Every day Life
Last week, I had the good fortune to visit Cancun, Mexico. The beaches were white, the water was turquoise, the palm trees were a deep green, and the sky was blue. At our hotel, there were plenty of pale tourists, like myself, who slathered on sunscreen to catch some of the sun’s warmth. Many were from other countries: I heard French, Portugese, German, Italian. And one thing I noticed, from these non-English visitors: Their lack of tattoos. Pale, golden and darker skinned bodies were on display, au naturel.
The Americans, in contrast, were artfully decorated. Some lightly, some head to toe. Older women had vines and flowers adorning the length of their legs. Muscular men had pictures of Mom, girlfriends, babies. Some had tattoos broadly displayed on their backs. “Why get a tattoo if you can’t see it?” asked my daughter. Indeed.
The rise of the Millennials is one reason for the surge in tattoos, as young adults proudly clarify their identities to anyone and everyone. The top benefit, according to the study: It made the owner feel sexier. (Role models, perhaps, by David Beckham, Angelina Jolie?) Yet there are plenty of older folks, too, who are taking to literally proclaiming their heart on their sleeves. And when the romance with Suzie falls through, well, there’s always tattoo removals, now a billion-dollar industry. Re-purposing tatoos has also spawned a whole new art form, even creating its own television show. It's something to keep those 21,000 tattoo parlors open, and expanding.
Last year, a friend sent a birthday card that said “Show and Tell at the Old Folks Home”. The game was “Guess my Tattoo.” Shrinkage matters, as one ages.
Tattoos are getting more sophisticated. According to Inked, the new trends in 2016 are minimalistic, single line tattoos, and double exposure. And color. Much more color.
According to Pew Research Center, 14% of all Americans – some 45 million people - now have at least one tattoo. Seventy-six percent of these are 16 – 40 years old. And some 17 percent of these individuals have regretted their decision.
What is clear is that given my tattoo-free state, I’m about to be in the minority. There’s something about voluntarily handing over hundreds of dollars to inject ink into one’s body, painfully, that keeps me from being tempted.
What about you? Do you have a tattoo? Do you have more than one? Any regrets? Does it make you feel sexier? Rebellious? Empowered? Let’s devote some digital ink to those Inked. We’d love to hear from you!