Express Yaself

Once, young guys wore briefs and old guys wore boxers. Now it’s just the opposite. Once, it was sailors on boozy shore-leave who got tattoos. Now, even kids in braces and Marching Band uniforms get them. Customs change.

Girls still saunter around with vast crescents of flesh showing between their tops and their pants even though the fashion mag I just read in line at the pharmacy says it’s not ‘classy’ to do this.

People have a wish to expresses themselves, that’s all. This is who I am,” is all they’re hoping to say.

I have a 20-something friend who dresses in a kilt when he’s of a mind to, and he certainly doesn’t do THAT to shock anyone. Yes, he studied the bagpipes once, but he’s also an Eagle Scout, a wilderness survival guy and an EMT. Oh and the computer hasn’t been invented that he can’t get to sit up and beg. So try pigeonholing HIM, you know?

It was back in the mid-90s when our oldest got a tattoo and I can tell you that very few young women were doing that at the time, especially among the other double-Econ-and-Religion majors there at Wellesley College. As I recall, her dad had something to say when he heard about plans for this species of personal ornamentation. “Well, you’ll never get a job in the corporate world!” he told her tartly.

“Oh Dad, I’m not going into the corporate world!” I remember her saying with a big smile. “I’m going to head up a federal agency!”

“But why is she DOING it?” this mate of mine asked the ceiling later.

Neither of us knew – until she came back from that trip with her best college pal Sarah and saw it. The tattoo that encircled her arm just above the elbow was the same daisy-chain pattern of the wedding ring of her grandmother, recently deceased. She had carefully made a pen-and-ink sketch of the ring’s design and brought it with her to Nevada.

So she didn’t get it because of any fashion; she got it it as a symbol of something important to her.

Also I will say these many years later, she DID join the corporate world, MBA in hand. And her equally tattooed best pal Sarah is now in Infectious Disease doc at a prestigious Boston hospital.

So maybe we have to look at all fashions as mere avenues for people to express themselves.

Thoreau said it: “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him put on the undies he likes, however tailored or hanging down. 🙂

Here is the girl today with that her grandmother’s wedding ring pattern and her new baby girl.

9 thoughts on “Express Yaself

  1. Judging only by what I see in public, teenagers dress to say “here’s who they are – and I’m like them.”

  2. Just watched Mark Wahlberg last night on the Graham Norton show and HE is having all his tattoos removed and it is very painful. Hes had 33 treatments so far. So I would suggest to anyone to think carefully about what it is they get permanently painted onto their skin. I see your darling was ahead of her time and showed some thoughtfulness AND restraint.

  3. Grandson Andrew was told he could not get a tattoo until he reached l8. Sheila and I were in Ireland on his 18th birthday, so she called home to wish him a happy birthday. He was not at home. He was downtown getting his tattoo.

    1. For men, anyway: if you can’t see your belt buckle while standing straight and relaxed, no speedos.

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