martins author, now with Bleak House.
I do worry what a lot of tattoos are going to look like in a number of years. I imagine they take a great deal of maintenance: moisturizing, exercise, shaving or waxing. I'm not really up to the job.
Comment by Rosemary Harris on July 24, 2007 at 12:17pm
BTW, I'm a St Martins author, too.
Comment by Rosemary Harris on July 24, 2007 at 12:15pm
Ouch. And thank goodness for Brenda. Never a good idea to make any longterm decisions while under the influence. There was a funny video clip going around about all the woman who have tattoos in the small of their backs and what they're gonna look like 10 or 20 years down the road. Not pretty.
Comment by chelbel on July 24, 2007 at 10:54am
Those Tattoos are fantastic. I love tatts too. Have some and never tire of them. I go to expos every now and then and have a shelf load of "skin Deep" mags!
Comment by Eric Stone on July 24, 2007 at 8:46am
Thanks Patricia. I guess you're never too old for anything that you might want to do and are capable of doing. At least, that's what I hope at my advancing age.
Comment by Patricia on July 24, 2007 at 8:41am
Amazing pictures Eric...some of the artwork is just unbelievable....some I wasn't sure where the tattoos were ;-) Some of them are extreme...I mean that face of the Godfather...whoa

I have always wanted one also but never thought that I would...until this winter....I know I don't really look that type (is there are type now?). So never say never....you may just succumb at the right moment in time.

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