When my little sister turned 13 I gave her one piece of advice.
I told her that now that she was a teenager she might soon be confronted with opportunities to do some risky and stupid things. She may go to parties where there were drugs and alcohol being consumed. She may be tempted by unsafe or unwise sexual
But I told her there was one line that her big brother didn’t want her to cross. I wanted her to remember this as the only prohibition that came from me because she could recover from almost anything else she might regret later but not this.
Don’t get a tattoo on your face.
She looked at me like I was crazy. My sister is very good at this look. In her defense she has my brother and I as siblings so she has had ample opportunities to practice it.
There was a reason why I said this. Tattoos had gone mainstream in a way that seemed impossible to a simple country boy born in the sixties and raised in New Hampshire. The movie Once Were Warriors had just come out and, because it was about Maori people, it featured a lot of face tattoos. I figured there was a possibility that face tattoos might follow super-baggy pants, gangsta rap and goatees from the street gangs to the mainstream.
Two decades later she still doesn’t have a tattoo on her face.
A while back, my wife and I went to a lovely wedding. It was a group of creative twenty-somethings in a barn and we had a great time.
There was a guy there with tattoos all over his body including the word “FUCK YOU” on his forehead. Turns out this guy was a bad guy once but now he’s turned his life completely around and he’s a peace-loving designer who works with at-risk youth.
I would imagine that the tattoo is a good conversation starter.
Moral of the story is that people change and you should never judge what’s in someone’s brain based on what’s written on the outside.
And it’s probably still a good idea not to get a tattoo on your face.
And I just realized I missed my sister’s birthday. She was born on April 1st.