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Saturday, August 14, 2010


Carol Clayton

I got a tattoo in 1987, as an attempt to quit smoking. I figured that I smoked because I thought it made me look wild and dangerous, and wondered what I could do that would have the same effect for me minus the negative health issues-answer? Tattoo. Then they were not at all widespread, and still mostly said "wild/dangerous" or "trailer trash" depending on whom you asked, so I got mine in a place where, I told people, even if I was invited to swim at the White House (not likely in 1987, given my violent anti-Republican sentiments and apparent lack of White House pool parties) I would not embarrass my mother. I have never been sorry I got it, although I started smoking again just months afterwards. But I cannot over-emphasize the ravages of time on ink, and the skin in which that ink lives. So if you do it, make sure that it is in a place where, 20 years from now, you won't feel compelled to drop thousands on laser removal. (My idea of a sound investment in a growth industry, btw)

Avis H

I got my tatoo in 1994 following my divorce. It was a powerful experience on a number of levels. A friend had done research on local tatoo salons and selected the salon we went to. Since these salons were not as prevalent then as they are now, I spent 2-3 hours with 4 bikers. These hard-core bikers (minus a number of teeth and in leather chaps over their jeans) were some of the nicest guys I have ever met. The guy who owned the salon was amazingly gentle & concerned that I not reveal too much as I prepared for him put the tatoo on my chest. His buddy, who helped me select the perfect flower (not a rose)for my tatoo, physically held my hand through the entire process. I had intended to have the tatoo on my shoulder blade but he discouraged this because he thought it would be too painful for my first tatoo. The experience was powerful because my tatoo will always remind me of the strength that brought me through my divorce, one of the most difficult points in my life, and because my interraction with those "bikers-dudes" confirmed for me that people are people despite what they look like. It has been 16 years since I got my tatoo. I have no regrets about getting "inked", as tatoos are called in some circles. My "ink" always makes me smile as I am dressing or undressing. It also always makes me smile at toothless bikers!


Karen, forgive me if I've already forwarded this article to you. It's a piece from the NY Times challenging the conventional wisdom (with support from eight well-respected rabbinical scholars) that Jewish law prohibits tattoos.

If you do go forward with a tattoo, I hope you'll share the decision with us!

Amanda Morin

My brother has an intricate bracelet tattoo on his forearm that makes my Holocaust-era grandparents wince every time they see it. I've always wanted a subtle tattoo also, maybe a chain of ivy around my ankle or something else just as delicate. With each milestone birthday or milestone occasion--my divorce, my remarriage-- I've entertained the idea, but have not done it because of the Jewish belief as well and because I don't want my grandparents to be reminded of the painful past. (Or possibly because I'm a total wimp and think it might hurt a lot.) I never really considered that in having pierced ears I'd already gone against religious prohibition.

I look forward to knowing whether you decide to get a tattoo!

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