I wrote about tattoos a long time ago in The Buddha Diaries. In fact, a search reveals that I have written about them several times in the past. Interestingly, those entries have received more page views than anything else I ever wrote about--and The Buddha Diaries has been going for nearly ten years now, with well over 2,000 entries.
I honestly don't understand the appeal. At the gym I go to, it's hardly an exaggeration to say that virtually every body has tattoos, many of them covering large areas of a single body. I found myself yesterday looking at the beautiful body of a young woman which was "decorated" the length of each arm and shoulder, down the back (as far as I could see) and the entire top of her chest. Who knows what went on below the covering of her skimpy gym attire? And she is not alone. Many of the young women at the gym are similarly decorated.
Why do they do this, I wonder? Gifted with enviable, strong and lithe young bodies that need, frankly, no enhancement to attract the eye, why would they choose to desecrate the skin with these permanent marks? I could understand the appeal of a discreet image, hidden from all but the most intimate of gazes, but to treat the entire body as a public canvas, advertising who knows what convictions or obsessions...? This I don't understand. And find quite the opposite of appealing. No matter how expertly done, I find that it offends the eye.
So as a friend said the other day: "I don't get it." I love the human body, love the smooth texture and the infinitely rich variety of monochromes that characterize the human skin. As one who can no longer boast the unwrinkled surface of the young, I envy its peculiar beauty, and am sad to see it so abused. Am I just old and cranky? Or can anyone explain...?