22 July 2007

Why I Don't Have Any Tattoos

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 plenty of 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 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: