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.