Wino Forever


In the great HitchDied tradition of demented and inappropriate takeaways, my response to today’s superb APW post about merging finances in marriage is “aww, look at that couple’s matching tattoos!”

And now I will admit something that is going to shock the people who know me well: I have been considering getting a marriage tattoo.

In case you don’t know me well, know this: I HATE TATTOOS.  I am generally appalled by body modification. I realize that it is fun or even emotionally or spiritually healing for other people, and I try my damnedest to be respectful of that, but often cannot get past my gut reaction of “oh god why would you do that to yourself don’t you realize it can’t be undone!”  [While I did really like the earrings I wore on my wedding day, I am usually very upset that I have pierced ears and believe an eight year old should not be allowed to consent to permanent body hole-punching.]

Even when a tattoo is pretty or interesting looking, even when I am emotionally touched by the meaning behind it, I almost always still have the gut reaction of “oh, honey, no.”  I can think of two, maybe three tattoos that I did not have that reaction to. I’m not going to tell you what they are so all my tattoo-having readers can pretend they are one of the good ones.1

But just to be clear, Collin is not one of the good ones.  I hate Collin’s tattoo.  And I have given him way too much shit for it over the years.

Let’s go back to the heady days of September 2008, when Collin and I had just started dating.  My friend Matt, Collin’s brother-in-law, introduced us, and he kept himself amused during Estates & Trusts by divulging “information” about Collin.  Most of that information was false, but it was always hard to tell because a) Matt is a good liar b) I have no sarcasm detector.  One day after class I was heading to the South Side to hold my friend Annie’s hand while she got her foot tattoo touched up (which I was doing, in part, to try to correct my tattoo bigotry), Matt said, “Have you seen Collin’s tattoo yet?”  I was SO SURE that I had finally caught him in a lie.  “There’s no way Collin has a tattoo! He’s Jewish!”  “Well, that didn’t stop him.” I hopped on my bus shouting, “YOU CAN’T FOOL ME THIS TIME, MATT!”

At the tattoo parlor, Collin and I were LOLing back and forth on the text line the way that newly dating people do, and I asked him if he really has a tattoo.  He said, “Yup! It’s super sweet.  It’s a smiley face that has Mickey Mouse hands, and it’s giving a double thumbs up.”

I was sure that Matt and Collin were colluding, and that Collin had come up with this completely insane tattoo just to mess with my brain even more.

But then I saw it.  It was real.  And I couldn’t hide my revulsion.  I think I asked something obnoxious like, “Did you get that the day you turned 18 and really regret it now?”  He said something like, “No, it’s awesome.  When I go running with my shirt off I’m showing everyone how happy and awesome I am.” 
“Are you sure they don’t think ‘Look at that weirdo with the smiley face with disembodied Mickey Mouse hands going ‘THIS GUY!’?”

“Don’t make fun of my tattoo. My mom designed it!” “OK NOW YOU HAVE TO BE FUCKING WITH ME!” I did not know at the time that Viki is a) an artist b) generally bursting at the seams with joy such that she would want her son to have a smiley thumbs-upping tattoo.

Over the years, I have learned to stop saying mean things about Collin’s tattoo, because he really does like it. [I asked for a slight reprieve so I could post this]. As a show of good faith, I offered to pay for Collin’s next tattoo, which he’s wanted since we started dating. [And just to come full circle back to today's APW post, it would actually be a gift and not a legal fiction of a gift because my money primarily comes from my inheritance.]

Collin still hasn’t gotten that tattoo, and he recently told me that he wants a different one: two circles next to each other in a square, to represent “home is wherever I’m with you.” [Sorry if you now have that song stuck in your head for the rest of the day. I know I will.] And I think that is so sweet and wonderful, especially in light of our upcoming move to Cape Town, that I kind of want that tattoo too. It’s more meaningful if we both have it, right? It’s very small and simple and almost guaranteed not to be ugly. I could put it somewhere I never really have to look at it.

BUT GOD I HATE TATTOOS. And I am far too pragmatic/pessimistic to not worry about what I’d do with the tattoo if we got divorced.

I’m so stressed out about this I actually had a nightmare about getting a tattoo (of a head of lettuce, on my forearm, and it was blurry and ugly and seemed to get bigger every time I looked at it). Which I think means, at the very least, I’m not ready. Maybe I can get the tattoo as an anniversary present somewhere down the line. My very wise friend Liz knew for at least ten years that she wanted a tattoo of a phoenix, and she only got it this past summer (the “Summer of Yes”). Forever can always start a little later.

1Not to give too much away, but i feel I must note that one of the Official Robin-Approved tattoos was featured on a website of bad tattoos. Which means that not only am I a jerk, I also have bad taste.


  1. In sort-of-related things, I just watched an X-Files episode where a dude gets a tattoo of a lady when he’s drunk after his divorce is finalized, and the tattoo talks to him and convincing him to commit Serious Acts of Violence Against Women. And then he meets Scully, who’s in a I-Hate-Mulder phase, and he convinces her to get a tattoo from the same guy, who learned to tattoo in like a Siberian labor camp or something, and his ink has rye in it and Scully figures out it makes them hallucinate etc. etc. etc.

    So, tattoos are pretty dangerous, I guess.

  2. You can’t leave us hanging like that. You have to tell us what the tattoo on the bad tattoo website was.

  3. I increasingly love tattoos. I wish I could get one. Or five or six.

    That said, if you’re having nightmares, I would stick with the 10-year rule.

  4. Not that you asked for my personal stance on tattoos, but I am willing to volunteer that I am neutral. I never met/dreamt a design that I thought was so lovely and perfect that I’d be willing to live with it forever, but I sometimes find myself admiring others’ tattoos. The best one I ever saw was on my acquaintance Laura, who’d had a script letter “L” tattooed on the inside of her wrist in white ink. White ink. I mean… Do you know how JEALOUS I was that I didn’t think of this first?

    That said. I was highly amused and entertained by the story of Collin’s tattoo. From what little I know of you guys, it’s deliciously appropriate. I could be convinced to get a marriage tattoo, especially if we had a symbol ready. Maybe you could find someone to make you the circles/square symbol out of metal and you could wear it around your neck in the meantime.

    Okay, and if you’re going to share with Bunny, I want to know too. I am nosy, after all.

  5. Brian hates tattoos. HATES them. He clucked disdainfully during all the ones I’ve ever gotten, but coming up on our first anniversary together, he agreed to finally get one with me. The caveat was, he would get one with me, if I promised not to get anymore.

    So now we have tiny matching tattoos, mine on my collarbone and his on his ribcage so he can continue telling people he hates tattoos and will never get one. He actually forgets it’s there most of the time, that’s a great place to hide a tattoo, turns out!

    • I was actually thinking “where should I put it such that it will never really be seen and I realized “UNDERBOOB!” So your dude and I are on the same page, but with slightly different anatomy.

  6. While grabbing my boobs in protection.

  7. This really has very little to do with this post, other than the fact that I have a new tattoo plan.

    As you may recall, I have a history of wanting really, really bad tattoos. Remember my “Harder Chris” tramp stamp? There was also a period of time when I wanted the welsh version of “Bad Wolf” from Doctor Who tattooed on me. I am also the sort of person who, especially now that I live in Vegas, seems like I could end up getting a drunken tattoo.

    My plan now is to come up a tattoo that I find acceptable and a 24-hour tattoo place with an artist is less scuzzy. Now, when the time comes, I will be less likely to end up with an infected face tattoo of the lyrics to Hang on Sloopy.

  8. It’s funny – I’ve always been such a risk-averse person that when I got my tongue pierced, my dad was actually happy for me. He thought it was a good sign that I was becoming a bit less uptight. My husband is *not* a fan of piercings (beyond one ear piercing – I have two) or tattoos though. He’s only sort of okay with the tongue because I can take it out at any time. And so although I’ve had a design picked out for about 4 years now, I’ve never gotten it. Maybe someday I’ll convince him, but until then, I just have the design saved on my desktop and look at it longingly.

    (The plan is to have “Choisis la joie” in script, on the inside of my left wrist.)

  9. First, I especially love the title of this post. Second, I really hate tattoos. I realize I’m supposed to be more open-minded about them because it’s all the rage to be open minded about tattoos, but, uh, I’m not. I hate them. Third, my ex went out and got himself a huge tattoo that covers his shoulder after we separated. Much to my glee, my daughter told me with a sigh a few months ago, out of the blue, “Daddy regrets his tattoo.”

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