WHY?

Why do people get tattooed? Wait. Before you answer, let me caution you that whatever reply you give, is certain to tell a lot about your age. If you’re over, say forty or fifty, you will probably reply those who get tattooed are of the underclass, individuals on the fringes of society. Further, you’ll probably mention that tattooing is a common practice among sailors, etc.

Now, if you’re much younger than the age group mentioned above, you’ll probably reply “Why do people get tattooed? is a loaded question. And if you are young and smart you will add that the word “tattooed” should not be part of the question. Why? Because it carries with it all kinds of negative connotations. Today there is a new expression for “tattoo.” The modern expression is “body art.”

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Now, let’s rephrase the original question to read, “Why do people adorn their bodies with art?” See? That’s a different question, isn’t it? Those who are less set in their beliefs will probably be happy to answer that query by saying “Perhaps such people are artistic by nature, and they love art, and they wish to share their love of art with the world. Or perhaps they feel good art, like good music, changes people for the better.”

For some, especially men, there is the allure of tribal tats. Ink applied in various tribal designs over the shoulder, across the pectoral muscles or a half or full-sleeve down the arm.

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The point is, we look at human existence through either old lens or new ones. Sadly, some are duped into never changing their lens, never realizing that yesterday was yesterday and today is today.

Which lens do you use? Which ones do I use? Sometime I have to check myself because, though I don’t mean to, I use the wrong lens. I met a middle-aged mother last week who had butterflies inked on her shoulder with the name of each of her three daughters in each butterfly. It was beautiful.  I’m on alert most of the time to body art and I change.

Do you?

Trust me, with the right glasses, the world comes into sharper focus. Using the correct lens you’ll see the difference between what was and what…is.

~Calvin Davis is also the author of THE PHANTOM LADY OF PARIS.

2 Comments

Filed under writing

2 responses to “WHY?

  1. I love the art on that foot! There are a lot of gorgeously painted bodies around Portland. The problem is, I’m old-school and was taught not to stare. Sometimes the art on someone’s shoulder can be so wonderful you want them to twirl and spin for you!

  2. In some ways, body art is like a tee shirt or sweat shirt with a slogan on it. It calls attention to something the individual likes and/or supports or otherwise feels an emotional or spiritual attachment to. My issue with it–other than the fact a lot of it is very attractive and seems to become part of the person–is that it comes from outside the person unless they design their own art. It reminds me of the days (maybe those days are still here) when people took excessive pride in the cars they owned as though they designed the cars or made them from scratch. When I look at body art, I usually think, “why do you need another person’s creation on yourself?

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