By Tim D'Avis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Last Friday I found myself in the company of my
tattooed friends talking to our tattooed Coco's
waitress about tattoos. I don't have any tattoos, and though I understand the appeal, I can't say I'll ever get one. This is due in large part to the tattoo's recent and widespread acceptance by the denizens of the college crowd.
College folk have redefined the once-underground tattoo industry. They've also redefined tattoos. Ask your average guy or gal to name a Native American tribe and their general geography and you'll receive a resounding "DUH" in response. Ask them what a "tribal tattoo" is and they'll tell you that it's got something to do with thick black lines č tribal beer cans, tribal appliances, tribal gangsta script ... you know, primitive stuff.
In the interest of accurate reporting (or at least some small foundation for this unwarranted tirade) I called the Enchanted Dragon II, a renowned local studio, and asked what the most common tattoos were for college-age people. The reply was less than surprising: "sorority and fraternity letters." Insert bloodcurdling screams and envision steam escaping from author's facial orifices. These bastions of NORMAL, BORING university life have usurped the TIME-HONORED NOTION THAT TATTOOS ARE FOR OUTCASTS, REBELS AND MISANTHROPES WITH NECKWARMER HAIRCUTS AND AN UNHEALTHY LOVE FOR SKULLS! Ken and Barbie want to get Alpha Tau Omega or Tri-Delt on their derriere for the rest of their WHOLE ENTIRE LIVES!
If it's not Greek letters, it's the Tasmanian Devil. It's a rose on the hip or the ankle. It's a butterfly on the breast. If you can't think of anything more expressive of yourself than an insect or a pretty flower, or if you really need the "Taz" on your biceps with "HORNY" written below, then stop reading and start weeping.
A few people I know do have tattoos that look admittedly quite keen and unconventional, still more have borderline dumb tattoos, and a slew of people I never, ever, want to meet have tattoos of yin-yangs and dolphins (the hippie/alternative crowd versions of the rose and butterfly). Please, there's more duality and unexploited symbolism in an inhumanly-proportioned naked woman riding a Harley.
After I talked to the Enchanted Dragon fellow about common college tattoos, I decided to drop my bombshell: I asked for a price quote on what I considered to be the ultimate tattoo:
"Could you give me a ball-park figure for a picture of the Tasmanian Devil holding a flaming eightball with a yin-yang/sixty-nine design in the middle of the ball, all surrounded by an armband of mudflap women and underneath a leaping dolphin?"
"Well, what's the size? I meanč well, I can't do that, you'd have to bring the design in," he said, courteous to the point where it seemed like he actually wanted to do this tattoo. I felt bad for taking up his time, especially because I still didn't have a clue as to how much my tattoo would cost. I do know it would be a hefty chunk of change, and that people regularly dole out comparable sums to make themselves look only slightly less stupid.
So before that Jimi Hendrix portrait, that heart-and-thorns, that tribal sun on your ankle, drop by the Wildcat office and leave a copy of the design in my box. I'll get back to you within two days with some comments and constructive criticisms as to what decision to make. I may sound like Billy Goat Gruff, but I'm here to help.
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