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One Direction –> Tattoo Regret

Harry Styles, 18, of your daughter’s favorite band One Direction recently had 2 swallows tattooed on his chest.  He said that while it hurt (I bet!), he chose swallows because he likes “the old sailor kind of tattoos” (the swallow symbolizes travelling, and the band certainly does a lot of that).  Having a few tattoos myself, it sparked a couple of questions…


First, do you think people are getting tattoos younger and younger now?  When I was in high school (93-97), there were only a handful of kids who had ink:  the motor-heads  the goths, and the random spoiled rich kid.  I never really had an opinion of them either way, but for me, I was also a notorious commitment-phobe, and um, well, there’s not much more permanence than indelible ink being deposited into your skin.


I also really had no idea “who” I truly was at that age.  Heck, many years later, I’m still a work in progress!  😉  Sure, you may be going through a big “Winnie the Pooh” phase, but are you really going to want Piglet on your shoulder in 10, 20, 50 years?   I ran into an old college friend not long ago, and we got to talking about regrets.  She said she absolutely regretted nothing…except Tigger being on her upper thigh for all of eternity.  Sure, there’s the laser removal option, but I hear the pain is excruciating (worse than the tat itself), it’s very expensive, and there’s no guarantee it’ll 100% work (plus you could have further scarring…the only thing worse than a honey jar on your neck is the scar-tissue-outline of said honey jar).


I like my tattoos, don’t get me wrong.  I can’t say I regret GETTING them, but in hindsight, I probably would’ve been a bit more selective with the size.  My first was an “om” symbol on my inner right wrist, which was later covered with a beautiful monarch…though much larger than I anticipated.  My next was at the bottom of my neck – an Albanian flag, in honor of my late grandfather – and is surrounded by my grandmother’s handwriting.  The tribute, I love.  The size, however, the tattoo artist may have cashed in on my grieving (“Hey, this looks ok, but if it’s larger, I can show more detail….”).  It’s a bit bigger than I planned.

I’ve accepted that these are part of me forever (much to my mother’s dismay).  That doesn’t mean that I’m not a bit disappointed I won’t be wearing my strapless, sweetheart neckline wedding gown, if and when the day ever comes.  But if your kid is thinking of getting inked, make sure they think long and hard about it.  “Permanence” is a concept I’m not quite sure an 18 year old fully grasps just yet.  I’m relatively sure the young man in the accompanying photo may live to regret applying the Romney-Ryan campaign logo to his FACE (side note: face tattoos are NEVER a good idea).  Aging is something that happens to all of us, and frankly, no matter how much Harry Styles hits the gym, an 80 year old swallow will almost certainly resemble an aardvark moreso than it does a bird at age 18.   Not exactly as “sexy” as “travelling”, now is it…. 😉

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