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Tina Fey's A Mother’s Prayer for Its Child
April 16, 2011 7:26 AM   Subscribe

"First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches." Tina Fey's The Mother’s Prayer for Its Daughter from her new book Bossypants. You can hear her read this piece at the beginning of her interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air.
posted by Kattullus (94 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Me, I Really like her replies to the Internet in that book.
posted by Artw at 7:28 AM on April 16, 2011


I had the very same baby-poop-neck epiphany she describes in that prayer.

But I did not forget to call my mother.

I called her, and I apologized for every thoughtless, hateful, selfish asshole thing I ever even thought about doing while I was under her care.

Because until you do it yourself? You just. Don't. Know.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:35 AM on April 16, 2011 [12 favorites]


"And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it."

That's funny.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:38 AM on April 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Artw: Me, I Really like her replies to the Internet in that book.

It is quite funny. I wish I had thought of the comeback "how can you say I'm an overrated troll if you've never seen me guard a bridge?"
posted by Kattullus at 7:39 AM on April 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hilarious. And the use of the phrase "And should she choose to be a Mother one day..." is one of those small things that make me think "I love Tina Fey" and mean it like I mean it for someone I know, even though I've never met her. Which is just as well - as if I ever did, I'd probably be "you're neat" like an idiot and hate myself Liz Lemon stylw until my next anti-triumph.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:46 AM on April 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


"Its"? Checking the TOC on Amazon...Yep, "Its." Buh?
posted by Gator at 7:57 AM on April 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I didn't know Tina Fey even had a baby. And I thought the picture might be staged. Until the last paragraph proved she was for reals.
posted by DU at 8:03 AM on April 16, 2011


First, Lord: No tattoos.

This pretty much guarantees the kid'll be inked up first chance she gets.
posted by jonmc at 8:05 AM on April 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


I've been really impressed with the Tina Fey interviews I've read. She's clearly crazy smart, and can articulate both her own position and the bigger context (say, of women in show business) really well.

But this "prayer"? It feels like I've read it a million times. It's just the standard parental worry about their daughter's sexuality and safety, plus the "oh you'll appreciate this later when you have kids of your own, ha ha" cliche at the end. Sorry, this isn't new, terribly well done, or particularly compelling.

Certainly not as compelling as her actual discussions of what it means to contemplate pregnancy when much of her career rests on being considered "hot," for example.
posted by Forktine at 8:11 AM on April 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


I love Tina Fey. If she can do wrong, I have yet to see it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:18 AM on April 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I haven't seen anything she's done except maybe a YouTube clip or two where she imitates Palin, but I downloaded the audio book because I keep hearing that she's smart and funny. So far -- after a few chapters or files or modules or whatever they are -- it's pretty good.
posted by pracowity at 8:20 AM on April 16, 2011


I love Tina Fey. If she can do wrong, I have yet to see it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero


You haven't been watching 30 Rock this season, have you?
posted by Keith Talent at 8:21 AM on April 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

Victim-blaming at the second line? What? I expect much, much better from Tina Fey.
posted by fraula at 8:48 AM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


middleclasstool: " Because until you do it yourself? You just. Don't. Know."

QFT.

fraula: "Victim-blaming at the second line? What? I expect much, much better from Tina Fey."

She's probably speaking from experience, considering her own scar.
posted by zarq at 8:57 AM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Victim-blaming at the second line?

That's not what that is, no.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 9:07 AM on April 16, 2011 [24 favorites]


Everything she says in that prayer are things I have hoped for my own daughter. You're my hero, Tina Fey. And for the record, 30 Rock has been a touch spotty this season, but lots of it has been hysterically funny (notably "Queen of Jordan").
posted by Go Banana at 9:21 AM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's just the standard parental worry about their daughter's sexuality and safety.

Of course - why should she be any different? She's a parent worried about her daughter's safety and sexuality. She just happens to be pretty damn on-point and cleverly expressive about it.
posted by entropone at 9:33 AM on April 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


The fake-religious parenting schtick is very reminiscent of Ian Frazier's "Lamentations of the Father" (which he performs here).
posted by w0mbat at 9:39 AM on April 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hmm. Interesting. These are really prayers for a daughter, not a child. I'm a heavily tattooed person, so I bristle against the tattoo one. Your child's body is not your own, even if it's your daughters and especially as she moves into adulthood, even if its beauty is somehow seen as an extension of yours because of the way our society views a daughter as an extension of a mother and not a fully independent individual. Don't hope that your children don't get tattoos. Hope that they're comfortable in their own skin, that they only do things with their bodies that let them feel proud and strong and beautiful in them.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:40 AM on April 16, 2011 [18 favorites]


"O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed."

And suddenly I laugh out loud and am reminded of why I love Tina Fey
posted by Blasdelb at 9:43 AM on April 16, 2011


I always like Tina Fey better in interviews than in her written pieces. Her humor seems so much sharper in the interviews to me. The New Yorker pieces I've read lately are so stiff and borderline Bombeck.
posted by queensissy at 9:54 AM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you read those New Yorker pieces and listen to this interview ... you've read all of Bossypants. So now you don't have to buy it. Like I did ...
posted by macadamiaranch at 9:59 AM on April 16, 2011


Because until you do it yourself? You just. Don't. Know.
posted by middleclasstool at 3:35 PM on April 16


I did. That's why I never had kids. I'm always somewhat puzzled when people say things like they didn't realise what a tough job parenting was until they did it. Seems to show a want of imagination when young. It was extremely obvious to me that it was a hell of a tough job, and I totally sympathised with my mother when she lost her rag with us. I also took a lot of care not to do things that were inconsiderate or would piss her off. But I knew at ten-years old, with a tungsten-hard certainty, that it wasn't for me and never would be. I honestly don't know how people can stand it.
posted by Decani at 10:18 AM on April 16, 2011 [17 favorites]


Oh my god, if you like Tina Fey at all, you have to get Bossypants.

Ideally the audiobook version, which she reads herself. Unlike most "author reads their own book" situations, Tina Fey basically puts on a one-woman show. IT IS SO GREAT.

I'm enjoying it so much that I'm listening to it in tiny chunks so it lasts longer. I'll be so sad when it's finished and I won't be able to listen to Tina Fey telling me funny stories anymore.
posted by ErikaB at 10:22 AM on April 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've read "Lamentations of the Father" (w0mbat's link above) before but I forgot how funny it is.
posted by selfmedicating at 10:29 AM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was extremely obvious to me that it was a hell of a tough job, and I totally sympathised with my mother when she lost her rag with us.

I recently told my mom that I could remember a few occasions where, if she had decided to sew my three brothers and I in a sack and throw us in a river, I could not really have found fault with her. She laughed. I suspect that we might have had a narrow escape or two while growing up....
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:40 AM on April 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


The prayer is full of weird fear of female sexuality and can be easily ignored. The interview, on the other hand, is delightful and fascinating. Fey is such an intelligent person, and I would love to be able to have a drink with her.
posted by jenlovesponies at 11:53 AM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


30 rock is starting to show some cracks, but unlike many tv shows, which take a season or two to find their groove, 30 Rock started strong from the first episode and stayed surprisingly strong through 4 seasons. And there is still a lot of funny in the new season, it's just that they are beginning to have to put the characters in more and more bizarre situations to find new plot lines, and it begins to strain credulity.

Has anyone ever broken down the similarities between 30 Rock and The Mary Tyler Moore Show? I can't be the only who has noticed can I? Tina as Mary, Alec Baldwin as Lou Grant, Hornberger as Murray, Tracy Morgan as Ted Knight, Cerie as Georgette, etc...
posted by puny human at 12:21 PM on April 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I put Tina Fey in the same category as, say, Jon Stewart. They're great in role on TV, and they're funny and clearly smart when being interviewed, but their written humor pieces are just really flat and trite (see "America: The Book") -- like to the extent that I suspect they're entirely ghostwritten.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 12:22 PM on April 16, 2011


I didn't know Tina Fey even had a baby. And I thought the picture might be staged. Until the last paragraph proved she was for reals.

I didn't know either. Apparently the kid is already an internet meme.
posted by cazoo at 12:36 PM on April 16, 2011


(see "America: The Book") -- like to the extent that I suspect they're entirely ghostwritten.

Including Stewart, there are fourteen credited writers for that book. With five "additional material" credits. (Which I mainly mention because that list includes names like Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, Rob Corddry and Ed Helms.)

The cover of the thing says "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents" right at the top.

(Sorry for the derail, but reading as far as the third page of that book makes it pretty clear it wasn't a solo project.)

Earth (The Book) is better.

(Seventeen writing credits.)

posted by Cyrano at 1:28 PM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your child's body is not your own,
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:40 PM on April 16



Of course. That doesn't mean you can't have hopes for it.
posted by Decani at 1:53 PM on April 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Apparently Lady Gaga only has Tattoos on her her left side because her dad wanted to be "at least normal on one side"
posted by delmoi at 1:57 PM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


PhoBWanKenobi is the Tattoo mafia henchman assigned to Metafilter. They always cloak their tattoo marketing in high-minded rhetoric which makes one think it isn't about the tattoos.
posted by IvoShandor at 2:15 PM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


or henchwoman. is that a word?
posted by IvoShandor at 2:16 PM on April 16, 2011


> Don't hope that your children don't get tattoos. Hope that they're comfortable in their own skin, that they only do things
> with their bodies that let them feel proud and strong and beautiful in them.

That's an easy one. I hope they feel comfortable and proud and strong and beautiful in their birthday suits prior to any tattoos, because if they don't a bunch of ink isn't going to help. (I note that my own daughter--who is 21 today, I love you beyond expressing, kfuller--does already have some lettering, namely Rex Quondam Rexque Futurus. Which, imho, is just about right.)
posted by jfuller at 2:32 PM on April 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


PhoBWanKenobi is the Tattoo mafia henchman assigned to Metafilter.

Dang, I'll have to let the rest of the yakuza know that you've figured us out.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:33 PM on April 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sorry to go all serious here, but it's not about the tattoos, Ivo. It's about respecting the child's autonomy and learning to trust her judgement. I am almost 40 years old and still have to reassure my mother that my tattoos are not an indictment against her personally. Just as shaving off my waist-length hair at 19 was not a personal assault on her. Claiming this kind of personaly bodily ownership over a child (or simply expressing a wish for it, which is closer to what I think Tina Fey is doing here) can really feel like a violation. It can be hard to come back from that.
posted by Eumachia L F at 2:39 PM on April 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Oh yes. A thousand times.
posted by jokeefe at 2:46 PM on April 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tattoos are hideous. When a three year old scrawls all over herself with a marker it's cute and you can wash it off but why beautiful young women want to despoil their skin with crude splodges of ink for all time is beyond me. Tattoos on guys, unless they are actually pirates or submariners or Pacific islander warriors, just tell you they're not as tough as they're pretending to be - otherwise they wouldn't have to pretend. Fashion ebbs and flows but you can change your hair or wardrobe in an afternoon. Tattoos are like nailing bell bottoms to your legs for life. Tina Fey is right. Don't do it girls.
posted by joannemullen at 2:52 PM on April 16, 2011 [15 favorites]


Man, I love Tina Fey.

But really, am I the only mom who doesn't give a shit if her kids get inked up? I can think of way, way worse rebellions, you know?
posted by Leta at 2:53 PM on April 16, 2011


But, yes, more seriously, what Eumachia L F is saying. You can wish that your child will think they're beautiful and be happy as-is, but the "no trashy tattoos" thing feels like a cousin to the "tiger mothers don't let their children get fat" sort of thing.

When I have children, I might hope that they're happy and fully embodied. But I'm not going to pray that they don't end up trans or tattooed or fat or getting breast reductions or whatever when they're adults because their bodies are theirs and I shouldn't be imposing my will or my aesthetics on them.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:56 PM on April 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


That's why I don't use my tattoos as fashion accessories, joannemullen. They're part of me, not my wardrobe.
posted by Eumachia L F at 2:56 PM on April 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sorry to go all serious here, but it's not about the tattoos, Ivo

Oh man, they've got two of you here!
posted by IvoShandor at 2:58 PM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


For the record I don't care if people have tattoos. I haven't tattoos or children, but I don't think I'd really care if my hypothetical children got tattoos.
posted by IvoShandor at 3:00 PM on April 16, 2011


We are legion.
posted by Eumachia L F at 3:01 PM on April 16, 2011


In the long-ago 1970s, before tattoos were middle-class, I picked up a hitchhiker who had an odd tattoo on his arm--kind of an indecipherable design (I don't really remember what it looked like; it was just line-art--no color or filled areas (and we wore an onion on ...)).

I asked him what it meant. He said it meant he got real drunk at least once.
posted by hexatron at 3:02 PM on April 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


Fey on Bombshell McGee -- "I know you shouldn't judge people based on their appearance, but when your body looks like a dirt bag's binder from 7th grade metal shop, it doesn't bode well for your character. You know, there's a term for women like Bombshell McGee, they're called "Bombshell McGees". Seth, the world has always been full of whores.

For every Sandra Bullock there's a woman who got a tatoo on her forehead because she ran out of room on her labia. For every Elin Nordegren there's a Hooters waitress who spells Jamee with two Es and a star. You could be the women who cures cancer and up against some skank, walking giant, venny fake boobs with the nipple pointed in different directions like the headlights on an old Buick.

Wives, you're not the losers in these situations, you are the winners, because this (pointing to a photo of Michelle "Bombshell" McGee) has to be the loser. Bombshell McGee, ugh, I know you're into like Nazi stuff and white supremacy but if Hitler were alive today he even he would be like Poor Sandra Bullock, sie ist so ein netter womman.
posted by puny human at 3:03 PM on April 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Men with ironic facial hair irk me far more than women with tattoos.
posted by jonmc at 3:12 PM on April 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I hope they feel comfortable and proud and strong and beautiful in their birthday suits prior to any tattoos, because if they don't a bunch of ink isn't going to help.

Not in my experience. My tattoos make me feel proud and strong and in control of my body. I didn't used to love my fat thighs, but damn if they don't make a great canvas. Lots of fat girls feel shy about their arms and always wear sleeves. If I always wore sleeves, no one could see my sleeve. Getting tattooed has been (and continues to be) a very important transformative step on a journey from self loathing to self love.

My leg tattoo is not yet finished. It is going to be AWESOME.
posted by mollymayhem at 3:57 PM on April 16, 2011 [22 favorites]


Would y'all be happier if her daughter had a plate of beans tattooed across her back?
posted by erskelyne at 4:20 PM on April 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


(holy shit, mollymayhem, that tattoo is awesome!)
posted by palomar at 5:05 PM on April 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I may have to get this tattoo, erskelyne.
posted by queensissy at 5:48 PM on April 16, 2011


I don't mind if my daughter decides to get tattoed once she's over 18, just as long as she doesn't come home some day and tell me she's become a Christian. Because then she will be dead to me forever.
posted by briank at 5:49 PM on April 16, 2011


(i meant ALREADY awesome, stupid browser posting before i was ready grrr)

I think tattoos, when done well (i.e. by a skilled tattoo artist, not someone who just bought a tattoo kit and wants to do you for practice), are beautiful. Even if it's not something I would put on myself (I have one tattoo and am planning more, but I'm super picky and indecisive about designs and placements and blah blah flip-flopper), I can appreciate its aesthetic appeal -- the body as living canvas, et cetera. But I can kind of see where Tina Fey is coming from here, since it sounds like she's specifically talking about the regretful sort of tattoo and not the awesome kind (like mollymayhem's pieces, for instance). She specifically mentions "Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo", which makes me think of all the people I know who have random things tattooed on them because they were at the tattoo parlor with their friends one time and everyone was doing it so they had to pick something, which is why they now have a butterfly on their ankle or the Dave Matthews Band dancing figure logo on their shoulder blade.

I don't and won't have children, but I have plenty of small children in my life, and it's really hard to hold a soft, sweet-smelling baby with that ridiculously soft perfect baby skin and think, "Kiddo, you are so beautiful. But you know what would make you even more amazing? A tribal tattoo on your lower back."
posted by palomar at 5:57 PM on April 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Palomar, you took the words right out of my mouth about the *kind* of tattoo we're talking about, here. Not the thought-out tattoo. The regrettable one.

Anyone else find it interesting that the title is "A Mother's Prayer for *Its* Child"? Trying to figure out if this was intentional, poorly-planned-out, or what.
posted by gusandrews at 6:58 PM on April 16, 2011


Gusandrews, yes, that is some humor right there.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:27 PM on April 16, 2011


I'd be annoyed if a kid of mine got a DUMB tattoo, a la Ms. Fey's example, or if they got a tattoo that couldn't be covered up for work purposes easily. Because no matter how hippie counterculture you are, at some point in life you may have to pretend to be a "norm." I'm thinking of a guy I know with a naked nymph tattooed on his neck, the boobs are so high up there's no way he can cover that up to go to Grandma's funeral. I doubt he cares, but still, don't eliminate your options because you're 18-22 and wanna be cool.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:29 PM on April 16, 2011


I like Tina Fey a lot, never been a big fan of 30 Rock, but it's great for what it is. But the parent-oriented comedy is a bit cliched now, and she falls into some predictable traps. Comedians often draw from the wells of their own lives for their material, so I can't blame her, but even Steve Martin was never as funny in Parenthood as he was in The Jerk. Did you see what happened to Eddie Murphy after he had kids? Neither did I, at least not his face. All he does is anymore is voiceover work and wacky family comedy material. Hey, I loved all the Shrek movies, and he's still got it if he wants to bring it and I'm sure draws some healthy paychecks, but kids do something to a person that can kinda dull their wits a bit and tempers their cynicism. During the first couple years that can be chalked up to sleep deprivation alone, but it goes on from there...

I agree with Decani: I don't really know what it's like, and I don't want to. Plus, kids are overabundant in our family as it is. I am an uncle to 13 nieces and nephews (quick explanation: four older sisters all married w/kids, German Catholic, 2nd-3rd-4th gens. from immigrant parents of 11 kids on a farm in Montana during the Depression, when raising kids meant more labor to feed themselves). They're already having their own kids now at a rapid clip, like yeast in a Petri dish. I no longer can rattle off all the kids names anymore and have to refer to written lists. Not long from now we're not going to fit in the same house on the holidays.

The kids are great and all, but more in the abstracted sense of being an uncle, where I can enjoy being around kids but never have to take any real responsibility for them. Hell, I can barely handle being around any people for extended periods... And I can also be the guy who didn't figure out what he wanted to do with his life until his 40s, because doesn't every family need a crazy uncle like me? If not for me, someone else would have to fill that role. I'll leave the parenting to those who have the patience and/or talent for it, or who are masochists or simply far too fertile for their own good... can't really tell. I used to think WC Fields was hilarious just a bit mean about kids, but I've since come to understand so very well....
posted by krinklyfig at 9:38 PM on April 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


The one thing I like about people saying things like 'tattoos are hideous' is that, often as not, it prompts someone to show off their beautiful tattoos.
posted by box at 9:43 PM on April 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


I have decided that I will only be a dick about my kids' tattoos (should I ever decide to reproduce) if they make the regrettable decision to try to get a tattoo in a language they do not speak.

No, you cannot get the Chinese character for strength tattooed on your neck. You can get the word STRENGTH tattooed on your neck. Oh, you think that would look dumb? Well then.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:47 PM on April 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


No, you cannot get the Chinese character for strength tattooed on your neck. You can get the word STRENGTH tattooed on your neck.

How about OBEY?

Put it on my forehead so other people see it while they're talking to me.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:51 PM on April 16, 2011


...but they can only REALLY see it if they've got Roddy's sunglasses.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:10 PM on April 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Krinklyfig: "...kids do something to a person that can kinda dull their wits a bit and tempers their cynicism..."

This effect is not caused by sleep deprivation. It's caused by contentedness and an increased capacity to see beyond your own gripey bullshit.
posted by mudlark at 10:20 PM on April 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think it is referencing a very specific type of tattoo. The wording "stain her tender haunches" immediately made me think of the generic "tramp stamp" sort of thing. More of a get a tattoo because everyone has one and not a show of comfortableness in one's own skin.

sidenote: In Cars where the male car comments on the female car's "ink" it really pissed me off for some reason.
posted by M Edward at 10:47 PM on April 16, 2011


This effect is not caused by sleep deprivation. It's caused by contentedness and an increased capacity to see beyond your own gripey bullshit.

Well, to be completely honest, I think parenthood can bring out the best in someone by challenging them in ways they never knew they could endure. A lot of people grow through the experience in a way that's difficult to explain to someone who has never been a parent. It's how we all got here, for that matter, so pretty much central to the survival of the species.

But people like me... no, not for me. I used to think it was, maybe, but I'm not chasing other people's dreams anymore, and life is just getting to the point where I'm really liking it, finally. I can't tell if you're being snarky at me for being cynical about kids. At any rate, don't knock being contented.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:48 PM on April 16, 2011


"Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo" or a friggin' barbed wire armband.

I love tattoos, am tattooed, have more work planned, but, I don't want anyone I know to get stupid ass tattoos. I really have an issue with people getting tattoos in languages that they don't know, because, then you have no idea what they are actually tattooing on you.


(mollymayhem, love your tattoos)
posted by SuzySmith at 12:06 AM on April 17, 2011


'What's Latin for 'strength and honour'?'
'IG NOR AMVS.'
'Wicked! Ink away, man!'
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:31 AM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why are you arguing about whether the things she wishes are "valid" or "appropriate" or "fair"? This isn't a parenting guide - it's a (humor!) piece depicting what actually goes through a lot of parents had, and it's funny and human *because* a lot of it is ridiculous.

Shit, you're all worked up because she doesn't want her daughter getting tattoos - but neurosis about ever standing on balconies is totally healthy?
posted by freebird at 1:31 AM on April 17, 2011


(Hey, here's a photo of one of my tattoos.)
posted by box at 8:10 AM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ladies, keep the tattoos, but please ditch the huge-ass sunglasses. Thank you.
posted by jonmc at 9:37 AM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

My life includes many awesome things, but the drummer I lie with (and am married to) is the awesomest of all.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 10:52 AM on April 17, 2011


That's why I don't use my tattoos as fashion accessories, joannemullen. They're part of me, not my wardrobe.
posted by Eumachia L F at 10:56 PM on April 16 [1 favorite +]


I am glad that I do not need to define myself by having someone draw indelible piccies on my body. I have to say I'd feel pretty bad if I needed to define myself that way, even partially.

Tattoos are - literally - superficial bollocks. I'm glad they'll go out of fashion, soon. And I hope I live long enough to see the current ink-addled generation walking around in their wrinkly old skins, with their precious tats looking like a mess of contusions and varicose veins. Ooh. Remember when Celtic tramp stamps were cool? And that whole barbed thorn thing around the arm! Awesome! Now it looks like a drunken Frankenstein stitched a severed limb back on. Kewl!
posted by Decani at 2:50 PM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Welp, this has been an awesome thread of superficial judgment!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:10 PM on April 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Honestly, no, I don't remember when barbed-wire armband tattoos were cool.
posted by box at 3:22 PM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Tattoos are - literally - superficial bollocks. I'm glad they'll go out of fashion, soon. And I hope I live long enough to see the current ink-addled generation walking around in their wrinkly old skins, with their precious tats looking like a mess of contusions and varicose veins. Ooh. Remember when Celtic tramp stamps were cool? And that whole barbed thorn thing around the arm! Awesome! Now it looks like a drunken Frankenstein stitched a severed limb back on. Kewl!"

You know people have been saying this since the 60s, the 1760s...
posted by Blasdelb at 3:59 PM on April 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


And I hope I live long enough to see the current ink-addled generation walking around in their wrinkly old skins, with their precious tats looking like a mess of contusions and varicose veins.

Me too. As a pyrotechnician and a motorcycle rider, I have no false ideas of my longevity. But when I'm old, assuming I'm that lucky, my skin is going to be wrinkly and fucked up, whether it's tattooed or not.

I am glad that I do not need to define myself by having someone draw indelible piccies on my body. I have to say I'd feel pretty bad if I needed to define myself that way, even partially.

And I'm glad that I don't let opinions like this stop me from remaking my body in a way that pleases me. Every time I see one of my tattoos, I smile. How can that possibly be a bad thing?
posted by mollymayhem at 4:18 PM on April 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Can we tone down the judgement a little bit? It's making my new tattoo itch.
posted by restless_nomad at 4:46 PM on April 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


It seems like lots of whippersnappers here believe tattoos have always been around.
For middle-class Americans, it just ain't so.

Wikipedia gives the tattoo revival date as 1990 or 2000 or so, but in fact it was somewhat earlier. I admit I wasn't playing close attention, but I think it started sometime in the 1970s when various rock musicians (looking at you, Steve Tyler) noticed that the ex-band-geek looking back from the mirror was not at all the person they wanted to present to the world.

So the energetic ones (looking at you, Bruce Springsteen) totally remade their bodies by strenuous exercise, while those who preferred short-term-pain over long-term-commitment went for tattoos, which at the time where entirely the province of sailors and jailbirds, and NOT ex-band-geeks.

But musicians have admirers, and admirers are often imitators.
posted by hexatron at 5:08 PM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know people have been saying this since the 60s, the 1760s...

I'm going to guess that women getting tattoos in the west is largely a modern phenom; save the odd circus performer. Men who were not sailors have a more mixed history, though some of the 19th century European royals got blued while visiting foreign parts. THe current wave, I think, pretty new territory, new inroads.

But hell, a few decades back she might well have been worried about the girl getting her ears pierced, so there you go. Things change.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:25 PM on April 17, 2011


Tatoos are a current fashion fad. For every person who has well-considered deep spiritual, aesthetic, or psychological reasons for getting a tattoo as some here have stated, there are many more who put as much thought into it as I did about teasing my hair into a rat's nest in high school, or wearing beads, bell bottoms, and no bra a few years later. Kids want to look cool and fit in, and they can't really imagine ever being old.

What if these fads or some from next decade, the mullet for men, or Farah Fawcett hair for women, were permanent? Some of us older folk have stuck with these looks from our youth and it just looks dated, no longer cool, as some from my mother's generation stuck with the permanent waved hair and red lipstick from their youth in the 30s and 40s, which became the Grandma look.

In 20 years when the tattoo fad passes into history, it will be something that marks one as old, out of style, no longer on the cutting edge, but unlike other bad fashion choices, it is permanent and not erased without expense and pain. I predict a growth industry in tattoo removal springing up for those who went with a current look today not thinking about tomorrow.
posted by mermayd at 5:55 PM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


"It's making my new tattoo itch."

Maybe it was an infected needle. You should probably get that looked at.
posted by puny human at 6:17 PM on April 17, 2011


it will be something that marks one as old, out of style, no longer on the cutting edge

You're probably right, and I am okay with this. What goes in and out of fashion is of no relevance to me. I say again, my tattoos are not about fashion or style or fads. I'm not even trying to make a statement here. They are personal to me and have nothing to do with what other people might think about me.

And just to bring it back around, the part where Tina Fey says O Lord, break the Internet forever is actually starting to sound pretty reasonable.
posted by Eumachia L F at 6:35 PM on April 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was a stupid teenager once, and when I started college my dad said 3 things: No tattoos, no piercings, and no smoking. Well, obviously he went 0-3 (though the piercing came, and went, 4 years later.) At 18, I got one of those generic symbols tattooed on me. I can't be sure that it means what the book in the shop said it means. As a matter of fact, I can't remember exactly what I thought it did mean, but I remember it being important to me at the time. But I got it put in a location that no one will ever see unless I want them to, as I did with subsequent tattoos.

Do I regret it, since it was a teenager-ly whim and is perceived as pretty embarrassing in adulthood? Not really. I mostly forget it's there and when I do see it, I smile and remember going to the shop with my best friend and sneaking a beer afterward and laughing about who we'd tell and who we wouldn't and what our parents would think and driving around with the top down that summer before we really started growing apart.

Sometimes it may not be all about the ink, ya know?
posted by buzzkillington at 6:56 PM on April 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


What if these fads or some from next decade, the mullet for men, or Farah Fawcett hair for women, were permanent?

I would look like Jason Donovan circa 1988, only fatter and balder. So a bit like Jason Donovan now, then. Thank Jeebus that Craig McLaughlin perm only lasted one haircut.

And Farah Fawcett hair can come back and stick around til the end of the universe as far as I'm concerned. Rowr.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:00 PM on April 17, 2011


McLachlan, even. Just did a Google Image search and felt comforted for a moment that I hadn't let myself go as much as Craig. Then I corrected the spelling. Now I'm off to wash down cake with a Coke Zero.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:03 PM on April 17, 2011


As the mother of a boy, I would merely like to add "May he never wear Axe body spray."

And I don't care if he gets tattoos. I've got two of 'em myself, so it'd be pretty damn stupid of me to say "Son, don't get a tattoo." However, "Son, don't grow a moustache" or "Son, no muttonchops in this house," I've got cred there as I have never grown facial hair, regrettable or otherwise.
posted by sonika at 4:53 AM on April 18, 2011


sonika, I have faith that a son of yours could pull off mutton chops
posted by Blasdelb at 8:01 AM on April 18, 2011


sonika, I have faith that a son of yours could pull off mutton chops

I... look like a lady who would look good in mutton chops? I'm not entirely sure how to take this, so I'll just go with "thanks!" I think.
posted by sonika at 11:20 AM on April 18, 2011


To all the people who're convinced tattoos are a fad... what if the US has become a tattooed civilization?
posted by Kattullus at 12:31 PM on April 18, 2011


All I know is that I'm tremendously grateful that tattoos were still a marginal thing when I was a teenager, or I'd be tottering into my dotage with the Yes logo permanently affixed to my leg or arm or somewhere. And I can't quite see myself being happy with that, all these years down the road.
posted by jokeefe at 4:52 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


sonika, I sincerely hope that by the time your boy gets old enough to wear body spray there won't be such a thing any more.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:00 PM on April 18, 2011


It's funny. I'm quite out of touch with current American culture, having been away these 13 years, and having gotten kind of old. I didn't know who Tina Fey was, although I'd heard her name. I always associated the name with Tammy Fey Baker. So I looked her up on Wikipedia. LOL! She sounds quite impressive.
posted by Goofyy at 8:21 AM on April 19, 2011


I can relate, jokeefe, except for me it would have been the ELP logo. Actually, though, I don't think it would bother me that much. And if anyone has the Yes logo tattoo, I would say to you that yours is no disgrace.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:42 AM on April 19, 2011


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