Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tatt, or not?


I saw a great series of celebrity photos and quotes in Vanity Fair by
Bulgari in support of "Save the Children". This one of the lovely Lena
Headey and her tattoo caught my eye. (I loved her in The Remains
of the Day, Onegin and Possession, by the way.) Now, don't get me
wrong, normally, I don't particularly care much for tattoos, but
Headey's was subtle, even elegant. Most tattoos, in my opinion, are
not in the elegant category, no matter on whose young, elegant skin
they happen to be etched. Take for instance Angelina Jolie's. I think
they are just plain ugly, especially when paired with exquisite
evening wear.

My kids went through a phase back in high school when they were
dying for tattoos. I wasn't so keen on the idea and made them wait,
thinking they would outgrow the obsession. But, both my daughter
and youngest son got tattoos their freshman year in college. My
daughter actually designed her own personal symbol, a very creative
thing to do, I must admit, and my son had a beautiful rendering of
our family crest tattooed on his upper arm. Well, what can I say?
As far as tattoos go, they both chose very tasteful ones. Thank God,
they didn't come home covered from head to toe with them. But,
fifteen years from now, I'm sure there will be a huge market for
tattoo removal, don't you think?

75 comments:

  1. I would imagine you're right. There will be a bit of removal going on in years to come. It's difficult to visualize all these elderly ladies covered in tatoos. But, to each his own, I suppose. As for me, I don't even have my ears pierced, so you can guess how I feel about tatoos!

    I adore Lena Headley as well. Loved her in Mrs. Dalloway!

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  2. I also do not see the point in inking something permanently into your skin (and I'm in the "most likely to ink" demographic!) especially when it's in a place (like the back) where you can't even see it.

    Even when elegantly done, I still say tattoos are a don't!

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  3. I must confess I have never been tempted to have a tattoo. I would imagine there would be a big market for anyone who can design a tattoo medium which fades to nothingness after a couple of years. In such circumstances, I wonder how many people would decide to have theirs re-inked?

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  4. Definitely not a tattoo fan, and no pierced ears here, either.

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  5. Most, if not all tats are basically cartoons. Yeah, that's debatable for a few artsy ones, but even those cannot be excluded as 'toons.

    What gets me is this: We are all restless about fashion - hair styles, shoes, shirts - and the rest. And we are constantly changing things. I can't imagine wearing the same shirt I wore 10 or more years ago. Ditto everything else. But tats are permanent. Inky time capsules of youth and extended adolescence.

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  6. I like tattoos, the arty ones. I always said I would get one when I turned 50 and I even went to a couple of tat parlors with my daughter. Never did it though, just couldn't decide on what I wanted. My daughter has two, one a hibiscus flower (her first) that I did the drawing for. My son, when he was called to go back to Iraq right during that period when so many were dying got the hebrew word for life tattooed on his arm...for protection, he told me. You have to know the Jewish story of the gollum for this to make sense. After he got back safely he had it transformed into something else, can't remember what just now.

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  7. I'm just not into them. And I've never liked Angelina Jolie's.

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  8. I agree with you Willow. Tastes and fashion change so I am not keen on anything that is permanent. Some regard tatoos as fashion but many regard it as art and so therein lies the dilemma, xv.

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  9. I have two tatts at the moment, and if I had enough money I'd add the Green Man to my right upper arm (I have the Haida Raven on my left upper arm and a stylized Hawk eye over my heart). And I find tattooed women very sexy. I once had a mad thing for a woman who had a dragon tattoed on her right side - the head over her shoulderblade, the wings on her shoulder, the body coming over the shoulder, and the tail curled around her right breast. That tatt drove me wild, and she knew it. Heh, heh!

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  10. well, i guess i'm gonna stir the tattoo pot a bit - i have three of those "inky time capsules of youth and extended adolescence" - yes, 3 - and i love them! i have the word "imagine" in chinese characters on my right wrist and the word "believe" in chinese on my left wrist - those were my first ones - then a few months later, for my 65th - SIXTY FIFTH - birthday last year, i celebrated with a large one on my back starting at the base of my neck - it's an "OM" symbol - mine are all in black - my youngest daughter has a beautiful one - very large - and i have encouraged all my children - now all grown obviously - to get a tattoo - several of my grandchildren [also grown] have tattoos as well - i don't mind telling anyone my age nor do i mind having my tattoos visible - even though i, chronologically speaking, probably fall into the category of the first commenter as one of "these elderly ladies" - however, notwithstanding my number of years on this planet, i do not live my life by how others perceive me - oh, and i have it on good authority, with references, that i am anything but....one of those elderly ladies...[whatever that means] :)

    i also have piercings - ears - and i'm thinking of more - for my 66th birthday next month!

    have a great day, everybody!

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  11. They are definitely a generational thing. My 3 kids have many, much to my consternation. I tell them no more, but they do anyway (they are of legal age). They were bad when I was young, so I still carry that baggage. Yet, who thought all these piercings would get so popular. I have put my foot down on those. I told the kids just to brand a big L on their foreheads if they pierce things that shouldn't be pierced. They know what I mean.

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  12. Hard to accept something so permanent, no matter how beautiful. This definitely dates me.

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  13. and, willow, i absolutely love the film onegin too - beautiful story - just got sunshine but haven't watched it yet - have a great evening - jenean

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  14. I'll admit that I don't like tattoos, even the ones with great artistic merit (I've seen some very nice designs over the years). I'm similarly old-fashioned about piercings. I have friends who are extremely keen on both and I can understand their motivations, I just don't like the end results.

    Ah well. It would be a boring life if we were all the same.

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  15. the very thought of having someone cut my skin with a needle and ink or whatever they do gives me the willies. (now what does that phrase mean. gives me the willies.) this post made me recall that on the Cape a bunch of us got rub on butterfly tatoos and mine is still there, though faded. ok, i'm taking a picture and will post it soon.

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  16. Generational? Who knows? I never wanted a tattoo...I have a natural one (birthmark) on my face on my left cheek...looks like a small garnet. However, on NPR's Sunday Weekend Edition a young woman named Jancee Dunn discussed her book WHY IS MY MOTHER GETTING A TATTOO? Her mom declared at age 67, "I am getting a tattoo and no one is going to talk me out of it!"
    In the interview, Dunn tells in great detail the story! It was delightful! To each HER own!

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  17. Okay, bloggies, now I'm going to want to see all of your tattoos!!! Pics, please!

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  18. Pamela, Headey was wonderful in Mrs. Dalloway!! How could I forget that one?!

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  19. There may be some tattoo removal, but most will keep them. If for no other reason than they are far too painful and expensive to remove.

    I have a tiny flower on my fourth toe on my right foot. I didn't get it until I was in my 30's. I love it. It's inconspicuous and looks darn cute in a pair of sassy flip flops!

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  20. Not a tattoo person - but one of my sons and both daughters-in-law have them. Not me, thank you! :-)

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  21. Angelina Jolies Tatt's are just not appealing. Some Tattoos are like artwork, and positioned correctly can look great, but hers have no appeal to me!

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  22. I am "that" daughter who shocked her mom w/a surprise accent between her shoulder blades at a family function over Memorial weekend ;) I have, however, randomly brought up in conversation over the years that I would get one to help calm that shock when I did get it done. I have been of legal age for the last 8 years...plenty of time to convince myself out of it if I was not completely sure. But I came across a star that I fell in love with and imagined that on my back for almost a year. Since I could not find any qualms with the image over that time I went and had it done by a trusted friend and do not regret it one bit! Everyone close to me, especially my mother has said "it looks like you".

    I think that is a big thing w/me and tattoos. It needs to accent your personality...be a part of you and not the other way around. I agree, to many eyesores walking around...but, as it's been said, to each their own ;)

    I don't know if this will work, but I'll try it so ya'all can see ;)

    [URL=http://s862.photobucket.com/albums/ab182/chellie1999/?action=view&current=101_1394_00.jpg][IMG]http://i862.photobucket.com/albums/ab182/chellie1999/th_101_1394_00.jpg[/IMG][/URL]
    [URL=http://s862.photobucket.com/albums/ab182/chellie1999/?action=view&current=101_1393_00.jpg][IMG]http://i862.photobucket.com/albums/ab182/chellie1999/th_101_1393_00.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

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  23. I agree completely on the Angelina Jolie tats...very ugly! But the Lena Headly one is actually pretty. So the freshman year in college is the thing to look out for? Hmmmm....I don't even think I'll tell Taylor! tee-hee!

    The really weird ones are the cosmetic tats..you know, the eyeliner or lipliner...yuck! Just think...someone may have had tadpole brows tatooed on years ago and now they are out of style!

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  24. In thirty years or so we're going to have all of these little old ladies with tiny holes all over their bodies, tats you can't read for wrinkles but perfect breasts!

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  25. I'm not a tattoo person and would like someone to answer this question - would you buy a dress or a shirt that you planned to wear every day for 50 years and would you expect this dress to still be fashionable and exciting all that time later? Probably not! Leigh

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  26. Michelle, wow, that's a striking star. Very detailed. Any particular reason why you were drawn to the star?

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  27. I made sure that all my tattoos are in place that I can cover them if need be...I have both Deltoids and both ankles done...I also had my tattos done in Henna before I had them done permanently...I had to make sure that they were what I wanted to wear forever. All of my tats have very significant meaning... I have a sun on one ankle that is reprensitive of male energies, a triple moon the other that is female energies. Ivy for the earth on one Deltoid, A blue lotus and my daughters name on the other; the lotus is for healing as I am an RN and then I have prayer beads in the shape of the infinity symbol with a rose on the outside of one ankle as a memorial for my Mother-in law that passed. Tattoos should never be taken lightly... but in the end its everyones personal choice. :)

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  28. Hi Wills,
    Just last month I saw on TV how there is a big demand for tattoo removals. It's because the job market is so competitive nowadays that job seekers are removing their tattoos to appear more "professional", and hopefully get hired.
    My BF's wayword daughter had a couple tattoos put on. I know she will regret them later.
    Such is life...

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  29. i've never ever seen a tattoo that i thought was attractive enough to be permanently emblazoned on my body. don't get me wrong. i'm not a prude and i don't pass judgment on anyone who has a tattoo. i'm all about personal freedom of choice. i just choose not to participate.

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  30. I have a tattoo of a green Koi on my inside biceps that I got on Sunset Boulevard in 1979 and I still love it. It gives me a kick to to roll up my sleeve and show it to kids who've been dissing me for being almost 60.

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  31. Too funny. I remember Eric wanted a pierced ear in high school, and I thought, oh, geez...I finally let in, knowing he was so good in any other way--and I figured he'd forget about it in a year. Well, sure enough--in less than a year, he let it grow back over and that was that. But my dad was freaked and said "what if he wants a tattoo now!?" I could only say "Do you have to give him ideas, daddy!?" I'm not a big fan--they just always go with sailors and the Navy to me. I guess I'm getting old. But some are pretty now--there've been a few I thought are nice. I don't want one, but they're ok on someone else! LOL My nephews have pretty elaborate ones on their arms. I just think you're stuck for life, though...

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  32. my sister had a Dopey, now after having children I imagine his name needs to change to Drifty or Dumpy...elegance is in the simplicity i believe.

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  33. I haven't heard of this actress but she has such a stunning face! I have two skin scribbles. Both were to symbolize major points of my life and I would never want them removed because of that significance attached to them. On my left shoulder is a symbol that represents my first fantasy trilogy of books being published. It means 'a messenger of the Gods' and on my left lower leg is a Daisy designed by her father and the date of her birth for our lovely daughter Daisy. I think skin scribbles only work if they represent major life cycles. My sisters had roses engraved and now wanting them off but I'll be happy with mine when I'm a wrinkly, twinkly old lady! I also plan to get another one when my next book is published. It will be a spinning wheel to represent women story tellers. I used to hate them prior to wanting the first one but once you have one the skin scribbles get addictive!
    I didn't care whether it was elegant or not (I know several people now sporting them because of Jolie) but it was more a spiritual marking to me. Mine aren't elegant as such but most people don't even know I have them. I want to see a photo if you get one Willow! xx

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  34. If I could find a patch of skin that I knew would not eventually drape, I'd tatoo a labyrinth that I could actually use. Otherwise, I can't imagine being enchanted enough with any one image to wear it for a lifetime.

    Fun post!

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  35. Funny you should mention that subject because this week I was thinking of making my own temporary tattoos.

    I find tattoos fascinating, even if I can not think of any I should care enough about to leave on my skin more than a day or two (hence the temporary idea). A fascination that started in criminology class as we touched - briefly - on the subject.
    They do not have to be gaudy or too heavy. I like the word or music ones.
    Have you read John Irving's "Till I find you"?

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  36. Oh and also another reason for me NOT to have tattoos is that I have no children to scandalize and therefore no grand children to amaze with a tattoo.
    The siren song of ink in my vein is therefore very faint. Although it can make for a very nice poem.

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  38. You have to consider what they look like 30 years after receiving them. Hideous.

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  39. I remember one of our old( oh yes, he was up there )directors, from Navy boot-camp; he was know nas "Anchor Ears" for a reason: the anchor tatts on his big ear lobes! OUCH! Never got one, myself( prob'ly never will ). It's just not for me, personally.

    A do know a girl that had her own design done( on her foot! )but her ink spots are small and quite nice.

    Too, the market is on the boom for removal, of late...even pills are being touted! Obscure reference to that would be C. Thomas Howell in "Soul Man"...

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  40. One of my sons has tattoos, the other does not. The one that does has good taste: The heart-handcuffs-hummingbird motif from the cover of Leonard Cohen's The Future and bouquet of bluebonnets with his late mother's initials.

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  41. Some are really attractive, but some are awful. I don't have anything against them, just don't choose to have one myself! My sister got herself a cute little butterfly tattoo for her 30th birthday, and I think it looks lovely on her!

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  42. To tatt or not tatt? I have one and I got it I was over the moon. It's shaped like a star, but it was designed for someone I cared for deeply and paid for by a friend whom I regarded highly. Both my love and friend disappeared from my life, the latter after an acrimonious and bitter argument and I wanted to have my tattoo removed. When they told me how much it would cost and the pain involved, I decided to keep it. It looks nice, it sits just below my neck and it does not feel intrusive.

    Your children's tattoos seem to me to carry your and you husband's credentials on their sleeves, so to speak. And I think it is honour to have two grown-ups who consider their family tradition to be so valuable. I agree with you on having your body covered by art. It's not pretty, at least to me. Subtlety, as I usually say, is everything. A bit less is more often than not, a lot more.

    Greetings from London.

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  43. Although I'd never consider having one, and my kids never wanted any, I do have a friend who has one similar to Lena's - a lovely delicate 'bracelet' on the upper arm. Many tats I see are quite ugly.

    How about the pretty girl on the recent American Idol with her entire arm and shoulder tattooed - somehow I feel she will regret that later in life!

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  44. It depends on where the tattoo is. I have seen, both in the Army and on board Navy ships, some tattoos both funny and in hilarious places. How anybody could stand that is beyond me. I suppose a dose of Morphine would work. The funny ones were really, drop-down-to-your-knees-holding-you-belly-funny.

    If I was a religious fanatic, and I am not, I might think the Good Lord would clean mine up or ask St Peter to do it for me, before I was allowed into Heaven (Roses in dull black are ugly).

    Then there is always the archeology students in 3010 who will dig some of us up and marvel at the well-preserved tribal tattoos.

    Be part of history. Become a Follower or leave a comment. Tell you friends. Link up. Pick a Peck of Pixels

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  45. Great subject! A friend's daughter was in a serious auto accident as a teenager, resulting in scars below the waist. She got beautiful scroll work type tatts that concealed the scars and looked so beautiful, she can wear a bikini. I can imagine that those with burn scars would find the idea of a tattoo to be a much needed boost to their self-image and confidence. I think it's great that social acceptance for tatts are helpful for those who don't plan to have scars, but sometimes stuff happens.

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  46. Tattoos are a way of life in San Francisco where I lived for many years. Every time I considered getting one, I remembered that once you have one, it's forever. Even tattoo removal leaves scars and hints of what was once there. The other thing that always stopped me? Getting a tattoo HURTS.

    Needless to say, I'm tattoo-less.

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  47. Fascinating subject! Did you ever read "Parker's Back" by Flannery O'Connor?
    Even thought I don't have any tatoos, I am rather interested in the art and their subtext. Of what it reveals of one's culture and society, and own's individuality and identification.

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  48. I think there is a beautiful simplicity in skin, and so for me, tattoos mar that. But it's a fascinating thing. People who are really into them seem to be really into them, and it's no longer just the subcultures of society. Each one, it seems, has a story and a context, and it makes for fascinating conversation sometimes.

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  49. LOVE the idea of a tatt... however I am a major coward albeit one with a high pain threshold, I dont go looking for pain inflicted by repeated jabbings of needles in bony or delicate areas .. OTOH I adore applying temporary tatts. At the moment I have one on my left ankle its an Inuit design of a whale and was given to me by one of the 5 fabulous women I shared a house with this past weekend at the BlogFest in VA.

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  50. When I told my younger son that he'd look good with a tattoo he stared at me and said -- "But that's such a cliche -- everybody my age is getting a tattoo. No thanks.

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  51. Ouch! I won't even wear high heels because they hurt my feet - I don't think I could endure getting a tattoo (especially since the design I would want would probably be pretty intricate). I operate on the "no pain, be plain" plan of body enhancement...

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  52. I worked for seven years running crewboats in the Louisiana oil patch. Lots of the rig workers were tattooed and many had a girl's name. Out of sheer curiosity over the years I asked those guys, "whatever happened to (insert name here)?" Of the hundreds to whom I posed that question only ONE said "we've been married for 20 years and have four kids."

    When I see some of these tattooed people I'm reminded of the M*A*S*H episode in which Radar wanted to get a tattoo. Hawkeye posed the question, "Why would anyone want something permanently put something on their body that they wouldn't hang over their mantle piece?"

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  53. I'm very old fashioned in that I loathe and despise tattoos and look down on most people that seem to have them. I know it is silly of me but I think they are so ugly, even the so-called pretty ones

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  54. Hello Willow,

    I'm on the NO side too! Even for miniscule ones, in a place where no one can see. But those people who are covered in them make me feel nauseous!

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  55. I love tattoos, but I feel there is a difference between the ones you get for yourself, and the ones you get for other people. Does that make sense? I have three. Etched. One for my children, one for my husband, one ( a simple blue moon and star) for my friend who died last year. All of them are hidden away.

    I like wrinkles and scars too... like rights of passage or something. Funny...

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  56. Henna tattoos are super
    complicated amazing and 2 weeks tops
    then you can get a new one
    as I used to in Morocco.
    I HATE real ones.
    In the punk days in London (1970's) I saw a man with a tattoo round his neck
    "Cut along dotted line" .
    He must be heading for 60 now.
    Do you think the tattoo is lost in the wrinkles......?

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  57. yes!, but I do think some of it is the most wonderful art out there!

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  58. As I get further into my sixth decade I find myself more and more attracted to having a small tattoo. So far I have resisted and hopefully the desire will be enough. Neither of my sons have ever expressed a wish for a tattoo, which quite frankly amazed me when they were younger.
    Each to their own say I.

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  59. I do so agree about tattooes willow, but then maybe I am old fashioned. My grand daughter has a kingfisher perched on her arm - maybe if I were young I would be going for one too.

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  60. HI WILLOW - well, this morning i posted my tattoos over at "gypsywomanworld" for all the world to see - well, any of the bloggerworld that cares to see - thought i'd add a touch of wild color even thought mine are all black - i see the discussion continues over here :)
    have a wonderful day - jenean

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  61. I agree with you! Lena
    Headey's tatoo is beautiful and the photo is great!

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  62. hi willow, it's a strange thing because being who and what i am, i am sure that people who know me would be surprised to hear/read me say that i think tattoos mess up the flow of energy through a person's body. when i see tattoos they shatter the flow of a person's skin and muscle form. having said that i absolutely love the henna designs that women have done on their arms and legs. they're beautiful!! have a peaceful evening. steven

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  63. I don't care much for Angelina Jolie, but I did love that dress!
    Tattoos are not for me, but I don't mind if others have them. Live and let live!

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  64. I'd speculate that either removal or a real upsurge in sales of makeup that completely covers tatts up will be big with the geriatric crowd in a few years.

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  65. I'm with you on tattoos. My daughter, the ever rebel has endulged herself with one or two mementos after she furned 50. One des lose one's influence...
    grandson has a family crest..oh,well...at least the youngest g-daughter won't have a bar of them!

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  66. I love this post!! You are right, Angelina's tattoos don't fit her very well, and except for the tiger one on her lower back, all of them are weird. Tattoos aren't for everyone, but it's kind of a family tradition, I got sucked in, and the rest is history... if they have a real, solid meaning behind them, then they aren't so bad. and I bet you could get one yourself someday!! My mom said she would NEVER get one and now she has five. :)

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  67. I'm with you, most tattoos I see are ugly. Even the nicer looking ones are just another tattoo that the wearer will tire of and cough up the money to get removed.

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  68. I love the way some of them look but would not have one myself. As someone says earlier, there is a simplicity in skin which is wonderful. Temporary henna tattoes are different and can be lovely.

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  69. I have no affinity for tattoos but every once in a while I see a delicate one that I think is nice. I always wonder what the folks who tat themselves all over or in very public areas are going to do when they get old, wrinkled and those things are just an eyesore. hahaha!

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  70. at first I though the snap of lena was you!

    reading the title before the post, I started thinking you were conducting a poll about whether to tatt or not....

    I have long thought a simple elegant tattoo would be nice, but one has to pick one's battles and my husband is firmly anti-tat. a tattoo isn't that compelling.

    I agree completely with respect to ms. jolie.

    my daughter has some lovely tats - my favorite a small edward gorey style bat on the inside of her wrist to honor one of her totem animals...

    one would think they could come up with a less expensive, less painful method or removing tattoos.

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  71. OH, I do think you are right about the fifteen years from now the removal of tattoos will be in GREAT demand!

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  72. "...loathe and despise tattoos and look down on most people that seem to have them." "Inky time capsules of youth and extended adolescence." Puh-lease.

    Good Grief, what an accepting crowd :-) What people decide to do to, and for, themselves is their own business.

    I have always been fascinated with tattoos and will eventually get one if I can only decide which design I prefer. I, too, swore I would get one at 50, but couldn't decide. I adore the henna ones as well. So intricate and beautiful.

    And if I could handle the discomfort I would be the first one to have eyeliner tattoos. A couple of my girlfriends have them and they are thin, beautiful and you would swear they applied it each morning - extremely natural looking.

    I will send you pics, Willow... decisions, decisions ;-D

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  73. Sorry on the late return Willow ;) The reasoning for the star in the first place....I've always loved stars. As early as I could remember. The fact for choosing the nautical star??? The design was "bold" enough but with the "swirls" and shading...gave what I thought, a bit more of a feminine and delicate touch. I wanted more then just the star so my tattoo artist got a little creative with it. I have always been that daughter "finding" her way back home from her adventures...so the nautical star suit myself better then just one with five points ;)

    I plan on more...they say it can be very addicting, but something to add to this one now. I do not, in any way, do it for the fun of it because basically, it's not fun. Feels like someone is drawing on your worst sunburn and you're paying them to not stop so you have to deal w/it ;) It just brings out a little bit of me for the world to see...and the fact that I am happy w/it is what matters.

    I am opposed, however, to the younger guys and girls who don't give it a second's thought and just do it. I have quite a few co-workers who adorned their wrists with little Chinese lettering, butterflies, children's names, several items that are "cute" now but I wonder what they will think when they are 30 or 50 years old. I, personally, won't get one unless it is in a spot that can be covered in professional necessity. Not being able to get a decent job because one "needs" to show the world what they think is irresponsible...that's my opinion anyway....:)

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  74. I met an elderly woman whose arms were covered with tattoos. She must have had them done when her skin was firm and fresh. Now her "Christ Wept" tatto had stretched like salt water taffy over her flaccid wrinkle biceps.
    Not at all a pretty sight.

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