tattoo voodoo 3

I watched the last half or so of Thank You for Smoking with my son, who’s probably about the same age as the lead character’s son. Toward the end, the lead, Nick Naylor, who lobbies on behalf of Big Tobacco, is being questioned at a senate hearing. He speaks strongly about parental responsibility when it comes to educating kids about the dangers of tobacco; and he says that when his son turns 18, if the son wants to smoke, he (Nick) will buy his son his first pack of cigarettes.

My immediate reaction to that statement was general disgust (although, judging from Nick’s face when he left the hearing room, he may not have been entirely truthful when he said it). How could any parent buy their child cigarettes, even if the child had become an adult?

But then I remembered a promise I’ve made my daughter (and will also extend to my son, should he wish): When she turns 18, if she wants a tattoo (and as of now, she does), I’ll go with her to the tattoo parlor, and I’ll probably get one along with her.

I have the feeling that, for reasons I don’t understand, there are many parents out there who’d prefer to see their kids hooked on nicotine than decorated with permanent ink. And yet,

A 2006 a study done by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that 24% of Americans between 18 and 50 are tattooed; that’s almost one in four. And the survey showed that about 36% of Americans age 18 to 29 have at least one tattoo!

By the time my kids are my age, the non-tattooed are likely to be in a minority. I wonder what my grandchildren will have to do, to be considered daring?

6 responses to “tattoo voodoo 3

  1. What I think is going to be interesting is how many of these tatoos get altered or removed in 20 years. As you know, what we deem cool at 18 is very different from what we think is cool at 40. A tatoo is so permanent and I believe you choice of tatoos speaks volumes about who you are. It is like wearing a permanent sign that says this is who I am.
    I have seen some beautiful tatoos, that were done with much meaning behind them. I have also seen some pretty silly ones that were just done because it was the thing to do.
    I would tend to agree with you, a little ink would be much better then a lot of nicotine.

  2. Having gotten my ear pierced (by my mother no less) in 1985 when it was absolutely not cool in this part of the country, I can say that we’ve come a long way. I can also say that I still sport the bling. I’m not at all ashamed of the current ink, and I won’t be ashamed of the ink I plan to get. It’s all relative I guess.

    Maybe by the time your children have children, being non-pierced and non-inked will be the way to stand out–except among the LDS.

    And trust me. A little ink never hurt anyone. Nicotine kills.

  3. Tobeme, I think you’re right that many tattoos made now will be changed or removed in the future. I’ve just heard about some research being done into tattoo ink that will be permanent, but easily removeable with a laser (rather than difficult and painful) if someone changes their mind. That would be a real step forward in helping people undo mistakes.

    Jack, wouldn’t it be something if my grandchildren were to rebel by having crewcuts and wearing neat, preppy clothes? The pendulum always swings back, so it could happen…

  4. I recall my very first smoking experience and when my parents found out MONTHS later. I expected to be ripped a new one, but was pleasantly surprised when my mom simply said, “If you’re going to smoke at all, you should at least not smoke this kind”.

    I think because my father was a smoker and so much of my family as well, she felt that it would be hypocritical of her to scold me for doing it. I think that’s sort of what the point he’s (Nick) trying to make is.

    I think that as far as fashionable and daring trends go, that the tattooing has seemed to becoming the new piercing in that it’s sort of calmed. I mean, people still get really stupid tattoos (I saw one once that was simply an outline of a rectangle) and some get really nice ones. But, I think that the worst fashion trend is ear gauging.

    Perhaps since ear gauging is so popular now, the next generation will go with the lip plates.

  5. Tattoos have been in fashion since the history of time. I recently saw pictures of African tribes that used ritual scarification instead of tattoos. All I can hope is that scarification does not catch on as the new trend in tattooing!

  6. With the art of tattooing being more about actual ART and not just cartoony drawings it used to be, I think we will see more spectacular “living ART Shows” walking around in a few more years……..Delaney

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