Made in the Flesh: What I’m Learning

I am a tattoo virgin.

There is still much that I have to learn about tattoos, but I’m gathering information and learning new things each day.

nfl-refs-meme1-600x369I’m a Philadelphia sports fan. Nothing gets under my skin (get it?) more than someone who barely knows anything about football who asks me how many Super Bowls the Eagles have won. Ha, yes, that’s funny. Tell me, what’s a pick six? Didn’t think so.

I’m venturing into this new territory carefully. Never would I want to be the person who clearly lacks knowledge about tattoos who inadvertently comes across as a snarky headache. There is a wonderful possibility that my findings below are the equivalent of someone saying, “Hey! There are nine innings in baseball!” Even if that is the case, I am happy about what I have learned and look forward to grasping even more knowledge.

Having established that tattoos are a new domain for me (other than looking at one and thinking, Ohhhh, that’s pretty!), there are certain aspects that I have learned. They are:

Ink: The Not-Just-Skin-Deep Guide to Getting a Tattoo by Terisa Green

Ink: The Not-Just-Skin-Deep Guide to Getting a Tattoo by Terisa Green

According to Ink: The Not-Just-Skin-Deep Guide to Getting a Tattoo, by Terisa Green, as soon as the skin gets penetrated with pigment, the body does everything it can to rid itself of that pigment. This, of course, makes sense because it is a foreign item entering the body. That bit of information made me realize how complicated getting a tattoo can be in that your body is trying to fight off the very thing the bearer is trying to keep. Still, it reminds me of how fascinating the body is at self-healing and self-cleansing.

Much in the same, I learned that the actual pigment passes through the epidermis and eventually resides permanently in the dermis. Green offers a “Goldilocks” method for this: “So, like Goldilocks, you don’t want it too shallow and you don’t want it too deep. You want it just right” (84). Being a novice, I appreciated the elementary analogy. The precision required here indicates how nervous I might be

Diagram of Epidermis/Dermis, courtesy https://www.google.com/search?q=dermis&biw=1280&bih=666&tbm=isch&imgil=9hSxWokZktRdgM%253A%253Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fencrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com%252Fimages%253Fq%253Dtbn%253AANd9GcS4k8OnUVC31rwKbeeFHz_sFvdwnxlvwlTozY-HEwX22bOi2QyrzA%253B435%253B504%253Biev0U8gBeQvNsM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.medterms.com%25252Fscript%25252Fmain%25252Fart.asp%25253Farticlekey%2525253D2958&source=iu&usg=__xIT2nmsXmpeFOBvZUlfpTmd0iMg%3D&sa=X&ei=av4gU7ywG-LQ0gGqqIG4Cw&ved=0CDwQ9QEwAw#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=9hSxWokZktRdgM%253A%3Biev0U8gBeQvNsM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fimages.medicinenet.com%252Fimages%252Fillustrations%252Fskin.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.medterms.com%252Fscript%252Fmain%252Fart.asp%253Farticlekey%253D2958%3B435%3B504

Diagram of Epidermis/Dermis, courtesy Google Images https://www.google.com/images

if ever in the chair, seeing as I eye my hairdresser like a hawk when she’s trimming my bangs.

Embarrassing as it is to say, I learned…that a hockey game has three periods. No. I knew that. But, I learned that UV rays are damaging to a tattoo. (Stop laughing!) I had no idea how many precautions those with tattoos must adopt when venturing out to the beach or out for a run when the sun is out. If UV rays are dangerous to skin, why wouldn’t they be dangerous to a tattoo? Trying to keep a tattoo out of the sun as much as possible reveals a new respect I have for people with them. It takes a lot of responsibility for tattoos to remain vibrant and bright.

I also learned that people could become allergic to their tattoo ink and that the most common colors to be allergic to are red and yellow. In certain cases, ointments may be enough, but I was shocked to see that some people (though rarely) have to get their tattoo removed because of an allergy of the ink.

5 Odds and Ends Facts about Tattoos

1. According to 10 Fascinating Facts about Tattoos, the classic star logo of Macy’s was taken from a tattoo of the founder R.H. Macy’s forearm from his earlier days as a sailor.

Macy's Star, courtesy Google Images www.google.com/images

Macy’s Star, courtesy Google Images http://www.google.com/images

2. On April 12-13, 2003, Chris Goodwill tattooed Kevin Budden for a record-breaking 33 hours at the Electric Pencil Tattoo Studio in Plumstead, Greater London, UK. Goodwill tattooed eight designs on Budden. (Green 142).

Chris Goodwill tattoos Kevin Budden, courtesy Google Images

Chris Goodwill tattoos Kevin Budden, courtesy Google Images

3. Wanting to sound like an artist and not a plumber, Sutherland Macdonald, a British tattooist, used the word “tattooist” over “tattooer” (Green 117).

Sutherland Macdonald, courtesy Google Images

Sutherland Macdonald, courtesy Google Images

4. Sailors would commonly get a cross tattooed on their back in order to avoid being flogged (Green 28).

5. According to NBA Tattoos, 56% of NBA players are tattooed.

Andre Iguodala, former Philadelphia Sixers forward

Andre Iguodala, former Philadelphia Sixers forward

Despite the fact that I may have stated the obvious for some, the information is new to me, and I appreciate having learned it. Tattoos continue to intrigue me, and this tattoo virgin is excited to continue learning more about them.

As a final thought, according to Green, the indigenous Yurok of Northern California had a saying that a woman without a tattoo looked like a man when she grew old. So there you have it—I look forward to the aging process.

Green, Terisa. Ink: The Not-just-skin-deep Guide to Getting a Tattoo. New York: New American Library, 2005. Print.

Advertisements

8 comments

  1. Great post Rachel. I love college basketball, but I get so irritated when I see these guys with their arms covered in tattoos. I hear it’s a fraternity thing.

  2. Really loved reading your post, Rachel. Someone becoming allergic to tattoo ink was something new to me. Oh, and Leslie is right. When people cover their arms in tattoos, it can become a bit much. It depends on what kind of art it is, though, in my opinion, anyway.

  3. Nice job, pal! Good info. I don’t know the ins and outs of tattoos, just a lot of people who have them. The details you are learning about are pretty eye opening. The part about some people being allergic is crazy! I had no idea about that! I know people tend to get passionate about their tattoos but then again, I suppose that makes sense since it’s on them for life! lol. I can’t wait for the convention next week:) Bravo, lady!

  4. Interesting stuff – it is so common anymore – Alex’s kindergarten teacher had a tatoo on her ankle – Would be curious of the long term impact beside sagging (haha)
    ,,,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s