notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Skin

I earned an honorable mention in a local art contest when I was twelve.  And it infuriated me.

I was in seventh grade, and one day in art class, I drew a picture of a Spanish senorita.  It wasn’t original; I copied from a picture I saw in a magazine.  It looked something like this:  (I have a very good memory, but not the patience to recreate the original.)

I was delighted with my picture, and so was my teacher, Sister Maria.  But my artwork mysteriously disappeared from the classroom.

Several months later, Sister Maria announced that she had entered my picture in the local student art show, and that I had won an honorable mention.  I was thrilled.

Right after school I ran to the library to see my picture and my blue ribbon.  But what was hanging on the library wall was this:

Do you see the change?

I was irate.  As soon as I saw my teacher the next morning, I asked her to explain what happened to my senorita’s blouse.

“It wasn’t appropriate for a good catholic girl,” said Sister Maria.  “So I filled it in before I entered your drawing in the contest.”

What the hell???  God gave us skin and skin is beautiful.  I may have been twelve, but I knew it then, and I still believe it.  There’s nothing quite as lovely as a women’s bare shoulder.

When the art show was over and my drawing was returned to me, I threw it away.

I went to a wedding this weekend.  A happy pretty bride in a gorgeous grecian wedding gown.  And I saw her beautiful bare shoulders.  She had tattoos.  The maid of honor had tattoos.  The bridesmaids had tattoos.

The mother of the groom had tattoos.  And the groom was forty-three!

I simply cannot fathom the current  proliferation of tattoos.  Does no one but me see the beauty of unadulterated skin?  The beauty of being slightly and sensuously naked?

With tattoos, you’re always wearing something.  It’s a lot like having sleeves on your bikini.

Jennifer Egan, in her novel A Visit From The Goon Squad, shows us a future where the saggy wrinkly tattoos on saggy wrinkly old people have caused the pendulum to swing around, and no young person wants a tattoo.  I certainly hope that will happen soon.

In the meantime, here’s an idea for you to consider:

Let’s pass a law that for every dollar those stupid idiots creative free-spirits spend on tattoos, they have to donate another dollar to a national health care fund.  Instant budget for universal coverage.

41 Comments

  1. Amen, sistah!

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  2. JSD

    Well said! Bare shoulders are sexy and tattoos not so.
    Just found your blog…will be back for more!

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  3. I feel the same way. Tattoos detract from the view, especially when an especially fine body is being viewed. I often say that with all the tattoos and piercings, we’re going to have some mighty ugly old people in a few years!

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  4. bigsheepcommunications

    First Place Award for the sleeves on a bikini analogy – hysterical!

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  5. I agree! Hate them! But they seem ubiquitous. My biggest fear is that my daughter will get one- she already has a few piercings I could live without. There has been quite a lot written about health hazards from impure ink, infections, and problems that result with tattoo removal. I was reminded of how I dislike them at yoga yesterday when I noticed the woman behind me tattoo that nearly replicated The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo… distracted me from my yoga!

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  6. pharphelonus

    I told my kids if they do well in school, and want to make a peersonal statement like that of a tattoo, they can get a purple mohawk or something, but not mutilate their bodies. I agree.

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  7. pharphelonus

    That said, however, it does seem that people that get tattoos often just keep getting more. I guess if you like em, you like em a lot.

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  8. Love this, I thought my hubby and I were the only “non tattoo-d” people in the world, LOL. Both my kids have tattoos, my sister does, my sil’s parents do, but he doesn’t, my dil does. Almost everybody I know does, but no way am I getting one and I hate the way they detract from a person’s “beauty”. Thanks for letting me know we aren’t alone in the world. Smiles

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  9. I have a tattoo, a small bird on my neck that I got in 1990. I understand the draw of multiple and/or large tattoos. When I see bodies covered in tattoos I think of all the worried mothers slathering sunblock on the same skin when they were little. But I agree, an entire generation of old wrinkly saggy tattoos will not be pretty. Thank goodness I won’t be here to see it.

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  10. Valerie Adolph

    Amen!

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  11. There was a brief time I planned to get a tattoo. I wanted a small heart, on my back, above my buttocks (okay, butt). It would have been sexy for my husband. But in old age, would have freaked out my boys. For their sake, I remain plain.

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    • I do concede that a small tattoo – in a spot for a private audience – might be sexy. And I think a source of entertainment for the nurses at the old folks’ home, when they bathe you in thirty/forty years.

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  12. In years to come there will be a new career choice: plastic surgeons who can fold tatoo-d skin into a totally new picture — the way we used to do with the back page of Mad Magazine. A dragon can become a pair of hands, praying for a time machine to go back and NOT get that damn tatoo.

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    • Hysterical…. wish I thought of that to add to my post!

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  13. I hear you! In my time as an RN, I saw lots of “sagged out of shape tattoos”, which led me to ask myself, “I wonder what that WAS?” Another note: I’ve seen breast implants, which decaded later, resemble pencils with big, big erasers on the end. After that, I never again considered the idea of enhancing my small, little breasts; they’re not big enough to ever stretch out enough to resemble pencils with little erasers. But the body changes, thanks to gravity.
    With tattoos, maybe a nice little butterfly on the ankle ~~ it’s not going to stretch out so much…. but, I guess, to each his/her own….

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  14. Wow, that’s enough to make me reconsider ever getting a tatoo. I already have the saggy baggy chest.

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  15. I remember the school nurses had a new inservice to attend on hepatitis C back in around 2005. I asked them, “What is that?” Their answer: “A new infection among kids they get from poorly done tattoos.”
    I do like the memory of your original señorita.

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  16. I agree. You wouldn’t want a piece of art on your walls that had to be there forever. Why would you want a “piece of art” on your body forever???

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    • And a piece of art that is going to deteriorate, to boot.

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  17. I loved my Kiss tattoos…of course I was seven and the tattoos were temporary..

    Real tattoos, not so much.

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  18. Hi Nancy,
    My objection to tattoos is imagining what they will look like years later when the fade and the skin starts to wrinkle and sag. Yuck!
    Blessings,
    Linda

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  19. Those sisters always very fussy about their art! I got in trouble once for coloring Jesus green!

    Skin is beautiful and I have never been brave enough to take a needle to my back. I like it just the way it is 🙂

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    • I think Jesus would have been okay being green.

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      • Does censorship come to mind? Thank you for sharing your insights.

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  20. See, you really are a kindred spirit! 1) I entered an EXTREMELY similar drawing into a contest at about that age (the head looked more like Betty Boop, but the same concept), and 2) totally agree about bare, tattoo-free shoulders! It’s like, remember the crap you liked 10 years ago? Do you still like it now? Right. So, think about that when you’re getting something PERMANENTLY inked on your FLESH! LOL

    P.S. – I love your recreated drawing!

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    • That’s so true… STYLES CHANGE … I would never want permanent, forever makeup (like tattooed liner or lipcolor) or hair or clothing. Suppose I permanently stained my lips bright red, so I would never have to bother with lipstick again, and then two year later, pale pink was the “in” color?

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  21. First, how dare someone take your art and change it to make it more “PC” or in this case more “CC” (Catholic Correct)?

    Second, I don’t understand “body art” on so many levels–pain, infection, disfigurement, sagging old skin… And if someone is trying to be unique by getting a tattoo, and so many people have tattoos, then how does that make then unique? Having NO tattoos seems to me to be the bolder statement these days–and the safer one!

    Great post!

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    • I think that my teacher really liked my drawing. She seemed to at the time. She never asked me to make my drawing more “demure”. I am guessing (now, looking back) that Sister Superior (that’s what the Principal was called) might have overruled her. Sister Superior probably thought I was a little pervert!

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  22. I think the first picture was 10 times better. Those darn nuns.

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    • That’s what I thought even at twelve years old.

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  23. The pendulum will eventually swing back to a a time when there will be no more tattoos being done, and those which have been done will be swinging in undecipherable syncopation. Quite the mind picture/

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  24. I don’t undertand the attraction for tattoos. The ONLY one I’ve ever seen that I really liked was a tiny one just above the toes on my friend’s foot – it was a pale gray kitty face.
    What gets me – and I didn’t know this until recently – was how expensive they are!!! And some of the folks who have them don’t give the impression that they have that kind of money to spend on unnecessary things…..
    Way to go for posting this!

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  25. One of my sons has a tattoo written in Hebrew on the inside length of one arm. It says “The Lord is my shepherd.” I keep telling him in 40 years it will read “I have to pee!”

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    • That’s hilarious!

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      • As my daughter would say, ROFLMAO !!

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        • Okay, funky acronyms have me lost–anything past LOL and RIP! Let me guess: Really Off a Flying Leap Mid Awesome Omelettes! Am I close?

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          • Hehe! No, it’s “rolling on the floor, laughing my ass off”. ☺

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          • Ha! I guess I wasn’t too close. 🙂

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  26. At the same time, can we impose a tax on teachers and other authority figures who stomp on the creativity of children? Sorry, I am gearing up for a meeting with my daughter’s second grade teacher.

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