I Got My First Tattoo. It Is About One Direction, A Promise, Friends, and Memory.
The story of my first tattoo has audio visual elements and so if you aren’t ready for that journey, I suggest Xing out now. If you are intrigued as to why a 31 year old woman who has always been ambivalent about tattoos when not judgmental about them decided to get one, watch and read on.
So One Direction released a documentary called This Is Us in 2013, it was a huge success in theaters for a music documentary and I saw it alone on Coney Island Avenue and loved every moment. In one scene, the boys go camping and consider their future legacies. Louis Tomlinson explains how he hopes they are remembered:
It is an ongoing and well-known joke that the members of One DIrection did not especially like to dance and were not especially good at synchronized dancing as had so often been a mainstay of their earlier boy band counterparts. Yet their songs are full of references to dancing, and none more so than “Best Song Ever”, the anthemic pop banger where they report dancing all night to the best song ever, having since forgot the words but never forgetting the girl or the dancing:
I wrote of one of their concerts I attended in Complex, “The audience was reliably dense with young girls, most traveling in packs of three to five and several accompanied by parent and grandparent chaperones. They danced without inhibitions in a way I suspect they might not if boys were present. These adults knew that their age did not exempt them from the rules and dutifully sang along with their whole bodies, often with more skill than their charges.”
It was my friend Allyson Gross who made the connection between the two moments: Louis’ hope to be remembered as regular guys but terrible dancers and the “Best Song Ever” hope that we too always remember how we danced, followed my an intentionally ridiculous dance sequence meant to make people laugh, to have the same good time that the boys seemed to be having there. I met Allyson on Twitter after she found an essay I wrote on Racked about the importance of One Direction to a culture that so often punishes boys for being soft and loving toward girls as One Direction were. She was born three days before Harry Styles (which means long before me) but our love of One Direction, not just the boys in it but the things their existence stood for, made it not unreasonable to make the promise to remember how they danced. It was terribly, yes, but always alongside us and seemingly on our behalf.
So this week, Allyson got this tattoo:
And two days later, I got this one:
We were not together getting these tattoos because we live in different cities and rarely see each other, which was a bummer at first. But remembering that part of the magic of being a One Direction fan is sharing the same joy from far distances, from seeing and hearing the same songs and videos and images and stories and having them absorbed into the body and memory differently but no less brilliantly.
It may seem ill-advised to get a tattoo of defunct boy band whose legacy we can’t yet discern. I do not hold out much hope that One Direction will unite in glory or with the same life-giving verve. But tattoos are not about what’s to come, but about remembering what was. And I for one look forward to remembering forever how we danced.
Many people have been getting tattoos lately. People of all ages have been getting
them and from all different backgrounds. On a nice day in just about any public place one can
spot a tattoo about every five minutes, from the business man who had a portrait of his
daughter put on him to a young girl with a butterfly on her ankle and even people with
extensive tattoo coverage. What is even more interesting is the rise in the number of people
who are heavily tattooed and that they come from all different backgrounds. Not too long
ago tattooing did not experience the popularity in mainstream culture that it does now. The
question that must be asked in order to understand this fascination that popular culture has
had with tattoos is why people get tattoos.
I, myself am very tattooed and in places that are quite visible most of the time. There
has always been a magical feeling every time I have received a tattoo. I am not unlike these
other people who get tattoos, we all get tattoos for similar reasons and many times it has
brought me closer to people who are fascinated with tattoos. Wearing tattoos everyday has
effected me immensely. I have one tattoo across my heart that is my favorite and reads "And
love just like blood will always stain" . To me it means once i love someone or something there
will always be a place in my heart for it or them. The first tattoo i ever got was angel wings on
my left shoulder on my back. Its kind of a false statement to due to the fact that im not very
religious at age 16 it was just a pretty picture to me. With a total count of eleven I dont regret
any of the tattoos I have just wish there was more meaning to them.
There still is a lot of intolerance towards people who have tattoos especially towards
people who have a lot of them but these days a tattoo here and there is not looked down as it
once was. There was a time when only "low...