Boomers Hot for Tats

tramp stampMaybe it’s because they’re not working for “the man” anymore, or they’re not working at all, or they just don’t care. Whatever the reason, more and more boomers are getting their first tattoo.

When we were in our 20’s only military veterans and bikers had tattoos and who was going to give them a hard time about it. If you were going into a profession (teacher, nurse, doctor, lawyer, whatever), a tattoo was taboo. So even though we were born to be wild, we were doomed to be mild.

Now everyone has tattoos so no one worries about the job interview anymore. The guy doing the interviewing has as many tattoos as the applicant. They probably end up comparing their tats before the interview is over.

What accounts for the renewed interest in tats by boomers? We’re all free to speculate here. Some think it’s a Bucket List phenomenon – get it now before you die. Maybe it’s a reflection of the greater acceptance that tattoo art now has. Angelina Jolie’s career has not suffered and she’s up to about sixteen tats and counting. Many boomers choose to commemorate important life events – grandchildren’s names are a reoccurring theme.

They’re not getting tramp stamps (those big tattoos that run just above the butt crack of a lot of young ladies – you figure out where the name came from). Eustace tatBoomer women will still go for the less ostentatious butterfly, heart or flower in a place or size that won’t catch too much attention in the light of day. Men go for the barbed wire around the biceps. And of course, lots of tat seekers are checking out Asian, Arabic and Hebrew letter characters, despite the fact that most of the time they have no idea what they mean.

The reality shows about tattoo artists (Miami Ink) either hurts or helps the cause, depending upon your opinion of reality shows. In any case, you can’t go anywhere without seeing mainstream tattoos. Your waitperson in the restaurant has some, so does the mail carrier, the barista and the produce manager. If your priest or rabbi has one you probably would not know it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they did.

You missed Woodstock, so why not catch this wave before it goes back out. Just don’t tell your mother.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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