Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Anatomy of a Tattoo

It's true what they say; once you get one tattoo, you get the itch to get another. And another. And another.

The trick is, especially for us females, finding the right body art that won't look completely stupid on your 85-year-old corpse. The last thing you want is the morgue guy or funeral director chuckling at your "FABIO RULEZ!" tattoo. Or at your seductively ornate "tramp stamp." Choose wisely is all I'm saying.

I'd wanted a tattoo ever since I was a little girl ogling the clover tattoo on my Papi's arm. I was told he got it when he was a bad-ass thug on the streets of Santo Domingo, and I wanted to be one, too. Later when I became obsessed with the big hair metal bands of the eighties and nineties, body art became a mild infatuation that I kept to myself. Because even at a young age I understood that these things were permanent. I wanted to pick just the right thing, something I'd be proud to flash during my open casket.

I mean, hey, let's keep it real- I was never gonna be president, OK? I didn't need to stay away from body art. Any profession in my booze-laced future was bound to be OK with tattoos. That was obvious.

Still, I deliberated long and hard, trying to determine what my true passion was, and how to incorporate that in a non-lame tattoo that I'd never be ashamed of.

Writing, while it is my passion, seemed too corny. I wasn't spiritual or religious, so crosses and the such were out. I thought about a "bracelet" with my grandmother's initials (which I still might do) but I wasn't fully ready to accept that she had passed. Plus imagine how many "bracelets" I'd have by the time I died- OUCH! My kids' My then-husband's name? Never that (rule of thumb: never put anyone's name on your body that you didn't give birth to or didn't give birth to you or isn't related to you by blood. Basically no one who can walk out of your life and never come back).

Next thing you know, my 30th birthday was approaching and I still hadn't gotten my tattoo. But then, while perusing through one of Slash's fan sites, I saw it- the tattoo that I just had to have. It was perfect because it was a tribute to an awesome guitarist that I had admired for over a decade and depicted my real-real passion: music.

So down to The Village I went with a photocopy of my tattoo and Irene and Gary to hold my hand (translation: point and laugh at me doing my Lamaze breathing during the ordeal). I limped for a week after that, but it was absolutely worth it- my tattoo was hot hot hot, and two years later I still love my Cool Cat in a Top Hat (title of the poem I wrote for Slash, coincidental).

I immediately started to think of what else I could get.

I wanted to keep the music theme going and thought hard about any other musicians that I admired as much as I did Slash. There's Prince, but I didn't want to get that symbol just yet; I had to mull it over. Meanwhile, Ms. Ani DiFranco played on my iTunes. The song? "Adam and Eve." The lyric that inspired my new tattoo, freshly inked last night by a Mr. Will Harris of Cypress Hill, Brooklyn?

"I just happen to love apples and I'm not afraid of snakes"

It was perfection personified. Ani I LOVE LOVE LOVE. And "Adam and Eve" is a great song that brings up all my Catholic issues AND references my middle name which I use when chatting online: Ivelisse (ee-veh-lee-seh), Evie for short.

I googled and googled trying hard to find an image to perfectly match that quote, finally coming to the realization that I'd have to have the tattoo artist design it for me. So then I had to scour the city for the artist to do it for less that $100. I finally found Will, saw pics of his work, got a preliminary drawing and a price quote, and the decision was made.

Here's the tracing:

My tattoo in progress, outlined:

And the finished product:

HOT SHYT, right? Don't hate is not your color...

*smooches...deliberating on tattoo number three as you read this line*
so i let go the ratio
of things said to things heard
as i leave you to your garden
and the beauty you preferred