Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Something Between a Midlife and Quarter-life Crisis

It's not a quarter-life crisis.  Assuming I live to be a hundred (which is questionable given my unhealthy eating habits), the quarter-life crisis was seven years ago.  And its not a midlife crisis either - I thankfully am still quite a ways off from fifty.  I'm not sure there's a term for what I'm "in" now.  Maybe it's because most people don't have a "crisis" at this time in their lives?

I'm not really in crisis.  But after you read this post, you may think otherwise.

I am seriously considering getting a tattoo.

Weird, right?  This idea had come and gone for me around the age of 22.  I thought it was over.  But since the idea's new inception, it is mustering and lingering and gaining momentum.

Where did this idea come from?  Our neighborhood pool.

For better or worse, when people are in a bathing suit you notice their bodies more.  In all the glory - the fat, the moles, the random scars and birthmarks, and the usually hidden tattoos.

And what I am about to say is so incredibly judgmental and shallow and biased and all things awful.  But it's true and I try to be sincere in this blog so here it is.  There was a woman there who looked to be in her late thirties.  She had three kids.  I'm always looking for potential mom friends, but I could tell from looking at this woman that we probably wouldn't be friends.  She seemed a bit off putting.  She had a scrunchy in her hair (I didn't know they still made those).  She had on a real "mom" bathing suit - not one of those that has the little skirt or mesh mid-drift.  I feel like those are making a comeback now (or maybe, as I get older, these things just become a little bit more okay to me).  No, it was kind of like a really unflattering women's swim team uniform bathing suit.  Her hair looked like it had been permed - the top was straight, but the bottom was still holding on to the curl.

To be sure, I am not stylish.  AT ALL.  So I don't know where I get off thinking I can judge other people.  But on this occasion, I did.

But then, as she turned around to chase after one of her kids . . . . I saw it.  Just under her permed hair was a small tattoo.  I couldn't make out what it was, but my whole impression of this woman changed.  Oh, I thought.  Maybe she's not so uptight after all.  Maybe she smoked pot in her youth.  Maybe scrunchies aren't so bad.  Maybe she's cool.  Maybe she's cooler than me.  And as I looked down at my muffin top, scrawny legs, aqua bikini, and pale white body, I realized yes.  She definitely is cooler than me.

And that was it.  I had to get one myself.  Just to let everyone know - that even as I get older, fatter, and even more unstylish and disheveled than I already am, that I also am cool.  I'm not so stuffy.  I'm not an uptight, conservative lawyer.  Maybe I even smoked pot in my youth.

And yes, I realize that this is beyond absolutely ridiculous.  It's hysterical in fact.

But I still want the tattoo.

I have been debating the location.  I thought about the lower back, but then was informed that this was called a "tramp stamp."  I don't want it anywhere too obvious.  So I'm thinking on my right side, like in between the muffin top and the arm pit.  Or maybe on the back of my neck under my hair.  I am open to suggestions.

I have no idea when I will do it, or even if I will have the courage to go through with it.  I also have no idea what said tattoo will be of.  I am open to suggestions on this as well.

And I also welcome any and all comments that go something like, "Are you crazy?" and "Get a life!" and "You're going to regret it!" and (this one is for my mother in law, imagine this with a thick Long Island accent) "But then you can't get buried in a Jewish cemetary!"  I'll take it all into consideration.

Do you have a tattoo?  Do you like it?  Do you wear scrunchies?


  1. I have a back of the neck tatoo and I wouldn't encourage you to get one there because it will show at all times that you have your hair up.

  2. I have a tattoo on my ankle that I got when I was 19, I don't like it much. The original plan was to get one on my toe, but the tattoo parlor didn't do toes (they infect too easily) so instead of waiting and thinking about it I just went with an ankle tattoo. Every time I look at my toes I still think how adorable a teeny tiny little tattoo would look there.

  3. Love this post. Agreed, I too am prejudiced against scrunchy wearers. And Saved By The Bell-esque neon high rise swim suits. They def scream "I haven't shopped since 1984 and have no plans of doing so any time soon". But personally I wouldn't do the tattoo thing because anywhere I want to put it I feel will either be a waste because no one will ever see it (including myself who paid good money for it) or will ruin a gorgeous outfit one day when you accidentally see half a bird wing popping out of my cute little halter dress. I say go with a piercing. Maybe naval. That way when ya love it - show it off. When ya hate it - just take it out and it's gone. I say a piercing could say "cool mom" just as well as a silly sparrow tattoo-ed somewhere that you try and come up with a deep meaningful story about. =)

  4. I got a tattoo at 19 on my lower back, but on the left side. I consider true "tramp stamps" to be in the middle of the lower back, and to be something swirly or flowery. (I would like to point out that the term "tramp stamp" was not in use when I got mine . . . otherwise I might have considered other locations. Also I had some presence of mind and avoided the areas that were supposed to stretch if you ever had kids.) I still like my tattoo. It's usually covered by my clothes, and it's only with black ink, so I don't have any strange fading colors like some of my other friends. I would think getting a tattoo on your rib cage would hurt like hell. Anywhere that doesn't have some padding underneath will be pretty painful. Anyway, I don't think you're crazy. I've considered getting a second one, but my husband would flip.

  5. I have one on the right side just below where a pair of low rise jeans would be. I. Love. It. It shows just a teeny bit in a swimsuit. When I promised myself I would never be a law firm lawyer again, I got another one on the inside of my right wrist, which always brings a little smile to my face when I see it. Go for it. Life's short, and it really isn't that life changing anyway. :)

  6. a) lately it seems quarter/mid life crises more often happen around the age of 30-40. i've known several people who have made really drastic (and likely unfortunate) life choices at the age of 38 (leaving their spouse suddenly and without reason, etc.), so don't worry, wanting a tattoo is hardly a crisis...just a fun thought! :)

    b) i am a VERY non-tattoo-ish-looking person (uber nerd/church-goer) and so i LOVE that i have several usually-but-not-always hidden tattoos. it's definitely something i did for ME and while some people say "what about when you get old and wrinkly??" that is actually my favorite part. when i am old and wrinkly i am going to look fondly at my old, wrinkly tattoo and remember that i once was a badass (and i've never smoked pot in my life, hah!). oh, also i'm not a person who ever buys jewelry or accessories or gets my hair done or wears makeup, so a tattoo also was my way of accessorizing =P.

    c) i also have a fabulous story of a coworker i absolutely adore who is in her 60's (and looks like your average large, midwestern, white, 60 yr old lady) and told me about the time she was in vegas at a conference with several VP's from radio shack (where she used to be head of marketing) and decided on a whim to get a tattoo on her ankle (bc "it's the last place to sag") to commemorate her 50th bday. that story is one of the reasons she is such a sensational person (and, coincidence, she also has 2 sons who are now at fancy colleges).

    i say go for it! you'll be surprised at how something so small can make you so secretly happy.

  7. Thank you all SO much for your comments! I seriously have been smiling thinking about this all day. I am totally going to do it. I'm going to take my time to really think about what I want (and where I want it). But I announced to my husband at dinner that this is going to happen. How painful is it by the way? Do I need to bring a bottle of whiskey or something???

  8. Not painful if it is on your lower back. I have one on the right side, lower back (I HATE tramp stamps). I also have one on my right hip. THAT was painful. Make sure it is NOT on your foot. I have one there and it is so trashy. I am going to get it taken off when I find time.

  9. It doesn't hurt that much (or am I forgetting . . ?). It's probably going to take a little bit, and you kind of get numb to it. Mine is a little bigger than a silver dollar, but it took about half an hour to do. I would suggest thinking of what you want and finding a picture example of it! Even tattoo places with lots of options might not have exactly what you're looking for. They can usually work from an example though.

  10. anything meaty will not hurt too much. my lower-back-and-to-the-right one felt fine. i also have a very simple straightforward voltaire quote on the front of my upper thigh and that felt like nothing!

    yes, foot tats hurt like a mofo. i do not recommend that.

    don't drink whiskey bc it might thin your blood! (aka you will bleed more and it won't clot as well) although a friend of mine took a shot of tequila before his and he did just fine...

    yay so excited for you! if you can't stop smiling, i think it's prob a good idea.

    a less-obviuos spot suggestion, maybe something small and girly behind your ear?

  11. Oooh, behind the ear, I like that. I also am liking the behind the neck idea. I basically don't want a tattoo anywhere that is going to enunciate my growing fat.... And what if I get pregnant again and then it gets really gross? Back of the neck, or behind the ear, means I can show it (with a pony tail), or hide it, if I want. Any factors I haven't thought of? Also, anyone know of any good design sites or tattoo sites where I could search for a good one? I am super excited!!!!

  12. Hi hon, I have 4 tattoos (I know, would you believe it!) including one in the 'tramp stamp' spot - that phrase did not exist when I got it! I've had the whole 'can't be buried in a jewish cemetery stuff' too, but pointed out that since my ears are pierced (not to mention my navel!) I'm in trouble on that one ANYWAY if you want to be all kosher about it!

    A couple of notes from my experience: or are two big reference sites - these are just the stock illustration though. A good tattooist worth their salt will be able to work from a picture or idea of your own - always nicer to have something bespoke for you, rather than one which no doubt 100's of other people will have (tattooists tend to use the same reference stock for the design books on show in studios). Also, these days good tattooists are much more skillful, needles & inks are better & the 'big thick black outline' tattoo is not your only option.

    Have a look around at several studios. Check out the tattoos that the artists have to see skill levels (since tattoists tend to ink themselves & their fellow studio artists!). Does the studio look creative Is the environment unique or does it look like an atlantic city boardwalk tat parlour from the 1960's?! Look the studio & artist up on the web.

    The pain depends on your pain treshold. My first three did not hurt at all & are ankle, lower back, hip. My fourth, which I only got 2 years ago, is on the inside of my wrist & hurt like a b*tch... I think it's because I am old(er) & everything hurts more! Take a couple of advil before having it done & it'll take the edge off. If you wait until the fall, I'll come with & hold your hand!!

    Here are a couple of links to good artists based over here, but these are the kind of bespoke studios I think do the best work:,

    Most of all, enjoy! (p.s. they are addictive, I want another one!) x

  13. A Must see! =) Tatto-ed mom photo contest, enjoy!


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