Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ink Me — The Great ALI Ink Tour 2009

(WARNING: The photo in this post may not be office or child appropriate. It contains a tush. And not a cute little baby tush, a grown up, late 30 something, woman’s tush.)

Let me start by saying I probably wouldn’t have any tats if it weren’t for a boyfriend I had when I was 19. Q and I only dated briefly, but we remained friends. I was 19 and he was 16. Doomed! An enormous age difference at that age (particularly when the girl is the older one). Not helped by the fact that, although he was (and still probably is) one of the very smartest guys I’ve known, at 16, he looked about 13. At 19, I wanted to date someone who looked like a MAN. Ah, but when Q hit his mid 20s … yowza! Too late for us, as one of us was always partnered when the other was available.

But back to the ink. Q’s father is a tattoo artist. Back then tattooing was illegal in New York City. But underground tattoo shops were tolerated by the police. There were no shops with bright signs. You made an appointment and went somewhere private. Q’s family lived in a loft on the Bowery. A block away from the famous punk club, CBGBs. His father’s tattoo shop in the front, and the family’s living space in the back. The area is now gentrified to the extent that there is now a Whole Foods there. It was still pretty rough back then. I take some pride in the fact that I got my first tat illegally on the Bowery in the mid 80s.

I don’t know if I would have ever considered getting tattooed back then if I hadn’t known Q and his family. I knew his father was a good artist and that everything would be clean and safe. Still, it took me a few years to work up the courage. My first, which I got when I was 22, is a small rose on the inside of my right ankle. No one warned me what a painful spot that is. (Not much flesh, right on bone.) I have 4 now, and that one was the most painful. I get it touched up now and then, and it hurts like hell!

Took quite a while before I was ready for the next one. By this time, Q’s baby brother had joined his father in the tattoo biz. Tattooing was legal in NYC by then, and they opened a shop in the East Village. I’d heard great things about the brother’s skill from Q, so let him ink me. Now no one else may touch a tattoo needle to my skin. It’s funny, because I have these memories of M (the tattoo artist) as a cute 10 year old who would be underfoot when I would hang out with Q. Whether going for a tat or just stopping by the shop to say hi, I am greeted with a big hug and kiss. Once, while he was tattooing me, I teased M about what kind of kid he was. He stopped for a moment, gave me a wry smile, and said, “Are you forgetting who’s holding the electric needle?” Gulp … mea culpa!!

My second, which I think was for my 38th birthday, is a small silhouette of a black cat on my left shoulder. It’s an image I found and played with a bit. I like that’s it’s small, but striking and not girly at all. Got my next just about a year later. This is my largest one. It’s a branch of cherry blossoms on my right hip. He did an exquisite job.

Shortly after I got this one I dated a professional photographer. One night, while hanging out drinking wine, I mentioned that I wanted a good photo of this one. Next thing I know he’s pulling out a soft box and some gauzy fabric. My butt has never (and will never again) looked so good. (You know my pregnant ass looks nothing like this now!) The lighting is awesome. And although I told him not to tell me if he did, I’m sure there was some photoshopping involved.

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Digitally edited or not, not bad for pushing 40.

My latest one I got last year after my first cancelled IVF cycle. I posted about it here. I often forget about it, since I can’t see it without TWO mirrors.

Check out the rest of the ink on the tour!

13 comments:

Gray said...

beautiful artwork ... how about a pic of your first one --- i too have a small rose w/a butterfly on the inside of my ankle. i now what something simple & elegant on my foot.

Calliope said...

wow!!!
that is quite a glam shot, lady!

ah...CBGB's...those were the days.

Kristin said...

Wow...hubba hubba! That is one gorgeous shot, um er, of the tattoo,

Beautiful Mess said...

Beautiful! I love your tattoo. It's bright and very well done. I'm just LOVING all the tattoos and stories.
*HUGS*

Another Dreamer said...

Wow, nice glam shot. The tattoo is beautiful! The other tattoo, of the feather... wow. So subtle, but so lovely.

MFA Mama said...

Ooooh it's beautiful! And your arse doesn't look half-bad either--very nice pic!

Michelle said...

That is beautiful. I got a tattoo when I was 18 in the front on my right hip area. Unfortunately...really can not see it now...LOL Everyone told me when I got it then when I got pregnant I ould have a huge dolphin on my belly. Although I have not been pregnant I DO KNOW that it will not happen. LOL :(

Cara said...

My friend told me if you work hard to get everything in the right place by 30 that you sail through your 40's. I'm guess you are babe - prego or not!!!

The Steadfast Warrior said...

Gorgeous photo and tattoo! Really stunning photo.

battynurse said...

That's a fabulous picture. I'm pretty sure my ass has never looked anywhere near that good. Love the tat!

Billy said...

What a beautiful and delicate rose :-)
And loved the story telling of this first tattoo :-).

becomingwhole said...

beautiful!

both the tattoo and you ;)

Melody said...

That is absolutely beautiful-- and I am not a fan of tattoos. Won't get one on my own body, although I occasionally appreciate them on other peoples' bodies. I love love LOVE the feather tattoo too.