Maybe if I put it in writing it will be true, like The Secret says it will. So here goes: This summer I’m getting a tattoo.
It will be my second, so it’s not like I’m working up to it. I’ve known what it will be (mermaid, ankle…not as lame as it sounds, okay?) for a long time. When I was making plans to get my first tattoo (vine, wrist), I had a dream that my mom, who’d recently passed away, was drawing a mermaid on my chest, sort of between boob and clavicle.
She probably wouldn’t have been surprised to learn that her stubborn child went ahead with the vine on the wrist, but come on—when your dead mom comes to you in a dream and tells you to get a mermaid tattoo, you have to do it at some point.
Especially when, later, you’re going through some old drawings she did and you find three or four mermaid sketches. (This is not as Twilight Zone-ish as it sounds. My mom drew fairytale creatures all the time, so there was like a ninety percent chance she’d drawn a few mermaids in her time. I’d probably already seen some of them and filed them away in my subconscious.)
So that’s the plan: mermaid, ankle, winding down onto foot because foot tattoos rock. Because of the aforementioned stubborn streak, I’m not following my dream-mom’s advice and getting it on my chest. I don’t believe in tattooing body parts that are likely to sag and/or get fat. I don’t want my poor mermaid to end up with a deformed face just because I get pregnant or old, or rekindle my love affair with creamy foreign cheeses, which happened Sunday at our book club meeting (book: Giovanni’s Room; food theme: Gay Paree).
Anyway, the reason I’ve been putting it off is because tattoos are fucking expensive! It boggles my mind when I see tatted-up homeless people or 15-year-olds. I’m like, Shouldn’t you spend that $6,000 on an apartment or college or something?
Then again, if you’re willing to make certain hygienic sacrifices, you can find some good bargains. And while I’ll play roulette with expired milk, I prefer my needles clean.
I’ve discovered that there’s never a time in your life when the answer to “What would be the smartest thing to spend this extra $400-$500 [just guessing, I really don’t know] on?” is “A tattoo of a mermaid on my ankle.” So instead I’m taking the piggy bank approach, stashing random $20 bills in a box on my nightstand every once in a while.
There’s no practical difference between this and putting it on my debit card, but psychologically it seems to work. There’s something kind of fun and old school about paying for a tattoo with a wad of cash. Like I’m a sailor. With a mermaid tattoo.