The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
When I was a teen the only kids that sported tattoos were the bad ass ones; roses on boobs, skulls and crosses on arms, flowers on ankles. At 17, I desperately wanted a tattoo, but my parents would have killed me and quite frankly, I didn’t have the nerve. Mini needles drilling into my skin, pain, fear of ink poisoning, no thank you. Nineteen years later, I was ready for my ink.
New Hampshire tattoo parlor, weekend getaway with my husband, who had already planned on getting a tattoo, so I figured carpe diem. I had three children; surely, I could handle this. I perused the artwork and settled on a dragon design for a couple of reasons; it would complement one of my husband’s tattoos, and I liked the fact that the dragon stood for courage, strength, and wisdom. Even better, when I informed the tat artist of the probability that my threshold was about 20 minutes, he told me that this tattoo fit my criteria. When the stencil was placed on my ankle, trepidation hit, and I mentally planned an escape route. If it all went bad, a line or two could be chalked off as a birthmark, but once the outlining was underway, I’d be in it to win it.
Okay, you know how they say tattoos hurt? Know this: they do. I looked at my husband for support. He smiled in a please suck it up, don’t make a scene way. Dammit, why didn’t I go with a girlfriend? And just like that, my wish was granted. She was tall and blonde with a plus-sized body that was squeezed into many sizes too small biker chick clothes. Her Dolly Partons bulged out of a shirt that fit her like a condom and her nails were red talons. She was loud and raucous, and carried a tray of Jell-O shots that she had gotten from the bar next door.
She heard me whimpering and rushed to my side. “You can do it honey,” she smiled, her red lipstick framing perfectly white teeth. “Look at my rose,” she said, leaning the girls close enough to touch my cheek, revealing a blue rose that looked like circa 1970s. It was like resting my face on a pillow, and better yet, it distracted me from leaping out of the chair.
“Here, squeeze my hand,” she smiled. This chick was like the Jillian Michaels of tattoo coaching, and for the next 20 minutes, this boisterous beauty was my new BFF. When my two-inch long by one-inch wide dragon tattoo was complete, I thanked her for being my personal cheerleader. She laughed and hugged me – hugged meaning her boobs momentarily absorbed my face – and took her Jell-O shots to the bar next door.
We’re moving ahead seven years, present day:
To celebrate her 18th birthday, my oldest child, and only daughter, announced she was getting a tattoo. I asked if I could go along with her two friends for the historic moment and she said yes, as long as I didn’t tell the tattoo artist what to do.
Oh, please. Like I’d tell a tattoo artist their job.
I’d suggest maybe, but definitely not tell them what to do. Geesh.
My daughter wanted a dragon tattoo for the same reasons I did; she liked what they represented, and she wanted to compliment mine and my husband’s tattoos. She described the tattoo to the artist, and like magic, he sketched a design. “I love it! It’s everything I wanted,” she beamed.
We proceeded to the back room where folks were getting branded with loved one’s names or symbols that held special meaning, their faces a mixture of pain and pleasure. My daughter’s friends took turns holding her hand, the four of us giggling and wincing together. During the process I said to her, “It’s big, huh? It’s going to be weird to have that on your foot.” And she said, “No, I was ready. I said goodbye to my foot this afternoon. I said, Goodbye plain foot. This is the last time I’ll see you like this.” I smiled at her, content that her tattoo decision had not come lightly.
An hour later, my daughter was sporting a fine looking dragon on her foot. She received the proverbial pat on the back and looks of admiration from other artists and patrons. My daughter’s tattoo happened to coincide with the release of a movie and I’ve given her the nickname of…wait for it…the girl with the dragon tattoo!