When I was a kid, having a tattoo meant that you were either a veteran or had been in prison; it was fairly easy to tell which by the content and quality of the “art”-work.
That’s probably one reason I’ve never succumbed to the trend.
In a just world, this would be prosecutable as a war crime – in the war between taste and tastelessness, beauty and ugliness. That war is, thus far, undeclared; it’s an insurgency. The Charlies are, unfortunately, winning.
But many have; some stats say over a third of all adults below the age of 40 have some kind of tattoo or another. Some have gone completely overboard; men and women with “sleeves” (tattoos running up their arms), college age women with huge obnoxious tattoos covering vast swathes of skin.
Look – a clever, tasteful tattoo here and there can be fun. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not my style, but knock yourself out.
But there are few things in the world quite as depressing as sitting at the pool and seeing a gorgeous woman in a bikini, looking hand-tooled saddle from neck to waist, shoulder to wrist, hip to knee.
An aesthetic atrocity? I don’t think I’m overreacting, here.
But let’s forget about aesthetics for a while. Let’s focus on science.
One thing that’s always skeeved me out about tattoos is that you are puncturing one of your body’s most fragile yet essential organs – one that is designed to protect the rest of your body – thousands of times, and impregnating it with chemicals containing God only knows what.
No, seriously. We just don’t know what’s in those tattoo inks.
Hey, baby. I’m covered in toxic chemicals, applied by someone whose big goal in life was to be a staff artist at “Heavy Metal” magazine.
FDA has not approved any tattoo pigments for injection into the skin. Tattoo parlors are regulated by the state and city, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require manufacturers to release their ink’s ingredients; doing so could supposedly give away trade secrets.
One yuge takeaway?
An alarming research study recently published by Dr. Bob Haley and Dr. Paul Fischer at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas uncovered that the “innocent” commercial tattoo may be the number one distributor of hepatitis C.
And it gets worse.
If you have some bobbleheaded Millennial or X-er in your life who’s contemplating getting this systematic scarring and contamination, send ’em the link.