Mummy wants a new tattoo


I like tattoos.

I can’t make that statement without clarifying that I don’t really fancy guys covered from head to foot with tattoos. I certainly don’t like the idea of people tattooing their head and face.

But I like tattoos. I like decoration. I don’t see why the human body can’t be used as a canvas for something beautiful.

There are a lot of reasons why people get tattoos, and many of them are completely spurious. I don’t think any tattoo has deep and powerful meaning, or that you need to get a tattoo in order to tell yourself who you are.

I don’t think tattooing the love of your life across your forearm is a great idea considering the longevity of most relationships these days. Take Johnny Depp as a case in point. (I am quite happy to take Johnny Depp as anything you like, I have a closet set aside for him to live in.)

I am sure that getting a tattoo in order to prove how brave you are is also a stupid idea. Why not just jump out of a plane or strike up a conversation with the violent thug lurking behind Shaftsbury Avenue in order to prove that.

I just like them.

I have to say, I like them on the smaller side though.

There is such a thing as too many tattoos. And there are wrong tattoos, and there are low class tattoos. I don’t have a unicorn tattooed munching about on my bush. I don’t want a guardian angel on my breast. I don’t want anything that anyone else has chosen from the wall of clippings from their local tattoo parlour.

I think getting a tattoo should stem from having an idea of something you’d like to draw on your skin first, not from deciding you want a tattoo, then finding some unoriginal meme from a flip book.

I have two tattoos. My mother hates both of them. My Grandmother probably liked them both, since she rocked just a little bit, inbetween the blue rinse and the traditional custard in a boil tin.

One is a yin yang, done for all the wrong reasons. Broke up with a guy, got a tattoo. It was supposed to mean that I am whole by myself – I am not one half of something. You don’t need a tattoo to tell yourself that. But I still like it. And actually, it’s true. I am still one whole. And when added to another whole, mixed in with two halves and a grace note – we make a little music. Greater than the whole. Add in some more wholes and halves, and we make a symphony. That is life, it’s all about music and harmony.

My other tattoo is a black cat. My black cat. I’m a cat person, so I drew a black cat so he could be with me always. The eventual tattoo didn’t end up exactly like my drawing, but I liked it.

Mr Boxer Shorts doesn’t like either of them. He likes to call me a biker’s moll, to which I take offence, seeing as I was the one with the ducati, and he was the one with the Vesper T4. I’m the biker, not the moll thankyouverymuch.

Neither of my tatttoos are “Tramp stamps”. Tramp stamps are lower back tattoos. Classy much? No. My tattoos are both on my ankle, and for most of the year no-one even notices that they are there.

Both of my daughters want to get a tattoo when they get older. Or at least – they did, until I described how a tattoo is made. Not one to mince words, I made a very visual picture of that needle poking, punching and piercing your skin over and over again in the same place until the whole tattoo is done. Then scabbing over and healing, with the pain and itching that comes hand in hand. As I described the process both faces slowly metamorphosed from a look of glee, to a somewhat melted show of horror. My job here is done. Neither child is fantasising about their new tattoo. They are also not keen to have their ears pierced either, since I drew the analogy of being stapled as a way of describing that bit of fun. See what a good mother I am? Wait until I tell them about sex, huh!

By the time they are old enough to discount my gory details, they’ll be old enough to make that decision for themselves. I am hoping that I never have to describe what happens when you come off your motorbike from any personal experience however.

So back on topic. I want a new tattoo. I want a new tattoo because I have something I want to etch into my skin permanently. I want to get the stars of the southern cross done on my shoulder blade in a brown that makes it look like a birthmark. (They don’t like inking up with colours that fade easily, but it’s my body and my choice. Heard that before?)

I feel I have lost a bit of my Australian identity. I have mostly lost my accent from living here for 13 years, and I have no idea what current affairs in Australia are now. I can’t even remember who the PM is now although I am sure my mother has told me. I think I dropped off the voting roll back in 1997. I hope I did – otherwise I face a large fine when I get back!

I don’t know who anyone is in Neighbours anymore. Or Home and Away.

These feelings prompted the idea to do this. But these feelings won’t be fixed by a tattoo. I don’t need a tattoo to prove that I am still Australian, or to magically update my current and social affairs knowledge. I just like the idea and I want to do it.

All I need is someone who is Australian to notice it and know what it is. And know where I am from, and it will be a shared joke. Or maybe they’ll believe that I really was born with a birthmark in the shape of the southern cross, and wouldn’t THAT be cool!

Photo source: mborowick

Categories: health and stuff


  • Melissa B. says:

    Ella Numera Dos is a tatoo maven. Every time she comes home, she sports some new kind of body art.
    A Thanksgiving Limerick, DC-style:
    I just heard that two turkeys’ demise
    Was avoided, to their great surprise.
    The big turkey in power,
    In the eleventh hour,
    Gave them pardon, along with the pies.
    Hope you and yours have the Happiest!

  • Can’t wait to see the new one! If only I could decide WHAT to get and WHERE to get it, I’d get one too. I’ve been working on those 2 questions for about 5 years now but still no answers. sigh . . .

  • alison says:

    Love the limerick Melissa!
    I’ll get someone to take a photo of it when I’ve had it done. It probably won’t be until we get back from Sydney, since I don’t want to sit on a plane for 24 hours with a healing scab on my shoulderblade, but then again – an Australian tatoo artist would at least know what the constellation should look like!

  • I liked this post. I want to get my very first tattoo. I want one because it is something I have wanted for a very long time. But my Dad doesn’t understand. I say, he doesn’t have to, its my body.
    Anyway, great post.
    Stopped by from SITS to say hi and welcome.

  • alison says:

    That’s quite true, it’s your body. But I would advise you to be patient and only go ahead when you’re really sure what “art” you want to wear forever. It’s not something you need to rush into.
    If you really want a tattoo, but don’t know what to have done, think about what’s most important to you – for example, I play the flute, I love music. Something musical would be a good choice for a 4th tattoo.
    Also, find a tattoo studio that you like. Talk to the tattoo artists and see what they suggest. If you have an idea of what you’d like, but can’t find a visual of it, a good artist could sketch something up for your approval. If they are reluctant to work with you, and want you to just pick something they can already do, then they are probably not the people for you!
    Try having a look at this site: They followed me on twitter since I mentioned the word tattoo! But it looks like they have some good tips.

  • What a great post – and what a perfect way to explain what getting a tattoo is to your children! I may have to bookmark this post just for that alone when my son gets older! I don’t have any tattoos personally, but I agree with your good reasons to get a tattoo, I guess I just haven’t experienced that desire to have an image tattooed (in part because of the process, I’m not a fan of pain). It sounds like your tattoos are very well thought out and meaningful to you, and I like that. Stopping by from SITS today, you commented above me. I’m glad I did – you’re a fantastic writer!

  • alison says:

    Hi Elizabeth, I hope that on that special day, when your son announces his desire to have a harley tattooed across his back – you can still find the bookmark!
    I think henna is a good way to decorate yourself if you like the idea but have no desire to do something permanently. It’s nice to be a piece of art all of a sudden.

  • The Wifey says:

    I feel the exact same way about all of this.
    (Except the “Tramp Stamp” part. Personally, I don’t see how it’s in poor taste. It’s not like the bush-munching-unicorn. Just another popular spot that folks like to put their tats, in my opinion.)
    I get hennas done, often.
    I won’t put anything permanent because I find myself changing my mind too much about things.

  • Em says:

    I managed to dodge the trend back in college when all my friends were “doing it.”
    The pain! But especially the permanency, kept me from indulging. I imagine that speaks volumes about my personality – too chicken to commit? I’m pretty sure I would end up with buyer’s remorse.
    LOVE the Southern Cross idea with the brown ink – I bet that turns out simply beautiful.
    (Welcome to SiTS!)

  • Aunt Becky says:

    I am dying to get a new one, although I need some MAJOR help designing it. I want a Phoenix rising from the ashes, but every single one of them that I find looks REALLY not what I want it to.
    So I need an artist friend.

  • Deb Amlen says:

    Hi Alison, Have never been brave enough to get a tat of my own, but I admire those of others. Best of luck with it and let us know how it turns out!

  • alison says:

    The wifey – maybe it’s just because when you see them – unless the person is wearing a bikini – it’s because they have low cut jeans, a midriff top, and probably a g-string sticking out where it shouldn’t be! It always reeks of lower class to me, but I hate to come across as being judgmental! But I think henna’s look gorgeous, and you can be a different work of art every time. It’s a great idea. If only they lasted just a little longer than they do!

    Hi Em! You never want to get a tattoo just because your friends do – sounds like you were stronger than peer pressure, and that’s a good thing!

    Maybe you could put a call out, Becky? I am sure some artist/readers would love to sketch some things up for you. And you could take a sketch to a tattoo parlour and see if the tattooist could make something from it. If they can only do things that they have a “pattern” for, then they are not artists.
    My first one is a yin yang – simple, small. You’d hardly think anyone could mess that up right? In the studio I went to the guy said he couldn’t do it that small, he had to do it about twice the size. So I said no thanks and walked out. Another guy – Tony – came after me and said he’d do it. Well, even he managed to miss the finer points of what seemed quite obvious to me. There are two dots on the yin yang – one white, one black. The white one needs to be outlined as larger than the black one so that the white dot and black dot end up the same size. He didn’t.
    Sometimes the simple things are harder than people realise. Still, I might end up going there to get my new one done while we’re visiting at christmas. It will get up both my mother AND my husband’s noses in one go. Could do great things for family solidarity!

    Deb – try a henna tattoo, it’s fun, it’s not painful, and it’s not permanent! And also – clear, perfect skin is a beauty all in itself.

  • Holly L says:

    Thanks for swinging by my place earlier. I loved reading your tattoo story – these reasons behind them, why you like them, etc. I do not have any and at this point probably won’t ever…I almost did many times…I am actually glad I didn’t not because of the tattoo part because of what I would have got tattooed on me…
    Holly @ 504 Main

  • alison says:

    Hi Holly, I enoyed reading your blog too!
    It’s a good thing you didn’t get a tattoo if you now realise that you would not have wanted to be wearing now what you planned to do then. Your subconscious proabably realised that in the long term it wasn’t a great idea!

  • Shannon says:

    I got one when I was 18, before people had them everyone like they do now. I say go for it but I would get it someone you can conceal it if you need to. Mine is on my ankle. I’ve even thought of getting another one but then my kids want to follow suit and I’m not so sure about that! 🙂

  • alison says:

    How old are your kids?
    I know that I can’t stop my kids doing as their mother did (which is why when the subject of drugs crops up I’ll probably freak out and lie about it all).
    That’s why I played up on the pain factor!

  • joy says:

    Welcome to the SITS community!

  • I love it. Have you done it yet? Pixies please!!?
    Oh, and you just got yourself a new follower ;o)