Saturday, August 04, 2007

Santa Cruz License Plates and Other Imponderables

Some time ago in my reading I ran across a term I didn't recognize: "Santa Cruz License Plate." A few minutes online research revealed the meaning: a tattoo worn by a woman at the small of her back, so that it's revealed when she wears low-rise jeans and bare-midriff tops, or a two-piece bathing suit. I thought it was a clever term, and certainly more genteel than the other term I've since heard for the same thing: "tramp stamp."

I still don't understand why anyone, and particularly women, would want to have a tattoo. I've never thought it made sense to permanently mark your body with a tattoo, or decorate it with so many piercings that you clank when you walk. Someday, after all, all those 18-year-olds with lots of tattoos and piercings will be 80 years old and look pretty stupid.

Nevertheless, there are plenty enough people who think tattoos and piercings are a mark of ... well ... something. I knew a young woman years ago who worked in the library at the Air Force base where I was stationed. She was the quintessential punk - tattooed from top to bottom (at least in all the places I could see, which was most of them, given how she dressed), hair a different and odd color every week (often different on opposite sides of her head), and with so many piercings that she couldn't possibly have made it onto an airplane nowadays. I knew the lady, whose name was Renee, pretty well, so one day I approached her at the library desk, made a show of carefully looking around to make sure no one else was in earshot, then whispering to her, "Can I ask you a very personal question?" She looked at me suspiciously, then agreed, and as she leaned forward I whispered into her heavily-pierced ear, "What color is your hair, anyhow?" She didn't know whether to laugh or slap me.

Renee was a very attractive lady, but I always felt she'd made herself much less attractive with all the tattoos and piercings. That was more than 20 years ago, and tattoos on ladies were much less common than they are now. Nowadays, it seems that the woman without a tattoo is a relative rarity. I especially don't understand the attraction of tattoos for black women - the dark colored inks tend to blend in with their skin tone and look more like skin disorders than decorations.

Of course, in the end what I think about tattoos doesn't matter, because people are still going to get them regardless of what I think. But if you're a woman, and you're thinking of getting a tattoo ... or another tattoo ... listen first to the great Jimmy Buffett song on the topic: "Permanent Reminder of a Temporary Feeling." And then change your mind.

You'll thank me someday.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



Amanda said...

LOL! Funny post! I used to want a tattoo but now.....I am glad I didn't get one. I think it was more of wanting to be different than anything else....NOBODY in my circle of friends had a tattoo.

YO said...

I have also noticed how tatoos are "spreading", and find it a bit "not nice". I just hope all this "tatoo crazyness" is just temporal and doesnt last very long.