What do tattoos really tell us?
By Justin Isherwood
It is the fate and ritual of English majors to occasionally survey our fellow beings, and as my lot falls to the local subspecies, Americanus modernaris, I am struck by the current fashion for tattoos.
To admit as a devoted admirer of women, this as I perceive a basic act of faith, I am intrigued by what seems the dramatic modern need to illustrate, of life and the tattoo as personal art. A walking talking museum. The human body as a gallery showing. To confess, I ain’t complaining.
The advantage to a person who is an admiring sort is that tattoo provides a whole new vantage point, a perspective that if handled correctly is the better for the observation of homo sapiens Americanus modernaris. The trick, as all observers know, is to be inconspicuous, not leering, not to become observable yourself.
I have remarked to total strangers on the remarkableness of their tattoo, at least the portions I could see. A little tell-tale filigree at the nape of the neck. Depending on the garments in question a bit of twining detail on the leg, the upper arm, the shoulder, the ankle, the thigh. As the professional observer, I am fully aware the tattoo thing knows no bounds of intimacy, to the end I am somewhat hesitant when the art object in question responds to my query, “do you want to see the whole thing?”
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