A Staid Republican Eyebrow Piercing
Now let me think — since I’ve mentioned sparks and kindling what’s a good metaphor to describe the beginning of our fourth and final date? Something involving huge amounts of water, a stockpile of non-flammable materials and a complete lack of anything combustible. Perhaps I’ll think of the right analogy later. Meanwhile, let me tell you why I stopped dating that guy: winter ended. Temperatures rose so much that he switched from a wool sweater on date three to a short-sleeved shirt on date four. That’s when I learned he had tattoos covering every square inch of his arm above his wrist.
I've never cared for tattoos. I’ve overlooked one or two in boyfriends past, but a man whose entire arm sports every color in a Crayola box definitely falls into the let’s-be-friends category.
Lucky for both of us that we met near the end of winter. Suppose we’d met at the beginning instead! If temperatures had remained low for a few dates more, my spark-drenching first glimpse of his bare forearms could’ve come in a considerably more awkward context.
Of course, my dislike of tattoos is merely a matter of taste. And my taste is out of date, according to this MSNBC article about corporate dress codes, which are changing these days in response to the growing numbers of people who have tattoos and body art.
Colleen Harris doesn’t fit the stereotype of the buttoned-up librarian. Her arms are covered with a pirate queen motif and black scrolling designs, which extend down the side of her body to her ankle. A black rose and the words “Dangerous Magic” adorn the back of her left hand, and the words “Anam Cara” (old Gaelic for “soul friend”) letter her knuckles. . . . The face of the young American worker is changing, and it’s increasingly decorated with ink and metal. About half of people in their 20s have either a tattoo or a body piercing other than traditional earrings, according to a study published in June in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. That figure, which is higher than the national average, is growing.To summarize the rest of the article: some companies are willing to hire employees with visible tattoos and piercings. Others aren’t. The number of the former is growing along with the number of pierced, tattooed people.
Are piercings and tattoos merely a fad, or a permanent change in style? A hundred years ago a woman couldn’t wear lipstick or eye makeup without causing a scandal, but nowadays you’ll find cosmetics even on the churchgoing wives of family-values politicians. My mother used to tell me stories about her own school days, when girls’ skirts had to touch the ground when they knelt; last month I read a dress-for-business-success article advising women to keep their skirts at a modest length of no more than two or three inches above the knee.
A century from now maybe nose rings will be as conservative as small pearl stud earrings are today. Tattoos will have as much counterculture flair as navy blue business suits. First Ladies will wear tube tops and Daisy Dukes on photo ops with elementary-school children. And my photograph will be as outdated as a Victorian woman in corsets and a bustle.
Damn. I’m too young to feel that old.