Clancy and I went to Oasis on the Hills, the local water park over the weekend. We had an absolute blast. We also got distinct reminders of how out of touch we are with the population as a while.
The big one was tattoos. When looking at 18-30 year olds, people without tattoos were almost the exception! Ever since my straight-arrow brother Mitch got a tattoo I’ve stopped thinking of them as rebellious. Besides, if someone wants a little private emblem of self on them, who am I to say anything?
But it wasn’t just an emblem or a design. It was entire arms and huge intricate drawings. I knew these things existed, but I really hadn’t realized that they’d become as common as… I don’t know, something real common.
That tattoos are but one example of something that bothers me for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on. It’s some variation of this, though: our bodies are not Christmas trees to decorate. The tattoos and the piercings and the boobs hanging out… good golly what has this world come to?!
Theoretically, as something becomes more commonplace we become more accepting of it. It used to be that long hair on a man was a sign of deviancy, now it’s a common thing. Ear rings in the right year used to signal homosexuality, now they’re common. Skinheads in long sleeve shirts are indistinguishable from a lot of young high-schoolers these days.
It really doesn’t work that way for me, though. I still haven’t come to terms with fingernail polish and honestly find a nose-ring less distracting. In fact, things that didn’t bother me before are starting to bother me a lot more now. I never really cared one way or another about tattoos, but as they become more common I’m becoming less rather than more agreeable to them. They’ve moved from signaling actual individuality to being another ornament on the Human Tree. And to get back to individuality they go further and further and get more and more tattoos and pierce more and more body parts.
What’s wrong with human ears just being ears rather than shiny silver repositories? Why make our bodies the (permanent!) landscape for someone else’s usually unoriginal art?
I guess I’m fortunate in that I married someone that doesn’t even wear make-up. While I wouldn’t mind if she wore make-up, the fact that that aspect of her personality keeps the nail polish, piercings, and whatnot is a godsend. I can understand make-up that accentuates the positive and I can understand trying to make yourself look as good as you possibly can, but why make yourself look like something that is less human, not to mention less attractive?
I recognize that this is an aesthetic preference. I’m actually a big sympathetic to less attractive people that figure if you can’t be better looking be different looking, but honestly I think it does more harm than good. Unattractive people look less attractive with tattoos and piercings. They’re hurt by it (in my eyes) in ways that more attractive people aren’t. For the guys the tattoos on their arm just drew attention to the flub on their arms. For chubby ladies the navel rings drew attention to their bellies. For the attractive people, it didn’t really make a difference except insofar as I didn’t like them. If a guy was toned it didn’t matter so much whether there were markings. If a girl was hot who the heck is looking at the ten earrings in her ears or the over-sized rose on her ankle? Or, if they see it, why do they care?
Tomorrow I will write about another observation at the Oasis.