Yes, I like it! Kind of.
It was a moment in the history of the Western World unlike any other.
That is, in the history of the Western World in the immediate vicinity of one Starbucks Coffee Shop in Bala-Cynwyd PA within a four foot radius of my son Brandon and me on August 14, 2015. As the young woman barista brought our coffees to us on that day, my eyes were drawn to a tattoo of an apparent butterfly on the underside of her left arm and before I could control myself, by God, it was out of mouth!
"That's a pretty tattoo," I said.
"Oh, thank you," she replied.
"Dad!" exclaimed Brandon as we walked out of her earshot, "That's a major breakthrough!"
"I guess it is," I said modestly. "I did actually like it, but I’m not sure how or why.”
I'm a Boomer and I've never understood the allure of tattoos. Back in the sixties and early seventies, tattoos were generally worn by the shorter haired folks we called greasers, sworn enemies of the freaks and pseudo freaks. A few hippies had tattoos, but they were as few in number as there were un-smoked roaches in my apartment at the end of a Friday evening.
Our rock heroes did not have them, the cool people we aspired to be like did not have them, and the hot chicks I never had the guts to approach that I'm still kicking myself about 40 years later certainly did not have them as well.
But times have changed and tattoos today proliferate like Republican Presidential candidates. Anymore it’s hard to find an athlete or movie star who believes tabula rasa is an acceptable approach to one's epidermis. My son doesn't have one but he has friends who do, and as far as I can tell none of them are greasers, bikers, or intoxicated sailors just waking up after a long weekend's shore leave.
Brandon has constantly admonished me to stop spreading negative vibes about tattoos, but until now I've virtually carried a soapbox with me to be ready for the opportunity.
"Dad, you don't have to go into a diatribe about tattoos and the 60's every time we see somebody who has one! It marks you as, dare I say ... old."
"OLD?!! Why I'm only 65!"
"Wanna seem 62? Lose the Tat tude!"
And it looks like finally I have.
"So what brought that on, Dad?" said Brandon, as we return now to the greatest history making moment in a Starbucks since someone was able to readily afford a latte.
"I dunno," I answered. "It just slipped out of me as something to say. Like thanks for the coffee, have a nice day, or do you have an attractive mom in my demographic?"
"You know what that means?" said Brandon. "You now accept tattoos as a legitimate expression of someone’s personality, even if you would never choose that mode of expression yourself.”
And he was right. I was able at last to see the attractiveness in something that my pre-conceived notions wouldn’t allow me to see before. I could find pleasure in a specific design and coloring whether on an artist's canvas or someone's bare ass.
So it seems I've made a Tattoo Breakthrough. But would I actually get one myself? Have I made a Tattoo Break on through to the other side?
Naah, I'm not ready for any of that. And I still don't like tattoos which envelop someone's entire body like a well-used etch-a-sketch. But if you're a Boomer and you want a simple not too sizeable tattoo, I won't say a discouraging word.
In fact, I'll help you pick it out.
I might even like it.
I might even like it.