Modification Generation: Body Art Bridging the Generation GapBy
I’m in my twenties, and like a lot of twenty-somethings, I have a few tattoos. The really cool thing though? So does my mom. Plus, she got hers after I got mine. Pretty sweet, right?
For a lot of us who went through school during the 90s, our generational anthem was probably Will Smith’s “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” We wanted to spend hours at the mall, and our parents said no. We wanted to dye our hair blue, and our parents said no. But when we wanted a tattoo, a lot of our parents actually didn’t say no. I know my mother didn’t.
My mom wasn’t a biker babe, or a hippie, or anything like that. In fact, she worked in insurance, but when my sixteenth birthday was coming up and I told her I wanted a tattoo, she wasn’t just okay with it, she was actually going to pay for it as the best birthday present ever. We even checked out several tattoo parlors in the area looking for pricing estimates and feeling out artists. The thing is, everywhere we went, the story was the same: no ink on minors, period, the end.
I live in the state of New York, and tattooing the under 18 set just doesn’t happen in my area, unfortunately. So I ended up having to wait for my tattoo, and once I got it, I decided to get a couple more as well. My mom’s skin was still blank though (they tend to frown upon visible tattooing at some insurance agencies). It wasn’t until she retired early in her fifties that she got her first tattoo, and just like me, she quickly wanted more and ended up with a few extra.
My step-father has a few nice ones too, and he didn’t start getting inked until he was in his forties. I also have several siblings who are tattooed, and in today’s world, I guess that just makes us the average American family. Anyways, the point is, my mother was just like every other mother. She watched as I crossed the street, interrogated my friends when I was invited to parties, and always made sure that I ate my vegetables. There were a lot of things she just didn’t understand, but the beauty of tattoo art was never one of them.