I don’t have a tattoo. I have never wanted a tattoo. I was a conservative whose title of “missionary sister” bestowed on me by my family did not refer to the sexual position I preferred, but to my profession. My younger sister, younger by eight years, was in this suburban rebel group that tattooed.

In ways it was funny. She first got a rose tattoo. When my dad found out, he about had a heart attack, freaked, yelled, did some worthless grounding, and then forgot. For four years in a row my dad “found out” about my sister’s tattoo.

Then, in love for life, she added to the tattoo her fiance, who became her husband,’s name.

Permanence is good. Right?

Not when the creep takes his wife out to dinnner and leaves her at the restaurant and takes home the bar maid. Then permanence is very bad. (The guy’s a dork. He invited her to his next wedding. And he calls 1x a week to talk to her, tell her how he is. That’s why she never answers the phone.)

So it was back to the tattoo artist. She had the name covered with a vine. You could still see it if you looked, but it was no longer obvious.

Then she got a bit older and was working in a business field and was tired of wearing dress pants to work instead of dress suits. But she didn’t feel comfortable wearing something that showed off that used-to-be-sexy rose on her ankle.

So she investigated laser removal. They said it would take 7 weeks and $7,000. That’s right seven thousand dollars.

But she wanted the tattoo off, so in she went.

Now, my sister is related to me. So of course this tattoo removal thing wasn’t simple. The first time they went in, they took about 1/12 off. And her leg swelled up like a giant sausage for a month. And it smelled like burnt meat for a week.

I had small children and took them to visit her. “This is what happens if you get a tattoo and ever change your mind.”

It ended up taking 12 months, because she couldn’t do the surgery more than once a month. I don’t know what it cost. But it was painful and debilitating and demeaning. (She still had to work with her leg swollen and smelling like burnt meat.- And her sister used her as an object lesson for small children on what not to do in your life.) All to remove a tattoo that was, at the most, five inches by three inches.

I have a friend who is in her mid-twenties. She used to have about ten piercings. She still has about six, including the really big earring holes. Not because she wants them but because when she took the studs out, most of them didn’t close back up. So she has a hole in her lip. Three holes in her belly button. Two really big holes in her ears. Etc.

I think piercing is a lot like tattooing except that the people getting pierced think it is less permanent than tattoos. Sometimes it is not.

To be fair she has at least one tattoo and possibly two, I can’t recall, and she is perfectly happy with it/them. But they are in places that are covered by clothing, so she can look professional without having to go to the lengths of long pants to do it.

There was a service announcement done a while back, by Red versus Blue, that I thought was utterly charming and exactly on topic. (PSA 3, but I can’t find a link to it.)

This article on tattoos started the whole blog discussion.

Ace responded to it. Then Bogus Gold responded to both. Now I have responded to both of them.

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