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Permanent ink not fit for the fickle

Sep 26, 2013 - By Clair McFarland

Few topics distract me from the joy I carry around with me these days -- in my hormone-high brain, my tapioca-spoiled tummy, and my overstuffed womb. It's hard for me to think about the adventures in life that are not related to carrying my twin boys. The baby boys are my newest and wildest adventure. My brain is in my belly.

Yet, I am lately preoccupied with a pending decision that The Husband is entertaining ...

He wants to replace his white gold wedding ring with a simple band of tattoo ink around his finger. This tattoo would be his first, his only.

Here he cites a few reasons for his decision, none of which is necessary for the reader to know, but are noteworthy for an interested conversationalist: It is difficult for a man to wear a metal ring for long periods in the heat, difficult to find a ring that fits snugly without getting stuck, and difficult for the man who depends on his hands as ever-mobile tools to let them be hindered by a little understated bling.

The choice is his, and I find myself surprisingly indifferent to all of this, perhaps I'm even in favor. After all, he is just finding a permanent way to represent a permanent bond. It's practical.

Even if I did have some sort of agenda against tattoos (I don't), I do not presume to wear the pants in this relationship anyway. (A fact I note without shame.)

However, whether I wear the pants, the skirt, or the maternity sweatshorts, the subject of tattoos has launched me into an ink-related introspection. Such is made more profound by my own complete lack of markings.

Don't get me wrong, I've considered getting one. I once went to Water World and found the place to be a human art show -- for the sake of the fact that swimsuits just don't cover as much of the canvas as normal clothes.

There I admired cute butterflies, calf-high stocking seams topped with bows, names of loved ones, pieces of armor, poetry and flourishes.

All of this looked pretty to me, and I had the fleeting desire to join the ranks of living canvases who had chosen such bold and beautiful designs.

I soon forgot about all of this and went off to find dry clothes and a hearty snack.

This year at the fair, a man was selling air-brush tattoos, the stain of which is said to fade after about 10 days. I looked over the offered designs and grew weary at the thought of having to endure a certain one for the eternal, languorous period that is 10 days in my eyes.

So, given my fickle nature, a chimpanzee could see that I'm not the best candidate for tattoo consumerism. There's one more reason this is so.

My dad bears ink from the prevalent Navy culture of just one generation ago, wherein "I'll buy you a tattoo" was a common phrase of camaraderie. I have never found his tattoos unsightly. As a child, they further aligned him with Popeye in my mind, because he was already the kind of dad who advocated spinach and hated bullying.

But he always spoke out in resentment of his tats -- perhaps still does.

He said that because of job interviews and man's (or woman's) great capacity for lifelong, physical and mental change, a permanent marking is not to be taken lightly, and will not be allowed "under this roof."

He extended this philosophy to unusual or obtrusive piercings, which is why I cannot use my earlobe as a pasta measurer or anything else useful.

Dad's vigilance on this matter is appropriate in my case, though I do not know if he undertook his stance knowing I'd be a fickle person at any age, or if he undertook it just because most 18-year-olds have greater milestones ahead in life than whichever ones they want to put on their skin the day they come to be called adults.

Either way, Dad sent me into the world with a midsection clear of adjectives -- words which would be stretched to comical proportions by my growing twins.

And for that, I should buy him a tattoo.

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