A good friend of mine, who is (and I’m being generous here) on the dark side of her fourth decade, approached me recently with a terrible idea: “I’m going to get a tattoo on my butt.”
Upon hearing this disturbing news, I immediately choked on the sandwich I was eating. When I recovered, I croaked, “Why? Why?”
“Because it’s sexy!” she chirped.
Now, I make it a habit never to see my friends naked, but once, quite by terrible accident, I happened to see this friend’s ass. It was on a bright, moonlit night. Every time I see the moon, I can’t help but think of her ass. And I so used to love the moon.
“Honestly, honey, if I were you, I wouldn’t do anything to draw attention to your ass,” I said.
“Are you saying I have a fat ass?” she demanded.
“At this point, it speaks for itself,” I said.
I wasn’t being facetious! One night at a bar, her ass overflowed onto a neighboring bar stool, ordered itself a margarita and nachos, and started spouting opinions on world affairs. I was shocked to discover that her ass is a conservative Republican who wants to bomb Iran.
Some people can carry off tattoos: Marines, certain arty types, people who keep snakes as pets, and convicts. But for the crowd I run with—who are hopelessly suburban, no matter how hard they try to disguise it with chic black clothing and expensive eyewear—tattoos are, in a word, stupid.
When middle-aged ladies get tattoos, they tend to place them in areas usually covered by clothing. I suppose this makes them feel naughty.
When I asked one friend why she chose to get a single red rose etched just below her underwear line, she remarked that she wanted a “surprise factor” in her lovemaking.
“Doesn’t sex have enough surprises?” I asked wearily. “Is it necessary to frighten your partner, who, in the dark, while slowly creeping down your belly, may mistake the rose for a large, blood-filled tick—and then try to squash it?”
Things you shouldn’t do in middle age: wearing sleeveless tops; dancing with too much gusto; engaging in any activity you think makes you look hip. Also, dating the insane (a sport for only the young), backpacking through Europe, and getting tattooed.
Odd, unsettling things begin happening to your body once you hit 40. Doesn’t matter how much you exercise, or how little you eat. One day, you wake up, and find yourself in a foreign body. It’s as if an alien life form from a particularly lumpy and jiggly planet has co-opted your once taut and supple flesh. You now resemble an unbaked cookie.
Imagine what this transformation does to a tattoo. A pig becomes a sow; a naked lady stretches, and sags into a mess; and Chinese characters melt into something resembling river muck. This is not sexy.
Still not convinced? OK, consider this: Imagine a day in the not-distant future. You are now in your 80s. You are lying in your bed at the nursing home. It’s time for your bed bath. A hot nurse enters the room. Because you just had blue rinse applied to your hair, you think you have a shot with her. You chat her up, as she sponges your arms and chest. You are poised to ask her for her number. But then, she turns you over.
“What the hell is that?” she exclaims in horror.
There, on your ass, is a tattoo, stretched, dimpled—and looking like something Picasso created on a bad day.